In a truly amazing piece written by Washington Post style reporter Ben Terris late last night, we learned that Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock is a HUGE Downton Abbey fan.
But he doesn’t want to talk about it..and no one associated with him wants to talk about it, either.
The exchange between Terris and Schock’s comms director Benjamin Cole is the stuff of legend:
“Are you taking pictures of the office? Who told you you could do that? . . . Okay, stay where you are. You’ve created a bit of a crisis in the office.”
This came after one of Schock’s own employees spoke of an office inspired by the “red room” in PBS’ Downton Abbey:
The interior decorator responsible for an space filled with “a drippy crystal chandelier, a table propped up by two eagles, a bust of Abraham Lincoln and massive arrangements of pheasant feathers” was all too happy to show it off…but Rep. Schock’s PR team quickly quashed the walking tour.
First, a rep demanded that Terris delete all photos of said office from his phone. Then Cole pushed back against the story:
“You’ve got a member [of Congress] willing to talk to you about other things…Why sour it by rushing to write some gossipy piece?”
Why was the congressman’s PR team so insistent that the WaPo not only avoid focusing on the newly renovated office but avoid mentioning it altogether? We can’t say.
We can say that this 2011 Men’s Health cover put Rep. Schock on the map; he’s now considered “a rising star” and sought-after fundraiser in the Republican Party.
We can also say that the story Terris ran last night was far more interesting than his initial report…about a congressman’s new office.