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Family Research Council Butchers Cuccinelli’s Wife’s Name

images-3The Family Research Council truly destroyed the name of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli today in a press release concerning an appearance with the Duggar family and the Virginia Values bus in Woodbridge.

Does that sound like a good f–king time or what?

Subject: FW: UPDATE: Telro Cuccinelli to join Duggar Family, Virginia Values Bus in Woodbridge

The error continued in the headline. Read more

Aide’s Terrible Slip of the Twitter Tongue

15740027Top White House aide Dan Pfeiffer may soon think twice about shooting the breeze on serious topics on Twitter, especially when the n-word can quickly become the b-word. When the Assistant and Senior Advisor to President Obama shot out a tweet with “bigger” in it this morning, the word came back with an “n” in place of the “b.”

The Twittersphere went nuts.

And word is getting out fast. Outlets like Politico, TWT and The Daily Caller are already publishing posts on it.

The offending tweet at 9:50 a.m. was to NYT‘s Jonathan Martin: “@jmartNYT also a much nigger factor on the right.”

Just four minutes later Pfeiffer wrote, “Obviously a horrendous typo in my previous tweet. My apologies.”

But in cases like these, the damage was done. Read more

Are Politico Playbook’s Birthdays Being Outsourced?

Hey, we know it’s August. Our minds, bodies are on autopilot. But what the hell–are the birthdays in Politico Playbook being compiled in Mumbai?

Last week, Politico’s Mike Allen had an “oopsy” when he wished  Norman Schwarzkopf, who is deceased, a happy birthday. Today, Allen had another “oopsy.” Amazingly, this was also in the birthdays section.

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Morning Oopsy: The Mike Allen Edition

Isn’t Playbook great? It’s the gift that keeps on giving. The daily newsletter from Politico’s Mike Allen consistently drops news nuggets on his readers, but he’s been known to have a gaffe or 2. In today’s “Birthdays,” Allen wishes a happy 79th birthday to General “Stormin’” Norman Schwarzkopf, who, according to him, ” is 79.”

Actually, Schwarzkopf is no longer with us. He died in December of 2012, so he is NOT 79 years young. So, save yourself the postage and recycle that birthday card you were planning on sending.

 

Does Media Matter’s Fever Pitch on Megyn Kelly Play Into Fox’s Hands?

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, according to Media Matters For America’s John Whitehouse. That might just be what Fox News Channel execs were hoping to hear.

“But the new face of Fox News primetime, Megyn Kelly, is a much more pernicious purveyor of political propaganda. Kelly has the unique ability to pluck misinformation and imbue it with a veneer of legitimacy that Sean Hannity has long since lost, if he ever had it at all.”

To be clear, we’re still just talking about rumors floated by The Drudge Report that Kelly might take over Sean Hannity‘s 9 p.m. slot on the network. No one has confirmed this, but as Whitehouse notes, key players haven’t denied it. Speculation about Kelly’s future on the network has been brewing for some time.

It’s an old PR trick to leak big news like this to gauge public reaction ahead of an official decision, so this kind of foaming at the mouth might actually be exactly what Fox was looking for. (So way to go Whitehouse! Aren’t you supposed to be pissing these people off?) The network thrives not just on a riled up base, but also on a riled up opposition who, through wall-to-wall coverage of every move they make gives them a measure of legitimacy (much the same way MSNBC benefits from similar watchdogs on the right).

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Farewell Letter Contains Typo in First Graph

As blog writers we’re sympathetic to typos. We’ve made them. We regret it. We know most journalists are pained to see their glaring errors. Sigh – if only we were all specimens of perfection.

But a typo in the opening graph of your farewell letter post firing?

This is the first graph of ex-DCist Editor-in-Chief Ben Freed this week. Freed was fired this week – not for writing a freelance piece as some reports and tweets might suggest – but for purposefully defying his boss.

 

 

 

Presidential Broccoli Humor Falls Flat

Contrary to popular belief, not all politicians are laugh-out-loud funny all of the time. Some are never funny. Sure, reporters tend to laugh at lawmakers’ jokes even when they’re painfully unfunny – it’s ass kissing and it’s Washington and it happens. But even late-night host Jay Leno couldn’t save President Obama from his tired broccoli humor.

Last night Washington’s White House reporters stayed up late and suffered through Jay Leno‘s softball interview with Obama. At one point, obviously trying to be funny about first lady Michelle Obama‘s love of vegetables and the President’s claim to love broccoli, Jay threw in the favorite vegetable topic amid questions about the economy, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Russian President Vladmir Putin, lunch with former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, and NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Though Jay brought up a number of relevant topics that the White House Press Corps. normally would, he didn’t push or press him on anything. Obama could easily come to the show with soundbites and talking points and do just fine.

You could almost hear the collective groan of White House reporters and other journalists who watched in awe (and by awe we mean disdain and ridicule). They used Twitter to emote.

“Already bored,” groused Sirius XM P.O.T.U.S. Channel “Press Pool” host  Julie Mason early on in the interview. American Urban Radio’s April Ryan jumped in, saying,  “Those who cover President daily are watching Leno to get the news of what the President has to say.” Mason, who formerly covered the White House, sniped, “Since we have no access.” She continued slamming the interview: “Making you laugh is more fun than actually tweeting this boring masturbatory interview.” And Ryan: This stuff is hilarious folks are saying. Girl! If they only knew how our lives are centered around Presidential activities”

Actually the toughest question might have been about the President’s love of broccoli. Read more

WaPo’s Wemple Wimps Out

Dear Readers,

At 1:46 p.m. Monday, WaPo‘s opinionated media writer Erik Wemple wrote to ask about the whole Friday flap with Wonkette Publisher Rebecca Schoenkopf. In case you missed the fiasco, on Friday she fabricated a story that I was going to be fired. Why? Because she – her words – wanted it to be true. Wemple wrote me by email, “Schoenkopf says you called her a liar over the Politico party thing without even checking first with Politico itself. Then, she says, you took their version of events at face value and smeared her. Any response?” A second later he wrote back: “And to tack on one other: Does FBDC have higher standards than Wonkette and if so, in what way?”

Before we examine Wemple’s questions, let’s give you proper context since he couldn’t be bothered. Schoenkopf is Wonkette‘s editor who admittedly hates my guts for this, this and this. All the stories were based on actual reporting and sources. One includes research and numbers regarding Wonkette‘s web traffic after we noticed Schoenkopf was on the record stating wildly different numbers to different reporters (a story we’d cover no matter who it was about). Another discusses a party at the GOP Convention in Tampa at which Schoenkopf, according to witnesses, got sauced at a Politico soirée and claimed to be tossed out of the party. The funniest part was her nonsensical writing. She herself admitted to FBDC that she was 7 out of 10 on the drunken scale. Based on witnesses, we’d put her at 11.

Wemple called the details of the original story and source of her hatred for FishbowlDC “irrelevant.” Yes, Erik, why let facts and reporting get in the way of your story? But don’t worry. You’re in the same boat as Schoenkopf in that she doesn’t have time for facts either. In fact, she’s allergic to them–I think they may give her hives. She thinks I’m “vile” and  a “c–t” – and, wow, she sounds just like Anthony Weiner‘s Communications Director Barbara Morgan.

So according to Wemple’s statements in his email to me, Schoenkopf says I called her a liar over the Politico party incident without checking with Politico first. Simultaneously, I fell for Politico‘s statements because we never write anything negative about Politico or question them about anything. So somewhere in the craziness of Schoenkopf’s mind I both did NOT check in with Politico and I ALSO believed them because I – what? – talked to them? Come on, Wemple, even you can see that that’s a whole pack of stupid in one sitting.

But no.

Wemple offered a woman who INVENTED an entire story simply because she wanted it to be true the opportunity to insult me and my colleagues for most of his post.  Normally a reporter at a news outlet would be fired for intentionally publishing a false story for malicious reasons. But instead of questioning Schoenkopf hard on her brand of fairytale journalism, Wemple went easy on her and reduced the incident to little more than a cat fight between two websites run by women.

As Wemple so brilliantly put it… Read more

Attack of the Poorly Sourced Piranhas

As a twist on the old saying goes, reports of my firing have been greatly exaggerated.

Or else they were just flat out wrong. But why let facts get in the way of a good story?

On Friday I took a day off. Vacation and comp days aren’t exactly a strange phenomenon. But Rebecca Schoenkopf, publisher of Wonkette who has been known for reporting and writing while on the sauce, and for making no sense whatsoever, on Friday published a story saying that “a source” had told her I was going to be fired. “Betsy out at Fishbowl as of this afternoon,” she posted on her site. Rebecca didn’t spell this out, but her “source” was a guy makes it his business to pass around a bogus naked Craiglist ad of one of my writers.

This is the kind of “sourcing” Schoenkopf (pictured at right) used to write her “story” Friday afternoon. Schoenkopf never called or wrote me to ask if it was true. She never even called my employer until her story was out and clunking across Twitter like an elephant with severely bruised shins. There’s nothing worse in journalism than being sloppy and wrong.

Regular reporters took awhile to give the “news” any merit. Meanwhile, some on Twitter called Rebecca “powerful” in that she could make something happen that well, wasn’t happening. And oh boy, there was Mediaite‘s “White House” Correspondent Tommy “Carl Berstein Jr.” Christopher hot on the case. He called. I never answer his calls. He wrote, “Betsy, I just got a tip that said you’re leaving FBDC as of this afternoon. Is that true?” I asked to go off record. He said OK. I wrote him back, “No, Tommy. Not true. I know it’s unheard of, but I’m just taking a simple day off. I do get vacation and sick days. Do you?” Like an eager porpoise, he promised to write me back and fill me in if he heard anything more. Gee, thanks Tommy! How kind of you to inform me on my own life via a man who creates phony X-rated Craigslist ads. What no preachy trial race reporting today? Oh, that’s right. His editors scolded him a few weeks back on his George Zimmerman “coverage” and told him to tone it down. Bernstein Jr. really muckraked on this one. He phoned and emailed my coworkers, who, of course, had nothing for him. Good work Tommy!

Next up to the plate: Washington City Paper‘s Will Sommer. Sommer wrote, “Hey Betsy, So, people are saying you’ve been ousted at Fishbowl. Any truth to that? I’m getting it from the same guy who sends around photoshopped nude pics of one of your writers, so I’m not sure how seriously to take it. Thanks.” I also requested to go off record with him. He agreed. I told him I was taking the day off. Sommer did not write a story.

The last of The Three Stooges… Read more

BuzzFeed’s Malinowski Defends Himself Against NYT Magazine

Talk about not getting it.

Yesterday we highlighted a NYT Mag piece calling out several prominent journalists for helping spread false information via social media in the days following the Boston bombing, information that incorrectly labeled an innocent, missing kid as a terrorist.

One of those named was BuzzFeed sports reporter Erik Malinowski.

Later on Monday, Malinowski posted a defense of himself on Tumblr in which he manages to not only not take a single ounce of responsibility, but to cast himself as the victim. He says he’s been dragged “unfairly and falsely” into the story because NYT made a “major error”—they got the time of his first tweet off by a couple hours. This is apparently more of a bad thing than the “major error” he committed when he spread the false information in the first place because even his Buzzfeed editor felt compelled to contact NYT to explain this to them. In Malinowski’s world, these couple of hours mean he had absolutely nothing to do with the entire debacle.

Let’s take a closer look at just what role Malinowski played, shall we?

Read more

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