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Ranty

Awkward Interactions at Heritage Foundation’s Launch of The Daily Signal

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Last night at Sixth Engine, The Heritage Foundation celebrated the Tuesday launch of its new site The Daily Signal, a digital-first, multimedia news platform.

Amidst drinks with clever names like the “Editor in Chief” and the “Teaser” alongside delicious samplings of Korean style chicken tenders, heaping bites of tuna tar tar, and brussels sprouts, FishbowlDC was so rudely interrupted by the self-proclaimed ‘Christian, Conservative, Southern, Zionist, that is Everything the Left hates Heritage Action Legislative Strategist (description a la his Twitter bio).”

During a conversation with a writer for Heritage Action’s blog The Forge, said “strategist” apparently felt threatened by FishbowlDC speaking to his ex-fiance. The “strategist” – who I met just seconds earlier – felt the need to tell me his engagement with whom I was previously speaking ended four weeks ago.

Unable to hold back a smirk caused by the absurdity of this man’s relationship woes, he trice assumed I thought the situation was funny. Newsflash: I barely know who you are, let alone care about your relationship status.

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Vox Reveals Secret Platform at Penn Station, Ruins Train Travel For Everyone

We have seen the face of explanatory journalism -and we don’t like it.

Dumb ole’ Ezra Klein and friends  have launched their dumb ole’ website, Vox.com, and it’s terrible. Why? Because they, in their wisdom, have gone and “explained” the best way to avoid having to stand in line when boarding an Amtrak train in New York’s Penn Station.

For anyone who has made the journey betwixt Washington and New York enough times, you know that there is a secret platform that permits hip travelers in the know to skip the boarding line altogether and walk directly to the train as soon as it arrives. Most people don’t know about this platform though -or at least they didn’t. Therefore it was a helpful way to avoid crowds, board early, and snag a good seat in the Cafe car.

But now, the helpful wonks at Vox have told the whole world about it, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry from Kalamazoo to Tallahassee will crowd onto said secret platform, rendering it absolutely useless to all the cool travelers who knew about it before.

Great. First Nate Silver ruins journalism with his quantitative analysis and meanness and anti-Krugmanery, and now Ezra is “explaining” the joy out life. Up next? The children at The Atlantic will start their own digital project devoted entirely to proving that David Blaine isn’t actually magic and that love is just chemical reactions in our brains.

Hooray for data-driven journalism.

Howie Kurtz to Obama: Get Off My Lawn!

Fox News host and extremely funny person Howard Kurtz isn’t too keen on Obama’s recent appearance on “Between Two Ferns.” But unlike some of his Fox News peers, his issue isn’t that Obama has “demeaned the office of the Presidency.”

No. Instead, Kurtz just doesn’t think the video was funny:

But there is a problem when the president does the web show “Funny or Die” with Zach Galifianakis. He wasn’t funny. He died. Which senior administration officials thought this was a good idea? What’s next, driving around with Jerry Seinfeld in “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”?

Oh, Howie.

1) You are perhaps the only person -certainly the only media critic -who thinks this video is not funny.
2) It was Valerie Jarrett who thought this was a good idea, and she’s telling everyone.
3) Obama is not a comedian, but yes, going on Jerry Seinfeld’s web show would actually be a great idea too. It is also funny and beloved of the kids.

More brilliant insights from Old Man Kurtz, after the jump…

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Heritage Blog Asks Heritage Boss: Why Are Heritage Critics So Wrong?

Rob Bluey at the Heritage Foundation blog, The Foundry, has a sad. It seems there’s a conspiracy afoot to malign the good name of his boss’s boss, Heritage President Jim DeMint. Oh no!

Bluey wrote a rather long post recently taking Politico Magazine to task for a story they published by Pema Levy calling Heritage President Jim DeMint “The Most Hated Man in Washington” -a statement which typically garners a great big “Duh” from anyone in Washington. But Bluey and the folks at Heritage are all in a tizzy because Politico didn’t make mention of the fact that several lobbyists quoted in the piece were actually being paid to oppose issues that Heritage supports and to support issues they oppose.

“Steve LaTourette, John Feehery and Brian Walsh toiled in the halls of Congress for years before cashing in for lucrative jobs in Washington’s burgeoning public affairs and lobbying industry,” says Bluey. Of course, we’re sure he would never characterize someone as principled as say, Jim DeMint, as “cashing in.”

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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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Dylan Byers No Fan of ‘HoC.’ So What?

“Sorry to be a wet-blanket, but Washington’s collective celebration of House of Cards seems like a dereliction of our journalistic duty to be critical. We’ve participated in marketing a show to the rest of the country – Washington can’t get enough of House of Cards! – without acknowledging that it’s jumped the shark.”

That’s the conclusion from Politico‘s Dylan Byers on the second season of “House of Cards.” Wet blanket indeed.

We take Dylan’s point that DC journos have been the unwitting (or perhaps witting) marketing accomplices for the show, but so what? It’s not real. Do journalists really have an obligation to be critical of fiction. And pulp fiction at that?

“The second season of Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ was a pretty big let down.” he says. “The storylines were preposterous. The principle characters were flat and cliched. The efforts at narrative transgression, either violent or sexual, were pathetic and unconvincing.”

One could criticize “Scandal” (and definitely “Homeland”)  for the same reasons. Except why would you? Call us low-brow, but while verisimilitude and believeability are certainly important aspects of a television show, they aren’t the only benchmarks worth measuring by. There’s also good writing, excitement, surprise, catharsis, emotional engagement, titillation, and provocation -all of which “House of Cards” has in spades (ha).

And we’d beg to differ that the characters are any more flat than C.J. Craig or Sam Seaborn or Jed Bartlett -all glorified archetypes of Washington do-gooders. The dialogue in “The West Wing” was patently unbelievable -as was the idea that anyone could possibly be so completely driven by altruism and patriotism and be without serious personality flaws. But those characters were still compelling. Their struggles and travails were still of interest to viewers. And the actors who portrayed them still gave masterful performances. And ultimately, “The West Wing” was entertaining -the only measure that really matters on television in the end. We saw what happens when you try to hew too closely to the truth in a fictitious show about politics and journalism. It’s called “The Newsroom,” and it’s cancelled.

And wethinks Mr. Byers doth protest too much.

“The backslapping enthusiasm that greeted Matt Bai, Julianna Goldman, Major Garrett and other guest-starring journalists on Twitter only reinforces the idea that the Beltway media is self-obsessed,” he says.

Perhaps it is not disgust he feels, but guilt. Politico has, perhaps more than any other single institution, made its name on sensationalizing the oft-boring world of Washington politics and encouraging self-indulgence among journalists (See: This Town). It strikes us as rather rich that he laments the salacious and ridiculous way a fictional Washington is portrayed by Netflix, while his own publication does the same thing in real life. One ought not throw stones in glass houses -even at houses made of cards.

Erick Erickson Called You a Shameless Whore (Especially You MSNBC Ladies!)

Well, this isn’t very nice. Erick Erickson went on a somewhat pornographic screed against the news media today in a post to Redstate.com:

You guys in the press who are reading this right now can be such shameless whores. I generally try to hold to the standard these days that if I wouldn’t be outraged by George Chimpy McBushitler Halliburton and Darth Cheney doing something, I shouldn’t be outraged by President Obama. And if I’d be outraged by Bush, I should be outraged by Obama.

But you journalists have such erections for everything Barack Obama does, you can’t even summon outrage to report fairly on the latest b.s. from the administration over Obamacare. Is it any wonder so many people have stopped trusting you?

Erickson also accuses the lady journalists of wanting to bone the prez:

But now, you’d rather have cocktails (pun absolutely intended for a good portion of you “journalists”) with the President, jealously size up the competition in the First Lady, and wish you too could be a mistress when you see France’s President and whoever the gal of the week is for him…

…with President Obama, half of MSNBC still wants to have his baby and the women over there just want to be his mistress. Hell, France’s President has one.

Why, you ask, would Mr. Erickson say such things? Well because of Obamacare, obvs.

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In Defense of Jake Tapper

jake_tapper_x200Embattled CNN anchor Jake Tapper took to Facebook last night to defend himself against the onslaught of criticism he has received over his Friday interview with former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell.

“We need to have open, honest, and yes uncomfortable conversations about this war,” Tapper wrote. “We can’t do that if any time someone sees things differently they’re accused of hating the troops. Questions HONOR the troops. And our freedom to ask them is what they fight and die for.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Indeed, in this humble blogger’s opinion, the witch hunt provoked by The Blaze‘s Oliver Darcy and Glenn Beck is appalling and the only truly offensive aspect of this whole Jake-Tapper-Hates-the-Troops affair. Tapper did nothing more than ask the kind of questions that many, if not most, Americans are thinking about the War in Afghanistan. Luttrell’s reaction was unwarranted, though perhaps understandable. The faux-controversy being ginned up after the fact is what is actually disrespectful to the memory of the soldiers who died in Afghanistan. Darcy and Beck should be ashamed of themselves for  intentionally obfuscating the story, purely for the sake of driving up page views. Betsy Rothstein at the Daily Caller has a great piece up which expounds in more detail on why this is true -we suggest you go read it.

But no one does a better job of defending Jake Tapper than Jake Tapper, so I’ll let the man speak for himself:

Regarding this controversy…

I’ve spent years reporting on troops and their families so it pains me that my use of the word “senseless” to describe the 19 SEALs and troops killed in Operation Red Wings has become the focus of this interview with an American hero and has been misinterpreted as a reflection of my thinking the deaths meant nothing and than somehow I’m not grateful. 

I would hope that my reporting trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, my book about Combat Outpost Keating, my two CNN documentaries about Medal of Honor recipients, and my continued reporting on veterans and troops and their families would belie that accusation. 

Apparently not.

Read the whole message after the jump.

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This Town Strikes Back

Youngman, there's no need to feel down.

Youngman, there’s no need to feel down.

Yesterday, we mentioned briefly WCP‘s Perry Stein‘s takedown of Sam Youngman‘s Politico piece. If you’re a self-respecting DC journalist, you should read it -if only as a salve for the irritation Youngman’s article likely caused you. Here’s a great paragraph, for example:

There are at least some D.C. journos who, unlike Youngman, always thought they would get tired of seeing former Sen. Gary Hart and Ron Kirk in a bar (since the very thought of being in a bar that’s also frequented by Hart and Kirk is pretty tiresome). There may be a few guys here who don’t think the city’s hot women are ‘a step above rehab hot and two levels below jury duty hot.’ D.C. even has college basketball! As for Youngman’s complaint that he doesn’t ‘recall the issue of, say, poverty coming up a single time in all my coverage’ of the 2012 campaign, that seems like something he might have been advised to try to remedy while, you know, writing about the 2012 campaign.

Today, Juliet Eilperin gives us an op-ed that voices the same complaint. Eilperin is a White House correspondent (as Youngman once was) for WaPo, and her piece really gives the lie to Youngman’s caricature of DC journos:

Several years ago I wrote about an Environmental Protection Agency study slated for Jacksonville, Fla., in which officials were going to examine the impact of toxic household chemicals on families with children, but they weren’t going to warn them that the chemicals were dangerous. The study was scrapped. This fall I co-wrote articles explaining the key management decisions that contributed to HealthCare.gov’s botched rollout, as well as some of the project’s ongoing technical difficulties. These stories matter; they have real-world consequences.

I still haven’t flown on Air Force One, as Youngman did. Like him, I’ve attended briefings in the Roosevelt Room — though I’ve devoted my time there to watching PowerPoint slides and trying to decipher administration officials’ spin, not being wowed by the scenery.

I think it’s sad that Youngman concludes that, after a while, ‘there wasn’t a single Washington story I wanted to cover.’ How is that possible, when there are so many critical decisions being made here?

The consensus in DC is clear: Youngman’s biggest problem was always Youngman -not DC.

Hey Twitter: DC Hates Snow, Get Over It

If  you have  lived in the south for any stretch of time (and yes, DC is the south) then you know that we don’t deal well with snow here. DC, however, is a place full of people from elsewhere in the country. Some of these people come from places where there is more snow than here. These people LOVE to tell us here in DC, and in the south more broadly, how it is absolutely HILARIOUS that we FREAK OUT over 2-3 inches of snow.

Dear other, non-southern people: SHUT UP.

Do you realize that y’all say this every time it snows when you happen to be below the Mason-Dixon line? Do you realize that southern people aren’t “freaking out” about the snow? Rather, it just doesn’t snow here as much as it does in whatever frozen hell-hole you are from. Ergo we do not have the same municipal resources devoted to snow removal as you do. It would, in fact, be silly for southern towns to have snow plows on standby for the 1 – 5 times a year it actually snows. Therefore, it is actually more cost-effective and safer to simply close work/school/the government when it does snow than to either over-prepare for snow that wont happen or encourage people to come to work in possibly dangerous weather conditions.

Geesh. You Yankees should be happy you’re in a city with a somewhat reasonable climate.

Here, in an attempt to shame them, are all the tweets I could find from a-hole non-southerners who think DC is SO HILARIOUSLY FREAKING OUT ABOUT THE SNOW ZOMG LOLOLOLOL:

 

 

 

 

 

More jerks from out of town mocking us after the jump…

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