Mike Allen Takes Cheap Shot At Globe Reporter For Good Reporting

10/07/2011 10:46 am ET | Updated Dec 07, 2011

The Boston Globe leads with a story today from Donovan Slack, which details how well some of the aides to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign are making out in the old "I'll-scratch-your-back, you'll-hit-up-your-private-equity-pals-to-fund-my-startup-ventures" game:

As national finance director for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2008, Spencer Zwick frequently called big-money supporters looking for contributions.

After Romney dropped out of the race, Zwick did not stop calling.

Diving for the first time into the other sphere of the Romney universe -- private-equity investing -- the trusted aide began asking Romney’s backers to invest at least $10 million each in a financial partnership Zwick launched with Romney’s oldest son, Taggart.

Using their close ties to Romney and a hefty political Rolodex, the partners raised more than $200 million for the startup business, Solamere Capital, despite brutal market conditions and their limited experience in the world of high finance. In their prospectus, they said they expected to reinvest the money in an array of equity funds, each of them also managed by Romney political supporters.

This is one of those great "circle of life" stories that we need more of in the world of political reporting, so, naturally, Politico's Mike Allen hates it. In his Playbook this morning, Allen lays down a bush-league bunt in an effort to discredit the Globe's reporting:

MEMO TO YOUNG REPORTERS: If Common Cause is your lead quote, you don't have much of a story. It's a crutch when you have a good topic, but not the goods.

The quote to which Allen refers is from Common Cause's Bob Edgar, who does nothing more than say something that's utterly straightforward and indisputable: "This setup screams what’s wrong with our broken system ... This is a business deal, and Romney is the investment. If he’s elected, they will have access and influence at the White House. If he’s not the next president, they’ll still make a bundle on the deal. Either way, they will be rewarded.’’

It needs to be mentioned: if there was more reporting like Slack's, on the "broken system," there would actually be less of a need for good-government watchdog groups, like Common Cause.

But leaving aside the fact that Allen has probably never managed anything more than bourgeois disdain for anyone who strives to serve the public interest, the cheapest part of this shot is the whole "MEMO TO YOUNG REPORTERS" slug. Donovan Slack has been with the Boston Globe since January of 2003, fresh from Medill. She started on the paper's City Hall beat, and was made the City Hall Bureau Chief a little over three years later. At the end of 2009, she did a ten-month stint as an investigative reporter for the Globe, before they sent her to cover the White House in September of 2010. This is not a young reporter, by any stretch of the imagination. And in the world of women-in-newspapers, the dues she's likely paid qualify her for grizzled vet status.

But, sure, maybe with enough "seasoning" she could "mature" into a Mike Allen, and just write stories that are lazily peppered with lead quotes that he's vacantly regurgitated from a fleet of anonymous connections.

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