Politico Mag: Thievery or Coincidence?

Either former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) has got one hell of a PR team -especially for someone who lives on a mountain in the woods of West Virginia and doesn’t have a cell phone, or someone is being less than original in their reporting. How else do you explain Bartlett scoring two profiles in two major Washington publications in less than four months?

This profile of Bartlett by Washington Examiner‘s Tim Mak went up on September 20th. This one for Politico Magazine by Jason Koebler went up yesterday. They are essentially the same piece, though Mak ( who, BTW, used to work for Politico) spares some detail. In each case, the reporter goes out to Bartlett’s complex in West Virginia, notices the isolation and self-sufficiency of it all, looks at the swans in the lake, talks with the Congressman about electromagnetic pulses and working 10 – 12 hours a day, notes that the guy may seem crazy, but actually earned a degree in physiology and served as a Navy engineer. Koebler’s article explores the EMP issues a bit more and gives more consideration to the Congressman’s philosophies about living off the grid -but they are, essentially, the same story.

Koebler mentions in his piece that he visited the Congressman “this fall”, so it’s possible he could have done so before Mak’s piece went up and just sat on the story until now. OR Koebler could have gotten the idea to write the story after Mak’s piece came out, without ever reading it. OR maybe he did see Mak’s piece and just thought he could do a better job. We here at FishbowlDC don’t presume to know which scenario is the right one -Koebler hadn’t responded to our inquiries by press time.

In any event, it would seem Bartlett has pioneered a new tactic for getting Washington media to talk about your issues -move as far away from Washington as possible.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com.