Mike Barnicle, the Boston newspaper columnist-turned-MSNBC analyst, held aloft his cellphone when asked over breakfast to explain the success of Politico, the 24/7 politics site and newspaper that was greeted with skepticism upon its 2007 launch.
“They’re first on this,” Barnicle said, phone hovering over omelet. “They got here first and are still dominant. And this is a habit harder to break than crack cocaine.”
The habit is a function of a feverish quest to break news, offer analysis and profile the multiplicity of actors in the political realm, be they saints, sinners or somewhere in between. And there’s not much better time to inspect the operation of what’s become a must-scan politics site than during the massively chronicled American rite of a political convention (yes, with 15,000 credentialed media).