Politico reporter Mike Allen Thursday took issue with a Huffington Post story that said former Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour left the super PAC American Crossroads. Barbour, Peter H. Stone’s story said, was “appalled” by the way a Crossroads initiative “was rolled out on the front page of The New York Times in early February by the group’s president, Steven Law.”
Allen links to the HuffPost story in his enjoyable morning “Playbook” email with the heading “PLAYBOOK LIFE LESSONS – WHY YOU SHOULDN’T GO AHEAD AND POST A STORY WITHOUT TALKING TO THE KEY PERSON, even if they’re traveling.”
Stone’s story “has no basis in fact,” Barbour tells Allen.
Nobody at HP even talked to me about it. From the beginning of my involvement with American Crossroads in 2011, I repeatedly, consistently and publicly said my participation with Crossroads was to try to help elect a Republican president in the 2012 election. That effort ended last November; so did my American Crossroads effort. I left with high regard and respect for American Crossroads and its entire team, many of whom have been friends as well as colleagues of mine for many years. I expect them to help elect a lot of Republicans over the years to come.
Reached by email, Huffington Post Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim, who edited Stone’s article alongside Sasha Belenky, said he was “100% confident” in Stone’s sourcing. He points to a Politico article from February that said a Crossroads fundraising effort carried an approving Barbour quote.
“These are people very close to the situation,” Grim writes of Stone’s sources. Crossroads wanted him to stay on. He’s not staying on, and was extremely bothered by the way the project was rolled out in the Times. None of that is in question.”
It’s not especially difficult to find Politico articles posted without comment from key people: California Attorney General Kamala Harris was traveling and couldn’t speak to Jonathan Allen for an article last week, for example, and a blog post last September pondered out loud whether The Atlantic was shuttering its print product without comment from the magazine.
Still, Allen’s principle is sound: You should always try to get comment from a subject. Grim said HuffPost gave Barbour “at least 3 hours, Crossroads a little more than an hour” to respond. Allen has not yet replied to an email requesting comment.
I used to work with Grim at Washington City Paper. I also used to work at Allbritton Communications, which owns Politico.
Correction: An earlier version of this post quoted Grim as saying HuffPost had given Barbour “a little more than an hour” to respond. Updated info above.