“Maggie Haberman lives rent-free in Donald Trump’s head, all over the front page of The New York Times.”

From a New York Times story by Media Equation writer Ben Smith headlined “The Trump Presidency Is Ending. So Is Maggie Haberman’s Wild Ride”:

Maggie Haberman lives rent-free in Donald Trump’s head, all over the front page of The New York Times and also in a brick house in an unglamorous Brooklyn neighborhood out beyond the Citi Bikes and stately brownstones. On election night, as the votes started coming in, she was seated at her dining room table with her husband and one of her three children, drinking from a liter bottle of Foodtown raspberry seltzer, eating leftover Kit Kats from Halloween, typing and texting, and, still, still, working her sources.

“We’ll see what the late exits look like, but that’s not great?” Ms. Haberman began on one call around 6:20 p.m., typing on her laptop as she talked on the big black iPhone held up to her ear. She told another caller, “I have a funny feeling the president’s going to do better than people think.”

That was the beginning of the end of one of the most astonishing runs in the history of American journalism. Ms. Haberman has been, for the last four years, the source of a remarkably large share of what we know about Donald Trump. . . .She’s done more than a story a day, on average, and stories with her byline have accounted for hundreds of millions of page views this year alone. That’s more than anyone else at The Times. . . .

Ms. Haberman was particularly well-suited for this journalistic moment because of her sheer relentlessness and hunger, and her lack of smug self-satisfaction. She seems to need to prove herself every day. She texts while she drives, talks while she eats, parents while she reports, tweets and regrets it. . . .

For the last four years, she has been the human incarnation of a nation riveted, like it or not, by Mr. Trump, a reporter driven by a kind of curiosity that feels more like compulsion to find out what is going on — and has dragged us all along for the harrowing ride.

“She has been the dominant reporter on the Trump White House beat for four years, and it’s not really close,” said Jonathan Swan of Axios, one of her fiercest competitors for breaking news. He described her as “the bane of my existence for the past four years,” adding, “I get high anxiety most days wondering what she will break that I should have had.”

I know the feeling. I learned to report from Maggie — and to fear her — in City Hall in New York, where she was a reporter for The New York Post, and where she first covered Donald Trump. When I arrived in 2001, Ms. Haberman cut a striking figure there: She wore a leather jacket and smoked cigarettes on the building’s iconic front steps, chatting with the cops.

But she did her real work in Room 4a, in the basement, where the junior reporters for the tabloids and assorted other misfits like me were relegated, downstairs from the legendary main press room, Room 9. Room 4a was a cluttered office with mismatched desks and, once, a squirrel. I sat facing her and every morning watched her routine, which was terrifying.

First, she picked up the competing newspaper, The Daily News, and leafed through for stories she wished she’d broken, deducing who had been the source of each one. Then, she called the sources — she already knew them well, of course — and chatted in a friendly way, before telling them she felt genuinely betrayed that they hadn’t gone to her, that she was worried she’d be in trouble with her boss for getting beaten and, honestly, that she was incredibly angry at them.

These weren’t the blithe transactions of a slick journalist. This was how you report when you take your sources and your work dead seriously, and make no real distinction between your reporting and the rest of your life. I learned from her never to treat it as a game. . . .

She arrived at The Times in February 2015, the sort of midsenior hire who can easily get lost at a big institution, with the nominal mandate of writing a newsletter. She had a scoopy aggression that made her feel a little “scruffy” at the broadsheet. . . .

When Mr. Trump stunned the country by winning, The Times’s Washington bureau chief, Elisabeth Bumiller, invited Ms. Haberman and another reporter on the Trump beat, Ashley Parker, to brief the Washington bureau on what was to come. In a meeting that has become Times lore, they told a room full of seasoned journalists what to expect. “Always assume you’re being recorded, assume anything you put in an email is going to be tweeted about by him or read aloud, that his aides lie to each other,” she recalled saying.

Ms. Bumiller and much of her team were skeptical. “I remember thinking that the president-elect she was describing — impulsive, unaware of the workings of government, with no real ideology — was exaggerated, and that the office would change him,” Ms. Bumiller said. “I was completely wrong and Maggie was completely right.”

Ms. Parker, now a White House reporter for The Washington Post, recalled that “Maggie and I were like aliens from another planet describing this Martian king to the people of The New York Times in a way they could not fathom.”. . .

As Ms. Haberman produced scoop after scoop, she became the center of intense attention. Much of that has played out on Twitter — which she sees as an “appalling website” that she can’t quit. She feels she’s never quite found her footing there, she said, and “regrets” tweets that she fears cast a shadow on her reporting.

Women in journalism, and high-profile women at The Times, in particular, receive unending abuse on the platform. The worst of it has come courtesy of Mr. Trump. “I don’t think that people fully understand what it’s like when the president of the United States is personally attacking you,” she said. . . .

Ms. Haberman is not going to move to Washington to join the new White House team, she said, but instead anticipates covering some blend of the new administration and the enduring Trump orbit from New York. She hopes that she’ll break more news, and worries that she’ll lose her touch. “I’m dispensable,” she said, an assertion that Times editors would take issue with.

After the election was called late Saturday morning, she drove her children to IT’SUGAR and bought some pockys and the game BeanBoozled, then drove without stopping through Grand Army Plaza so they could look out the window at the celebrations of the Biden victory. Then, she drove home, where she taped a valedictory “Daily” podcast episode and filed yet another article.

“Nothing about any of this is normal, including, like, how much attention is on me,” she told me. “I will not miss that.”

Ben Smith is the media columnist. He joined The Times in 2020 after eight years as founding editor in chief of BuzzFeed News. Before that, he covered politics for Politico, The New York Daily News, The New York Observer and The New York Sun.

The AP reports that Maggie Haberman has a deal for a Trump book: Penguin Press announced Thursday that the Pulitzer Prize winner’s book, currently untitled, would come out in 2022. “Maggie Haberman’s book will be an instant classic, a definitive and fascinating account of Donald Trump, his life and his presidency,” Penguin vice president and publisher Scott Moyers said . “An award winning journalist deeply sourced in Trump World, Maggie has had a front row seat to the last four years and knows as well as anyone the impact it has had on our politics and the country.”

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