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Archives: November 2005

D.C. Needs Another Magazine Like…

dcchefs.jpg…a fish needs a bicycle.

Not that anyone’s paying attention

Speaking of fish — the broiled kind, that is — the latest addition to DC’s magazine collection is “DC Chefs” magazine, produced by a dozen local prominent chefs (and [asparagus]spearheaded by Citronelle’s Michel Richard).

The magazine “will offer wonderful photography of the areas most renowned chefs and their restaurants along with interviews, favorite recipes and a personalized ’06 calendar of events.”

True, true, the magazine isn’t really a magazine — it is only scheduled to come out once a year — but it’s still another competitor for DC’s advertising dollars (especially since these high-end restaurants serve the same clientele targeted by Capitol File, DC Style, etc…even though DC Chefs proceeds go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital).

But here’s the interesting part:

It will be direct mailed to “embassies, private residences, members of Congress, association executives and business leaders.”

Hmm…is this kind of circulation model catching on?

Posties Exchange Zingers

In this month’s Washingtonian Post Watch, Harry Jaffe looks at investigator Sue Schmidt, the new ‘Skins reporter Howard Bryant, and also has a funny little tiff between Howard Kurtz and Jonathan Yardley.

Evidently the narrow-minded Yardley was none too pleased with Kurtz’s glowing profile of the NYT’s Maureen Dowd, so he fired off a nasty-gram: “Why, exactly, is the Washington Post giving a fat, wet kiss to a columnist for the New York Times? Isn’t that our competition?”

Kurtz eventually hits back with this: “Jonathan is much too smart and too discerning a critic to hold this view, so I can only conclude he didn’t have a chance to think it through.”

How Many Woodwards Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?

Having repeatedly eviscerated Tim Russert, Arianna has moved on to Bob Woodward, labeling him the ‘dumb blonde’ of American journalism. He is, she says, “so awed by his proximity to power that he buys whatever he’s being sold. In her scathing 1996 essay in the New York Review of Books, Joan Didion criticized Woodward’s reporting as marked by ‘a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured.’”

She continues: “Woodward also told [Larry King] ‘I am strictly in the middle.’ The problem is, the truth isn’t always in the middle; it’s often located on the sidelines, or hiding in the shadows amidst the endless rush of detail Woodward so loves to fill his books with.

“What Woodward fails to do again and again is connect the dots. He prefers to gather as many dots as he can, jam-pack his pages with them, and then let the little buggers hang out by themselves. Critical thinking that draws conclusions can be such a messy thing.”

If what Arianna is saying is true, it opens up all sorts of possibilities for new jokes. For instance:

Q: What’s the difference between Bob Woodward and a supermarket cart?
A: The supermarket cart has a mind of its own.

Q: Why does Bob Woodward keep a coat hanger in his back seat?
A: In case he locks the keys in his car.

Q: How do you keep Bob Woodward busy all day?
A: Put him in the Oval Office and tell him to sit in the corner.

19 Days and Counting

ThinkProgress points out that it’s been 19 days since we heard from Scott McClellan. That’s a long time. And just before his last briefing there were questions about how much longer he’ll be in his job. Now there are some legitimate explanations for that: Travel to Asia and Crawford, for one, Thanksgiving holiday, etc., for another. That said, now sometimes Washington journalists aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed, but should they start adding 2 and 2 together?

Does it equal 4? Or 5? We know he doesn’t really have the confidence of the press corps, but does he still have the confidence of the White House?

We think we know what Scott would say: “Every person who works here at the White House, including
Karl Rove and myself, has the confidence of the President.”

Yes, but for how much longer?

> Perhaps not unrelated to these questions, Scott himself gave a gaggle aboard Air Force One this afternoon….

Where’s the Juice on Woodward?

The Post’s Jacqueline Salmon raises an interesting point on the Washington Post’s internal critique board:

    I know I’m going to get dog-piled for this comment, but why were we treated to reams of titilating detail on the personal lives of two female celeb journalists–Judith Miller and Maureen Dowd–but nary a word about the private life of Bob Woodward? I know, I know…his presumably isn’t nearly as interesting as theirs. Nevertheless, it can leave the unintentional impression that female celeb journalists aren’t as, well, serious as male celeb journalists. And our readers might like to know who he’s married to, how many kids he has, what he does on weekends, etc. It would humanize him, much as we humanized Dowd and Miller.

So how about it Bob? Tell us your darkest, most intimate secrets…Bacon bits or croutons? Did you ever date Arthur Schlesinger? How about Michael Douglas?

Me thinks that, following on the heels of Dowd’s recent tome, Woodward may be working on his next book:

“Are Editors Necessary?”

Washington’s Top Journalists

This month’s Washingtonian magazine lists Washington’s “50 Best and Most Influential Journalists.” (not available online as of this writing). It’s mostly a round-up of the regular Media Rockstars: The Russerts, Blitzers, Broders, Friedmans, etc. But it does feature a number of lesser-knowns (but equally influential), including Cox’s Ken Herman, CBS’ Mark Knoller, Legal Times’ Tony Mauro, and WRC-TV’s Tom Sherwood.

Oh, and a little ‘ol lady named Judith Miller.

It’s interesting to take a look back at a similar list done by the Washingtonian in 2001 and to see who’s fallen in and out of favor in DC’s Media World.

Somewhere, Fred Hiatt gently weeps…

(Also of interest are two other “lists” in the December issue: “Great Explainers & Thinkers”–George Will, Chris Hitchens, Robert Samuelson, Stuart Taylor, Jr., etc.–and “People to Watch”–Ed Henry, Jonathan Weisman, Ryan Lizza, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, etc.)

Blooming Bloomberg

Bloomberg News has stolen Kathryn Kross (formerly of ABC News and CNN) and placed her in charge of Bloomberg’s Washington broadcast operations.

Bloomberg has made a number of great moves lately.

  • Placing Washington pro Al Hunt in charge of their Washington bureau).
  • Teaming up with the LA Times for national polls.
  • Hiring Ken Fireman away from Newsday.

Bloomberg is clearly making smart moves and positioning itself to be among the top of the tops of DC media outlets.

New Improved Nightline

It’s an all new Nightline tonight–the first of the Post-Koppel era–and our cousin TVNewser says things are looking bright. Maybe.

David Westin talks about the future of the show and the first show will feature Terry Moran in Iraq and Martin Bashir with a deaf football team.

Meanwhile, Koppel’s final show and his general awesomeness is still attracting accolades.

Did Cronkite Hate America?

cronkite_walter.jpgOn yesterday’s Reliable Sources Paul Krugman discussed the media’s views of the Iraq War and how the situation has changed since Walter Cronkite famously declared that we were losing the war in Vietnam:

“We are not Walter Cronkite’s country anymore. We are a much more polarized nation. There is no political center. People get their news from opposing sources.

“You look at the polls, people who voted for Bush in the last election just live in a different reality from people who voted for Kerry. And, you know, we’ve seen repeatedly not so much media figures, but policy figures. If you turn against Bush on the war, it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what were your record is. All of a sudden you’re just another Michael Moore.

“So, no, I don’t think we have a Walter Cronkite moment….

“If Walter Cronkite were on the news today, if a Walter Cronkite equivalent were on the news, he would — immediately after that broadcast we just saw, he would have been called a traitor.”

Fox and the (White) Henhouse

In Part II of this weekend’s Bob Woodward coverage in the Washington Post, ombudsman Deb Howell manages to score what Howard Kurtz couldn’t: Words that actually came from Woodward.

“Most of the hundreds of readers who wrote and called after my column on Bob Woodward ran last week said I was way too soft on him and on The Post. I think their concerns and questions deserve to be answered.

“One of those readers, Bob Woodward, thinks that some of his critics have ‘pigeonholed’ him unfairly. ‘For 34 years of reporting for The Post and 13 best-selling books, I have tried to focus on the reader and provide detailed, reliable, fair-minded inside accounts of the American presidency,’ he said. ‘My books are regularly quoted in newspapers and magazines, on television during the presidential debates, and by Democrats, Republicans, Bush supporters and Bush critics.’”

He goes on, saying some people ask, “‘Why don’t you get Bush the way you got Nixon?’ I’m not reporting to bring down a president or to build up a president. I ask the tough questions. I want to establish the facts in the most direct way I can.” He says he believes that the question should be: “Do the readers get information that they didn’t have before? I believe that I have added to what was known, and this is valuable.”

On the other hand, readers complain that if he’s keeping lots of secrets and only adding what he wants to add to the debate and won’t harm his access, that’s not really being true to his employer’s readers. As one reader said, “More foxes guarding the henhouse does nothing for us hens.”