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Riddle Me This

WaPo Editor Has Rough Day

WaPo Book World Editor Ron Charles was having a pretty tough morning. Not only is it dark and dreary out there, but he couldn’t get onto WaPo‘s website. That’s right, before 8:28 a.m., he was locked out of his own paper’s website. Whoever the genius is that makes WaPo‘s technical calls deserves a prize, or at least a free meal at Chop’t with the restaurant’s favorite consumer, Ezra Klein, for achieving this. Although we’re guessing Ezzy may have been able to help Charles out had he been in the neighborhood.

And then the day got worse.

Incest Desk: Is Howard Kurtz Getting Too Cozy With Daily Download?

HuffPost media writer Michael Calderone investigated the writing habits of  Howard Kurtz and something curious has emerged. Some of Kurtz’ Daily Beast colleagues are baffled about why he’s spending so much time promoting another Daily site. This one, the Daily Download, where Kurtz sits on the board, instead of his other employers, Newsweek-The Daily Beast and CNN. Lauren Asburn is Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Download. She’s also a Daily Beast contributor and appears often on Kurtz’ CNN program. Are things getting just a tad incestuous?

In a story published Wednesday afternoon… Read more

Psy’s Pyscho Handlers Sensitive About Smoking Pics

Everyone knows handlers can be psychotic. They prevent, they block. They stumble all over themselves trying to barricade the star. In effect, they over handle. “He did the red carpet, he’s not doing any more interviews,” one of the handlers told us regarding Psy, of South Korean rapper, dancer Gangnam Style fame, who showed up to a CBS, The Atlantic and National Journal pre-party at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last night.

Meanwhile, he’s standing there smoking a cigarette — not crack, mind you — but a simple, legal cigarette. The handlers insisted, “Psy doesn’t want his picture taken while smoking a cigarette.” To that end, they even had a tall, broad guy in a suit with a big back purposefully ruining attempted photographs.

A relatively polite female blonde handler told passersby, “I’m so sorry, he just wants to smoke a cigarette with no one taking pictures.” To her cohort, she remarked, “Scooter told me if this fucks up, I’m done.” Uh oh. (And who’s Scooter?) Update: Kate Spencer, a senior writer/producer for VH1 tweets us that, “Pssst – Scooter is his manager, who also manages Justin Bieber.”

Here’s the thing, Psy. You seem like a nice guy — what I could detect from your warm facial expressions a good 20 feet away. But TOUGH SHIT. You come to Washington for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and to the Washington Hilton for the town’s nerdy version of the Oscars and you expect members of the media to avoid you? We like you, Psy, but it’s not exactly the most astute press strategy to hide behind plants and four nasty-ass handlers and smoke cigs and think no one will figure out a way to snap your photo.

And who died and made your brunette female handler The Decider of who can walk where at the party? At one point a female Capitol Hill aide attempted to walk past Psy to get to where she wanted to go. She was ordered by the handler, not security for Psy we might add, to walk around the other way to get to the other side of the party.

Here’s the exchange that transpired between the brunette handler and FishbowlDC. Read more

Why Does Matt Kassel Hate Big Butts?

URGENT question for The New York Observer‘s Matt Kassel: Why do you hate big butts? What did they ever do to you?

Late Thursday afternoon — STOP THE PRESSES — Kassel, clearly assigned to the Butt Patrol beat, wrote us an “urgent” email requesting information about whether our own Eddie Scarry‘s  planned to cover “big butts” at the upcoming White House Correspondents’ Dinner. There is no plan for Eddie to do that. But Kassel, being the ace reporter that he is, anticipated (good reporters do this by the way, they anticipate things BEFORE they MIGHT, MAYBE but HAVEN’T happened yet) that Eddie might have big butts on the brain. So here’s what he wrote (we’ve put it in bold):

Hi Betsy,

Hi Will,

I’m a staff writer at The New York Observer, and I’m writing an article about Eddie Scarry and the Washington correspondents dinner on Saturday. Specifically, I’m wondering if he plans to be taking any pictures of women’s butts again (I’m reaching to him as well). I’m wondering if you consider his prior coverage professional behavior, and if so, how you justify it. Why is appropriate for a media site to ridicule lumpy butts? Wose idea was it?

If you’d like to call, my number’s (609) 658-2650. As soon as possible is best, as we’d like to get this story up tomorrow morning.

Best,

Matt Kassel

He quickly followed up with this:

Actually, I don’t have Eddie’s email. Would you mind sending it my way?

First off, a quick note to Matty’s editor: Do you know that you have someone working for you who sends out emails as sloppy as this one? For starters, my name is Betsy, not Will. And why is Matt sending a note to us both? Could it possibly be because the “Will” he meant this for is Will Sommer, who writes for Washington City Paper, who is also outraged by the occasional “big butt” photograph we have run? These two are so dumb they might as well dress up in Hazmat suits and crash into each other just for fun.

Moving on. Let’s address the typos. This is — by far — my favorite sentence of Matty’s: “Wose idea was it?” Really, Matty, “Wose?” Please tell me where you went to J-School because I’d like to go there too!

Just for the hell of it, here’s some context since you’re clearly not adept at searching our website. Three years ago was the first time FBDC ever mentioned a big butt. It happened to be Kim Kardashian’s. She was attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner as the date of Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. One night at a party, the hot topic of conversation was Kardashian’s derriere. So we wrote about it. Van Susteren became incensed with our coverage, we had a spirited back and forth and Van Susteren apologized. She had no idea that Kardashian’s behind was actually a common conversation piece or that her big break was a sex tape. (At this point, I’ll refer you to an 11-picture slideshow of Kardashian’s butt on HuffPost here.) From there on out, it became a mild joke and we’d occasionally throw big butts into photo spreads.

And now, let’s address your dumbass questions one by one. Read more

Food Host Highlights Herself in Bed

“Capital Cooking: Around the Globe” is an original travel and food series hosted by Lauren DeSantis that airs each Friday on WETA. Most recently, DeSantis sent out a promotional email regarding a newsletter to presumed viewers of her TV show and readers of her “Capital Cooking” website. Accompanying the email is a picture of DeSantis lying on a bed in a revealing pose with a portion of her breast exposed. Look close: Her bedspread includes a logo of the show.

Huh?

The subject line: “Legally delicious.” It doesn’t appear to specifically refer to anything, but then again the picture is also a head scratcher.

She writes, “Thanks for reading the Capital Cooking Newsletter. We strive to create content that you want to read. Please shoot me an email if there is something of interest that you’d like us to cover. Happy Eating, Lauren.”

So… Read more

Call Me Maybe Not? Franklin Center Changes Access Code For Conference Call

As we reported earlier, the Franklin Center, a conservative nonprofit that covers local governments across the country, was holding a conference call this afternoon at 1 p.m.

The topic: A lawsuit brought against them by Greentech, a company founded by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

They dispatched emails to members of the media and included the proper access codes. But since our story ran, they’ve changed the access codes, saying the conference call is meant to be exclusive and not open to the public. This time around, they wrote, “Hi all! This invitation is non-transferrable. PLEASE do not share this. Since this is an exclusive list of folks, I can narrow down who gave the info away. :)

Oops.

Environmental Scribes Told Event Is ‘Oversubscribed’

Oversubscribed our asses.

Kelley Drye law firm continues to try to befuddle the reporting masses by acting like their “hydraulic fracturing” breakfast on the 19th is open to press. After all, they’ve invited reporters and then disinvited them. And now when reporters RSVP, they’re turned away and told there’s just too many people attending for them to come.

The truth, as we reported earlier in the week is that a White House official is attending and refuses to speak if reporters are present. “By the way, the WH muckety-muck whose appearance has apparently made this a crypto-secret affair is Heather Zichal,” a reporter speaking on condition of anonymity told us.

Zichal is Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. Other speakers are John Richards, a Senior Advisor from the Office of the Under Secretary at the Dept. of Energy and David Poole, General Counsel of Range Resources.

Energy reporters who registered and were then turned away include those at The Hill, NJ, Energy Guardian and Politico and others.

SIGHTING: Reporter Spots Self at Party

This is too much!

In Wednesday’s Politico Playbook, Mike Allen writes about the MSNBC Joe Scarborough‘s surprise 50th birthday party. Allen, a “Morning Joe” regular, posted a variety of pictures, including one of NBC’s David Gregory in the moonlight, he wrote about “Le Menu” — which included mini burgers and mini pastrami bites — and then he concluded with a big mass of sightings, which included none other than himself.

Rep. Fudge Inspires Headline Confusion

Hot off the presses from Akron, Ohio…

A reader writes in that he was initially confused this morning while reading his hometown newspaper, the Akron Beacon Journal. In it is a regional roundup of briefs. This being the Akron Beacon Journal, where sunflower displays are as likely to be found in the news section as budget cuts, he was surprised to see the headline “Fudge commended” in a section typically devoted to crime. Just below “Fudge commended” is “Relative arrested” about a woman accused of stealing jewels from a relative. Below that: “Three men robbed” and “Man stabbed.” The brief was not crime related. Rather, it was about how the Akron City Council commended Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) this week for opening up an Akron office.

“I burst out laughing,” the reader wrote. “When I scanned the section where crimes are usually posted, and the first thing is ‘Fudge commended’ I figured they were talking about like a fudge award. Or a good fudge. They put her basically in the criminal section.”

We wrote Fudge’s spokeswoman Belinda Prinz for comment on how prevalent fudge jokes are as in pertains to constituents and press. We’ll report back should Prinz have a response. UPDATE: Prinz got back to us about 30 minutes ago (I’ve been conducting an interview or this would’ve posted sooner.) Her response: “The topic of her name does not come up often, by either the media or constituents.  When it does, it’s generally been in good humor. Congresswoman Fudge is a good sport and she appreciates tasteful humor as much as anyone.”

 

Pardon Us, We Spoke Too Soon: Press Dis-invited From Breakfast Event

The invitation starts out ominously enough: “Friends of Fracking Insider.”

Fracking Insider? Oh please, don’t make me feel so important.

In a nutshell: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, an Environmental & Natural Resources and Government Relations law firm, is hosting a bunch of industry bigwigs for a breakfast event at their K Street offices and invited reporters. But now a White House official is coming and reporters have been nixed. Sorry, scribes, forget free breakfast. The White House is coming!

We phoned and emailed Kelley Drye’s Washington office. A woman in the public relations department remarked of the reporters being dis-invited, “That sounds right, but let me check with the guy handling the event. I’ll get back to you.” Somehow this slipped her mind. It took awhile to explain to her that no, we don’t care about attending the event, we are covering the media members who are covering the event. Regardless, no callback.

Details…

Read more

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