Gawker and ‘The Politico’

Nicknames are often jabs. And it was a clear and condescending one when Tom Scocca, writing for Gawker, repeatedly referred to “The Politico” in a post taking down a recent story by Politico‘s Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei.

An excerpt from Scocca’s piece, titled “The Politico Is Mad That The White House Does And Doesn’t Talk To The Politico”:

“The Politico, America’s worst media outlet, has a big story today about what’s wrong with the White House’s relationship with the political media, such as The Politico. According to Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, President Obama disdains, freezes out, and circumvents the representatives of the Fourth Estate, including reporters from The Politico, rather than opening himself up to their serious questions. ‘This is an arguably dangerous development,’ The Politico explains”

The final count for “The Politico”: 19 times in the piece.

Politico‘s Ben White didn’t miss it. “The Gawker is an amusing little gossip smut site,” he tweeted Wednesday. “But I can’t say I’ve ever read a single item with any real social value on The Gawker.”

Like Politico, Gawker is simply “Gawker.” No “The.” But unlike Politico, Gawker never was “The Gawker.” It’s always been “Gawker.”

Back in 2007, when Politico was founded, it actually was “The Politico.” The old Politico print issue layout seen top-right is still on the Wikipedia page about Politico.

This 2007 AP photo of Politico‘s original newsroom banner also demonstrates…

In a 2007 feature piece, American Journalism Review called it “The Politico.”

In April 2008, the University of California’s TV media outlet uploaded a video featuring Mike Allen of “The Politico.”

It was referred to as “The Politico” as recently as 2009 by Oliver Willis (now with Media Matters for America) in a negative piece for The Daily Banter.

So what happened to the “The”? Did it drop off over time, the same way that Oprah Winfrey is now casually known as Oprah? Was Politico‘s name altered in order to project a new, more wholesome image the way that Puff Daddy became P. Diddy and then Diddy and then Swag and then back to Diddy again?

Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris told FishbowlDC that the “The” was dropped from the publication’s name less than a year after its launch. “We thought no ‘The’ had a better ring to it,” he said. Not so much a life decision after all.

Harris said he had not read the Gawker piece and therefore wouldn’t comment on it.

Meanwhile, Scocca has not returned our request for comment as to whether he really thinks Politico is “America’s worst media outlet” or why his 19 references to “The Politico” was meant as a slight.