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Media Magic

DC Journo-Land: It’s Not All Meanness and Backbiting

Happy Birthday Stephanie!It sure does get depressing here in the FishbowlDC offices, a.k.a. the patio in front of the Starbucks at 18th and Columbia (Free Wi-Fi y’all!). Forget that it’s so so cold, and that the darkness comes at 5:00 PM these days -sometimes the beat can just get you down. DC journos are known for their bitchy backhanded party banter, cryptic texts, and scathing online ripostes, and it can be quite an emotional drain to cover it all.

But then there are moments that make it all worthwhile. Moments that remind you, “Hey we may all hate each other a little, but in the end, we’re all so screwed up that no one can love us but the people we work with.”

And we do love each other. And it just warms my heart.

Exhibit A is this touching birthday video for CNN’s Stephanie Kotuby, starring colleagues Vaughn Sterling and Jill Chappell, set to the music of the late, great Lou Reed. Click, watch, and be merry. And Happy Birthday Stephanie!

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Click Bait: BOOBS

BOOBS_In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month,’s Kristen Mascia found some of the breast, err, best quotes about breasts from some of the most successful and renowned boob owning writers in the field of literature. And, no doubt about it, boobs amount to some serious click bait.

You won’t want to miss the breast of this…

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Politico’s Mike Allen Recalls Boy Scout Days

UnknownPolitico‘s Mike Allen made the MSNBC “Morning Joe” crew erupt into laughter this morning as he recalled his days as a Boy Scout.

The nearly all-male panel, consisting of New York Magazines John Heilemann, Willie Geist, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinksi, began discussing a story from the San Francisco Examiner about an 18 -foot sea creature found off the California coast.

Just when they were moving onto the next topic, Allen piped up and said…

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Media Critic’s Cancer is in Remission

images-1Journalists in Washington and elsewhere may want media critic Richard Grenell to go away — in the polite sense — just get the hell out of their faces sort of thing.

But he’s not going anywhere. In fact, Grenell’s cancer is in remission.

He told FishbowlDC… Read more

Washington Journalism Suddenly Gets Sexy: Pubs Engage in a Threesome

They call it bipartisan “coupling” and a brand that will be as powerful as Carville-Matalin or Mitchell-Greenspan. We see a threesome.

The Purple Network, otherwise known as The Nation and National Review, is welcoming a third publication to their rendezvous: CQ Weekly.

The key graph in the statement claims that The Purple Network will be more powerful than Politico, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker and even the NYT Sunday edition. Read more

CBS News’ O’Donnell’s ‘Typical’ Week of Work and Training

Norah O’Donnell, CBS News anchor, is training for her first half-marathon (a little over 13 miles) and today she shared a typical week of training with the readers at Self, where she’s just started blogging.

Her biggest challenge? Fitting in training time while sometimes pulling 12 and 14 hour days at work (she should probably check in with Ariana Huffington to get some life/work balance perspective). Twice in her “typical” week she had to take rest days that seemed as much about accommodating her schedule as they were an actual need for rest. Though sometimes those things go hand-in-hand.

And still, O’Donnell logged, by our count, an impressive 20-some miles and even strength training to top it all off. Not bad for such a busy anchorwoman.

Best of luck to O’Donnell. We’ll be waiting to hear the race results.

Hanoi House to Picky Eaters: Tough Luck, Don’t Come

Whoever wrote this deserves some kind of award for writing blunt and rude.

In a brief statement announcing a three-month test kitchen at Hanoi House on 14th street, they announce that Maketto’s Executive Chef  and co-owner Erik Bruner-Yang is pleased to welcome diners to the temporary space beginning July 15. Maketto, over in northeast Washington, is slated to open in late 2013, but this should tide diners over until then.

Here comes the good part: a big, fat screw you to those annoyingly picky eaters that hold up a line or ruin a dining experience with their gluten-free, no dairy, sugar free, no wheat, peanut allergy or vegan requirements.

This time of experimentation will allow Bruner-Yang and the entire Maketto team, including chef de cuisine James Wozniuk, to cook food inspired by their love affair with authentic Asian street food. Hanoi House will serve dinner only at $30 per person, family-style, with no accommodations for allergies or dietary restrictions. A dim sum cart will also be available throughout the evening a la carte. The menu will change often.

Such a refreshing attitude. Here’s what you’ll pay. Here’s what you’ll eat. Here’s when you’ll eat. Don’t like it? Don’t come. We wanted to see if they’d be as rude on the phone as they were in their statement, so we channeled our inner Gene Weingarten (WaPo) and called the woman on the release: Sue-Jean Chun. Read more

Journo Perks: Threading and Bikini Wax

Hopefully this isn’t as painful as it sounds.

Shobha, hailed as Manhattan’s “best brow & bikini wax salon,” has arrived in Washington. Signature hair removal services include waxing, threading, trimming and sugaring.

Not only did they give us a coupon for a free threading and bikini wax, but they said we could give them the emails of five of our friends who will also receive a gift. (FBDC’s Peter Ogburn is first on my list, Commentary‘s John Podhoretz is second. See him in a pool after the jump…) Ogburn had better appreciate this. Treatments ain’t cheap and range from $48 to $53 for a bikini wax and $55 to $84 for a full facial service that includes eyebrows, upperlip, chin, cheeks and sideburns.

The shop is located at 1730 M St. NW (17th and Connecticut). They had their opening last week. See this writeup from the Hollywood On the Potomac blog.

Rest assured… Shobha, which has received plugs from everything from Cosmo to The Tyra Banks Show, will not perform waxing on any menstruating client, they will never “double-dip” the wax with the same spatula twice, and they use pink non-latex gloves during all waxing and sugaring treatments. Read more

Syndicated Columnist Quits Cigs

Syndicated left-wing columnist Karl Frisch, also of Bullfight Strategies, has been offering updates on Twitter about his quest to quit smoking. He’s at about the three week mark. So we wanted to find out how he’s doing. But first, a few details: Karl smoked roughly a pack an a half of Marlboro Lights a day. At $8.10 per pack, his iPhone app says he has so far saved $278.67 by not smoking 688 cigs since June 3 at 2:30 ET — “When I type that all out that sounds even more disgusting,” he says.  Special note to Karl: So now that we’re doing this, you cannot return to smoking or we will have to report it. Yes, we are threatening you. It’s a gross habit and we’re so glad you have quit. What’s more, the second-hand smoke you were inevitably breathing on FishbowlDC’s 2010 Cutest Dog in Washington, Dexter von Frisch, is unforgivable. And not only because he’s such an avid FBDC reader, as shown here. Is that enough guilt for you to stay quit?

FBDC: What prompted you to quit? K.F.: I had bronchitis and my Doctor told me that if I didn’t quit, eventually how I was feeling (awful) would be the norm.

FBDC: How long had you smoked? K.F.: I started smoking when I was a Republican working on John McCain’s 2000 campaign for President. I was in South Carolina doing press advance when it began. We had an ashtray in the state campaign HQ that went from desk to desk. Sick, I know. I bought Marlboro Light 100s not knowing they were any different from regular Marlboro Lights. A young member of the South Carolina state legislature whose father was McCain’s lead consultant in South Carolina called them “fag cigarettes” and I was a Marlboro Lights (sans the 100s) smoker from then on despite my then-closeted sexuality.

FBDC: How are you feeling so far? K.F.: “Yeah, I’m awesome — and in a constant state of annoyance and hunger.”

FBDC: What’s the worst part? K.F.: “Life in general haha. In all seriousness, the first week I felt like my lungs wanted to leave my body and go to 7-11 in search of a pack of smokes. The cravings have been the worst part though they’ve lessened considerably. Coughing up all of the tar and junk in my lungs was pretty gross too. I’ve avoided the weight gain by simultaneously working out with a personal trainer and running most weekdays. Taking three very deep breaths each waking hour in my first ten days was a big key to passing a craving.”

There are a few silver linings here… Read more

Kurtz Commended For Facing Fire

Howard Kurtz‘s apology, delivered on live national television Sunday, has been received as any dramatic apology would be. Some people are buying it. Some aren’t.

On his CNN media news program “Reliable Sources,” Kurtz offered his side of the story on what led to the mea culpa in the first place: Deadline pressure and his own lack of due diligence were to blame for his erroneous report last week that NBA player Jason Collins, who had just come out as gay, didn’t disclose that Collins his prior engagement to a woman. Collins had, in fact, been open about the engagement, mentioning it in a column for Sports Illustrated.

On Friday we questioned whether Kurtz would cover his own ass by covering his own ass on the show. He did. And for the occasion, CNN brought in NPR’s David Folkenflik and Politico‘s Dylan Byers to probe him.

There was plenty of in-house love for Kurtz. In a separate segment on the show, attorney Lisa Bloom was on to discuss coverage of the Jodi Arias case. Before offering her legal analysis, she said she would take a second to “go off script.” She praised Kurtz for “raising the bar” for journalistic accountability (while rattling off her own media resume).

“Kudos to Howard Kurtz,” tweeted Kurtz’s CNN colleague Piers Morgan. “He took his Jason Collins-clanger on the chin today like a Mike Tyson right hook.”

The compliments also poured in from elsewhere. FNC anchor Greta Van Susteren wrote on her Gretawire blog that everyone should “stop slapping Howie Kurtz.”

“Not one of us is perfect.  We all make mistakes,” Van Susteren wrote. At the start of the year, Kurtz had to offer a separate apology for wrongly attributing a quote to Van Susteren about then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

At TVNewser, our sister site, Gail Shister wrote after the apology that she hopes CNN head Jeff Zucker will continue to support Kurtz.

On the other side of the fence… Read more