nonquote_NYTimesMag_Allen.txt - Before he goes to sleep,...

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Before he goes to sleep, between 11 and midnight, Dan Pfeiffer, the White Housecommunications director, typically checks in by e-mail with the same reporter:Mike Allen of Politico, who is also the first reporter Pfeiffer corresponds withafter he wakes up at 4:20. A hyperactive former Eagle Scout, Allen will havebeen up for hours, if he ever went to bed. Whether or not he did is one of themany little mysteries that surround him. The abiding certainty about Allen isthat sometime between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m., seven days a week, he hits send on amass e-mail newsletter that some of America's most influential people will readbefore they say a word to their spouses. Allen's e-mail tipsheet, Playbook, hasbecome the principal early-morning document for an elite set of political andnews-media thrivers and strivers. Playbook is an insider's hodgepodge of predawnnews, talking-point previews, scooplets, birthday greetings to people you'venever heard of, random sightings ("spotted") around town and inside jokes. Itis, in essence, Allen's morning distillation of the Nation's Business in theform of a summer-camp newsletter. Like many in Washington, Pfeiffer describesAllen with some variation on or important journalist in the capital. The two menexchange e-mail messages about six or eight times a day. Allen also communes alot with Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff; Robert Gibbs, the presssecretary; David Axelrod, President Obama's senior adviser; and about two dozenother White House officials. But Pfeiffer is likely Allen's main point ofcontact, the one who most often helps him arrive at a as Playbook calls it,which is essentially a pro-Obama take on that day's news. (Allen gets a similarfill from Republicans, which he also disseminates in Playbook.) Pfeiffer tellsAllen the message that the Obama administration is trying to drive that morning— drive being the action verb of choice around the male-dominated culture ofPolitico, a three-year-old publication, of which the oft-stated goal is tobecome as central to political addicts as ESPN is to sports junkies. Drive is astand-in for the stodgier verb influence. If, say, David S. Broder and R. W.Apple Jr. were said to through The Washington Post and The New York Times in thelast decades of the 20th century, Politico wants to in the new-media landscapeof the 21st. It wants to win every news cycle by being first with a morsel ofinformation, whether or not the morsel proves relevant, or even correct, in thelong run — and whether the long run proves to be measured in days, hours orminutes. In Politico parlance, influence is less a verb than the root of a noun.Politico's top editors describe influentials (or compulsives ) as their targetaudience: elected officials, political operatives, journalists and otherpolitical-media functionaries. Since early 2007, Allen's as he calls the itemsin Playbook, have become the cheat sheet of record for a time-starved city inwhich the power-and-information hierarchy has been upended. It is also a daily

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Term
Spring
Professor
N/A
Tags
The Land, White House, White House Press Secretary, Mike Allen, The Politico, Jim VandeHei, John F Harris

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