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Media wars: Politico, Washington Post in biased coverage dispute

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A media war that's been waged largely behind-scenes for months has now flared, leading top dogs at Politico and the Washington Post to stage a sit-down to discuss some perceived biased coverage.

Specifically, Politico's editor-in-chief, John Harris, wants to know why Post media blogger Erik Wemple has been attacking Mike Allen, who writes Politico's popular Playbook tip-sheet. Mr. Wemple accuses Mr. Allen of giving favorable coverage to those who advertise in Politico's news section.

Michael Calderone, media reporter for the Huffington Post, reported the upcoming meeting between the pertinent Politico and Washington Post players.

Mr. Allen characterized Mr. Wemple's posts in an email to Mr. Calderone as "false and insulting." He also said that Mr. Wemple's "obsessive, anti-Playbook agenda has been obvious for some time."

Mr. Allen also wrote in the email: "I have based my career on honesty and trust. Over the past seven years, there have been more than eight million words of Playbooks, including hundreds of announcements from every group under the sun. You could cherry-pick items to make any case you wanted: that I'm a conservative hack, or a liberal tool, or a bad writer or a good guy. I write Playbook 365 days a year because I enjoy it, and greatly respect the readership it has attracted. I make my decisions based on a single consideration: whether the item would serve the audience."

Meanwhile, Mr. Harris said in a different email to Mr. Calderone that he was upset with The Washington Post for letting "a columnist … use innuendo, and selective thumb-on-the-scale reporting to wage an ongoing campaign-like attack on a journalist whose integrity and professionalism I have witnessed at close range for nearly 25 years."

"I believe the Post is allowing its justly respected platform to be used to advance a personal or competitive agenda, rather than a fair or responsible journalistic one," Mr. Harris wrote.

Mr. Wemple said in an email to Politico that he was looking forward to the meeting.

"I am eager for any opportunity to get Politico's input on things," he wrote. "Anything that advances us in that direction is a good development."

 

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