A Better Way to Report Politics

The Hotline was the go-to source for political news in Washington for nearly two decades.

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
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About that middle-aged boss: "Bailey has Dick Tracy's face and a wristwatch to match, and he is tickled to death by the whole process." The piece perfectly captured his infectious enthusiasm. In fact, a few months later, soon after he had open-heart surgery which required breaking all of his ribs, Bailey was right back in the office. He just couldn't stay away.

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Should There Be Such a Thing as 'Reporter's Privilege'?]

Doug Bailey was not happy that Williams had revealed that the inmates were running the asylum. But she did give him credit as the genius behind a great idea, and he deserved to be recognized for transforming the way political news was delivered. It wasn't about the money – I doubt he made a profit for a long time. (In fact, when we went to cover the political conventions that summer, there was only enough cash to pay for one hotel room with two beds, so we worked single-sex shifts and alternated use of the hotel room between the men and women.)

Over the years, many of Washington's top political reporters got their start working at The Hotline and until the advent of free news sites like Politico and Talking Points Memo, The Hotline continued to be a daily must-read for political types. It stayed on the cutting edge for nearly two decades.

Doug Bailey died last week at the age of 79. He'll be remembered as an old-school believer in bipartisanship, and a visionary who saw a better way to report political news. He lived life ahead of his time, and we'll miss him.

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