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Jay Carney Joins ‘The Colbert Report’ Before Stepping Down as WH Press Secretary

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 11.59.18Today marks Jay Carney‘s final day as White House Press Secretary, and to commemorate the occasion, Carney was a guest on last night’s “The Colbert Report.”

Stephen Colbert began the interview imitating a member of the White House Press Corps asking a question of the Press Secretary following a White House press briefing.

Carney referred to himself as a “glutton for punishment” and the Press Secretary role as “such a high burn-out job” after recalling an email he received noting he was the longest serving Press Secretary since the mid-90s.

Colbert asked Carney when he and ABC’s Jonathan Karl were “just gonna get a room,” which was met with laughs. And before closing out, noted that the next Press Secretary, Josh Earnest‘s name, “literally means ‘just kidding, but seriously’.”

Click through to the Colbert Report and see Carney’s sit down with the comedian.


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Verizon Flack Apologizes for Maligning CPI’s Allan Holmes

Verizon Executive Director of Media Relations Ed McFadden -who, according to his Twitter picture, is a terrifying stone monkey god -apologized today for his “rude” and “unbecoming” attack on Center for Public Integrity journo Allan Holmes.

Here’s McFadden’s ad hominem tweet from earlier today, which has since been deleted:

Oooo, burn!

The story Holmes wrote had to do with “the massive influence web being deployed by AT&T and Verizon as they fight proposals advocated by their smaller competitors and the Justice Department to limit how much… new wireless frequencies they’ll be allowed to bid on.”

We suppose McFadden was just doing his job and got a little overzealous. Still, Holmes’ article didn’t seem lazy or unethical to us. Damaging to Verizon’s public image perhaps, but not lazy or unethical…

Senate Press Secretary Association Names 2014 Board

Picture 7The Senate Press Secretary Association has recently elected their 2014 Board of Directors, naming Liz Johnson, press secretary for Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), as its president. The 40+ years old organization hosts regular meetings with notable guest speakers, media and career networking events, social gatherings, and a January trip to New York City.

Johnson joins seven additional members to serve a one-year term. They include:

Amanda Critchfield, communications director, Senate Banking Committee
Tara DiJulio, communications director, Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN)
Taylor Foy, press secretary, Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Matt Harakal, press secretary, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Micah Johnson, press secretary, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
Christopher Moyer, press secretary, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)
Meghan Roh, press secretary, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

Congratulations to the new members of the SPSA! We hope, you our readers, look forward to working with them.

Afternoon Reading List 11.19.13


Journos VS Flacks: Newscastic co-founder and contributor Chris Ortiz posted a blog yesterday about the six ways in which PR flacks piss off journalists. The list comes complete with some wacky, fun, and zany GIFs, but more importantly, it includes six very true, very irritating flack-related pet peeves.

Why you should read it: It’s all true, and that makes the piece funny. The GIFs however, are priceless and were perfectly placed at the proper points of the list, highlighting each of the pet peeves. Read more here.

Shep Smith mocks fat Canadian crackhead mayor: Yesterday, HuffPost’s Jack Mirkinson added a clip of Fox News’ Shep Smith and his instant replay videos of Toronto Mayor/ginormous crack enthusiast, Rob Ford. In the clip, Ford thundered across the floor of a busy city council meeting and barreled into an old lady. A reporter’s voice in the background details Ford’s movements, but Smith shamelessly mocks the egg-shaped druggy as he power-waddles into a bystander and then topples her to the floor.

Why you should read/watch it: The clip of Ford truffle-shuffling all the way across the room has been blasted all over the cable news stations, but Smith’s captions make his coverage the one most worth watching. Read/watch more here.

What does the media keep getting wrong in its Obamacare coverage?

Read more

Dumbass Pitches

Today’s “Dumbass Pitch” comes from Nadine Lajoie, author of Win the Race of Life, and her publicist Debbie Jonas at Here’s how it goes. As you may have heard, a plane crashed this weekend and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg—who was not on the flight but also has a book to promote—managed to shrewdly turn this crash into a story about herself with a Facebook post about how she was almost, but not, on that plane.

Not to be outdone by such ninja-like PR skills, Lajoie and Jonas tell us Lajoie is also available to talk about the crash, or more specifically, about the benefits of being grateful. Sandberg was grateful she wasn’t on the plane that crashed. Get it?

But forget about Sandberg. Some fun facts about Lajoie that we couldn’t care less about and neither should you: She’s American’s “High Speed Success Coach,” she sings like an angel (?), and she co-authored a book called Fight for your Dreams.

They provide a list of questions Lajoie can answer, but we think we can take a stab at them on our own…

Read more

Jay Carney Appreciates Your Questions, But He Probably Won’t Answer Them

For those of you out there that deal directly with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in his daily briefings, this probably comes as no surprise, but he’s deflected your questions almost 10,000 times over the last two years.

The man’s got skills.

Yahoo NewsRachel Rose Hartman and Chris Wilson analyzed more than 400 of Carney’s briefings and identified 13 distinct ways he answers questions without actually answering them, almost all of them variations of feigned ignorance.

Our favorites, though, are when he turns the question back against the reporter who dared ask it, with lines like “as you know,” (translation: you already know the answer, stupid reporter) and “I said yesterday,” (Translation: I told you that already, duh).

The story comes complete with an interactive feature where you can see all of Carney’s non-answers, organized by category. It’s embedded below.

Read more

10 Reporters We’d Drink With

Maybe we see conspiracy a little too easily after months of talking Benghazi, the IRS and Weiner’s mayoral race. Maybe FamousDC’s recent Ten DC Reporters You Should Know list is just an honest, fun-loving story that has nothing to do with the fact that FamousDC is the brainchild of Story Partner’s Amos Snead. Story Partners is a PR firm “with a history of influencing outcomes” and, as we understand these things, PR firms sometimes use flattery when dealing with reporters they need to… influence. We’re sure that the promised follow-up 10 Hill Staffers You Should Know is just a straight-forward list as well.

And we were ready to move on.

But then our questions to FamousDC about selection criteria and how the list was put together—or narrowed down from suggestions made by FamousDC’s contacts, as the story says—have been so far met by silence.

One thing we expected to find, and really didn’t, though, were self-congratulatory tweets from the journos who made FamousDC’s list. More often, it was journalists who knew someone on the list retweeting, because the association means that they are also awesome. Bloomberg‘s Claire Compton wins best response:

Ten reporters you should know: @famousdc . Better list: Ten reporters you should drink with.

— Claire Compton (@KClaireCompton) May 30, 2013

Agreed. So here it is, FishbowlDC’s 10 Reporters You Should Drink With.

Read more

Cubes: Take a Musical Tour of Morris+King Public Relations

We’ve always suspected most PR folks are just frustrated Broadway stars, able to trot out the old song and dance in a pinch. But we’ve never had conclusive proof until now.

In the latest episode of Cubes, we show you the New York offices of Morris + King public relations. Lead partner and co-principal Judith R. King takes the mediabistroTV crew on a musical journey featuring chairs from the Stella Solaris cruise ship and 1970s French jumbo jets, specially chosen chandeliers and offices painted any color you like as long as its blue.

You can view our other MediabistroTV productions on our YouTube Channel.

Psych! Reporter Not Available For Interviews

Fortune issued a press release today pushing a lengthy investigative piece on the “Fast and Furious” scandal by contributor Katherine Eban. The release says the reporter “is available for interviews.” But it turns out, she’s actually not.

In her report, Eban uncovered new details on Fast and Furious:

  • Many on the right believe F&F, a botched government sting operation intended to crack down on arms trafficking by tracking gun sales on the Mexican-American border, is a ploy by the Obama administration to actually increase gun regulations. The report says government “gun seizures… in Phoenix dropped by more than 90%.”
  • The operation gained traction in the media after an ATF agent told CBS News his boss had “intentionally allowed American firearms to be trafficked to Mexican drug cartels.” Eban’s story cites other agents involved in the case who say there was no intentional trafficking and they “seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws.”
  • Eban notes a report by CBS News that took government emails out of context or completely misinterpreted them, feeding into a narrative that the government intentionally sold weapons to drug cartels.
  • The Obama administration has essentially allowed Republicans in Congress to aggressively investigate the matter without putting up much of a defense “in an apparent effort to avoid a rhetorical battle over gun control in the run-up to the presidential election.”

A publicist pitched Eban’s story to us as containing “a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media.” How mysterious.

Other than the part about the CBS News report, there’s not much about media. Eban’s story says Fast and Furious was picked up “first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS” before becoming “a fixture on Fox News and the subject of numerous reports in media outlets from CNN to the New York Times.” So, we took the bait and arranged through the publicist to have Eban answer questions about what role the news media had in driving the F&F story.

We asked if Eban could name specific “right-wing bloggers or blogs” that amplified the story, differences she might have noticed in coverage by competing news outlets and whether she felt it was a story that was generally over hyped by the news media.

Two hours later, the publicist called to tell us our questions were already addressed in the story and Eban wouldn’t be doing the interview.

Just a heads up to reporters out there who don’t have time to waste on fake-out interviews: Don’t bother.

Fish Food

(A Sprinkling of Things We Think You Ought to Know…)











Herman Cain won’t be talking with “” anytime soon — The Daily Caller‘s Alex Pappas got a one-on-one with the conductor of the Cain Train (wreck) himself, Herman Cain. Though Cain terminated suspended his presidential campaign in early December, he continues to talk a big game. He says if he were still campaigning he would “absolutely” be the front runner going into the Iowa caucuses. He learned who the president of ”Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-beki-beki-stan” is. And there’s no way in spicy pepperoni hell the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO will be talking with Politico, or “,” as Pappas calls it (“Have others not referred to the website that way?” he wrote us.) Cain called Politico‘s reporting a “hatchet job,” referring to the story Politico broke of sexual harassment claims filed against Cain when he was chairman of the National Restaurant Association.

Politico‘s Glenn Thrush says covering the White House is more like a redneck BBQ than fine dining — Beltway journalists are sensing some animosity from the communications office at the White House. WaPo interviewed several of them about the”overly combative” approach Jay Carney and White House press handlers are taking with reporters. But Glenn Thrush, who used to write for Newsday, said he can throw down with the best of them:

“Coming from a New York tabloid background, having a flack speak to me in an elevated tone does not make me crawl under my desk,” he said. “It does not terrify me to have someone raise their voice occasionally. The expectation in covering the White House is that it’s always going to be about using the good china. Sometimes this is about paper plates.”

Human Events picks the “Conservative of the Year”Larry Kudlow was selected to write the glowing, sticky sweet profile on Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). He described Ryan as “earnest, serious and important” and ‘a man with smooth skin and thick hair.’ We made that last bit up, but you could believe it. Ryan was chosen by Human Events “for his relentless commitment to proposing bold, free-market reforms to rein in an out-of-control, ever-expanding government that is destroying the American economy.” Congratulations from FBDC.

That’s not Rachel Maddow’s ass- BuzzFeed published a video Thursday under the headline “Rachel Maddow caught sunbathing in a G-string.” It’s as funny as it sounds except the woman in the video isn’t Maddow, according to the real Maddow. “That is neither me, nor my butt… No, no no no no no god no,” the MSNBC anchor told Mediaite. We’re glad because there’s nothing more embarrassing than having your ass literally hang out for the whole world to see. Just ask Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).