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Archives: December 2005

’05 & ’06

It’s time to look back and look forward at the year in Washington media. Next week we’ll be featuring some of our favorite stories, quotes, and people from 2005. Who was the biggest deal in 2005: Bob Woodward, Bob Novak, or Judy Miller? Who was the biggest disaster? Anyone remember Jeff Gannon?

What are your predictions for 2006? Use the box below to give us your thoughts on 2005 and your ideas about 2006. We’ll be posting the best predictions through the weekend and early next week.

All submissions are, of course, anonymous.

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2006 Predictions, from NRO’s The Corner

The quirky, conservative and always entertaining folks over at National Review Online’s “The Corner” blog have put out their list of 2006 predictions.

Here are some of the ones relevant to readers of this blog:

    Kellyanne Conway: Valerie Plame poses in Playboy. Husband continues to complain others outed her. Three high-ranking officials in the Bush administration (White House or Cabinet) resign for non-controversial reasons.

    Jonah Goldberg: Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame will enter talks to launch their own talk/reality show. Even after a sweeps week episode in which Wilson eats 6 pounds of yellow cake from in-between Plame’s cleavage with his hands tied behind his back, he will take great offense at anyone who suggests he’s a publicity hound.

    There will be more revelations about right-wing pundits–most of them fairly marginal figures–being paid to write columns. But the hullabaloo will spark investigations of several liberal journalists. The results will prove sufficiently embarrassing that the issue will be less fun for Daily Kos types but spark a million thumb-sucking panels at the Columbia Journalism School. Freed-up from book writing, Jonah Goldberg will become a dynamo of journalistic productivity. He will also reacquaint himself with the concept of cardio-vascular activity.

    Kathryn Jean Lopez: Maureen Dowd becomes an success-story commercial. A fight breaks between Corner regulars at NRO’s tenth anniversary party. I break it up.

    Carrie Lukas: Air America will finally go under, ironically undermined by “competition” from the taxpayer-supported NPR that they vigorously support. Distraught listeners in search of liberal viewpoints will be forced to turn to CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, The New York Times, etc…

    Clifford D. May: Roger Ailes will not lose sleep over competitive pressures. More specifically, network news programs, CNN and MSNBC, and major newspapers will not stem declines in audience/circulation. The media moguls will not figure out that at least half of those who follow the news are conservatives who prefer not to be insulted and condescended to by “progressive” reporters, editors, and producers. Maureen Dowd will not get married.

    John J. Miller: At National Review: a Duran Duran cover band called Le Bon Bon will record “K Lo,” to the tune of “Rio,” and it will rise to #14 on the Japanese charts; Jonah Goldberg will be photographed topless on the deck of a National Review cruise ship, sparking an international controversy that helps him launch a reality-TV show showcasing his collection of homemade hand puppets, which have never been seen before; a student group called the Womyn’s Liberation Front will sponsor a ceremonial burning of Kate O’Beirne’s best-selling book Women Who Make the World Worse.

    Ned Rice: Hoping to regain her anonymity, Valerie Plame announces plans to host a prime-time TV show on MSNBC.

Froomkin, Jr.

What a great way for Dan Froomkin to cap a year that ended with, well, a bit of controversy. Congratulations to both Dan and his wife Paige Fitzgerald, who welcomed 9 pounds, 7 ounces Max Fitzgerald Froomkin on Monday night.

NJ Co-Founder Passes On

It seems like we’ve been writing about a lot of media obituaries recently.

Cliff Sessions, a dogged civil rights reporter who was co-founder of National Journal and its first managing editor, passed away over the weekend. He was 74.

After tumultuous years covering race and the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Sessions landed at Washington on the politics beat for UPI. He co-founded National Journal in 1969 and was managing editor from 1969 to 1971.

More Woes For the Post?

Can’t the Post just have one week without some bad news? 2005 has most certainly not been an easy year for them.

Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds is on top of a potentially misleading Post article:

    Meanwhile, still no word from the Washington Post on the factual errors in the Jonathan Finer and Doug Struck story that misreported on Bill Roggio’s blogging from Iraq. I know it’s the holidays, but this is still an embarrassment for the Post.

(Update: Tapscott’s Copy Desk has a great round up and analysis.)

We Report, Hardball Listens…

Look: We don’t want to sit here and suggest that yesterday’s post about the outdated transcripts on Chris Matthews’ website spawned the Hardball crew into action…

…But it was hard not to wonder just where this Craigslist Job Posting–posted yesterday–came from:

    Reply to:
    Date: 2005-12-28, 1:16PM EST

    Established DC media company seeks an experienced editor to work with political transcripts. Must be fast, able to work under pressure with sometimes severe time constraints. Extensive familiarity with AP style required. Previous experience editing against audio, and excellent listening skills highly desirable, transcribing ability useful. Familiarity with Congress, other political figures (domestic and foreign), foreign policy, government acronyms very useful. Position also requires effective communication with people working from home and feeding audio to them.

    * Job location is Washington, D.C.
    * Compensation: $30-$35,000/year salary depending on experience; benefits available include life insurance and medical insurance, 401K.

Merry F-ing Christmas, Ana


Remember these happy, happy days in Summer 2004? They appear to be long, long gone.

In this month’s glossy new Capitol File, Jessica Cutler, aka Washingtonienne, uses Jason Binn‘s love column to take more or less direct aim at a certain other famous D.C. blogger. In the missive, entiled “Take It Or Leave It: Jessica Cutler Examines, Loosely, The Blurry Line Between Marrieds And Singles,” is about how married people have so many good things in life, except that they can’t just jump into bed with anyone they want. Only singles can do that.

The choice excerpts:

“Last year, one of my friends (and I use that term loosely) admitted to me that she had a crush on one of the cable news anchors. Since she’s a married woman, I didn’t take it seriously, because I get ridiculous crushes all the time, and they don’t mean anything….

“But like I said, she’s not a good friend, so I didn’t know how much this ‘crush’ meant to her. Nor can I tell you what she was thinking when she gave him my phone number. He supposedly wanted to interview me on his show, but it turns out that he used the term interview loosely. After dinner, he brought me back to my apartment and we had intercourse–brief, perfunctory, meaningless intercourse….

“So I had to my friend about this, especially if she was entertaining the possibility of having an affair with this guy…. [S]he was pissed. Her voice became shrill as she chastised me…. When I asked her why she was so angry, she made excuses to get off the phone, leaving me to wonder what the BFD was. If it was just a crush, then why the hysterics?….

“A year later, I received an advance copy of a novel she had written since our falling-out and was surprised to see that our conversation had been worked into the storyline. When the protagonist learns that the anchorman is sleeping with another woman, our heroine is utterly devastated…. Of course, the heroine is a love-struck girl, which makes for a much more sympathetic character than a married woman with a horny-housewife crush.”

The column goes on recounting how Cutler feels she didn’t do anything wrong by sleeping with the anchorman, since they were both single and her “friend” was married anyway.

So let’s see, who could possibly match this description? A Washington-based female ex-friend of Cutler’s who recently had a novel come out involving a philandering newsman and a single heroine. Oh wait! That must be Wonkette Ana Marie Cox‘s forthcoming Dog Days.

We imagine the Christmas card read something like this:

Merry Christmas Ana, thanks for making me famous. I’m having the BESTEST year (just appeared in KoreAM Journal). By the way, enclosed is a little ditty I wrote for Jason about all those good times we had last year. Hope you’re well…..

Love, Jessica.

Anyone have guesses on who the cable news anchor was? The real-life version of the story involves a single man, so that rules out Wolf Blitzer and Chris Matthews.

Who else could it be….?

2005 Cable Ratings

Our cousin TVNewser has pulled together the year-end cable ratings, and there’s a little bit of good news for all three networks: Fox News still kicked everyone else’s behind; CNN posted solid growth, especially on 360; and MSNBC managed to hold on to #3. Of course, all things being equal, MSNBC would still probably like to see Fox’s numbers…

Disclosure of Pressure

Although the jury is still out on the legality of President Bush’s approval of domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency, there is a general consensus emerging within journalist circles that both the New York Times and the Washington Post misbehaved when they failed to reveal that President Bush had summoned representatives from their respective papers to the White House in order to encourage them not to run certain stories that Bush believed would harm national security.

Bush had Times Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., Executive Editor Bill Keller and Times D.C. Bureau Chief Phil Taubman visit on December 5 to dissuade them from running the NSA piece. Prior to Dana Priest’s Nov. 2 story about secret CIA prisons, Bush called in the Post’s Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr..

Editor & Publisher has some reactions from the 4th Estate.

  • “What strikes me is that neither of the papers have reported it,” said John Walcott, Washington bureau chief for Knight Ridder. “They agreed to go into it on White House ground rules that the meetings would be off the record. I don’t know why the papers accepted that condition.”

    Andy Alexander
    , Washington bureau chief for Cox Newspapers, agreed. “You should report it with the story,” he said. “It gets into the agreement you have with the White House as to what you can report.”

    For Jack Germond, a former Washington reporter with The Washington Star and The Sun of Baltimore, it is part of the news. “I was surprised they didn’t report it in this case,” he said of The Post and Times examples. “Why not report it? It is part of the story. You can agree not to discuss the details of the conversation with the president. But the fact that you have such a meeting is not off the record.”

Somebody Stop Me Before I Rhyme Again

We already knew that the holidays were good for caroling, eating and brush clearing.

But poems? Seems like everywhere we turn, someone’s got their own holiday-like rhyme. The Washington Times’ new media columnist, Dan Caterinicchia, is the latest–and hopefully the last for the holiday season–to throw his poetic hat into the ring of iambic pentameter. His column–”The year that was, for better or verse”–drops rhymes only slightly better than Lil’Bow Wow and significantly below the Shakespearean qualities of “Chronic(what?)cles.”

    The local dial leaders are WPGC 95.5 and Majic 102.3.
    Can they hold off Howard U’s 96.3 and newsy WTOP?

Awwww, yeah…Somebody give that boy a mic. Gimme a beat!