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Archives: May 2005

Translating POTUS

In anticipation that Bush will hold another press conference soon, Judy “I’m So” Keen, one of USA Today’s White House reporters, offers a translation today of how to speak “Bush” in a press conference.

For instance when the President opens or closes a press conference by saying “Thank you for giving me a chance to come by and say hello” it’s his way of saying “although this is part of his job, it isn’t his favorite part.”

She also examines his “humor” and his “folksy remarks” as a way of connecting with people and reporters (which may or may not be a separate sub-lifeform depending on whether you ask people in the West Wing).

CNN Loves America

blitz.jpgNot to be outdone by ABC’s tribute “The Fallen,” Wolf Blitzer will host a one-hour special “Wolf Blitzer: Behind the Lines” this Sunday as part of Memorial Day Weekend. The show, which will first air on Sunday during Late Edition’s second hour, features stories from U.S. troops serving in the Iraqi theater.

It’ll draw on Blitzer’s recent week-long Middle East swing, which included stops in Kuwait, Qatar, and Iraq (where he spent time with CentCom Chief Gen. John Abizaid), and time aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson. CNN also reports Blitzer visited the Iraqi base at Umm Qasar in southern Iraq where he interviewed Iraqi troops about defeating the insurgency.

The special will re-air on Sunday at 5 p.m. (ET) and Monday at 3 p.m.

Arriving In Style

DCSTYLE.jpgD.C. Style has arrived in the city in a splash. The first of the city’s three new superluxury magazines to launch arrived on newsstands earlier this month–its launch advertising campaign, including banners in the Metro and bus advertisements, has been hard to miss.

A Jackie O look-alike graces the front cover, and the photography inside is unlike anything Washington has seen in quite a while–the magazine’s $3.99 cover price is almost worth it alone for the sexy fashion spread, shot in Zola, Oya, and IndeBleu, after which will never let you look at those locales in the same way again. Similarly, a portrait of two Virginia vintners shot by the magazine publisher’s husband, Michael Spain-Smith, has quite the interesting chemistry to it.

While some of the main content–particularly the main interview with Matthew McConaughey–is recycled from sister publication Philadelphia Style, there’s enough local D.C. stuff in it to show that the staff has learned a thing or two about their new locale. A profile of the ballet’s Septime Webre and the Food Network’s Marc Silverstein’s “Power Lunch” interview with the ever-present Chris and Katharine Matthews set at the Hill’s Bistro Bis brings home the magazine. (The Silverstein lunch series will be a regular feature.)

The fashion and trends sections of the magazine show that Washingtonian has little to worry about in terms of direct competition–this is more a localized Vogue or GQ than a regional lifestyle magazine.

More Style after the jump.

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WJLA ‘Sweep’ed To Victory

peterson1.jpgOn the local news front: It looks like viewers really did “move with Gordon.”

The Post’s John Maynard writes up the May sweeps numbers, and declares that after six years and 23 sweeps periods long-time leader WRC Channel 4 has slipped behind WJLA’s Channel 7 in the 5 p.m. hour–the only time that all four news channels compete. WJLA’s newscast, with Maureen Bunyan and Leon Harris, averaged 135,000 households, about 10K more than WRC. The channel’s 6 p.m. newscast with Gordon Peterson is up 50 percent and “nipping at the heels” of WRC in that timeslot.

Nationally, the sweeps numbers show that locally ABC’s World News Tonight beats CBS’ Evening News by a 2-1 margin at 6:30, and narrowly beats NBC’s Nightly News, which runs at 7 p.m

Set News Free (For Only $49.95 A Year)

Post tech columnist Leslie Walker has the latest in the “to charge or not to charge” debate in terms of newspapers’ online content.

Speaking at California conference this week, Dow Jones’ Peter Kann–which has about 730,000 subscribers to the paid online version of the WSJ–said that newspapers could help to offset the online issue by charging more for the paper version: “No one in this room thinks twice about spending $2 to buy a bad cup of coffee walking through an airport, yet most newspaper publishers are wary over even getting their single-copy price up to a dollar.”

The head of NYT Digital meanwhile argued that the news TimeSelect program, where subscribers will pay $49.95 a year for access to the op-ed columnists and the archives is a steal at the “cost of roughly two and a half martinis.” The guy has obviously been in New York for too long–in D.C., you could totally purchase three full martinis for $50.

Carlos Watson: CNN’s New ‘It’ Boy?

carloswatson.jpgIs CNN really looking to make Carlos Watson one of their lead voices when it comes to politics?

Three sources with knowledge of the situation have confirmed that high-level executives are discussing how to expand Carlos Watson’s role at CNN post-Inside Politics. We heard that Watson may become “senior political analyst,” but that title already belongs to Bill Schneider and Jeff Greenfield is already “senior analyst.” What else could CNN have in mind or is Schneider/Greenfield about to get moved?

The potential move has other political analysts, both at CNN and out, up-in-arms–since within the business, Watson’s analysis (when he offers anything original at all) is considered so weak as to be laughable. Donna Brazile, one of at least several people who find their opinions parroted back on CNN after talking with Watson, is supposed to have said once: “I’m going to watch Carlos’s interview and see what I have to say today.”

“This guy knows so little about politics, it actually hurts to read,” one source wrote today.

“To expand his role would be a HUGE mistake,” another said. “He knows nothing about politics.”

His CNN bio has the ring of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none quality to it, sort of airy and varied. He offers “commentary and analysis of the most current events and trends.” (So what? He doesn’t analyze simply recent current events?)

Nevertheless, he appears to have strong backing at the highest levels of CNN management (think: highest levels), and he’s done a good job of, um, making sure he’s liked by the right people, our sources said.

Anyone have further details?

UPDATE: Complaints about Watson’s lack of political knowledge aren’t new.

> After the announcement of his new show last fall “Off Topic With Carlos Watson,” Gawker wished Watson would be devoured by wild boars.

‘Face’ Slips In Key Demo

We’re going to try not to get too heavy into ratings here (they bore us too), but there’s more bad news for CBS’s “Face The Nation” in the final numbers for this past Sunday.

In TV’s key 25-54 demographic, ‘Face the Nation’ lost to ‘This Week’ with the ABC show garnering 30,000 more viewers–the CBS show’s worst performance since May 25, 2003!

And the numbers also show ‘Face’ slipping behind Fox News Sunday in cities ranging from here in Washington to Kansas City to Milwaukee to Portland to Detroit, among others.

Was this Sunday a wake-up call to CBS execs at ‘Face’?

Public To Press: Drop Dead

A new Annenburg study this week on public perceptions of the media underscores that while the press and the public might both physically inhabit the same area, they live in very different worlds.

Perhaps most disturbing are some of the numbers related to accuracy: While 86 percent of journalists believe they generally report accurately, fully half of the public believes they’re “often inaccurate.” When it comes to correcting info, three-quarters of journos say the mistake is quickly reported, but 65 percent of the public say mistakes are ignored or actively covered up.

Perhaps the only silver lining? The public still thinks the press is more ethical than lawyers and politicians. Untested in the poll is whether the press is less sketchy than Michael Jackson.

Full poll press release after the jump.

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Secrets, Secrets

So anyone want to take any guesses at the location of Ron Brownstein’s honeymoon and pyschoanalyze said destination?

The Hill provides a hint: It’s in Europe.

Post: We Still Think We’re Right

The Post’s update today on yesterday’s he-said, he said of whether SecDef Rumsfeld gave the order to shoot down a small Cessna that penetrated D.C. airspace earlier this month maintains that it’s sources are correct.

According to Spencer Hsu’s update, the Post reinterviewed the two original sources after Rumsfeld yesterday denied giving such an order, and that both original sources “whose agencies were involved in the incident” “in separate interviews” backed up their earlier statements.

Lower down, though, we find out that the sources have no first-hand knowledged of the order but were “told” that it had happened.

As we said yesterday: This seems to be a clear-cut case. Someone is not telling the truth, and it’s worth continued investigation.