Throw in at least one unimaginative New York-centric analogy — this is New York, after all. From the Gore piece (emphasis ours): Among Gore’s “failures as a candidate,” Heilemann mused, was his “failure to present a consistent or coherent image of himself, instead offering an incessant series of self-reinventions that made him seem about as authentic as a Prada bag on Canal Street.” And, from Heilemann’s Bloomberg story (emphasis ours): “[Bloomberg’s Deputy Mayor Kevin] Sheekey ignited speculation that would soon be blazing like a Bronx tenement circa 1977. By the summer, rarely a week would go by without another story about Bloomberg 2008 — most of them the handiwork of Sheekey …” (unlike this story).


5) Elevate your subject’s profile by setting him up as the opposite of some other, perhaps better-positioned potential candidate. Back in May, Heilemann dubbed Gore the “Un-Hillary.” This week he describes Bloomberg in passing as “un-Giuliani-like” (the “Un-Giuliani?”) for the way Bloomberg handled the recent post-bachelor-party shooting in Queens.


So what does a reporter get out of writing such pieces? A chance, perhaps, to fantasize? Heilemann writes that Bloomberg’s decision (to run or not to run) “may yield a result that makes 2008 even more interesting than it’s already guaranteed to be” for me, the New York-based reporter with a Rolodex full of close Bloomberg contacts (and good will).

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.