Is the galaxy really big enough for everyone?
As BuzzFeed‘s Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith monopolized the set of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today – Politico‘s favorite home away from home – BuzzFeed‘s publicist Ashley McCollum was firing off an inflamed tweet about Politico‘s Mike Allen.
Amazing that @mikeallen and Politico still won’t put BuzzFeed in Playbook. Not sure what that is – maybe our emails go to spam?
— Ashley McCollum (@McCollumAshley) August 13, 2013
When asked for comment on if there was any truth to Playbook ignoring BuzzFeed, Allen told FishbowlDC, “Earlier this summer, the top of Playbook linked to a BuzzFeed piece as ‘Juicy Read Du Jour.’ Also awarded BuzzFeed a “Headline of the Week,” and gave prominent coverage to McKay Coppins’s book deal. I’d be grateful to hear from Ashley any time: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don’t post it, but my cellphone is BLANK. I always try to be helpful and accessible.” (Ashley, if you’d like Mike’s cell for Playbook requests, prank calls or texting, we’re happy to share offline.)
A sour taste has been lingering between the two outlets for several months now. In March 0f this year, Politico started doing their own version of “BuzzFeed Brews,” calling it “Playbook Cocktails, causing some media observers to start throwing around accusations and get their feathers rumpled. And when BuzzFeed Brews first began, BuzzFeed Political Editor McKay Coppins described it as essentially the same thing as Politico‘s Playbook Breakfast, “minus the stale bagels, plus the beer.”
What makes this subtle griping particularly awkward… is that Smith is a former employee of Politico. When he left the publication in December 2011, Politico stressed that his success was theirs — in other words, the usual manner in which Politico bids farewell to someone they actually like. Smith, too, professed his undying love for Politico by reaching into the solar system for his compliment.
“I wasn’t looking — I love my job, and POLITICO is the best place in the galaxy to be a political reporter,” he told FishbowlDC at the time. “This was just too cool an opportunity to pass up.”
Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris likewise expressed his affection for Smith. “Keeping his voice and ideas on politics was a very big deal to us,” he said in late 2011, explaining that he’d continue to write a column for Politico.