Incest Desk: Politico Contributor to Pub’s Defense

Politico‘s Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen had many journalists around town bristling last week after they slammed the NYT and WaPo for being biased against Mitt Romney and favoring President Obama in their coverage.

Over the weekend, Keith Koffler, who writes the typically unfiltered, gritty, wrote up his take on the Politico story that caused anxiety in the Washington Press Corps. His headline: “Politico Nails Mainstream Media for Liberal Bias.” In it, he has two full disclosure type announcements: 1. He personally knows these “brave” men VandeHei and Allen. He writes, “I can tell you, VandeHei and Allen – both of whom I know personally – have done a brave bit of work here and made themselves no new friends within the Washington journalism establishment.” 2. He’s a paid contributor to Politico. 3. On a good note, at least he includes the disclosures. But what’s he doing writing this type of story? He doesn’t critique them. In fact, he cozies up and takes their side, saying he hopes this will make the media be more sensitive to bias, but he doubts this will happen.

Journalists angered by Politico‘s story pointed out that the Roslyn-based pub heavily aggregated the WaPo story they knocked. As bad luck or fate would have it, on the day the story came out, the NYT had an editorial against Obama. And in a weekend column, Maureen Dowd brought Obama down a few rungs.

UPDATE: It appears Koffler is upset that we put him on the Incest Desk. He wrote me to say that I have “impugned” his character to the world. He also insists that Politico never asked him to write the favorable post, even though we never accused him of that in the first place. But so be it. Here’s what he has to say: “What a low blow. I tried to be very careful about disclosure. … The reason I wrote the piece is that I thought my readers would be interested to know that a major mainstream media publication would flag liberal, pro-Obama bias in other such publications. I thought it was a very rare and important thing. I did not think my association with Politico should be a reason to keep this story from my readers, which is why I was careful to note the association to them. Nobody at Politico – in fact, nobody at all – ever suggested or insinuated that I should write the piece I did. …I have not done anything unethical or even unusual.”