Full Disclosure: Washington’s Incestuous Media Ties

In the aftermath of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) firing his spokesman for leaking emails from reporters to another reporter is the news flash that Washington media is an incestuous bunch. Everyone is “friends” with everyone. And increasingly, members of D.C.’s media are making idiotic disclosures of friendships in their stories.

WaPo‘s Dana Milbank was purposefully poking fun at himself and the culture today in his opinion piece by noting cozy relationships with subjects in his story. But before I continue, I’m happy to say that Milbank is not my “friend” unless you count Facebook and a few friendly email exchanges as a close “friendship” that needs to be disclosed. Full disclosure: I’m happy to say he’s my “friend” if that makes him glad to read this.

In Milbank’s story, he announces that two people in his story are “friends.”

In the middle of all this is the book author, the New York Times‘ Mark Leibovich, a friend of mine, who set out to write about this town’s culture and finds himself being sucked into the dysfunctional drama, which resembles nothing so much as a bad reality-TV show in which people put their honesty and judgment second to their quest to be players.

Another friend of Milbank’s is The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza.

This particular episode begins with the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, another friend of mine (see what I mean by incestuous?)

But Milbank isn’t the only reporter who discloses friendships in a story, seriously or not. On Jan. 10, WaPo‘s Reliable Sources wrote a story about actor Row Lowe‘s potential reality show Potomac Fever. The gossip gals, Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, who undoubtedly have a lot of “friends” in the social nature of the work they do, wrote, “For most in the room, though, it’s clear the new comfort zone was created by the party’s hostess: Susanna Quinn, a native Washingtonian and wife of mega-lobbyist Jack Quinn. A vivacious blonde whom many reality producers have attempted to cast over the years (and, disclosure, a pal of ours), she was signed by Lowe and local production company 44 Blue as a consultant and associate producer to help find a cast and get the vibe right.”

Another incestuous excerpt from Milbank’s story…

Put on your PJs: It’s about to get even cozier. Politico reporters were making inquiries on Friday about their e-mails being forwarded to Leibovich, but on Saturday night they partied with Leibovich at the American Legion Hall on Capitol Hill for the 40th birthday party of Politico’s executive editor, Jim VandeHei.

A few hours before the party, Leibovich got a call from Politico‘s editor-in-chief, John Harris – who, along with VandeHei and reporter Mike Allen, used to work at The Post with Leibovich (and me! So very cozy!). “Couldn’t this wait until VandeHei’s party?” Leibovich joked to Harris.