Politico.com’s chief political correspondent Mike Allen joined me yesterday. After the usual bio –and the usual refusal by an MSMer to give up much about their ideology– the affable Allen discussed his time covering Mator Giuliani as a reporter for the New York Times:
HH: Now after that, you went up to the New York Times, you crossed over to the dark side, and we have suspicions as a result of that. But you covered Giuliani, and my first question is what do you think the national audience will find most unusual about Rudy?
MA: His intensity. You remember, Hugh, that every time it seemed like a sewer main broke, or something like that, he would be off at the scene, on the local news, making sure that the local people, the local officials were paying attention. You know, our bosses at the Politico, Robert Allbritton and Fred Ryan, are always around the place. They’re always walking through, keeping up with what’s going on, showing they care about detail, and I think that makes a difference to the people who work for them. It was similar in the city government that Mayor Giuliani ran, and I think with police stats, most famously, he would quiz individual precinct commanders on particular stats in their area. And I think this could be like testing in some schools, that the stats overran, that they began doing things just for the sake of making their numbers. But there’s no question that they showed him that he was on top, that he was paying attention. Covering Mayor Giuliani also was very labor intensive. He did seven availabilities a week. Six days a week, he would do a press conference, and on the seventh day, he would do his call-in show on WABC. During the week, his avails were at City Hall. Otherwise, they were on the weekends, they were out in the boroughs, and it was a little bit like the Bush White House in that his government was very centralized. All the news came out of City Hall, whether it was housing, welfare, even police news sometimes, all the news came out of the Blue Room in City Hall, as opposed to the equivalent of the cabinet.