Roger L. Simon

Lobbying at the Willard

Again, sorry for the sparse blogging. Some day, Monsieur Godot, more words will appear at this site. For now, the work time for this writer has been overwhelmed with business concerns – Pajamas business obviously. I spent the last few days Sleepless in DC (hanging out with Rich Miniter does that to people) playing a supervisory role for our coverage of the DLA Piper pre-election breakfast at the Willard Hotel, some of which is already up over at PJ. (About the Willard: definitely a great atmospheric place to stay, especially on company money. The rubric “lobbyist” came from the Nineteenth Century schmoozers making deals behind the pillars in the hotel’s neo-Classical lobby. I made a few paltry attempts myself…. but enough about that. )

After the breakfast at which Dick Armey and Dick Gephardt were of good cheer but bemoaned the partisanship of it all, I took microphone in hand and tromped off with our video guru Andrew Marcus and our business guru Sandra Rozanski to interview some key journalists around the nation’s capital. Our purpose: a Pajamas Media series we are launching with mainstream media players discussing the way things are going between new media (blogs, etc.) and old media and whether we can work and play well with each other. Given the season, I also asked them about the coming election and got the usual round of predictions, none startling but, hey, the video cameras were rolling.

Who were the big time Fourth Estate-ists I spoke with this first round? Tony Blankley of the Washington Times, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post (yes, I asked him about his appearance on Keith Olbermann in quail hunter drag), Nina Easton (Fortune’s Washington correspondent, also Fox News), Michael Barone (We could say Pajamas Media advisory board, but that would be bragging. Everyone knows Barone has more roles than Richard Burton. Minutes after I interviewed him, he was off in his capacity as Senior Writer for US News to interview this Bush guy who is trolling for votes. You could tell he was headed for something special because Michael was resplendent in a bespoke pinstriped suit with Hermes tie and matching handkerchief. Michael’s an agreeable guy but I doubt he’d be wearing duds like that for a Pajamas Media interview … yet.) Finally, I spoke with Chuck Todd, editor-in-chief of The Hotline. For those who don’t know that’s the Variety of politics, where the political insiders get their dope. Pajamas Media, alas, may soon have to subscribe pero cuesta mucho, hombre – six “large” per annum. Note to Chuck: Variety costs nowhere near that much. In fact it’s free to us Academy members during Oscar season.

Not surprisingly, none of these MSMers had that much bad to say about blogs anymore (at least to me), although more than one eyebrow was raised about that old bugaboo – the lack of formal editing/fact checking in the blogosphere. But when I countered to one of those skeptics, Nina Easton, that I had received more editing on this blog than I ever did writing for mainstream publications (for simple reasons of manpower), to her credit, she took my point. Anyway, more to come, some with our redoubtable cigar-smoking Washington editor Mr. Miniter at the helm.