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FBDC Tweeterboard: National On-Air Talent

It’s that time of the month again to check out the social standing of DC’s stable of national correspondents and anchors. FishbowlDC tallied the Twitter followers of the top 20 on-air journalists including broadcast, cable, and radio. Here’s what we found:

1.) George Stephanopoulos* ABC 1,936,395
2.) David Gregory NBC 1,651,521
3.) Newt Gingrich* CNN 1,493,576
4.) Scott Simon NPR 1,251,445
5.) John Donvan ABC 1,232,606
6.) Wolf Blitzer CNN 697,050
7.) Bret Baier FOX 453,195
8.) Chuck Todd MSNBC 415,265
9.) Greta VanSusteren FOX 406,677
10.) Jake Tapper CNN 324,883

Catch 11 – 20 after the jump…

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AJAM Claimes Iran Behind 1988 Lockerbie Bombing

In a documentary set to be released tonight, Al Jazeera America claims to have unearthed new evidence that Iran was behind the 1988 bombings of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

“Lockerbie: What Really Happened?” will air tonight at 9:00 EST, and purports to show that the group responsible for the bombings was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC). The group was supposedly responding to requests from Iran to avenge the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 by the USS Vincennes in July 1988, which killed 290 people. The US government shot down that civilian plane after mistaking it for an Iranian military F-14 Tomcat.

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WJLA’s Britt McHenry to ESPN

Stop the presses, Britt McHenry is headed to ESPN. But don’t worry, she’s not leaving DC.

The WJLA Sports Reporter announced on Facebook as did the ESPN MediaZone that starting St. Patrick’s Day she’s switching to ESPN.

Washington has been completely abuzz about McHenry’s next steps for months, after hints of a career move started whirling (example 1 & 2) on her Facebook.

Thank God we finally know. We’ve not been sleeping since the rumors started. Good night, and good luck, Britt!

STATS: Her Facebook post garnered more than 700 likes and 135 comments.

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Fishbowl Five: Arwa Damon on the Syrian Civil War

Last night, CNN’s Arwa Damon received an award from Oxfam honoring her reporting on the Syrian Civil War. The network’s senior international correspondent has spent a decade reporting from some of the world’s most dangerous and fascinating places -including Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, and now Syria. Earlier in the week, FishbowlDC was able to get Damon to answer some questions for us about her work.

Q: In your reporting on Syria, you’ve been involved with some truly devastating situations. How do you keep from being overwhelmed by all the terrible things that are happening around you?

A: It is overwhelming and at times suffocating.  Seeing others’ pain – watching as they cope with the tirade of emotions that comes with the unbearable loss of a loved one – can leave you feeling utterly helpless.  The only thing we can do is try to the best of our abilities, knowing that we can never fully succeed, to portray that to our audience in hopes of raising awareness and generating change.  The hardest part about Syria is that the sense among myself and many of my colleagues is that we must have somehow failed, that we’re just screaming into a dark vortex.

I can’t even begin to recall how many times I have been asked a variation of the question: “What’s the point of talking to you? The world is mocking us, listening to us, watching the videos you shoot and what’s on YouTube and yet, still mocking us. How can no one care?” And I can’t answer it.  I can’t explain how the world can watch and do nothing.

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Jake Tapper, A Better Human Than You, Adopts a Soldier

Jake Tapper and the crew at “The Lead” have adopted a soldier and are sending him a care package. Makes ya feel warm and fuzzy because there is still some good left in the world / terrible because you will not do this, probably.

The adoptee is an 18 year old (soon to be 19 year old) from Pennsylvania whose tour will be up in November. Tapper says the group Homefront Hugs asked him to adopt the soldier and they “seemed like a cool and heartfelt program” so he agreed.

 

Can You Guess Ted Cruz’ Favorite TV Journo?

During a Politico Playbook Breakfast this morning, Mike Allen asked Ted Cruz if he has a favorite newscaster. At first Cruz begs off, saying he doesn’t really watch TV. And when Allen presses him, he gives a pretty obvious answer for a Tea Party Republican from Texas: Sean Hannity.

ALLEN: Who is your favorite newscaster? 

CRUZ: (pauses)  … Who is my favorite newscaster… I actually don’t watch TV news a whole lot.  I mean to be honest it’s… 

ALLEN:  You talk to these men and women all the time…

CRUZ:  Oh, listen I’m – you know unsurprisingly if I am watching something it’s probably Fox news.  I like, I am a big Sean Hannity fan.  I wouldn’t call him a newscaster necessarily but I think Sean has a fearlessness that is welcome. I wish you saw – I wish you saw. 

But then he offers up a name that might surprise you. Find out which other TV newser Cruz admires after the jump.

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Jake Tapper Can’t Figure Out Why Women Would Disagree With Other Women

Jake Tapper interviewed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on CNN’s “The Lead” today about her legislation to put sexual assault cases in the military under civilian control. What struck us about the interview, is how Tapper seemed to get stuck on the whole “women disagreeing with women” concept.

Of the 4 questions Tapper asked  the Senator, three were along the lines of, “But if you’re right, then why do other women disagree with you?’

Question 1) “But there is this independent panel, as you know, chaired by a woman with a mostly female composition that did not find evidence it would increase reporting. So is there evidence you have that taking it out of the chain of command will protect the victim, increase reporting or increase punishments?”

Question 2) “As you know, your chief rival, probably, I think that’s fair to say, in this is fellow Democratic woman, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri.  She disagrees with you.  She has competing legislation. Why is she wrong?”

Question 3) “I believe you have 55 public supporters in the Senate for your legislation. But is it complicated at all for your cause, the fact that your chief rival in this is a — is a fellow Democratic woman senator?”

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Gabe Sherman Feted by Liberal Group

Party people: PFAW and friends let loose.

Party people: PFAW and friends let loose.

People for the American Way (PFAW) hosted a little office-building soiree for Gabe Sherman‘s book, The Loudest Voice in the Room, the other day. And though Gabe received his due plaudits from the left-leaning crowd, the name on everyone’s lips was Roger Ailes.

In his introduction, Sherman and PFAW President Michael Keegan both spoke of meeting the Fox News President at an event hosted by The Hollywood Reporter in New York while Sherman was working on his book. While Keegan’s interaction with Ailes was genial (with Ailes complimenting PFAW’s work), Sherman’s, only a few minutes later, wasn’t.

Ailes insisted that Sherman “stop harassing [his] wife” and eventually blustered that “you’re only able to write your book because I’ve been protecting the First Amendment!”

PFAW Pres. __ introduces the man of the hour.

PFAW Pres. Michael Keegan introduces the man of the hour.

In a Q&A later, Sherman pointed to demographic trends as an existential threat to Ailes’ network. He also speculated that Ailes and Fox News still haven’t figured out how to cover the brewing civil war in the GOP, but “if people are shooting at each other, he wants them shooting on Fox.”

Other guests included Josh Keating of Slate, Asawin Suebsaeng and Patrick Caldwell of Mother Jones, Jim Newell of The Guardian, and Stephanie Green of Bloomberg.

NatGeo Responds to Death of Jamie Coots

As has been widely reported, the snake-handling Pentecostal pastor and reality TV star from Kentucky Jamie Coots died on Saturday after being bitten by a poisonous snake. Coots and fellow pastor Andrew Hamblin were both featured on NatGeo’s “Snake Salvation,” which followed their lives and aimed to educate people about their religion. The DC-based cable channel issued the following statement today on Coots’ death:

On the passing of Pastor Jamie Coots:

National Geographic joins his family, friends and community in mourning the loss of Pastor Jamie Coots. In following Pastor Coots for our series Snake Salvation, we were constantly struck by his devout religious convictions despite the health and legal peril he often faced. Those risks were always worth it to him and his congregants as a means to demonstrate their unwavering faith.  We were honored to be allowed such unique access to Pastor Jamie and his congregation during the course of our show, and give context to his method of worship.  Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

Coots died at home after being bitten by a snake at his church. Paramedics were on the scene to assist him there, but his family refused their help. They believe, based on their reading of the Book of Mark, that God protects the faithful from the venom of snakes. Hamblin was also with Coots when he was bitten. No charges will be filed in the case.

Polo Sandoval Joins CNN

Paul Crum, CNN’s vice president of news operations, administration and affiliate services announced today that Polo Sandoval will join CNN Newsource as a national correspondent based in Washington, D.C. CNN Newsource is CNN’s syndicated news distribution service for its affiliates. Prior to joining CNN, Sandoval was the Bureau Chief for the Hidalgo County Border Bureau for KRGV-ABC in Texas. Last year, he covered the on-going breaking news at the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.  He has also reported from both the Democratic and Republican national conventions in 2008 and 2012.

Congrats on the new gig Polo, and good luck!

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