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Archives: April 2009

Taking Out The Trash

What we almost missed today…

• Will Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) ever do C-SPAN? Steve Scully apparently asked the Senator just that at The Week’s Opinion Awards. Courtesy of Politico: “And you never will at 7:30 in the morning,” Graham said with a smile. “I’m not going to read the papers to somebody. … Nothing good happens before 9:30.”

• Want to get inside Mike Huckabee’s green room at Fox News? NYT makes it happen here.

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Future Fishbowler: Meet Daniel Lippman

Take note. Daniel Lippman just might be your boss in ten years. An avid FishbowlDC reader/tipster, Lippman probably knows more about the news industry than most media execs and veteran journos.

We’ve mentioned him on the blog a few times (a hat tip from time to time and a recent birthday shout), but we haven’t told you that the GW student and newshound sends us materials, links and edits to our posts throughout the day…just for kicks. Strange, right? Not really.

After coming across this old CNN package about a then 15 year old Daniel, we realize that this kid isn’t strange at all. He was just born for news media. Get to know him now. He might be signing your checks soon.

End of the Road for Beltway Boys?

Washington Whispers reports that Fox News’ The Beltway Boys with Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke is going off the air and no replacement has yet been named. “Those in the know say that Barnes and Kondracke remain hot properties within the Fox family and will stay on to discuss political issues during special broadcasts and Bret Baier’s nightly Special Report,” the blog says.

Hopefully Our Last Post On The Surprising, Troubling, Enchanting and Humbling Press Conferece…

A wrap of last night’s coverage, in case you missed it…

WaPo‘s Tom Shales Obama’s Enchanting Quizfest: “The TV networks always get a little jealous when a president, or any news figure, turns out to be a great communicator. They start looking for ways to distract viewers. During the early minutes of the news conference, ABC ran little poll questions and news squibs at the bottom of the screen. That was just video gingerbread, and wildly unnecessary at that.”

WaPo‘s Howard Kurtz One Smooth Talker: “The questions were serious but not confrontational, and here’s what was striking: It was 46 minutes before a reporter put the focus solely on the economy, when Andre Showell of BET asked about minority unemployment during the recession. Does that mean it has slipped as a journalistic priority, or that there were so much else on the menu?”

• And someone at The Denver Post was not a big fan of CNN’s theatrics either. Joanne Ostrow writes: “After CNN’s performance Wednesday night, thinking and cable news have never felt farther apart.”

• And Politico brings us “Greatest hits from ’100 Days’ stories.”

Brilliant or BS? Zeleny Q at Last Night’s Presser

If you woke up feeling uncomfortable and maybe even a tad violated, then you might have witnessed Jeff Zeleny‘s four-part question for President Obama during last night’s press conference. Surprisingly, the NYT’s reporter asked Obama a set of questions more fit for a FishbowlDC interview than a nationally-televised presser.

Zeleny’s “surprised, humbled, enchanted, troubled” inquiry successfully threw the President off of his talking points, but at what price?

Weigh in. Brilliant or BS…what do you think?

UPDATE: FishbowlDC had the opportunity to chat about Zeleny’s question with another WH correspondent this afternoon. This was the response:

Zeleny’s question is exactly what’s wrong with the White House press
corps: Instead of thinking on his feet, asking follow-ups to the intriguing answers by President Obama on torture, abortion, etc., he stuck with a question he wrote down in a vacuum hours earlier. It was an overwritten, overly cute and so ethereal as to be pointless (did viewers really care about what “enchants” Obama?).

In addition, the president clearly mocked him, and enjoyed every second of it. “And what was the last one, humbled?” Obama said. “Humbled. Thank you, sir,” said a relieved Zeleny before finally getting to sit down again. Humbled indeed. But also pathetic. Expect Zeleny to ask Obama at the next presser just what kind of tree he would be, would he — could he — be a tree.

WHCA Dinner Guest Lists: ABC Cleans Up, Others Grumble?

What do WH Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, CIA Director Leon Panetta and WH Advisers Valerie Jarrett & David Axelrod have in common (besides the obvious)? They’ll all be dining with ABC News at this year’s WHCA Dinner.

So why are the other networks “grumbling?” The Hill reports that fingers are pointed at George Stephanopoulos for using his influence to land the A-list lineup.

ABC says the claim is “absolutely false” and that George only invited one guest this year. From what we hear at FBDC, Stephanopoulos’ single call was to Jon Bon Jovi.

Which explains why an ABC spokeswoman told TVNewser: “To quote the singer, we weren’t exactly ‘livin’ on a prayer’ booking guests. We started earlier, worked harder, and these are the results.”

FishPoolDC: Our Insider’s Notes from Today’s Press Briefing

Joe Says It Ain’t So: This morning’s statement from the VP’s office — meant to walk back his Today Show comments on advising family members not to take public transportation — sparked several questions of clarification from the WH press corps. ABC’s Jake Tapper, dissatisfied with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs‘ re-wording of the VP’s comments to return to POTUS’s precautionary-but-not-extreme message, said he sympathized with Gibbs while the reiteration was “not even remotely close to what he said.” “I understand what he said,” Gibbs replied. “And I’m telling you what he meant to say.”

Fiat and Flu: The two biggest items of the day didn’t gather much steam in this afternoon’s briefing. A White House conference call and presidential announcement on autos preceded Gibbs, who clarified procedural details and noted that the Chrysler/Fiat deal was promising because the Italian company had experience in restructuring and with producing high-mileage vehicles. Gibbs made a brief but mild announcement on a security official from the administration who had contracted flu but who “never came within six feet of the president.” The official spread the flu to three family members, but each has since recovered.

Please Don’t Stop the Music: It wouldn’t be the first time that raucous cheers from a South Lawn event leaked into an amused briefing room as Gibbs held class, but today’s noise from the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride included an extensive Indiana Jones soundtrack. Probably safe to say this reporter wasn’t the only one wishing Gibbs had dressed the part.

Fox Programming Tops Obama’s Presser On Other Nets

TVNewser: FOX, the only one of the Big Four networks that did not carry Pres. Obama’s news conference last night, finished first in the 8pmET hour with a new episode of “Lie to Me.” The drama averaged 7.9 million Total Viewers, according to Nielsen overnights.

NBC’s coverage of the Obama newser came in second with 6.7 million Total Viewers.

Overall, Obama’s news conference was seen by nearly 19 million viewers across NBC, ABC, CBS and according to the early numbers. (Reminder: fast nationals measure only timeslot and not actual program data). Final ratings will be released later today.

Sunday Show Ratings: ABC and CBS Catching Up to NBC’s “Meet”

Running neck and neck with CBS’ “Face the Nation” with Bob Schieffer, ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos continues to close in on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with David Gregory. According to Nielsen, April 20th marked the 13th consecutive week that Stephanopoulos closed the gap between him and Gregory.

NBC “MEET THE PRESS” (Total) 3,240,000 (25-54) 1,150,000/.9

CBS “FACE THE NATION” (Total) 2,830,000 (25-54) 970,000/.8

ABC “THIS WEEK” (Total) 2,790,000 (25-54) 900,000/.7

FOX “FOX NEWS SUNDAY” (Total) 1,160,000 (25-54) 460,000/.4

Holding on to 100 Days? SIRIUS XM’s Got You Covered

If you aren’t done reflecting on the President’s first 100 days in office, have no fear. You can reflect for at least 3 more days thanks to SIRIUS XM Radio’s “First 100 Days Radio.”

From today until May 2nd, the channel will feature audio documentary about significant milestones from the presidency as well as commentary and recaps from Obama’s inaugural address, first news conference and the G-20 speech he delivered on his first trip overseas.

Tune in to SIRIUS channel 113 and XM channel 120 to reflect like it’s your full-time job.