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How Axios’ Mike Allen gets access to Trump’s White House

“When they’re fighting a fight, when they’re in the war, then they need to explain themselves more than ever.”

Courtesy Axios

Even before President Trump took office, Axios co-founder Mike Allen has been trying to tell readers what he sees and hears coming out of Trump’s inner circle. And despite constant turmoil in those circles, and a wealth of hungry competitors also trying to peer in, he has been able to sustain access to the White House.

So, how does he do it? On the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Allen said Trump & co are not so different from any other embattled public figures.

“The way that reporters do that is convincing people that you understand what’s happening,” he said. “You’re going to give people a fair shake, that you’re going to describe what’s really happening. You’re not just going to be literally accurate, but also what you write is going to be more broadly true, that you can connect the dots.”

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Allen made a name for himself writing about D.C. for D.C. insiders at Politico before leaving in 2016 to start Axios with Jim VandeHei and Roy Schwartz. These days, he writes a daily newsletter called Axios AM: Mike’s Top 10 that is intended for a much broader audience — busy people who want to be smarter.

“People are starving, hungry, desperate for illumination about the Trump White House, about what’s going on, and we’re able to do that,” he said. “It got us off on an incredible start, we’ve taken off like a rocket ship. And a big part of it is, we can help people understand this crazy world.”

He said his track record of relaying the goings-on of power players is the key to why sources continue to talk to him.

“When they’re fighting a fight, when they’re in the war, then they need to explain themselves more than ever,” Allen said of the Trump camp. “Often, when someone is fighting, they’re even more eager to explain something to you so you understand it.”

“By and large, people think they believe in what they’re doing,” he added. “If you believe in what you’re doing at all, whether you’re on the defense or you’re on the offense, if you believe in what you’re doing, you want me to understand it, and you want me to explain it and convey it.”

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If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Peter. Tune in next Thursday for another episode of Recode Media!

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