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Archives: February 2011

Bardella Blunder: Issa Launches Inquiry Into Press Sec’s Actions

Kurt Bardella, spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) who’s recently made enemies in the Washington press corps, may have found himself again in hot water.  According to Politico, the press secretary’s boss has launched an inquiry into Bardella’s actions to find out if he’s been wrongfully sharing emails from other reporters with Mark Leibovich.  Sources claim the activity may be fueling the The New York Times writer’s new book.

This latest chapter in the Bardella saga may come as no surprise to many D.C. journos.  Earlier this year, Bardella infamously ran his mouth to Ryan Lizza, calling some reporters “lazy as hell” in a New Yorker profile of Issa:

“Some people in the press, I think, are just lazy as hell. There are times when I pitch a story and they do it word for word. That’s just embarrassing. They’re adjusting to a time that demands less quality and more quantity. And it works to my advantage most of the time, because I think most reporters have liked me packaging things for them. Most people will opt for what’s easier, so they can move on to the next thing. Reporters are measured by how often their stuff gets on Drudge. It’s a bad way to be, but it’s reality.”

Bardella was also at the center of  a recent  controversy involving CNN and the Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz.  During a telephone interview, Kurtz mistook Bardella for Rep. Issa.  When Gawker brought the mistake to light, criticizing Kurtz for his slow correction time (six weeks), Bardella told FishbowlDC, “clearly this was a misunderstanding that at the end of the day, I believe was a honest mistake.”  Bardella went on to say,  “It happened months ago so I think we should all just move on.”  Kurtz claimed that Bardella didn’t indicate that he was not the congressman during their phone call.

For more on Bardella’s latest blunder, check out Politico’s piece here.

UPDATE (9:50 pm): We asked Politico‘s John Harris for more detail about his involvement in Issa’s inquiry and how his publication first learned of Bardella’s alleged practice of sharing reporters’ work with Leibovich.  Here’s what he had to say:

“Politico reporters on Capitol Hill heard about the possibility that e-mails were somehow shared.  We did not know before we began reporting whether this was true. Our reporting has shed some light on the matter but still leaves questions.  I do not know if Politico e-mails were shared. Some of what we learned in the course of reporting raised the possibility that they might have been. If so, this would be intolerable to me, as I assume it would be to any editor whose reporters routinely interact with public officials and the people who represent them.”

“It was on this basis that I wrote Chairman Issa asking him for answers about whether reporters’ work was surreptitiously shared. He told me that he agreed with me that this practice, if it occurred, was improper and said he would try to get to the bottom of what happened.”

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WaPo’s Opposing Oscar Observations

It appears WaPo feature writer Dan Zak has an entirely different fashion sense from the publication’s official fashion writers, Holly Thomas and Janet Bennett Kelly,  who covered the Oscars last night.

Zak: “Okay, fine, a positive comment: Jennifer Lawrence looks great. And she gave the best performance in the category. #oscars @oscarspotting”

But Thomas and Kelly clearly think otherwise. @WashPostFashion: “Least fave look: Jennifer Lawrence’s red tank dress. It’s the Oscars – you should not look like you’re on Baywatch from the waist up.”

Sorry, Zak. We have to go with Thomas and Kelly on this one. The Baywatch description aptly fits.

@DCJourno: Revealed?

Today we learned the identity of @MayorEmanuel. But perhaps there’s one more revelation concerning a fake Twitter account.

Enter Shani Hilton, a D.C. based journalist who is the associate editor of the Center for American Progress’s CampusProgress.org and the Washington correspondent for Colorlines magazine.

@DCJourno, the Twitter account that playfully teases Washington reporters everywhere has only used the bit.ly URL shortener on one occasion (excluding retweets of the shortened URLs of others).

“Hey @Awl, can I cite your use of ‘media elite’ in my official bio? Trying to get into Haddad’s garden party this year. The link.” That took you to an Awl article discussing, well, how great @DCJourno is.

The account associated with that bit.ly link? That of Hilton. The shortened URL was created on February 7, the same day she could have tweeted the above message, adding more evidence to the notion that she herself shortened it and it wasn’t, say, shortened by somebody else and she just cut and pasted it.

Now, there are two additionally curious things about this: First, The Awl article credits Hilton herself for alerting the site to just how “great” @DCJourno is (Choire Sicha writes at the bottom of the post: “Recommended by Shani Hilton, who is a person in DC you can follow where none of this insider business will occur!”). That leads to the second interesting point: If, in fact, Hilton is behind @DCJourno, there’s a delicious irony here. The account regular skewers self-promoting Washington journalists and yet Hilton herself was busy promoting her work to other websites. Even Washington parodiers, it seems, are just as bad as those that they parody.

We’re not bit.ly experts here, so is there the possibility that @DCJourno just so happened to copy and paste someone else’s bit.ly URL? Technically, sure.

We wrote Hilton for comment. Her response: “Hi Betsy. I have no interest in commenting for your story.”

Today’s Most Popular Stories 2.28.11

Every afternoon we surf your sites for the most popular stories of the day. Here are the top headlines for February 28, 2011:

Washington Post: U.S. freezes Libyan assets, takes steps to aid refugees

Washington Times: Boehner rips bid to regulate Internet

Washington Examiner: Obama’s jetset fitness trainer helps shed pounds, adds to global warming

USA Today: ‘King’s Speech’? That’s an Oscar acceptance speech

The Hill: THE HILL POLL: On shutdown, more voters would blame Democrats

Politico: GOP reality check: Obama looking tougher to beat in 2012

Roll Call: Hill Staff Bracing for Possible Shutdown

National Journal: U.S. Freezes $30 Billion in Libyan Assets, Making Contingency Plans

Talking Points Memo: Rasmussen Poll On Gov’t Shutdown Shows Inverse Of Gallup Findings

Politics Daily: Rush Limbaugh Calls Michelle Obama ‘Hypocrite’ for Eating Ribs

The New Republic: Republicans want Wisconsin to become just like the South

The Daily Caller: Fox News correspondent on disruptive Wisconsin protesters: ‘There is hate in their eyes’

CQ Roll Call in Hiring Freeze

FishbowlDC has learned that CQ Roll Call is undergoing a hiring freeze. The freeze is expected to be temporary, says CQ Roll Call Editorial Director Mike Mills. The most recent vacancies include HOH’s Elizabeth Brotherton and congressional reporter Jackie Kucinich.

Mills confirmed the news.

“True,” he wrote in an email. “We’ve been asked by our bosses in London to hold off on filling vacancies for four weeks as they finalize budgets for the new fiscal year, which begins April 1. We expect to be making some offers right after that. I’m also told this is not limited to CQ Roll Call.”

Mills has specifically been told that the freeze extends across The Economist Group and is not limited to just CQ Roll Call.

The Atlantic Reveals the Elusive @MayorEmanuel

Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, today reveals the name behind the beloved but mysterious @MayorEmanuel.

But some things take time. The story by the Washington-based writer waits seven graphs to name the name: It’s Dan Sinker, who created a punk zine called Punk Planet, which no longer exists. He now teaches journalism at Columbia College in downtown Chicago. “The genius behind @MayorEmanuel is Dan Sinker, who has a heart made out of Chicago and balls of punk rock,” Madrigal writes.

Sinker doesn’t speak in Madrigal’s story until 18 graphs into it. A student describes the instructor as “down-to-earth, knowledgeable, and interesting.”

And finally, Sinker talks:

“The train rides became totally paranoia-inducing by the end. I would think, ‘Is anybody watching this? Why is that guy looking at my phone? Who is this?’” he said. “Your brain starts going a little crazy. I’m looking forward to my brain not feeling so crazy.”

Later…However it feels now to have be @MayorEmanuel, Sinker says it didn’t feel momentous when he sent that first tweet from his living room. “My wife has asked me,’Why did you actually start tweeting?’ And for the life of me I can’t remember,” Sinker said. “I remember I was at home. I think everyone had gone to bed. And I remembered, ‘Oh, I have that account. This might be kind of funny.’”

On Emanuel: “I was making fun with the guy,” he said.

Wolf Blitzes the Late Late Show With Near-Perfect Middle Eastern Pronunciation

“The Late Late Show” welcomed CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last week with host Craig Ferguson praising him as the “Great American Journalist.”

Traditionally, late late shows are supposed to be the chance where news folk get to show another, more humorous side. Unless, of course, the conversation is unrest in Libya. One good line in an otherwise newsy conversation: Talking about how the situation could affect oil prices in America, Ferguson joked, “Prius drivers are going to be even more smug than they are now.” Wolf agreed. “They will be,” he said. He doesn’t drive a Prius, and didn’t give hints as to what car he drives. But FishbowlDC knows at least what he has driven. An ex-valet who  parked Wolf’s black Lexus two years ago tells us the CNN host is a good tipper.

Wolf, who appeared on Monday’s show, tried to steer the discussion away from the Middle East, asking where the show’s orchestra was, clearly wishing he was on a real late night show with a band. But Ferguson made a quick joke and went straight to Saudi Arabia…

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In Memoriam: CNN’s Hunter Waters

Kris and Hunter

We’re very sad to report that friend of FishbowlDC, Hunter Waters lost his battle with esophageal cancer over the weekend.  Waters, who began with CNN as an intern over ten years ago, was most recently a senior producer for Larry King Live.  He is married to the lovely and wonderful Kris Coratti of the Washington Post. The two met while working in CNN’s Washington bureau.    Our hearts and prayers are with Kris and Hunter’s family.

A link to his personal blog: “Hunter Waters: The offbeat ramblings of a journalist, television producer and traveler”

Team Larry King: Eleanor Spektor McManus, Hunter Waters and Lisa Marie Thompson

Viewing and funeral details after the jump.

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Craigslist ad: TBD.com/WJLA Seeks Digital News Manager

Craigslist today features a help wanted ad from TBD.com/WJLA. Last week the Allbritton-owned venture laid off much of the staff as the news came that they were becoming a “niche arts and entertainment” site. So this week there’s an ad saying they’re hiring a Digital News Manager. The ad calls for someone who can “engage visitors in our on-line [sic] community” and foster “internal relationships.” Hmmm…does that sound close to um, that weird concept known as community engagement? (That was among the departments they “reorganized.”)

Asked for comment and whether the ad was legit, TBD.com Editor Erik Wemple replied swiftly, “No comment on this.”

UPDATE: WJLA’s V.P. Station Manager Bill Lord confirms that the ad is legitimate. “It is real,” he wrote to FishbowlDC. “It is a new position we are required to post.”

See the fine print…

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CQ Roll Call Teams Up with Thomson Reuters for Healthcare Newser

Thomson Reuters and CQ Roll Call announced today a new e-mail newsletter targeted to healthcare executives and industry leaders.  The publication, This Week in Healthcare, will include a digest of news and analysis of Washington’s health policy developments, including the implementation of the new healthcare reform law.  Each week when Congress is in session, This Week in Healthcare will provide analysis of policy decisions that could affect key segments of the healthcare industry. It will combine selected articles from CQ Roll Call’s health policy publication, CQ HealthBeat, with analysis from subject-matter experts in the Healthcare & Science business of Thomson Reuters.

The first issue of the free newsletter will be published on Friday, March 4.  To subscribe, click here.  To see a sample issue, click here.

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