Marissa Mayer Doesn’t Care for Kara Swisher

mayer vogue

That’s the big takeaway from this morning’s Mike Allen’s Politico “Playbook” newsletter, which includes some teasers from Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!, written by Nicholas Carlson of Business Insider and set to hit shelves tomorrow.

The juicy gossip: when Marissa Mayer officially moved from Google to Yahoo in July 2012, she and her team wanted to be absolutely certain that the exclusive went to Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times — and NOT Kara Swisher, then with the Wall Street Journal-owned All Things D. (Here’s the Sorkin story and the subsequent All Things D version.)

That’s not the only exclusive that Mayer refused to give Swisher, either. From Playbook:


“Kara Swisher [now co-executive editor of Re/code] … told [a Mayer adviser in July 2012, 90 minutes after Sorkin’s story posted, as agreed, when the market closed] that she knew Mayer was pregnant and that she was going to go with a story. [The adviser] told Swisher she would call her back with a comment. Mayer did not want Swisher to have the story. Mayer had a personal grudge against Swisher, going back several years. … Mayer wanted to give the pregnancy story to Patricia Sellers from Fortune.”

This isn’t really a new story: All Things D published a series of leaked internal emails during the scandal that led to the resignation of Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, and the company’s previous chief Carol Bartz greeted Swisher with a polite “f**k you” way back in 2009.

Our favorite parts of this media relations tale? First comes Swisher’s response to a 2012 Quora post asking who, exactly, chose to leak Yahoo’s internal docs:

“Everyone. And no one. Does that about cover it?”

Then, from her own speculative Q&A with Mayer, which went live the day after the CEO announcement:

“FYI, I permanently live in the air vent above your office, and I ain’t going anywhere, no matter who the CEO of Yahoo is, and no matter what bare-knuckled assistant — Hey, Judy! Hi, Roxie! — is deployed to try kill me.”

We’re starting to appreciate Mayer’s distrust, but Swisher was right: New York magazine’s summer profile labeled her “Silicon Valley’s most-feared and well-liked journalist,” and in the same piece she said “we’re going to have to start pissing people off more.”

It can be a valuable skill.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.