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Archives: February 2006

Radio Switches and Changes

Some local radio notes reported in the Washington Post over the weekend:

  • Urban adult-contemporary station WHUR (96.3 FM), a perennial ratings powerhouse, has benched its morning drive team, Tony Richards , TC , George Willborn and Herman Washington of “The Real DC Morning Show.” They will be replaced in the 6-to-10 a.m. slot by the syndicated ” Steve Harvey Morning Show,” starting March 6. A station rep declined to comment.

  • Former senator Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), an actor who played a senator until he actually became one (and is now an actor again), has lined up a new gig: radio personality. ABC Radio will announce next week that Thompson has signed on as a senior analyst and vacation replacement for the legendary Paul Harvey , 87. Thompson isn’t quitting his day job as the district attorney on “Law & Order.” He’ll be heard twice in the morning (8:30 and 11:45 am) on WMAL (630 AM) when Harvey’s out.

  • The forthcoming station WTWP (107.7 FM and 1500 AM) has hired NBC White House correspondent Bob Kur as its afternoon-drive host. Kur, who has anchored on MSNBC, will run the 3 to 7 p.m. shift. WTWP begins airing March 30, featuring reporters from The Post. It’s owned by Bonneville International, which also owns WTOP (103.5 FM), WGMS (104.1 and 103.9 FM) and WFED (1050 AM) locally.

    And while we’re discussing changes, why not discuss two print changes:

    <LIStephen Dinan will leave his beat covering Capitol Hill for the Washington Times to join Joe Curl in covering the White House. Dinan is filling the shoes of Bill Sammon, who recently left the Times to join the Washington Examiner.

  • Marcia Slacum Greene, currently the assistant District editor for politics and government, will become the Post’s new City Editor. Greene is a 22-year veteran of The Post.

  • Your Weekend Reading List

    Some news and articles you may have missed over the weekend:

  • Deborah Howell’s column on the Post’s local coverage (“It’s clear that readers want more of everything local.”)

  • Colbert King on “The Death of David Rosenbaum.”

  • Does DC have our own version of Howard Stern?

  • The Post’s Phuong Ly wins the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ 2006 award for writing on diversity.

  • And Tim Russert’s been working out:

      MR. RUSSERT: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, thank you for joining us, and we’ll be covering your race very carefully and closely.

      GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: I hope so, I hope so. And by the way, you look nice and trim. Your abs look good. Keep up the good work.

      MR. RUSSERT: Well, coming from you, Arnold, that’s quite a compliment, I must say.

      We’ll be right back.

  • Abramoff’s BFF

    Howard Kurtz today writes up his chat with the Washingtonian’s National Editor Kim Eisler (Kurtz calls Eisler “Abramoff’s Media Pal”), who’s been one of the few reporters to actually speak with Jack Abramoff in the past few months.

      Kim Eisler says he’s a decent man who has been unfairly demonized.

      For six years, Washingtonian’s national editor has been chatting, dining and exchanging e-mails with the disgraced lobbyist, undeterred by last month’s guilty plea to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials.

      “There’s been this explosion of hatred toward the guy, far in excess of what any other lobbyist has ever been confronted with,” Eisler says. “I think the level of villainy is a little excessive. . . . He has a lot of good qualities that people don’t know about.”

    Kurtz seems to think that Eisler’s “friendship” with Abramoff can compromise his reporting occasionally and it’s clear from the piece that Eisler is more sympathetic to Abramoff than many other journalists.

    But the whole story brings to light an interesting issue: Although journalists are always cautioned to stay 15 degrees of separation from their subjects, Eisler’s relationship with Abramoff has resulted in some invaluable insight into this other story that other journalists simply haven’t been able to provide.

    To mingle or not to mingle? That is the question…

    Welcome to the Big Leagues

    sammonbook.jpgThe Examiner todays takes the top third of its cover to tout its new “senior” White House correspondent Bill Sammon, formerly of the Washington Times.

    Inside, in his debut article, there’s the first of a five-part series on President Bush and his second term and a look ahead to 2006.

    The Examiner also gives a prominent plug to his new book, “Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media,” which is officially released today by Regnery.

    Of course the amusing part? The cover of the book states Sammon is the White House correspondent for the Washington Times.

    Televised WH Briefings A ‘Mistake’

    scott98.jpgQuestion: Who thinks that televising White House press briefings was a big mistake? Ari Fleischer, Mike McCurry, or Cox’s Ken Herman? Answer: All of the above, they tell Kit Seelye today.

    The reason? It’s led to what a clinical psychologist called “‘White House reporter syndrome,’ “in which competitive high achievers feel restricted and controlled and become emotionally isolated from others who are not steeped in the same experience.” The psychologist added that she’s counseled several White House correspondents in recent years (Who? For what? Huh?).

    Slate’s John Dickerson meanwhile rose to the defense of the televised briefings, saying that while there is pressure, “the role of the press is to bang its fist on the table, and if the answer is reasonable and makes us look foolish, fine.”

    In the end, though, the reporters in the briefing room should be comforted by the sage observation of the WP’s Dana Milbank: “We’re one of the most reviled subsets of one of the most reviled professions…. We’re going to lose the battle every time.”

    Meet the Republicans

    What happens when you’re the undisputed and long-time champion of the Sunday morning talk shows? The “Today” show of the weekend Beltway crowd?

    Well, ten days after a big report comes out that shows that the Sunday morning talk shows are skewed towards Republicans and conservatives, you get to mock the entire enterprise by only having Republicans on.

    In her weekly dissection of the show, Arianna Huffington writes, “Today on Meet the Press it was Meet the Republicans, as Russert’s well-rounded lineup included Republican Senator John Warner, Republican Congressman Peter King and Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Perhaps the phone lines are down on the other side of the political divide.”

    No one ever said EP Betsy Fischer lacked a sense of humor.

    Analyzing Robin Givhan

    In the new March issue of Washingtonian, Harry Jaffe profiles everyone’s favorite fashion writer: Robin Givhan. You might remember her from Cheney’s parka, Condi’s boots, Alito’s wife, or just last week, Cheney’s pink tie.

    “Givhan has carved her niche as a journalist who turns the attire of the powerful into social, political, and cultural commentary. She thinks Cheney’s parka and Condi Rice’s boots reveal more about them than just their sense of style. ‘There’s this ridiculous taboo about talking about people’s clothing,’ she says. ‘Most of the time I am just acknowledging the obvious. People say it’s so shallow that it doesn’t matter. It does,’” he reports.

    It’s as sure a must-read as Givhan’s own writing.

    Milbank’s Butt Hurts

    Fan of Orange Colored Clothing (F.O.C.C.) Dana Milbank began his chat with a bit of humility:

      Good morning. As readers of the ombudsman column know, I’ve been in the woodshed recently, and it’s still a bit sore when I sit down.

    He had plenty of fun at his own expense (fun?!? Uh-oh. Deborah Howell will soon be on his case for that…”Dana, if you’re going to be funny, you should really call yourself a ‘Humor-Inclined Columnist’”).

      [I]t was all a big misunderstanding. The orange attire was not hunting gear but rather a tribute to Her Majesty Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands and the entire House of Orange on the occasion of the Dutch participation in the winter games in Turin.

    But he is sorry:

      Many thanks to all the readers who are praising my orange wardrobe and inviting me to criticize the ombudsman. But I have learned my lesson: No more costumes. Just this morning, I contemplated putting on my Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan outfit to honor the United Arab Emirates, but I immediately reconsidered.

    And he ended it thusly:

      New York, N.Y.: Is it true that Chris Matthews puts you on to make him look skinny?

      Dana Milbank: More likely because I make him look sane.

      At any rate, I’m getting some interference on the phone line here in the woodshed, and the paddle comes out in a few minutes so I’ve got to go sit on some ice. Many thanks for the nice questions; I’m sure it will never happen again.

      With that, I bid you a fond Dubai.

    Waas on Woodward Leaks

    woowdwardbook.jpgMurray Waas writes, on his personal blog today that the latest imbroglio to trap Bob Woodward is a letter from Senator Jay Rockefeller charging that the Bush administration selectively leaked classified information to Woodward.

    At issue is Woodward’s 2002 book, Bush at War, and the, in Rockefeller’s words, “unfettered access to classified material of the most sensitive nature” Woodward was granted by the adminsitration: “According to his account, he was provided information related to sources and methods, extremely sensitive covert actions, and foreign intelligence liaison relationships.”

    One source tells Waas: “This was something that the White House wanted done because they considered it good public relations. If there was real damage to national security–if there were leaks that possibly exposed sources and methods, it was not done in this instance for the public good or to expose Watergate type wrongdoing. This was done for presidential image-making and a commercial enterprise–Woodward’s book.”

    Waas was recently hired by National Journal but he chose to break this story on his own blog–was National Journal not aware of it or did they pass on it for some reason?

    In asking whether Woodward rewarded Bush for his administration’s support during the book, Waas pulls together some of the entries from Woodward’s latest index:
    Here are some entries:

    Bush, George W.: absence of doubt in, 139-40, 420

    Bipartisan solidarity of, 189, 200.
    Importance of showing resolve and, 81, 116, 152, 320-21, 406, 418-19, 437
    legacy of, 90, 165
    morality of, 86-132, 272, 313-14
    on freedom, 88-89, 93, 152, 258, 276, 405, 424, 428
    optimism of, 91, 93, 313-14
    patience of, 162-63, 165, 271
    as a strong leader, 91, 430

    As Waas says, “We blog, you decide.”

    Separated at Birth: Wolf Blitzer, Reader Feedback

    You can see’s take on who Wolf Blitzer looks like. As usual, readers have some other great ideas.

    Blitzer looks a lot like Chris Taylor, a communications aide in Rep. Dennis Hastert’s office. Taylor dressed up as Blitzer for Halloween this past October and took home the $500 Smith Point Bar Tab awarded to the first-place costume winner at the Capital Club’s Halloween bash.

    Or how about Big Daddy (from Big Daddy Liquor Stores)?