Media Couples

Lots of good stuff in this Washington Monthly article on Washington’s power couples, including…

    The main reason, though, was simply this: Washington has no real quarrel with power couples. Nor does it have a quarrel with power couples whose professional lives occasionally overlap. This also applies to the journalists that the White House wanted to entice with the Plame leak. There was New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who’d once shared a home with the late Les Aspin, at various times a congressman, defense secretary, and Miller source. There was Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus, spouse of Ann Terry Pincus, a onetime director of the Office of Research at the United States Information Agency, a position to which she was appointed by Bill Clinton. There was John Dickerson of Time, married to Anne Dickerson, a onetime news producer who now specializes in media coaching for advocacy groups. And NBC’s David Gregory: he’s the husband of Beth Wilkinson, general counsel for Fannie Mae; they met when she was prosecuting Timothy McVeigh and Gregory was reporting on the case. And there was Time’s Matthew Cooper, married to Mandy Grunwald, onetime media specialist for Bill Clinton and current ad guru for Hillary Clinton. As for Bob Woodward, who’d learned about Plame several weeks earlier, he is married to New Yorker writer Elsa Walsh. If Dick and Scooter hoped to indict Joe and Valerie for the proximity of their professional lives, they might have picked a more promising jury. Only old Robert Novak took the bait, and Novak, like Mikey in the bygone commercial for Life cereal, eats anything.

and…

    Some other things keep journalists quiet: We, too, have spouses and value our privacy. Also, like most people, we’re loath to antagonize colleagues. As a young political journalist, I, for instance, might like to be on friendly terms with Jim VandeHei, former Washington Post reporter and founder of a new political publication, The Politico. Jim knows a lot of the people I know, or hope to know, and he might be in a position to hire me. This makes me less likely to bring up that Jim happens to be married to former Tom DeLay staffer Autumn Hanna VandeHei. Sure, Jim has written numerous articles about Tom DeLay for the Washington Post without disclosing that Autumn once worked for DeLay, and sure, for all I know, it’s possible–possible–he may have given DeLay overly favorable treatment as a result. But, hey, I’m sure Jim’s reporting is trustworthy, his marriage is his business, and I prefer to stay on his good side. (Come to think of it, I think Jim VandeHei may be the greatest journalist in human history.) … Luckily for me, Jim is perfectly agreeable and says that he met Autumn when he was working for Roll Call and she was working in DeLay’s office. “It didn’t help me or her, because I was doing investigative pieces on DeLay at the time,” he says, adding, “I’d already done a lot of reporting on DeLay.” Jim also notes that his wife’s most recent employment was as a consultant for what he calls a “nonpartisan nonprofit,” the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, a legal advocacy group for poor families grappling with substance abuse.