The Mirror

Mike Elk Blows Up At Ex-Politico Colleagues, Calls Them Unethical Suck-Ups

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Hell hath no fury like an elk scorned by Politico management.

We’re talking Mike Elk, the labor reporter who was fired from the publication in August. Elk and Politico entered into an undisclosed financial settlement, but neither side signed a non-disclosure agreement.

On Tuesday Elk went on Twitter and began firing off insults at reporters who used to work for Politico and now work for the NYT. The recipients of his ire included NYT reporters Maggie Haberman and Alex Burns. Both were formerly reporters at Politico. Both were held in extremely high regard by Politico management. Elk lumped Politico congressional reporter Jake Sherman into his wrath.

Elk has plenty of reason to be angry. During the year he worked for Politico, editors only published a handful of his stories. All the while, he tried to unionize his newsroom, which rubbed some of his coworkers and management the wrong way. He suffers from PTSD, which HR used as a reason to have him work from home.

He began by calling Haberman out on her ethics involving a story she wrote on the data breach by Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ campaign. Elk told The Mirror that Haberman is “in the bag” for Hillary Clinton.

Later he accused Politico of turning into the NYT, which Politico management would likely regard as high praise.

Soon things grew intensely personal with another ex-Politico.

Elk wrote,”Lots of @politico top hacks like @alexburnsNYT went to work there.” He continued, “Your haslam profile w/ @JakeSherman was some hack shit. How do you defend the Haslam story?”

Burns replied, “Charming, as always – good luck in the coming business year.” And then: “To a guy I was courteous to, who’s randomly attacking me on twitter? i don’t. seeya.”

But Elk wasn’t done trying to bait Haberman.

“Come on @maggieNYT, have some ethics,” he wrote. “You know what happened @politico but you keep me blacklisted because of your own ethical issues.”

He also jabbed at her by involving NYT’s public editor Margaret Sullivan as well as The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald. — “@Sulliview should @maggieNYT talk about why she was on defense witness list presented to @politico as per of my landmark Ada settlement.” — “Hey @ggreenwald @maggieNYT was on defense witness list given to @politico of who we should call in Ada case. Shouldn’t she talk about why?”

Haberman didn’t argue much with Elk, except to say that Sanders’s campaign thought her story was fair. She also added, “Be well Mike.”

After he sent her an avalanche of questions involving his firing and if she thought it was fair, she showed some holiday spirit.

Elk: “Maggie, the ‘fake nice’ routine may be newsroom culture but it doesn’t make you a real reporter. Talking about what happened does.”

Haberman: “Enjoy the holiday Mike. Hope all is well with you and that you’re happy.”

Elk said Haberman has an “ethical responsibility” to speak about what she witnessed at Politico.  He said she was on the subpoena list and would have been called to testify in a “landmark” Americans with Disabilities Act trial.

One of Elk’s saltier statements involved his settlement with Politico that, at least so far, he has not specifically discussed.

Politico HR issued a memorandum in November instructing employees not to engage with Elk.