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Something’s Fishy

Perfect Friday Fodder – WaPo Subscription Phone Line Allegedly Diverts to ‘Sex Talk’

An anonymous tipster wrote in to tell us that The Washington Post’s subscription phone line answered as “some kind of sex talk line.”

We gave the number a call – 1.800.477.5555 – but it now seems to be disconnected. After two rings, Fishbowl repeatedly got a recording saying, “We’re sorry. You have reached a number that has been disconnected, or is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please check the number and try your call again. Thank you.”

We reached out to Post PR who said that they were unaware of any issue with the line.

So much for some real Friday fun getting my subscription.

Update: We’ve heard back from The Post, who said that the wrong number was a placeholder on a page design that went live yesterday. It has since been updated with the number 1.800.577.4679, which does allow individuals to subscribe.

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FishbowlDC Poll: Has Sen. Marco Rubio Ever Smoked Pot?

As part of ABC News and Yahoo News’ series “Power Players,” Jonathan Karl for ABC’s “This Week” sat down with potential 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and asked the Congressman whether he has ever smoked pot.

“If you say that you did, then suddenly there are people out there saying, ‘Well, it’s not a big deal,’” said Rubio in the below video. “On the other side of it is if you tell people that you didn’t, they won’t believe you.”

Check out Rubio’s conversation with Karl after the jump and let us know what you think. Do you think Sen. Marco Rubio has ever smoked pot? We’ll announce the results of our poll later this week.

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Dean Baquet to Replace Jill Abramson as Executive Editor of NYTimes

The New York TimesAccording to The New York Times, Executive Editor Jill Abramson is “unexpectedly leaving” her position as top editor at the newspaper and will be replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet. Abramson served as executive editor since 2011 and was the first woman in the role.

According to New York Times coverage of the announcement, “The reasons for the switch were not immediately clear.”

Baquet will be the first African-American executive editor of the newspaper. He returned to the Times as chief of its Washington bureau and an assistant managing editor in 2007 after being fired the previous November as editor of the Los Angeles Times for refusing to cut jobs from his newsroom.

Wash Life‘s John Arundel Snags Handsome Pic Discussing Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Congratulations to Washington Life Associate Publisher John Arundel on sharing his thoughts on the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, whom he met 3 times, yesterday on ”Good Morning America,” CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” NBC’s “Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” and on the front page of The New York Post. During a conversation with Hoffman a mere weeks ago at Sundance, Arundel recounts the actor confessing, “I’m a heroin addict.”

Some are accusing Arundel of grandstanding (see his Facebook post after the jump), a charge he denies. We think his new Facebook profile picture -snapped on set, live, from Good Morning America! -speaks for itself though. Great smile, John!

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Read John’s humblebrag Facebook post after the jump…

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Ben Pershing Covered Bartlett Before It Was Cool to Cover Bartlett

America's Sweetheart, Frmr. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. Image by Melina Mara/The Washington Post.

America’s Sweetheart, Frmr. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. Image by Melina Mara/The Washington Post.

Before Tim Mak, before Jason Koebler -there was Ben Pershing. WaPo‘s Pershing was the one who kicked off the whole Roscoe Bartlett craze back in August of 2012 with his piece, “The survivalist: Roscoe Bartlett prepares for a threatened future.” For those keeping count, that’s three profiles in major DC pubs for the octogenarian from Western Maryland. Pershing didn’t actually score an interview with the Congressman for the story -Bartlett declined a one on one -but he was the first print journalist to highlight the now-famous cabin in the woods and the Congressman’s penchant for preparing for worst-case scenarios. But even Pershing wasn’t the first-first. Bartlett had already made appearances in two documentaries, Urban Danger and America’s Cities about the vulnerability of American cities to catastrophic events.

A lot happened between August 2012 and September 2013, when Mak’s piece came out. Bartlett lost re-election and moved to West Virginia full time. Thus one could argue that it was time for an update on how ole’ Roscoe was doing. Mak’s piece for the Washington Examiner filled that niche. Koebler’s profile for Politico Mag, however, still seems gratuitous.

Politico Mag: Thievery or Coincidence?

Either former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) has got one hell of a PR team -especially for someone who lives on a mountain in the woods of West Virginia and doesn’t have a cell phone, or someone is being less than original in their reporting. How else do you explain Bartlett scoring two profiles in two major Washington publications in less than four months?

This profile of Bartlett by Washington Examiner‘s Tim Mak went up on September 20th. This one for Politico Magazine by Jason Koebler went up yesterday. They are essentially the same piece, though Mak ( who, BTW, used to work for Politico) spares some detail. In each case, the reporter goes out to Bartlett’s complex in West Virginia, notices the isolation and self-sufficiency of it all, looks at the swans in the lake, talks with the Congressman about electromagnetic pulses and working 10 – 12 hours a day, notes that the guy may seem crazy, but actually earned a degree in physiology and served as a Navy engineer. Koebler’s article explores the EMP issues a bit more and gives more consideration to the Congressman’s philosophies about living off the grid -but they are, essentially, the same story.

Koebler mentions in his piece that he visited the Congressman “this fall”, so it’s possible he could have done so before Mak’s piece went up and just sat on the story until now. OR Koebler could have gotten the idea to write the story after Mak’s piece came out, without ever reading it. OR maybe he did see Mak’s piece and just thought he could do a better job. We here at FishbowlDC don’t presume to know which scenario is the right one -Koebler hadn’t responded to our inquiries by press time.

In any event, it would seem Bartlett has pioneered a new tactic for getting Washington media to talk about your issues -move as far away from Washington as possible.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

The Case of the Unattributed Unicorn Sweater

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

As bad as American journos are, everyone knows their British cousins are one-bazillion times worse (see Princess Di, cause of death of). But now those pilferin’, pick-a-pocketin’ Brit paparazzi have really gone too far!

94.7 Fresh FM “City Shop Girl” Kelly Collis reports that her original investigative reporting regarding a certain unicorn sweater, worn by a certain Sasha Obama to a Maryland basketball game has been lifted WITHOUT ATTRIBUTION by the Daily Mail from the Fresh FM website. Collis first reported on the fab sweater from UK retailer ASOS on November 18, and even sent ASOS a tweet asking if it was going to be restocked, to which they replied:

@cityshopgirl Love Love Love the unicorn sweater. We’re not sure at the mo if it’ll be restocked, but watch this space…x

Now, you may be feeling pretty silly for going into debt to pay for J school right now, but you have to admit, that is some real investigative reporting. She had a question, she got an answer. But narry a day had passed before the villains across the pond at the Daily Mail had seized on the breaking news of how effing cool this sweater is and slapped it up on their website, without giving so much as a (h/t) to poor Kelly Collis. From the Mail article:

A Twitter post read: ‘Love Love Love the Unicorn sweater. We’re not sure at the [moment] if it’ll be restocked, but watch this space…’

If the sweater were to be reissued, it would certainly be met by much fanfare.

No mention of Kelly’s Twitter handle, no reference to her story at all. COME ON! How likely is it that the Daily Mail just happened to quote a tweet directed at the intrepid reporter who broke the very story they are reporting on, without knowing who she was? Poor form, Daily Mail, poor form

For the whole, tragic story, click here.

White House Press Corps Snaps Over Photo Ban

The White House Correspondents Association has had enough. And so have just about every other media outlet in America. WHCA and more than 40 other news orgs sent a letter today to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to protest the banning of photographers from some White House events. The Obama White House has said in the past that photographers would not be allowed to take pictures of “private” events, but has often released photos of those same events taken by White House photographer Pete Souza. In the letter, the media groups accused the White House of trying to replace “photojournalism with visual press releases.”

From the letter:

As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the Executive Branch of government. To be clear, we are talking about Presidential activities of a fundamentally public nature. To be equally clear, we are not talking about open access to the residence or to areas restricted, for example, for national security purposes.

They go on to list seven examples in 2013 where press photographers were denied access to events and instead were issued “official” photographs. The events include a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a meeting with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, and an event where the whole Obama family met Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai, a person they describe as being “of great public interest.”

Full letter after the jump.

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Celebrity Fight Club: Douglas Swings At Pelosi

DouglasPelosiWhile rummaging through the photos snapped at the Ploughshares Fund Gala last week, which featured Secretary of State John Kerry, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Oscar and Emmy award winner Michael Douglas, FishbowlDC came across this unnoticed, yet disturbing, picture taken after the event.

WARNING: Following the jump will lead to fake news and trick photography.

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Politico’s Glenn Thrush Skips Credit for Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin

images-4One thing that can be determined from the behavior of Politico in the last 24 hours is that they psychologically can’t handle coming in second place.

Even if that’s what they are in this instance  — second.

We’re referring to Josh Rogin‘s Daily Beast story on Jofi Joseph, the anonymous NSC tweeter, which he broke Tuesday night at 8:27 p.m.  Rogin got the Drudge link and appeared on morning shows such as NBC’s “TODAY Show” and ABC’s “GMA.”  Every outlet from NPR to WaPo and the NYT credited him.

Take a wild guess who didn’t.

UPDATE: Politico reporter responds.

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