Politico’s Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen apologized after a Freedom of Information request turned up e-mails with then-Senior Communications Advisor for Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State, Philippe Reines, in which he said he’d give Chelsea Clinton veto over interview questions.
In his morning roundup, Politico Playbook, Allen said he never did the interview and wouldn’t have actually let Clinton have:
“MY BAD! You may have missed a Gawker post last week that rightly took me to task for something clumsy I wrote in an email to Philippe Reines in 2013, seeking an interview with Chelsea Clinton at a POLITICO brunch. In the email, I said I’d agree to the questions in advance. I have never done that, and would never do that. POLITICO has a policy against it, and it would make for a boring event. As you know from attending our events (or can tell by clicking on any of the videos on our website), they’re spontaneous, conversational and news-driven. Without stunts or grandstanding, we challenge guests to address newsworthy topics, and to be original, relevant and revelatory. A scripted back-and-forth would be a snore.
“We didn’t do the interview with Chelsea Clinton, and would never clear our questions. But the email makes me cringe, because I should never have suggested we would. We retain full, unambiguous editorial control over our events and questioning. My bond with readers and newsmakers is built on knowing I don’t pull punches. So I wanted to share my take on this, and make sure our policy is clear. Read the Gawker item here. http://bit.ly/1MYYX9D
Allen’s e-mail, revealed via a Gawker Freedom of Information request, reads in part (emphasis Gawker’s):
“No one besides me would ask her a question, and you and I would agree on them precisely in advance. This would be a relaxed conversation, and our innovative format (like a speedy Playbook Breakfast) always gets heavy social-media pickup. The interview would be “no-surprises”: I would work with you on topics, and would start with anything she wants to cover or make news on. Quicker than a network hit, and reaching an audience you care about with no risk.”
Allen repeated the request in a follow-up e-mail, noting “I would stick to topics we agree on.”
Before joining Politico, Allen was the White House correspondent for Time and a reporter for the Washington Post.
iMediaEthics asked Politico for comment but hasn’t heard back.
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