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Archives: July 2012

Want to Find the Porn Hacker? If so, The Daily Caller Wants to Give You a Gun

The Daily Caller at least seemingly has a sense of humor about the XXX-rated porn that appeared on their site this week. Today they’re launching a new contest: Find the hacker, win a gun. Not as innocent as The Price is Right or Family Feud, but hey, a contest is a contest. They are giving contestants two weeks to find the hacker.

“First, if you’re the first person to find our hacker and turn his name over to us, we’ll give you a gun. We realize this may seem like a daunting task, but we believe it can be done. Entering is easy – just answer the questions below regarding your cyber skills. You’ll have only 2 weeks to complete your mission, and we wish you good luck.”

Not a computer geek? You can still win. Just write an essay:

“For all of you readers out there who aren’t Internet sleuths we have a second way to win: Write an essay telling us what you think we should do with the hacker when we find him. We’ll give a prize to the person with the funniest and most inventive ideas for how TheDC should repay this jerk. Enter your essay in the box on this form, and please note that the winning essay will be published on The Daily Caller at the end of the contest.”

See full contest details here.

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Journalistic Faux Pas or Just Lacking Class?

Washington D.C.’s CBS all-news radio station, WNEW News (99.1 FM), appears to be lacking in social graces today as they tweeted out the names of a murder-suicide in Calvert County before next of kin were alerted. They reported on their website only that a man, woman and 2-year-old child were all found dead inside a home in Owings, Md., but left them unnamed.

The offending tweet can be found here. It reads as follows: “WNEWNews: Couple In Owings Murder-Suicide Have Been Identified By Neighbor As…”

We reached out to WNEW’s News Director Michelle Dolge for comment on obtaining the information from a neighbor and releasing it before police. So far, zilch.

WTOP GM Jim Farley explained that their reporter on the scene, Michelle Basch, was waiting for family to be informed before they reported the names. “Flunking Journalism 101: you don’t ID the victims until the Sheriff notifies the next of kin, which they had not done at that point,” he wrote to FishbowlDC. “Common courtesy. How’d you like to find a close relative had been murdered by reading it in a tweet?”

At the very least WNEW offended traditional reporting rules. “Typically the onus is on official authorities, not media, to notify next of kin before releasing the names of the deceased,” explained a local City Hall reporter speaking on condition of anonymity. “If the government agency released names to the media without prior notification , that would be a mistake of the agency, not the media.”

Then again, WNEW acquired the information from a neighbor. “Now if the media outlet got the name through nonofficial police sources and reported it, then that would be rather tacky, to say the least,” the reporter added.


Washington Media Mysteries

Noticeably absent from today’s Washington Examiner is Paul Bedard‘s Washington Secret’s column. Where could he have gone? We checked his Twitter profile for a clue–nothing. Bedard hasn’t tweeted since Friday.

We started to worry that Bedard, lover of doughnuts, may have had a bad experience with Krispy Kreme. For all we know he could have passed out on a public toilet in Chinatown and needs our help. So we emailed him. Still nothing. Fortunately, the Examiner‘s Executive Editor Stephen Smith got back to us and told us Bedard is on vacation.

Bedard’s specific whereabouts are still unknown, however. So we started to wonder: Where would a man who writes on secrets head for a vacation? Our best guesses:

  1. To sift through Mitt Romney‘s tax returns
  2. To search President Obama‘s college transcripts.
  3. On a mission to discover conservative columnist George Will‘s real hair color.
  4. Fox News HQ in New York just to hang out.

Next mystery: Where is Joe Scarborough‘s Politico blog?

Using a high-res magnifying glass, we were able to locate it on Politico‘s homepage. When the blog was launched at the start of the year it was prominently placed with its own caricature of Scarborough and link under the rest of the Politico blogs. It has since been reduced to a small link underneath the “Opinion” header, simply marked “blog.” And it hasn’t been updated in more than a month.

FBDC reported in early June that Scarborough’s blog was losing steam. An NBC publicist assured us he was posting “frequently” though never intended on posting daily. How about monthly?

We reached out again to MSNBC and Politico on the matter.

POTUS Begs for Cash

At this point, anyone covering this year’s Presidential election has been bombarded with emails from POTUS asking for donations. Sure, he’s gotten creative with contests, birthday parties and the possibility of meeting celebrities. But c’mon, he wants your money.

The campaign took it to a whole new level on Monday when COO for Obama for America Ann Marie Habershaw sent out an email with the subject line, “Surprise.” We love surprises! What could this be? Sadly, it was nothing exciting. It was the campaign just begging for cash. She owns up to it right off the bat, saying, “Yep, me again. Surprise: I’m here to ask you for money.”  Wow, we’re just a booty call now. The pressure is kept on, saying, “It might sound crass, but ramping up our ground game to the level it needs to be across the country takes cash — a whole lot of it.”

Well, thanks for taking all the romance out of this thing. What do we look like, whores? Tease us a little bit before jumping right to the business side of things.

Afternoon Chatter

Quotes of the Day


“Note from earlier: On the way to tonight’s fundraiser, the press van spotted a New Yorker giving the motorcade his middle finger. Unclear whether it was for the president, the press, the traffic jam or something else entirely.” — Politico‘s Jennifer Epstein in a Monday night Pool Report.

Politico reporter disses The Donald and O’Reilly

Donald Trump sitting next to Bill O’Reilly at #yankees game. People sitting close to them: I’m so sorry.” – Politico‘s Morning Money dude Ben White. So much for Politico reporters ever mending ties with Fox News, who doesn’t generally deem them worthy of being on their shows.

Blogger wonders about showering

“I’m not sure if I should shower tonight or tomorrow morning at 4:30. I have fear of stubborn bedhead at that hour. #tvappearancewoes” — Lisa Rowan, Vintage blogger and social media consultant.

Inside info…

“LaTourette had complained so loudly about GOP highway bill that Boehner told him ‘Quit being an asshole’ and talk to comm. chairman.” — The Hill‘s Russell Berman on the retirement announcement of Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio).

Compassion is…

“Ugh…poor Jim Acosta of CNN..his luggage is missing…not loaded in Tel Aviv? Stuck in the charter plane some place?” — FNC’s Greta Van Susteren.

A note to Puffington Host: This is your new name until you can get ours right. It’s not “FishBowl DC.” According to most modern dictionaries, fishbowl (that clear thing that fish swim around in) can be written as such or “fish bowl.” But since it’s our name, we’ve chosen the former and then you add on the DC — and voila! — you have our name, FishbowlDC. Even under the most straining of circumstances it’s never written “FishBowl” with a weird capitalized “B.” Immature of us? Of course. But why can’t you get our name right Puffers?

Eddie Scarry contributed to this report.

CQ Roll Call Bloodbath of Layoffs Hits

CQ Roll Call informed some 30 employees this morning that they no longer have jobs. As layoffs, they will receive severance packages.

For days the news was imminent that more heads were going to roll on the sales side of the publication with last week’s five layoffs that included Marketing Director William Kiniry, who landed a new gig at WaPo. As of late yesterday, the writing was on the wall as HR booked three conference rooms for this morning, when the news struck.

While most of the layoffs reside on the business end of the publication, at least three are from the Editorial Department, which we were told was not supposed to be affected. The editorial layoffs include one from Legislative Tracking, one from specialty publications, and one from production. The department hit hardest was sales, with 16 people from account management and circulation side sales personnel being eliminated. IT lost an estimated five employees. Last week five additional marketing employees lost their jobs. All of these numbers are estimates, but more than 30 email accounts have been ordered to be shut down.

We’re told the layoffs were mostly conducted one at a time (think George Clooney style from Up in the Air).

CQRC brass says the layoffs are part of the publication’s larger effort to invest in growth areas in the market, especially on the advocacy and engagement side. A company publicist released the following statement today…

Read more

Shit Hitting Fan at CQ Roll Call

CQ Roll Call is announcing a number of largely business side layoffs this morning. Sources tell us the cuts are due to declining print revenues and senior management being drastically under projected revenue. The changes are coming as brass feels forced to make certain pivots and focus their energies on business and other areas of growth for the company, including advocacy, engagement and digital.

We received word late yesterday that three conference rooms (one that can be split in half by a dividing wall and one other large room) had been booked for this morning’s proceedings.

One tip we received read, “Fire Sale at CQ Roll Call.”


Morning Oopsie: Politico‘s ‘Than’ v. ‘Then’

The nitromethane Politico uses to produce its stories at the speed of light understandably makes it hard to catch the occasional copy error. Even so, among the worst places you can screw up is in the crux of the story referenced in the headline.

In a story this morning on Mitt Romney‘s Press Sec. Rick Gorka telling American press in Poland to “shove it,” Politico‘s Jonathan Martin mixes up “then” and “than.” The story, headlined “Romney aide to reporters: ‘Shove it!,’” contains the following sentence: “Gorka than told a reporter to ‘shove it.’”

Granted, Martin is filing from Poland. Perhaps the Polish accent has him confusing “then” and “than” in his head?

Lawmaker Rubs Bad Press in Romney’s Face

Presumed GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been getting a boatload of bad international press. This morning Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) pointed this out to CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on the morning program “Starting Point.”

“I would summarize it: not ready for primetime,” Cummings told her in a morning interview. “Clearly, the comment in England about the Olympics — you would think that someone who dealt with the Olympics here in the United States would be much mor esensitive with regard to those kind of issues to go into a country and criticize the organizers. Then I found the Palestinian comment to be quite offensive and I can understand the feelings of the Palestinians. And now, this fellow here in Poland, making the comment that he made.” Cummings acted like the press really can’t be blamed. “You’ve got a really frustrated press corp that have only had three questions answered by Mr. Romney during the trip.”

Cummings was referring to Romney Press Sec. Rick Gorka cussing at reporters in Poland.

Apart from his day job, the congressman partakes in a little journalism. He writes a bi-weekly column for The Baltimore Afro-American, more commonly referred to as The Afro. The weekly newspaper was founded by a former slave.

Watch the segment here.

‘Big Enuf 4 U’: Health Dept. Promos Condom Giveaway

The Department of Health in Washington, D.C., boosted its anti-AIDS initiative this summer by giving out more free condoms and expanding its Rubber Revolution campaign. As if thinking about, talking about and looking at condoms in public isn’t awkward enough, Rubber Revolution is adding to its media blitz with the poster pictured at right. This is posted in Dupont Circle.

Featured on the poster are two African American males holding hands under the slogan “Big Enuf 4 U.” The poster says suggestively, “Pick up a condom and put one on.”

We emailed the D.C. Department of Health to see what “Big Enuf 4 U” means, exactly, and to find out if the slogan may have been inspired by a 14-year-old boy’s online chat room user name. That was at 8:30 a.m. No answer. We called again just after 10 a.m. and reached Department spokesman Michael Kharfen who told us he was in a meeting but would get back to us by 11:30 a.m.

Kharfen emailed at noon to let us know he was still in a meeting but would call shortly. By 1:45 p.m. we still hadn’t heard anything. Worried he may have fallen down a Metro sidewalk vent, we called Kharfen back. No answer. We stalked him twice more over the next 15 minutes. He finally answered and sounded okay but said he would need to call us back in five minutes. Shockingly, no more excuses. He called us back.

The Department conducted focus groups, Kharfen said, with a “cross section” of the District’s population to discuss concerns people have about using condoms. “Several themes emerged,” he said, “one of those is they’re not comfortable. Another is ‘I’m too big for them’ or ‘my partner is too big for them.’”

Kharfen said “too big” is a reference to penis size but that despite the poster featuring two African American men, the campaign is not intended to specifically target D.C.’s black population, despite the fact that African American men are known for having large ding dongs.

As for the incorrect grammar and spelling on the poster, Kharfen said the Health Department chose the style because many people connect on the Internet and through text messaging. “That’s the way that those kinds of words are spelled [there],” he said.

The Department has not received complaints about the posters, Kharfen said. Nor have they received a lot of press — amazingly FBDC is first to question Kharfen on the poster.

The fun continues on Rubber Revolution’s website where visitors can attend “Condom University.” Some fun facts listed on the site:

  • There’s a town in France called Condom.
  • “Condoms can hold up to 3 bags of potatoes” (and yet the site cautions against using two condoms at a time “because the friction will cause them to tear”).
  • The body heat and pressure put on condom that’s been stuck inside a wallet “decrease the condom’s effectiveness.”

As an aside, FBDC’s Peter Ogburn says he’s making plans to have “Big Enuf 4 U” tattooed to his body. He didn’t say where.