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WHCA Dinner

Actress Kate Walsh Nearly Hit by Bus

Actress Kate Walsh of ABC’s “Private Practice” is USA Today‘s guest for this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. As if to say “There’s no such thing as a free dinner!” the newspaper is having Walsh blog about her experience in D.C. Her first entry was posted Thursday morning, in which she reveals a close call while biking around town.

“The weather was gorgeous out [Wednesday] so I took a bike ride to Georgetown, and narrowly escaped being hit by a bus,” she wrote. “Don’t worry I was wearing a helmet!”

Though she’s USA Today‘s guest, Walsh tweeted a photo (above) Thursday morning of her and CQ Roll Call‘s Emily Cahn. “Me and Emily Cahn from Roll Call…talkin’ ‘bout offshore wind power!” the tweet said. A riveting conversation, we’re sure.

FNC’s Ed Henry to BuzzFeed: ‘Good Luck’

The news that BuzzFeed will be hosting a party at the same time as the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is no sweat off Ed Henry‘s sack.

“I haven’t heard anything about it to be honest with you,” the WHCA president and Fox News Chief White House correspondent told FishbowlDC. “We’ve got 2,700 people, I think, already confirmed for our dinner and we have people beating down our door still trying to get in. So good luck to anybody else who wants to do another event. But people are dying to get into our event and we’re thrilled because it’s going to raise a lot of money for scholarships.”

BuzzFeed applied for a table at the event but was denied.

Henry’s comment came Thursday at the Newseum where the WHCA and Discovery were hosting a screening of “All the Presidents Men: Revisited,” a documentary about the Watergate affair and the movie it inspired.

A BuzzFeed spokesperson did not have anything to add on the matter.

Most Want Celeb-Free Correspondents’ Dinner

The results of our Fish Poll from yesterday are pretty decisive. Almost 60 percent of responders said the White House Correspondents’ Dinner should focus on reporters and Lindsay Lohan ought to be left at the pre/post parties.

That should help Fox News’ Chief White House Correspondent and incoming President of the White House Correspondents’ Association Ed Henry as he prepares to lead next year’s clusterf&%k weekend. He tweeted on Monday that he was looking for constructive criticism on how to make the annual event better for everyone.

Here are the rest of the results:

  • 22.88 percent said “The scholarships should be played up more; otherwise, it’s perfect.”
  • 11.11 percent said “It’s fine the way it is; if I’m drunk, I’m happy.”
  • 8.5 percent said “Celebrities are fine, but Kim Kardashian should know the First Amendment by heart.”

Brokaw Blasts Nerd Prom, More Journos Follow

On Sunday’s “Meet the Press”, Tom Brokaw was analyzing the Presidential race of 2012 when he took a sharp turn into Curmudgeon-ville to take major swipes at Nerd Prom. He is not pleased about the glittering of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with stars like George Clooney and Charlize Theron. Some people may argue that at last those stars are politically active and aware of what’s going on the world. The same can’t be said for the likes of Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan.

In any event, reaction started pouring in over Twitter as Brokaw’s comments went viral. WSJ’s Neil King welcomed Brokaw’s comments by saying, “Here’s seconding Brokaw’s takedown of the WH Correspondents Dinner. And here’s predicting the day when POTUS says thanks but no thanks.” Longtime Washington political journo and columnist for the Dallas Morning News Carl Leubsdorf told FBDC, “I think he spoke for many of us.” He went on to say, “Tom is spot on. And as the dinner has become glitzier, fewer seats have gone to actual correspondents and more to corporate executives, advertisers and celebrities. The upcoming 100th WHCA anniversary in 2014 might be a perfect time to consider this, though I’m not too hopeful that will happen.” Something that got the attention of HuffPost’s Michael Calderone was Brokaw’s mention of “taking over the Italian embassy.” It just so happens that was the location of the blowout MSNBC after-party. National Correspondent for The Atlantic, James Fallows also agreed with Brokaw, saying, “Good for Tom B!”

Brokaw is one in a procession of Washington journalists who are trashing what the dinner has become. Late last week we reported on U.S. News & World Report’s Susan Milligan,
who also believes celebs ruin the image of the event. Some may also recall WaPo Dana Milbank‘s take on Nerd Prom last April, in which he says journalists have turned themselves into pimps for the politicians and the stars. He intimated that he grew sickened as he started to RSVP for parties and “made other plans for the weekend.” But Brokaw’s blast is a little bit different. First, he has the highest profile of anyone who has criticized the dinner. Second, he doesn’t seem to differentiate between George Clooney and Lindsay Lohan. He wants Hollywood out of the dinner.

It’s interesting to note that while Twitter was having a field day with Brokaw’s comments, neither Betsy Fischer, Exec. Producer for “Meet the Press”, nor host David Gregory made any comments. Watch Brokaw’s comments in the video below.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Who Will be Your New Nerd Prom Prez?

From L to R: Christi Parsons, Donovan Slack and Margaret Talev.

Now the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is blissfully receding from most people’s memory and the hangovers have subsided, that can only mean one thing: the campaign is on for three seats on the association’s board. This year’s races could be especially contentious: Christi Parsons (Chicago Tribune/LAT) v. Donovan Slack (Politico) for President. Also, Bloomberg is trying (for the third straight year!) for a seat on the board with their candidate, Margaret Talev.

Balloting is by mail, over many weeks. First, a signup sheet gets posted in the White House briefing room. Candidates sign up and declare their candidacies. Then they send statements to membership. Trust us, the campaigning is already well under way!

Let the contentiousness begin.

A note of explanation to readers: It’s a crazy system: FNC’s Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry becomes president and will honcho the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. So if you want good tables or many tables, he’s the guy whose ass you want to kiss for the next year. It takes TWO YEARS upon one’s election as WHCA president before he/she actually takes office. So after these elections are decided, you could have a full two years head start to suck up and as we know, the turtle tends gets ahead by going slow. Longest transition in the western world.

In further annoyingly technical explanation: There are nine seats total on the board. Typically, there are three open seats per annual election. The three elected in the coming weeks/months all take office shortly after election. To be elected president, one has to win both election to a specific seat AND the race for president.

It’s a Fiesta for The Washington Times

Remember the scene at the end of The Hangover where the guys find the camera with all the forgotten pictures on their camera? We are feeling the same way today as we flip through shots we took from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. We came across these pictures and remembered that in the mania surrounding the pre-parties, we stumbled into TWT’s soirée. We were sort of surprised to see a giant spread of Mexican food laid out on the table. Considering the political leanings of TWT, we wouldn’t have anticipated quesadillas with salsas and guacamole. We understand that both Republicans and Democrats are vying for Hispanic voters this election season. Maybe we were expecting burgers and apple pie? Or dumplings with dipping sauces considering the Mooney’s own the paper? Maybe a better idea would be fish and chips wrapped in copies of WaPo. Eddie made it close enough to the table to snag a quesadilla and reports that it wasn’t that tasty. The next time TWT throws a party with Mexican food, instead of serving quesadillas and guacamole, perhaps they’ll go for Liberty Corn and Freedom Avocados.

Modern Family Star Takes Loyalty Too Far

It’s one thing to whore yourself out to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner year after year because you star in the hit ABC series “Modern Family.” It’s quite another to come here and not flaunt your whoring capabilities to their fullest.

But Jesse Tyler Ferguson managed just that over the weekend when he attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and attended the parties surrounding it. On Friday night he was spotted mingling by the bar at the TIME-People party at the St. Regis. But when approached for even a single question from a reporter, he declined, saying he was not allowed to do any interviews that did not involve ABC.

Not allowed? Partygoers, especially those from competing networks, found this odd. Nonetheless, he did permit himself to wave and say “hi.”

Thanks Jesse!

 

Fish Food

(A Sprinkling of Things We Think You Ought to Know…)

Network Anchors Shilling for Candidates – It’s not what it sounds like. A new story in the Columbia Journalism Review and linked to by HuffPost examines political candidates and their use of news clips that feature anchors delivering stories that show their opponents in a negative light. While this isn’t something new, the scale of which this is being used is much bigger. Just a few months ago, when Newt Gingrich was putting the pressure on Mitt Romney, the Romney campaign released an ad featuring nothing more than NBC’s Tom Brokaw delivering the news that Gingrich had been found guilty of ethics violations. Brokaw spoke out against it. But the tactic proved so effective that Romney deployed it again against Rick Santorum. An ad featuring footage of CNN’s Gloria Borger reminded Pennsylvania voters that they had already thrown Santorum out of office aired 177 times in ONE DAY in Pennsylvania and would have aired many more if Santorum hadn’t dropped out.

I C&*t Believe This Happened – It wasn’t so long ago that we reported on the Daily Caller’s Michelle Fields being called “a cunt” by an Occupy protester. We can only hope that she doesn’t find the word TOO offensive, because she was exposed to the mother of all dirty words again last week. As we ramped up to the hysteria surrounding Kim Kardashian at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Fields tweeted “Sorry. I’m a Kardashian hater.” This did not sit well with the army of Kim K fans on the internet who began attacking Fields. One member of the Kim Army, @SheivaG, told Fields “dont worry im sure people hate you too ;) .” That then prompted a Fields Fan to reply, “@SheivaG @MichelleFields, you are a CUNT. Don’t be jealous Michelle :) .” Fields did not reply to that comment (obviously).

West Wing Reunion – The cast of The West Wing reunited for a good cause in a new video on Funny or Die. It’s for a public service announcement encouraging people to walk 30 minutes each day. The video features Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Dulé Hill, Joshua Malina, Melissa Fitzgerald and William Duffy in their first appearance together in five years. It should come as no surprise that the video relies heavily on the “walk and talk”, one of the trademarks of the former TV show.

 

WHCD Tick Tock

We’re recapping the White House Correspondents’ Dinner from Saturday night with a special Tick Tock. Enjoy as we take you through the night.

By Betsy Rothstein, Peter Ogburn and Eddie Scarry

5:30 p.m.: I meet up with Eddie at a shitty McDonald’s in Adams Morgan as the sky opens up to a downpour. Eddie is visibly pissed. He had his umbrella in hand and left it since (he says) weather reports declared that it wouldn’t rain until around 11 p.m. That’s right, we start the evening with Eddie blaming the media.

5:45 p.m. Peter, Eddie and I convene at the Washington Hilton bar to inhale Cokes as we mentally prepare our plan of attack for the evening.

6 p.m. We approach the escalators and are turned away from going downstairs because we need to show the security man a copy of our invitation. He says he knows its stupid, but it’s the way it is. Our knight in shining armor, HuffPost‘s Ryan Grim approaches and hands me what is comparable to contraband — a photocopy invitation of one of the pre-parties. He has several copies.

6 :10 p.m. And we’re in. We’ve entered the Atlantic/NJ/CBS pre-party, where the star of the evening is actress Claire Danes. She’s there as a guest of CBS “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer. Her brother tags along. Nonetheless, Schieffer stays close by Danes. Asked if he has the best guest of the night, he says, “I mean, it’s Claire Danes, what more do I need to say?”

6:19 p.m. Outdoor parties are the loser of the evening. It’s cold, damp and people are on a mad hunt for the bars. But we also spot our first WHCD big butt of the night; or perhaps that’s just an ill-fitting coat.

6:34 p.m. Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) enters Atlantic fest. Mother Jones and MSNBC Contributor David Corn is here with the lead singer of OK GO. This was the big q of the night at this party — who is David Corn with? NJ Publicist Taylor West tells me FishbowlDC had better get to the bottom of this.

6:40 p.m. We’re now mingling out in the hallway, watching Bloomberg’s Stephanie Green interview model Elle MacPherson, who is wearing a high slitted sleeveless black gown, similar to what Angelina Jolie wore to the Oscars. We hear Stephanie conclude her interview by saying, “Thank you so much. I love your underwear!” Whoa! What? We asked Stephanie if she had said what we thought she did. She said what many inevitably say to reporters: “You’re not quoting me on this, are you?”

6:42 p.m. The Washington Examiner‘s Nikki Schwab gives Eddie the first cold shoulder of the day — it’s actually FBDC’s second bout of coldness from her in a 24-hour time frame. Don’t worry, there will be more.

6:43 p.m. Shock of all shocks, Politico‘s Mike Allen has his face buried in his Blackberry.

6:44 p.m. We wander into the TWT reception hoping to meet Uggie the dog and hear he was just there and just left. We meet TWT‘s Kerry Picket and her boyfriend, whom the blond towers over.  The party ironically serves Mexican food. WSJ‘s Neil King is here with his daughter Lilly.

7 p.m. Next stop: Bloomberg reception, where NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg is holding court in the center of the room in a purple bow-tie. A partygoer sees a black woman across the room and asks, “Is that Michelle Obama?” Actor Kevin Spacey is also here and singer Alicia Keys. Guests attack them for photographs like a bunch of star-crazed idiots.

7:10 p.m. Back out in the hallway, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer asks Peter if he’s “just here to watch the hotties go by.”

7:15 p.m. We run into Pollster Frank Luntz, who’s dressed in a goofy striped suit and his signature sneakers. He’s miserable, he says. “Too many people, too chaotic. That said, there’s nothing like it.” He answers questions about his sneakers, saying that at this point he has maybe 35 pairs. He has three homes so he says he has to split them up. Luntz surmises by the end of the year he’ll have between 40 and 50 pairs. He explains that when he worked for a previous network they made him wear a tie, which he found so confining. So he decided they can force him from the neck up but from the feet down? That area is all his. No idea who owns the area between his neck and feet.

7:17 p.m. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says it’s “great to see so many young people here.” He forgets he’s not at a campaign rally.

7:20 p.m. Took a bathroom break. Walked in behind Schieffer. Walked out behind Luntz.

7:24 p.m. Lady drops tray of wine glasses. They shatter. Glass everywhere. She’s all nonchalant about it. No one hurt.

7:25 p.m.: James Davis, spokesman for the GOP Convention in Tampa, is bragging to Politico‘s Charlie Mahtesian that he ate 11 onions in 8 minutes during last year’s Vidalia Onion eating contest, which he nearly won. Because of the WHCA dinner, he’s missing this year’s onion-eating contest.

7:26 p.m.: HuffPost‘s Laura Bassett “on a mission” to find actress Reese Witherspoon. Just saw lead actress from “B in Apartment 3″ have to find out her name.

7:27 p.m.: NYT‘s Brian Stelter saunters by holding hands with his girlfriend, who has donned a bright red dress. “She is cute,” says Eddie. And we spot another set of WHCD big butts.

7:28 p.m. Rep. Fred Upton‘s niece, model Kate Upton, walks by. Heads turn. Onlookers try to figure out who she is. Because she looks like SOMEONE. Peter says he’s going to text his neighbor’s horny son to find out who she is.

7:29 p.m.: MSNBC Commentator Richard Wolffe escorting Chef Jose Andres for the second night in a row. Andres is responsible for the outstanding fare at The Atlantic‘s David Bradley‘s Friday night soiree that included things like crushed beat on toast and crispy avocado.

7:30 p.m. The balding gentleman with Elle MacPherson casually places his hand on her ass on their way down the hallway toward the ballroom.

7: 40 p.m. Eyes turn as CBS Chief White House Norah O’Donnell walks by in a long, bright yellow sequined dress that’s scooped out low in the back. Bystanders remark favorably on her attire. On her arm was Chef Geoff (Mr. Norah O’Donnell) escorting her. No one remarked on his tux.

7:42 p.m. Woody Harrelson seen leaving reception. Corona still in hand. Though he spent much of the weekend glued to Steve Schmidt‘s side, we hear he was flirting heavily with certain female reporters over the weekend.

7:43 p.m.: Always the charmer, Eddie rushes up to actress Kerry Washington, whose wearing a lovely long peach gown, and tells her how great she looks. Washington stars in the new series “Scandal” in which she plays a lawyer who has slept with the President of the United States.

7:44 p.m. Tom Hanks‘s son, Colin, who is the spitting image of his father, is mobbed by partygoers and friends in the hallway.

7:45 p.m. Garden brunch extraordinaire Tammy Haddad heads toward the ballroom with the 4’11” Daniel Radcliffe in a sparkly red and black blazer.

 

 

A Recap of the Allbritton Garden Brunch (That We Weren’t Invited To.)

In the aftermath of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, many revelers sought comfort in brunch yesterday morning to help heal the wounds from the night before. We have already reported on the institution that is the Thomson Reuters/McLaughlin annual brunch. Meanwhile, a relative newcomer to the WHCD brunch crowd, the Allbritton Garden Brunch, was taking place at the Georgetown home of Politico publisher, Robert Allbritton. We’d really LOVE to bring you a recap of that event. But, we weren’t invited. While it’s not necessarily a stinging snub as not even all of their own reporters get to go and they make it a point to have it covered (if you can even call it coverage) by their own reporter, insult was added to injury when Politico had the balls to send us a press release with pictures and a rundown of the event. Gee, how thoughtful of them. Here is how they helpfully described the event.

“For the third consecutive year, POLITICO Publisher Robert Allbritton and his wife, Dr. Elena Allbritton, opened the doors of their Georgetown home on the Sunday following the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner for an exclusive, invitation-only brunch. Roughly 250 were in attendence enjoying a menu of baby Colorado lamp chops, kobe beef hashcake with poached egg, heirloom apple and endive salad, Hong Kong steamed salmon, greek yogurt parfaits and a raw bar.”

That kobe beef hashcake sure sounds mouthwatering. So does the Hong Kong steamed salmon they must have had flown in fresh for the morning. But since we weren’t invited, we can only bring you what WE THINK went down at this exclusive garden brunch.

  • Charlie Mahtesian frantically scribbling the “5 Lessons From the Allbritton Garden Brunch.”
  • Politico‘s newest hire, Ryan Kearney, trying to convince everyone that he’s not nearly as creepy as he seems and that his work has vastly improved since Allbritton’s essentially failed venture TBD.
  • FNC’s Bret Baier having to convince everyone that he wasn’t a villainous coke dealer from a Miami Vice episode wearing the outfit pictured above. We dig the low-cut look on his peach button-down.
  • Bret Baier’s wife (also pictured above) turning down autograph seekers thinking she was Kim Kardashian or Cher.
  • Mike Allen staring into his Blackberry with the intensity of a thousand fiery suns.
  • BuzzFeed‘s Ben Smith, in town for the weekend, snapping pictures using Japanese Instagram.

So, while we weren’t actually there to bring you a full report, we have a feeling this was pretty close to reality.

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