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Archives: August 2011

Video: 5 Things You Need to Know This Week

In this week’s episode of “5 Things You Need to Know This Week,” we give a lesson on human reproduction, talk about the U.S. Open, sit down with Julian Assange, and, oh yeah, cover that Irene thing everyone’s been talking about.

For more videos, check out, and be sure to follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

J-Mart Hates Fox News

We’ve noticed that Politico senior political writer Jonathan Martin has a growing, strange obsession with dinging Fox News. We know Politico has an upcoming GOP presidential debate they’re co-sponsoring with NBC, so there’s a clear affinity to NBC over Fox News. We also feel strongly in declaring that Martin isn’t looking for a spot on the Fox & Friends couch anytime soon.

Here are just 12 examples.

Sept. 28: So is this the Fox reax to POTUS criticism? Hed: “President of the United States Loves Gangsta Rap.”

Oct. 3: @jmartpolitico: Has anybody ever wondered why fox matches two righties with centrists or straight journos?

April 18: Most notable part of Ailes/Gawker item may be the signature News Corp pushback: AFTER a story runs.

June 12: How does this get on air? RT: @Goldberg3000 Fox Business, unabashedly racist:

Aug. 26: Steve Doocy proves @carr2n point about Fox&Friends as Ailes dirty-work-doers, Vol III, Chapter IV

Jan. 29: Doocy doesn’t just do Fox dirty work against other journos but PR outfits, too! And w/ same foto-on-screen tactic.

Sept. 27: How can Fox cover ’12 candidates they’re paying? Our piece –

Jan. 26: Really, Fox? Steve Doocy is reading @benpolitico blog comments on air this am. Not kidding.

March 3: How Fox is more a campaign than news org, vol IV, chapter 17: they refuse to talk to nyt, make @brianstelter use LAT intvu.

April 17: If fox is really interested in being fair why don’t they have Dems on panels? Actually folks who’ve worked/currently work in politics.

Oct. 25: Fox loves covering Fox RT @davidfolkenflik: V Schiller ambushed again by Fox producers on street. By my unofficial count: it’s the 3rd time.

Dec. 4: Prominent righty admits Fox is not fair’n'balanced but a leader of the opposition to liberalism –

We’ve requested an explanation from Martin.

Politico Rips Off The Cable

Somehow Politico‘s Tim Mak missed the Drudge hit awarded to Foreign Policy Magazine’s The Cable blog last night for this story. The news, published on The Cable at 4:21 p.m. Monday, was that U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford was assaulted in Damascus.

By this morning at 9:03 a.m., Politico had published Mak’s story and didn’t bother crediting The Cable’s blogger Josh Rogin, who, understandably, was livid and wrote Mak to complain.

Just moments ago, Politico tucked Rogin and The Cable into its fourth graph. This was four hours after their story first published. Better late than never. This is precisely how they handled CLICK’s thievery of our recent Kardashian wedding item — a day later they were kind enough to add a citation. Good for them for at least redeeming themselves and giving credit where it’s due.

Still, as the old saying goes, cheaters never prosper.

We’ve requested a comment from Politico Editor John Harris.


Is Jay Carney Finally Being Funny?

Up until this point many White House scribes have been cool toward White House Spokesman Jay Carney. They have found him somewhat humorless and often not as helpful as they’d like. But Carney may be loosening up and turning a corner. Yesterday he joked about his new retro-nerdy glasses. Today during a press gaggle en route to Minneapolis he appears to be playing the part of Goldilocks in a White House Air Force One rendition of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”


Q What other senior staff are on the plane, on the trip today?

MR. CARNEY: You’re looking at him.

Q We’re looking at him.  (Laughter.)

MR. CARNEY: Well, we have obviously other staff here.

Q We didn’t see anyone.  That’s why I’m asking.

MR. CARNEY: We have the national security staff aide and others onboard.

Q We just didn’t want him to be lonely, you know?  (Laughter.)

MR. CARNEY: I’m sitting all alone in the senior staff cabin — it’s kind of — I’ve tried every seat to see which is most comfortable.  (Laughter.)

CNN’s Meserve Leaves Under Storm Cloud

NYP Page Six reports today that CNN’s Jeanne Meserve is leaving the network after 15 years. Colleagues are in a state of shock. A network insider surmises it’s likely a bad management move based on wanting to bring in rookies they can pay less. Other FishbowlDC sources are offering similar explanations.

Her last assignment was Hurricane Irene.

We’ve requested a comment from CNN. UPDATE: “We do not comment on personnel matters.”

See here.

Politico is a Revenue God, Says TheWrap

This week TheWrap‘s Lucas Shaw exalted Politico‘s current business model with high praise and backed it up with numbers. In his 965-word story, he pegs Politico far ahead of other Capitol Hill competitors, with The Hill in second and Roll Call below that.

In Shaw’s mind Politico is God. At least for now.

What Shaw doesn’t explain is context. When Politico first landed on the scene in 2008, there was curiosity and then fear. Until then, longtime fierce rivals, Roll Call and The Hill, never fretted about a third competitor. Life moves on, but it was exceedingly odd that The Hill‘s former Editor-in-Chief Martin Tolchin was helping to launch a new competitor to a publication he parented for years. Newsroom chatter was full of talk of how surprising this was. The real fright set in after Capitol Leader changed that initial horrid name to Politico. Autumn VandeHei, wife of Executive Editor Jim VandeHei, was responsible for the change. Today they compete for ad dollars and Hill dominance, though Politico considers its real competitors to be Bloomberg, NYT and WaPo.

Shaw also fails to mention that Roll Call is behind a subscriber pay wall. Some media insiders claim he’s comparing apples and oranges, that it’s abhorrent to use their metrics to illustrate Politico‘s competitive edge. Still, other observers see it as right on target and insist that Roll Call putting their work behind a pay wall shows a lack of business savvy. “Roll Call will argue ‘not fair! We’re behind a firewall!’ But they’re missing the point that being behind a firewall is keeping them out of
the conversation and hurting traffic,” said a media source on condition of anonymity. “They use that excuse at their own peril.”

Shaw explained to FishbowlDC, “The story’s focus was more on Politico finding a revenue model that seems to be working (for now) and less about their beating the competition. As you know, traffic really only plays one part in attracting advertisers and an even smaller one in generating revenue, but the numbers are still relevant.”

The numbers indicate that Politico is on top, followed by The Hill followed by Roll Call, which, at least according to the author’s analysis, now languishes in last place amongst the three.

An excerpt: According to comScore, has drawn more than 4 million unique visitors for months, rising from around 3.8 million monthly uniques earlier this year. That’s far more than notched by or all year. In July, the most recent month available, traffic shot up at to 1 million uniques, but still lagged behind the 4.2 million at And It attracted 0.69 million uniques in July.

Like a cherry atop a large hot fudge sundae, there is major snuggling up to Politico‘s Mike Allen for his Playbook. CBS News Senior Political Reporter Brian Montopoli told TheWrap: “When I write a story or if I get mentioned in Playbook I’ll get 10 emails from people saying ‘I saw you in Playbook.’ It becomes a measure of success.”

Shaw added, “I hope the main point still appeared to be the growth in the online business and how profitability has enabled the site to launch new initiatives. Unfortunately, I could not get revenue figures since Politico is not a public company.”

We’ve requested comment from Politico, The Hill and Roll Call on TheWrap’s assertions. We’ll report back to you should we hear from them.

FishbowlDC’s Matt Dornic contributing to the reporting of this post.

UPDATE: A clarification is in order. The Hill‘s Editor Hugo Gurdon found an error in TheWrap’s original story. He writes, “ComScore didn’t measure Roll Call‘s July traffic at 690,000 but at only 69,000, so the story was out by a factor of ten,” he wrote. “The comparison shows The Hill‘s traffic is 15 times higher than Roll Call‘s.”


ABC News Debuts New Look for 2012

ABC News introduced today new branding for its political coverage of the 2012 election cycle and beyond – “Your Voice, Your Vote.”  The new graphics debuted this morning on “GMA” during Jon Karl‘s piece about Rick Perry’s surge in the polls.  What do you think of their new look?

Why Washington D.C. Gossip Sucks

If you’re going to take an edgy play from Us Weekly‘s playbook, then why not take it? Instead, Politico CLICK brings us this creamy vanilla item about two powerful men in dark suits and baby blue ties. It’s challenging to emotionally invest in an item like this. We might care a little if Editor Caitlin McDevitt had a fashion expert rate the ties and bluntly describe how they make each man look. We might enjoy it at all if Politico CLICK took a stance on who they think wore it best. Or better yet, do what Us does — go out and poll people and show the results. In other words, let someone actually win the question they ask: Who Wore it Best?

See the abomination here.

Note to readers: Have an example of why Washington D.C. Gossip Sucks? We want to hear about it. Send to

Gay Socialites Confuse Their Tuckers needs a serious lesson in Tuckers, or else they need to lay off the Crystal Meth for a few days. Over the weekend they thought The Daily Caller‘s Editor in Chief Tucker Carlson was a Washington-based weather reporter for Fox 5 in New York who did a live shot in sea foam and possibly sewage in Ocean City, Md.

A reporter named Tucker in sea foam and unidentified green gook? Ding. Ding. That’s correct. The reporter? That would be Tucker Barnes, you idiots. That’s B-A-R-N-E-S. Not C-A-R-L-S-O-N.

See their mistake-filled piece here.


Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers

Quotes of the Day


“Never fails. Always hungriest when I’m on a food shoot.” — Capitol File Editor Kate Bennett. Mums the word on what the cuisine was. “It’s for the October issue,” she tells FishbowlDC.

Bio of Day: Pretentious alert

Washingtonian Editor Garrett Graff: “Editor of Washingtonian magazine, author of The Threat Matrix, blogger, & Georgetown lecturer. All things equal, I’ll take a Scotch.”

Sick journo daydreams about sea foam reporter

“I’m home. Sick with a cold. Drinking Airborne. Can’t stop visualizing Tucker Barnes #seafoam moment.” — WJLA’s Mike Conneen imagining the reporter in Ocean City who stood in a sea foam of sludge and sewage. When we told him he should rest rather than tweet, he replied, “I have two illnesses: I have a cold. And I’m a newsaholic.”

Penguin reportage

“Never get tired of TV news reports about penguins. We need more penguin stories. Sea otters too.”– CBS White House radio reporter Mark Knoller. As some know, a penguin recently showed up to Politico‘s lobby in Arlington. The animal was allegedly making a NewsChannel8 TV appearance.

Blogger insults JMart

“Is @jmartpolitico a hack? It doesn’t matter. The important thing is to put that thought in your mind from the start.” — The Daily Caller‘s Jim Treacher. He links to the story, “Is Rick Perry Dumb?” here. Looks like Treach won’t be making an appearance on NBC’s “MTP” anytime soon. Unlike some people we know.

Attention White House scribes: Weigel expects more

“Alternate hed: WH reporters are bored” — Slate‘s Dave Weigel, who RT this: “@Drudge_Report: Carney Grilled Over Potential Hillary Primary Challenge.” He links to a Drudge story here.

Congratulations are in order to… Politico‘s Byron Tau for finishing up his master’s degree in Journalism from Georgetown. It only took him three long years. But who’s counting? His excuses are somewhat reasonable. For the past year blogger Ben Smith had him under wraps. Now Mike Allen has him on lock down.

HuffPost Hill Goes on Vacation

“We survived the earthquake, we weathered Irene and — despite what Michele Bachmann said — we haven’t taken God’s hint about the need for more deficit reduction. We’re off this week but will be back after Labor Day for all the early Autumn insanity as Congress returns and the presidential campaigns pick up again (Go get ‘em, Newt!). We miss you. Behold a cat cleaning a dog. Have a great week!” — HuffPost Hill Editor Eliot Nelson. Of course they can’t depart without giving readers a cat video. NYT‘s Bill Keller would be proud.

Headline mocking at a glance

“Waiting for Politico headline: ‘Is Obama Arrogant?’” — Franklin Center VP and former AFP veteran Erik Telford knocking Politico‘s main site headline from yesterday, which asked, “Is Rick Perry Dumb?”