Bardella Blunder: Issa Launches Inquiry Into Press Sec’s Actions

Kurt Bardella, spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) who’s recently made enemies in the Washington press corps, may have found himself again in hot water.  According to Politico, the press secretary’s boss has launched an inquiry into Bardella’s actions to find out if he’s been wrongfully sharing emails from other reporters with Mark Leibovich.  Sources claim the activity may be fueling the The New York Times writer’s new book.

This latest chapter in the Bardella saga may come as no surprise to many D.C. journos.  Earlier this year, Bardella infamously ran his mouth to Ryan Lizza, calling some reporters “lazy as hell” in a New Yorker profile of Issa:

“Some people in the press, I think, are just lazy as hell. There are times when I pitch a story and they do it word for word. That’s just embarrassing. They’re adjusting to a time that demands less quality and more quantity. And it works to my advantage most of the time, because I think most reporters have liked me packaging things for them. Most people will opt for what’s easier, so they can move on to the next thing. Reporters are measured by how often their stuff gets on Drudge. It’s a bad way to be, but it’s reality.”

Bardella was also at the center of  a recent  controversy involving CNN and the Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz.  During a telephone interview, Kurtz mistook Bardella for Rep. Issa.  When Gawker brought the mistake to light, criticizing Kurtz for his slow correction time (six weeks), Bardella told FishbowlDC, “clearly this was a misunderstanding that at the end of the day, I believe was a honest mistake.”  Bardella went on to say,  “It happened months ago so I think we should all just move on.”  Kurtz claimed that Bardella didn’t indicate that he was not the congressman during their phone call.

For more on Bardella’s latest blunder, check out Politico’s piece here.

UPDATE (9:50 pm): We asked Politico‘s John Harris for more detail about his involvement in Issa’s inquiry and how his publication first learned of Bardella’s alleged practice of sharing reporters’ work with Leibovich.  Here’s what he had to say:

“Politico reporters on Capitol Hill heard about the possibility that e-mails were somehow shared.  We did not know before we began reporting whether this was true. Our reporting has shed some light on the matter but still leaves questions.  I do not know if Politico e-mails were shared. Some of what we learned in the course of reporting raised the possibility that they might have been. If so, this would be intolerable to me, as I assume it would be to any editor whose reporters routinely interact with public officials and the people who represent them.”

“It was on this basis that I wrote Chairman Issa asking him for answers about whether reporters’ work was surreptitiously shared. He told me that he agreed with me that this practice, if it occurred, was improper and said he would try to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Publish date: February 28, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT