As quickly as Politico is losing a wad of its star employees to CNN, it’s also losing control of it’s PR operation. This week the head of the pub’s HR department issued a dictum to employees: Stop conversing with ex-Politico employee Mike Elk. It only encourages him.
Seriously….are Politico employees children who need to be told such a thing?
Politico fired Elk in August. The firing was precarious in that management simply announced Elk was no longer with the publication. They’d also banned him from the newsroom for much of the time he worked there and reasoned it was because of his PTSD and not his attempts to unionize the newsroom. Elk, meanwhile, refused to acknowledge that he no longer worked there.
He has since changed his tune. After settling for an undisclosed amount, Politico is in his rearview mirror.
The following came from Joanne Ochsman, Politico‘s VP of Human Resources.
Subject line: Communications
We are aware of staff members getting disturbing and troubling communications from a former employee, Mike Elk. While we understand your desire to respond in some fashion, doing so has only resulted in his sending further communications.
Please let us know if you have any concerns about the tone or content of any of the messages he sent you.
Apologies for this unfortunate distraction.
The edict stemmed in part from an unsettling confrontation Elk endured at a recent Atlantic event in an encounter with Politico‘s famed Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Matt Wuerker. According to Mirror sources, Wuerker called Elk an “ambulance chaser” in regards to his relationship with Politico and his attempts to unionize the newsroom.
Naturally a Twitter battle ensued.
When asked for comment on this latest development of Politico employees being instructed not to engage with him, Elk told The Mirror, “There is no person in this town that Jim VandeHei respects more than Cetewayo Parks. So Call Cet, I don’t have time for this.”
(Note to readers: Parks is Executive Director of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild.)