As a co-founder of the Note and a former Hotliner and an unindicted co-conspirator in several other endeavors - and now as someone who moved away from the moment-to-moment grind, I want to take a moment to discuss Mark Leibovich's much-discussed profile of Politico Brand X / senior political correspondent Mike Allen.
In this incarnation of Mike life, he is fulfilling a space that powerful decision makers do need -- they want curated aggregation because they don't have time to read 100 pieces a day, much less the time to choose those pieces. (I would much rather have Mike aggregate for me than Matt Drudge.) They share a sensibility with Mike. Indeed, it is a transactional sensibility.
Politico, in fact, recognizes its reputation for policy coverage is not great, and is in the process of hiring folks with policy heft. John Harris and Jim VandeHei have transformed their industry by figuring out how to monetize what Brownstein calls "snowflake" coverage -- the type of "breaking news" that dissolves by the time it hits the ground. They've also built a locker room full of excellent, if occasionally underutilized reporters. Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin, two friends, are anything but sycophantic in their coverage. Smith is particularly inventive. (Disclosure: I had an informal chat or two with "VandeHarris" about joining Politico when it was still the Politico.)
And this is not meant as a knock against Mike, but as a way of pulling everyone out of a trap: as influential as Mike is, and he knows this, a page one New York Times story by Peter Baker on a subject will set the agenda far more than Mike's daily messaging will. The White House understands this, too.