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Archives: January 2005

Dick Cheney Blows Snow

The Style section of the Post today went after Dick Cheney’s outfit yesterday at the 60th anniversary of liberating Auschwitz. Evidently everyone wore appropriate black and somber attire, except for Cheney, who, as the picture shows, wore an olive drab parka and a knit winter hat that read “Staff 2001.” As the Post’s Robin Givhan wrote, “The vice president, however, was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.”

The story is atypically harsh on the normally warm and fuzzy veep, going on to say:

It is also worth mentioning that Cheney was wearing hiking boots — thick, brown, lace-up ones. Did he think he was going to have to hike the 44 miles from Krakow — where he had made remarks earlier in the day — to Auschwitz?

It concluded that while the vice president might have been warm in his Aspen slope-ready outfit, it “had the unfortunate effect of suggesting that he was more concerned with his own comfort than the reason for braving the cold at all.”

Is Fishbowl reading too much into this or is this the first volley from the Post in how they’ll cover the second term?

eBay Update

Since there’s been a lot of eBay action lately on Fishbowl, we thought we’d take a quiet moment this morning to update where things stand:

Conservative pundit Michael Graham is still selling his soul; it’s received 31 bids and is up to $1,125. The auction ends Feb. 2, so if you’re looking for a way to get out your reaction to the Wednesday SOTU this might be cost effective.

Meanwhile, Bob Edwards’ NPR jacket is going well too: 8 bids and a current price of $20.50 (almost the going rate on eBay for a jacket). Amusingly the jacket seems to have taken on a life of its own, and we got an email forwarded yesterday from a PR flack for XM Satellite Radio, where Edwards now hosts a morning show, pointing out how the proceeds of the sale will be donated to American Public Radio, NPR’s competitor. Buy now, as it ends Monday.

A Hat Trick of Columnists

It’s a hat trick! Salon’s Eric Boehlert has word late last night that Michael McManus, a marriage advocate whose syndicated column, “Ethics & Religion,” appears in 50 newspapers, was hired as a subcontractor by the Department of Health and Human Services to foster a Bush-approved marriage initiative. McManus championed the plan in his columns without disclosing to readers he was being paid to help it succeed.

Salon is reporting(free day pass required) that McManus-whom Boehlert could not reach for comment-got about $10,000 for his work, which included training during a two-day conference in Chattanooga, Tenn., and presentations at HHS-sponsored conferences. His syndicated column has appeared in such papers as the Washington Times, the Dallas Morning News and the Charlotte Observer.

What it is about the administration hiring reporters of whom no one has ever heard? Really, had anyone heard of Michael McManus, Maggie Gallagher, or Armstrong Williams prior to 2005? You’d have thought that the administration would have at least gone after some famous names.

A related update to the two-day-old story about Maggie Gallagher too: She’s been hitting back against Kurtz, and appeared on the Lehrer NewsHour saying that Kurtz was misleading in his coverage and had not been fair about the angle of his story. Hmm. Slimy, underhanded information gathering tactics that led to a dubious and supposedly false conclusion. Given that framework, who on earth could be paying Kurtz’s salary?

Times Lands POTUS (finally)

Drudge has some breaking news of interest to those who have following how locked out of the West Wing the Times has been recently:

FLASH: LAST BUT NOT LEAST /// Bush finally will grant the NEW YORK TIMES its interview today after returning to DC from Cleveland. It’s the last of a batch of newspaper interviews that began weeks ago and it will be hard to get him to make news one day after a wide-ranging, 47-minute presser. [C-SPAN also gets an interview today, to be conducted by Brian Lamb]… Developing…

Who at the NYT will get the pleasure? Maybe these things really work….

Just in from Outer Space

Turning for a moment to the now super-hot realm of satellite radio, the NY Post and a few other places yesterday reported word that Florida Avenue-based XM Satellite Radio and its (one) competitor Sirius are in talks for a merger. Or, at least it’s possible. The talks, which have occurred from time to time, are being taken to a new level with the hiring by Sirius of former Viacom prez Mel Karmazin. As one source told the NY Post: “Mel is a roll-up guy, a deal guy.”

The NY Post explains that a merger between the as-yet-unprofitable networks would help alleviate widespread fears of “irrational” price wars and large marketing budgets.

Meanwhile as the dominant XM network launches two new satellites, the NY Daily News today is reporting that Karmazin also has plans to leverage Howard Stern, whom the network signed to a $500 million deal last fall, and grow aggressively the network’s advertising revenue, which currently accounts for only about $1 million out of $67 million in revenues.

(The NYDN story also updates with a quote from Karmazin denying any merger talks.)

* * *

The Daily News today also noted that Sirius will be launching its new Maxim Radio channel this weekend during the Super Bowl. Now is it just us or would Maxim be much less interesting without the pictures?

Post Meets Heywood Jablome

The Washington City Paper’s talented Erik Wemple has discovered that the Post got taken for a ride as part of its inauguration coverage. In his column this week, which isn’t online yet, he points to a Post photo from last Friday showing a “dowdy, middle-aged white man in a tuxedo shouting down a less formally dressed anti-Bush protester.” The caption in question read, “Outside the Freedom Ball at Union Station, Rich R. Danu of Detroit waves his wallet at protester Antonia Clark of New York, left, telling her ‘I’d like to thank George Bush for his tax cuts.” Kudos for the Post for capturing some of the daily fight between the haves and the have nots, huh?

Not exactly. The tuxedo-clad man was a member of Billionaires for Bush, whose other participants included Ivana Moore-Enmoore, Robin Eublind, and Fillmore Barrels. Rich R. Danu, get it?

The real-life “Rich” is actually Norman Clark, 48, of Michigan, an unemployed liquor consultant (Sidenote: you think that job is as fun as it sounds?).

The Post’s reaction to being taken? Classic. “Oh shit, I hate it when that happens,” responded Joe Elbert, AME for photography. I’m sorry, Joe, was that on the record or off the record?

Considering this same sort of thing has happened before, you sort of wonder whether newspapers should set up a database of these to cross-check names against.

NPR Takes On The Prince of Darkness


Pop Quiz: One of these so-called Princes of Darkness has bitten the head off a live bat on stage. The other only does it in private. Which is which? Email us with your answer.

NPR’s On the Media tore into the Washington establishment this week, ripping the Times’ Bumiller for “beat sweetening” with a suck-up piece to new WH CD Nicolle Devenish and dissecting the infamous reporting of the Prince of Darkness (a.k.a. Ozzy Osbourne, a.k.a. Bob Novak).

It’s worth a listen if only to hear Brooke Gladstone get huffy with insider Harry Jaffe of the Washingtonian before he breaks down and admits that–shock–he’s part of the Washington press corps:

Read more

BREAKING NEWS ALERT: Bush wants to stop buying journalists

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is Karen Ryan, reporting live from Washington. We are interrupting your normal Thursday blog reading to bring you this special report:

The fall-out from Kurtz’s revelation yesterday is continuing across the D.C. media landscape as pundit after pundit tries to climb aboard the gravy train of promoting the president’s agenda. Many reporters have reacted angrily to the news. In an exclusive interview one reporter told Fishbowl this morning, “Like so many other members of the press, I’ve been marching in lock step with the Bushies for three years, but who knew I could be getting paid for doing so?”*

Meanwhile, following up on an offer first made by Fishbowl yesterday, D.C. radio jock Michael Graham from 630-WMAL has put himself up for sale on eBay (so far he’s doing better than Bob Edwards’ jacket). Maureen Dowd, for her part, announced in her column today, “I’m herewith resigning as a member of the liberal media elite. I’m joining up with the conservative media elite. They get paid better.”

The President, irritated that this issue is distracting him from his plans to invade Iran, has hit back with this stunner:

“All our Cabinet secretaries must realize that we will not be paying commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet,” Bush said at a news conference.

Later in the press conference Bush clarified that Bob Novak will remain a wholly-owned subsidiary of Halliburton through 2012, as per his contract.

* Quote is not meant to represent an actual interview with an actual reporter. Original source for quotation was Dresden, Fishbowl’s stuffed dog.

Yours for $10!!!!! (or something like that)


Who could forget the brouhaha nearly a year ago about how NPR was firing Bob Edwards? Yes, that quiet and friendly voice from Morning Edition would be no more. Well now’s your chance to own a real piece of radio history! No, it’s not Edward R. Murrow’s microphone into which he crooned “This…is…London,” to the sounds of the Blitz around him. No, it’s WAAAYYY more exciting than that.

A disaffected NPR staffer has turned to eBay to sell the National Public Radio jacket Edwards wore on his final staff retreat! Yes, for the low, low price of whatever it’s selling for right now, you can own this gen-u-ine piece of Americana. Fishbowl would bid on it ourselves, but we don’t think it falls under the “reasonable expenses” outlined in our contract.

The seller’s description says it all:

This is a Medium fleece jacket presented to and worn by Bob Edwards at what wound up being his final staff retreat among National Public Radio’s Morning Edition staff. He decided this jacket was too small for him, so he gave it to me. I’m parting with this new and perfect item because I miss Bob and the memories are too painful.

Fishbowl could make a witty rejoinder here, but would it really make you appreciate this entry anymore? Yea, we didn’t think so either.

UPDATE: DCist has an interview with Edwards today. It doesn’t mention his jacket.

A-Hoy Achen-Blog!

Fishbowl recently stumbled across what we believe is the first permanent blog from a Washington Postie: Columnist Joel Achenbach’s Achenblog.

Besides being a bit heavy on the strange name puns (in addition to Achenblog, there’s Achenchat), the blog deserves some applause for being relatively “real,” and offering some decent insight into how journalism is conducted in the District.

Here’s yesterday’s entry:

Aspiring journalists are always asking me, “How did you become such a famous writer, in addition to being a sparkling conversationalist and an extraordinarily manly man?” The first part is easy. Good writing comes from good reporting. And good reporting sometimes comes from standing around, waiting to get lucky. You want to put yourself in the position where luck will bump into you. The single best place to get lucky is in the halls of the Capitol. You will never get an appointment with a Senator, but on a good morning, hanging around, cooling your heels, you might bump into 10 of them, and they will usually let you tag along on the subway tram as they zip between the Capitol and the Senate office buildings. Sometimes you can follow them right into their inner sanctum. Once, during the Clinton impeachment, Orrin Hatch took me into his office and played some of the music he’d composed. He sang along, swaying back and forth. The things you discover from just standing around!

Joel’s blog reminds Fishbowl of another entry into the blogosphere by one of D.C.’s top reporters.

Are there any other D.C. media personality blogs out there we don’t know about? Drop us an email: garrett AT fishbowldc DOT com.