Erik Wemple at The Washington Post on Politico's big business. "One of the hottest issues in journalism today is 'native' advertising, the tricks that publishers deploy to elide the domains of journalism and advertising," Wemple explains. Politico's star reporter Mike Allen, who sends out his Playbook newsletter every morning, blurs the lines between business with reporting. Wemple notes, "advertisers pay a good $35,000 for a weekly run in 'Playbook,' a price tag that has inflated nicely for Politico in recent years." BP, Goldman Sachs, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have all advertised in Playbook. Wemple outlines many times when Allen featured favorable stories about the advertisers for free. Further, Allen "has also been known to insert his big foot into other [Politico] reporters’ stories before they reach print, at times on behalf of sources who are due for possibly rough treatment, according to former Politico staffers." Ana Marie Cox, a political correspondent at The Guardian and GQ, tweets, "Wow. Not sure any other reporter could survive this." The Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann concurs: "I wouldn't be surprised to see @ErikWemple land an assault charge for this. Brutal take on Playbook."
Jonathan Chait at New York on whether Mike Allen can be bought. "As thorough and as damning as [Erik] Wemple’s reporting here may be, he nonetheless ignores the deeper and more problematic implications" of Allen's native advertising, Chait argues. "Playbook goes beyond the routine and wildly promiscuous use of native advertising. ...The intermingling of media, business, and elected officials that is on gross display once a year during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and which Politico both covers and participates in with peerless enthusiasm, is Allen’s vision of how journalism is supposed to function normally." Columbia Journalism Review's Ryan Chittum tweets this line: "The Mike Allen scandal is not that advertisers purchased favorable coverage in Playbook. The scandal is that, at this point, such corruption is unnecessary."