A freshly published installment of the “KGB File,” Politico’s recent effort to revive Washington gossip, contains short, snappy pieces on Hillary Clinton’s fashion choices, Ben Carson’s fashion choices, some “House of Cards” insiderism, among other updates. According to informed sources, it marks the last set of dispatches from columnist Kate Glassman Bennett, who is leaving the Rosslyn-based news outlet.
As reported previously in this space, “KGB File” went into unexplained hiding for several weeks in August and September, though it has resumed in recent weeks. Politico at that time didn’t return an inquiry about the outage.
Again: Politico Editor Susan Glasser didn’t respond to a question about Bennett’s departure.
Politico has had difficulties over the years making gossip stick. Its “Click” section, which sought to pry glamour out of Washington coverage, folded its doors at the end of 2013. Glasser, who took Politico’s editorial reins a year ago, announced an ambitious reboot in February, writing:
It’s been a while, but Washington is about to get a great gossip column. Kate Glassman Bennett, a fourth-generation Washingtonian who cut her teeth on gossip in the competitive world of Las Vegas before returning home to DC, will soon launch The KGB File for us at POLITICO. Kate promises a column very much in the spirit of the legendary late Diana McClellan, whose Ear in the Washington Star was the original must read in a company town where the backstage happenings of its congresspeople and Cabinet officers, columnists and chefs have always helped chart the ebbs and flow of power. Kate is a former gossip columnist for the Las Vegas Sun and editor in chief of Vegas Magazine (not to mention classics graduate of St. John’s College); most recently here in DC she has edited Capitol File magazine, Washingtonian Bride & Groom and Washingtonian Mom. For Politico, she promises a great read multiple times a week: “fun, coy, insightful, a tad biting — and smart.”
The circumstances around Bennett’s exit from Politico are unclear, though the news site has sustained a great deal of turnover in recent years. Among the questions we posed to Glasser was whether Politico will continue the gossip beat after Bennett’s departure. Doing so would surely require a redesign of the gossip page, given its “KGB File” branding. Good gossip columnists are already hard enough to find without limiting the applicant pool to people who share Bennett’s initials.