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Archives: April 2005

Rhetoric Watch

nuclear.jpgAn exchange from Howard Kurtz’s Normally-Monday-But-This- Week-On-A-Tuesday chat:

Question: Have you been following the discussion at Talking Points Memo about the evolution of media coverage of the term “nuclear option”? Apparently it was coined by Trent Lott, but now the GOP is pressuring the media (ever scared of being accused of liberal bias) into reporting that “nuclear option” is Democratic spin and the GOP’s preferred term “constitutional option” should be used in the interests of fair and balanced reporting.

Howard Kurtz: Odds that journalists will start using “constitutional option” instead of “nuclear option”: Zero. That’s one prediction that won’t blow up.

Also on tap today in the chatroom? Fox News, Bill Moyers, Tom Delay, and polls.

Where Are The ‘Tacky Guests’?

From a tipster:

I’ll tell ya, I’ve been thoroughly disappointed with this year’s list of celebs appearing at the WHCA dinner. I went last year, and we got to see the Olsen twins, Ben Affleck, Serena Williams, Drew Carey, Wayne Newton, Clay Aiken, and many others. This year, it’s news that ABC has Senators Susan Collins and Judd Gregg? Please. I’d rather stay home.

As much as we have to disagree that Judd “Hot Stud” Gregg is news, our tipster does have a fair point: Where ARE the big names this year?

Come on, ever since Michael Kelly, then a not-so-cub-but-still-young reporter with the Baltimore Sun, brought Fawn Hill to the White House Correspondents dinner in 1987, it’s been a race to the bottom for the biggest names of low culture and glitziest Hollywood faces. Or as White House Press Secretary Jody Powell used to call them: “tacky guests.”

So who is the tackiest guest of 2005?

Nominations? More guests lists floating out there? Let us know…

Prom Dates, Part II

Today’s edition of prom dates (For Part I, see here):

  • Filling out a bit more of ABC’s star-studded list, MPAA President Dan Glickman, Wonkette, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) will all grace the network with their presence.

  • Gossiper Karen Feld has talker Jim Bohannon, WTOP’s Man About Town Bob Madigan, and Neil Livingstone, the CEO of GlobalOptions, among others. Have no fear, though. It appears that poodle Campari will have a seat at the table too, along with some Examiner execs.

  • CNN will have Bill Maher of HBO and Jim Kimsey, the co-founder of AOL, at its tables, among others.

  • CBS is focusing its tables on its regular White House crews–John Roberts, Bill Plante, and Mark Knoller–plus Scott Pelley from “60 Minutes Wednesday,” and their West Wing producers. Beyond the briefing room regulars, Michael Bass, the senior executive producer of “The Early Show,” and Early Show anchor Hannah Storm and her husband will attend.

  • Like CBS, MSNBC won’t be bringing any marquee guests Saturday, instead focusing its tables on anchors, execs, and staffers.

  • Also, in news likely to break Richard Leiby’s heart, it appears that the attendance of supermodel Vendela and her husband, Olaf, might be jeopardized by the lack of a babysitter.

Keep the guest lists and dinner nuggets coming. Email garrett AT mediabistro DOT com or use the tip box. We have hundreds of tables to still go…

Quote of the Day

lesleystahl.jpg“Ooh, to be a correspondent on ‘The Daily Show’ and to be able to make it all up? Oh, how delicious!”

– CBS News’s Lesley Stahl, when asked on Sunday whether she would rather be a correspondent on “The Daily Show” or have Jon Stewart join “60 Minutes.”

Inside the Bubbles

On her best days, you have to admit Wonkette does have a decent and insightful sense of humor. The Wonkette team obviously put a lot of work into their “Inside the Bubble” awards for this weekend, linking to more names than any human being should ever be forced to do.

Looking at the nominees, some are obviously self-evident (Do you really think that Terry Moran and John Roberts could possibly be in the same league as Helen Thomas when it comes to being hated by the White House?) and others clearly were robbed of their due (No Les Kinsolving in best presser questions category?), but by-and-large the competition for these meaningless awards will be as fierce as the fight for seats in the Crawford Elementary School gymnasium.

No, It’s Not Just You

Struggling to find your favorite column online in the Washington Post today? Your bookmarks redirecting you to strange places? is shifting over to a new content management system, and it appears that they broke a bunch of the column links today (including those to our favorites, Howard Kurtz and Dan Froomkin, which is now suddenly a multi-page White House Briefing). Not sure whether the CMS changes are linked to the fact that Roxanne Robert’s column never made it online today and the Reliable Source was mislabeled yesterday, but the gremlins are definitely working overtime.

Word is that today’s changes aren’t the last, and that you’ll see some more website appearance and link tweaks in the near future….

Gannon, Gannon, Guckert

If, after everything else, you still can’t get enough of the Jeff Gannon story: AlterNet has published a full-length investigation into his background, his previous jobs, and his time in rural/suburban Pennsylvania–i.e. the time when he wasn’t Johnny Gosch. Also Raw Story has a very intriguing expose of the Secret Service records of Gannon’s White House visits, which like so much else in this case raises more questions than it answers.

Gannon, we hear, will also be making an appearance on the cover of the next issue of the Advocate, which isn’t online yet.

Oh, and just for the record: Gannon doesn’t yet have a date to the prom on Saturday. If your organization still has some invites kicking around, you can reach him through his website.

No guarantees on his cost for the night, but you might be able to get a reduced rate given the last-minute notice.

Prom Dates, Part I

As word trickles in to the Fishbowl Prom War Room, we’ll be posting guest lists and news as we get it.

One emailer this morning pointed out the shame of this whole exercise: “Catty, I know, but it’s what we do.” We couldn’t agree more. Three notes so far today:

  • Reuters is planning a pre-party cocktail hour, but the word on the street is that the event might be targeted by the wire service’s aggressive and grievance-filled union for some sort of action: “Reuters could have some problems on their hands if its workers, tired of getting screwed by their parent company, choose to do some lobbying at the high profile event,” our source says.

  • Reader’s Digest ran into some problems getting prom tickets of its own (did they really forget to put in a request at all???), and so its two-person D.C. bureau was left to scrounge up some extra tickets from other news agencies. Ditto on the guest list when a round of Hollywood invites returned resounding silence. We hear that their marquee guest, far from a social elite, is Safia Taleb al-Suhail, the Iraqi woman with the purple-dipped finger made famous by President Bush at the State of the Union.

  • ABC’s guest list–including the previously announced James Dobson, Al Franken, and Steven Colbert–will feature both of the Super Bowl quarterbacks: the Eagles’ Donovan McNabb and the Patriots’ Tom Brady, who had been rumored to be in talks with CNN for an invite. Also joining Team Disney for the night will be Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington, a Howard University grad and Air Force vet.

Anyone else you know of? Email us or use the tip box. We’ll post more updates as events warrant.

A Walk With Larry

Larry_King.jpgYesterday’s Reliable Source points to Larry King’s latest gig: Tour guide.

King, although now a resident of L.A., was asked by Talking Streets to do their D.C. guide because of his two decades in the capital (and, we presume, his sexy suspenders). After all the company explains the best way to see a city is by “having an ultra-savvy resident show you around–a guide who can reveal what a place is really like, and how it got that way.” King’s cell-phone walking tour is titled “The Washington Mall: Symbols of America.”

“As it happens, my job…on TV…is all about getting famous figures to reveal themselves. And that’s kind of what this tour is about. All around us are these grand structures–and they have a kind of silent dignity, right? Well… we’re going to get the marble talking,” King’s introduction says.

Other TS offerings include Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler in Boston and Seinfeld’s Jerry Stiller for NY’s Lower East Side. While some are free, King’s tour is $5.95.

When told that initial reactions to the tour were positive, King told the Reliable Souce he was flattered: “Maybe I could come out to guide people. I’d need a little uniform — tell them I want a Washington Nationals uniform and we’ll do the tour live.”

Prom Help

This Saturday, as most everyone in D.C. knows, is The Biggest Night of the Year–the black tie, fancy schmanzy White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, a.k.a. “Prom.” Fishbowl’s tuxedo is back from the dry cleaners and all ready to go, and given our sartorial abilities, we should probably start attempting to tie the bow tie tomorrow. In the meantime, though, we want to know everything about the dinner.

We’ve got all sorts of special team coverage planned for this week, but we need your help in gathering all the necessary dirt. Know of a famous guest for your organization? Heard of a good pre-party (Kentucky Derby, anyone?) or an after-party other than the Bloomberg Party (and, yes, for the record, rumors of a Capitol File soiree have been greatly exaggerated)? Know who didn’t make the invite list for Bloomberg? Have you heard some hallway griping about table assignments? Do you know what jokes Cedric will be telling?

We’re looking for any and all information you have. Use the tip box or email us: garrett AT mediabistro DOT com.