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Archives: August 2012

Politico‘s Catanese Back to Tweeting About Akin

Following a 10 day hiatus, Politico‘s David Catanese is back on Twitter at full steam. It was comments regarding Todd Akin‘s (R-Mo.) “legitimate rape” gaffe that landed Catanese in hot water last week and yanked off the Akin beat. But as of yesterday, he resumed tweeting about the U.S. Senate candidate.

“I clearly lost the month of August, what Senate candidates join me in that column?” Catanese said Wednesday, his first tweet in more than a week as we reported that day, indicating that the reporter had used his time away to reflect on what happened. Reflection appeared to tame his tweets. The next day he was sending out poll numbers on Akin’s race. “[Sen. Claire] McCaskill 45%, Akin 44% GOP establishment: teeth-gnashing…” he wrote. Catanese sent out two more tweets that day on the status of Akin’s race.

Earlier today Republican strategist Karl Rove was quoted by Bloomberg Businessweek as saying, “If [Akin is] found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!” Catanese tweeted the quote and two more quotes with Akin’s spokesperson responding to it.

Catanese has also filed two stories for Politico referencing Akin’s Senate race (here and here).

Catanese did not respond to a request for comment. A remark from Catanese, however, turned up in a local Missouri newspaper last week. “I would never intentionally impugn a woman who has been the victim of the horrific crime of rape,” Catanese said in the statement. “My commentary on Rep. Akin’s repugnant rhetoric failed to make this clear.”

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Empty Suits Keep Trying Empty Chair Acts

Talking to a chair is hardly ever a good idea. In the course of the last year, the act has been pulled by a handful of media types and each time, it flops.

Last night actor and film director Clint Eastwood was the latest to give the talking-to-an-empty-chair routine a whirl. He did it on the final evening of the Republican National Convention, just before Mitt Romney officially became the party’s nominee for president. How fitting.

Standing at the podium, Eastwood motioned to the empty chair next to him and said he brought President Obama. He then entered into a monologue that got a few laughs but was mostly perceived as bizarre.

Ann Romney appeared on CBS this morning to talk about the convention. “He did a unique thing,” she said of Eastwood’s speech while laughing uncomfortably.

“Bill Clinton introducing Michael Dukakis just went to a distant second place as a bizarre moment,” NBC’s Tom Brokaw told Politico. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, meanwhile, said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that Eastwood’s speech made him “cringe.”

Then again, this was an 82-year-old man giving an unscripted speech. And the empty-chair routine is a proven bust.

Back in March, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell was set to interview Craig Sonner, the lawyer representing Florida Trayvon Martin killer George Zimmerman. Sonner bailed at the last minute. Rather than bringing on a contributor who might be on standby or moving to the next segment, O’Donnell asked the chair a series of questions, including: “Who is paying you? Who hired you?” and “Does George Zimmerman have a job?”

Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart noted the stupidity, saying he knows many people in New York City who talk to chairs and “none of them have TV shows.”

Two days later Thomas Roberts, also an anchor on MSNBC, had intended to interview Maggie Gallager, spokeswoman for the National Organization for Marriage. Roberts was unable to make the segment. But guess who was? Read more

Ask Piranhamous Anything

Today we have another installment of: “Ask Piranhamous Anything.” And we do mean anything. Send your queries to This isn’t an advice column — Piranhamous doesn’t know what the hell you should do with your life any more than you do — and worse, he doesn’t care. Try to keep your questions short — we want to keep this fun, simple, funny and insightful.

1. Have you seen Meghan McCain around this week in your travels at the GOP Convention in Tampa? Have you tried to chat her up? Thank God, no. Was she there? Who cares. I did not see her, but I wasn’t looking. I’m here till tomorrow morning, so I could still run into her (ouch!). While I didn’t see her, weirdoes and losers were well represented in Tampa. Slate’s Dave Weigel, not in the loser category, was in the house, running around town to everything he could get to and sweating. A lot. “Lady’s manRich Miniter could always be counted on to be on radio row in what looked to be the same purple shirt on two different days looking like a fat, sweaty Barney the Dinosaur desperate for attention. All the Fox News blondes were in full effect, legs everywhere but no sweat. Maybe their contracts don’t allow them to perspire. And the convention floor was crawling with every Republican standing near the sign for their home state for pictures and interviews and sweating. But no, I didn’t see Meghan. Yet. But you guessed it, wherever she is, she’s sweating too.

2. What’s the weirdest sight you’ve seen this week? It’s not so much the signs as it is the clothes. Protestors were kept so far away that you wouldn’t even know they existed. I didn’t see any but I heard stories. But the clothes, oy! Who’d a thunk an American flag was so versatile? I haven’t seen American flag socks, but I’d guess that was only from a lack of studying delegates’ feet. And the sea of cowboy hats was something to behold.

3. What do you think about Yahoo! News’s Bureau Chief David Chalian being fired for his hot mic slur. Do you think he should have been canned? Hell yes! What an idiot. You’d think a member of the media, which lives for open mic moments from politicians, would be acutely aware of the microphone. Nope. At the end of the day, all David did was vocalize what many of his colleagues think. Saying so on a set with microphones was just dumb. When anyone does something that asinine they should be fired. Don’t cry for David, I’m sure he’ll be working at HuffPost or some similar quality outfit in no time.

Politico Reports on Bashing of Politico

The latest e-book from Politico, “Obama’s Last Stand” by Glenn Thrush, is making waves. So much so that the Chairwoman of the Democratic Party has lashed out against it. Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz told Politico that the book “had about the same credibility as a National Enquirer story.” Those comments were reported by Politico‘s Juana Summers, who writes:

POLITICO reporter Glenn Thrush reported that a commissioned poll by David Binder put Wasserman Schultz dead last in a ranking of the popularity of the Obama campaign’s top surrogates — behind all the familiar faces on the Obama campaign trail.”

Wasserman Schultz seized the opportunity to pat herself on the back and say, “’I’m the president’s most prominent surrogate and have proudly been asked by the president to chair the DNC, and look forward to the next 68 days and I’m sure that we can bring him across the finish line, which is what he asked me to help him do.”
Summers didn’t include a reaction from Thrush, but on Thursday afternoon, he tweeted his response.

Thrush also tweeted to Wasserman Schultz, “Have known, liked @DWStweets for years. She delivered Newsday as a kid. Me too. I went on to work for that (non-supermarket) tabloid… “

Wonkette’s Bizarre Politico Party Takedown

Is Wonkette writing while intoxicated these days?

Editor and Publisher Rebecca Schoenkopf wrote a post this week that was so strange and incomprehensible that we had to read it several times before we could completely make sense of what Rebecca was slurring trying to say.

Seems Ripped Rebecca attended a Politico party in Tampa and was thrown out for writing obnoxious tweets. An example: “At the Politico party. Right now on camera, four men, zero women. Is ANYBODY looking at the optics of this. VOMIT EMOTICON.” While she says it was the hashtags, we blame the bourbon.

A few observations: When the head honcho of a media outlet writes like this, you may want to put her in charge of making the office banana muffins and keep her away from writing. And if and when you’re sauced, Rebecca, for the love of journalism, put down the pen, lose your Smartphone and hide all the office keyboards.

She writes, “Apparently, we got kicked out of a Politico party for tweeting mean things? That is weird, right? Is that weird? Like, don’t put a hashtag in front of people and then expect them not to call you barfy? That is just how hashtags work!” Yes, like in a story with, like, the awkward, like, headline, “It Is Not that Hard to Get Thrown Out of a Politico Party Apparently,” Rebecca goes into a drunken Valley Girl party tirade of epic proportions that involves making out with a security guard (or no one, why should facts, details or comprehensible phrases matter?) and confusing Executive Editor Jim VandeHei for God knows who she says approached and made small talk with her because he was worried she was lonely.

Was Rebecca even at the party? Is Rebecca even Rebecca?

For her part, Rebecca says she was only a seven on the 1 to 10 drunken scale (10 being worst). “They were not forceful, I was probably a seven, and I was not drunk but was hungover when I wrote the post, as my new security guard boyfriend and I went on to the BuzzFeed party after that,” she wrote FishbowlDC when we inquired how forceful Politico was in tossing her out and how drunk she thinks she was. “Driving to Atlanta today so will be out of pocket. Yours, Becca.”

A sampling of the weirdness:

“And then Jim Vandehei (he’s the young one, right?) came over and was like YOU ARE FROM WONKET HELLO I AM SAYING HELLO TO YOU BECAUSE OF HOW YOU SAID YOU WERE LONELY BEFORE (oh, because we had tweeted that we were lonely before) and before we could really reply he had turned around and left and gone back to his friends and we had TURDED ALL UP IN THEIR PUNCH BOWL.

Then they had security throw us out, but joke’s on them, because we had already made out with him earlier, and he totally left and came with us, the end.”

Not only do Ripped Rebecca‘s tweets make no sense, but the post includes unfinished, confusing phrases that amount to a whole lot of nothing. The best of the worst: “Well, soon the producer, who was a tall, gorgeous blonde in a bitchen black sheath dress, came out to ask if we had noted that there were many female lady type people reporting from inside the convention center, and had we noted that, huh, huh?” Rebecca asks. “And we were like sure we guess maybe I don’t know, martini?”

Congratulations Wonkette, for putting your top brass out there. You may want to enroll her in a remedial writing course or stuff her into a closet in Charlotte and not let her within a five mile radius of the party scene. Shhh…we won’t tell.

We reached out to Politico for more details.

CLARIFICATION AND MORE DETAILS: FBDC sources have confirmed that Schoenkopf was not kicked out of the party as she claims. Sources on the scene witnessed her intoxication, the hub was closed, she simply had to leave as did anyone else in the permitted area. Further, VandeHei did approach and chat briefly with her about the content of her blogging. To be clear, she alleges making out with a security officer and not anyone at Politico. Whether that actually happened is anyone’s guess. Watch out Charlotte! Ripped Rebecca informs us that she will be on the scene.

Politico Snags Tax Reporter Joe Schatz

Politico has hired senior CQ Roll Call budget and economy reporter Joe Schatz to run tax coverage ahead of fiscal talks. The news first surfaced on Twitter last night during GOP National Convention coverage.

It’s a big year for Schatz. In February his wife gave birth to a baby girl they named Liela Amani.

Washingtonian‘s Employs Unique Butt Phrasing

In a brief story bearing the headline, “Is It Jim Vance’s Suits?” Washingtonian media writer Harry Jaffe takes a crack in the magazine’s August edition at answering why NBC4 dominates the local news ratings. The question isn’t necessarily answered, though the colorful writer wonders whether it’s the aforementioned suits, Pat Collins‘ “quirky hats” or else just the “sheer number of familiar faces.” Jaffe then tosses in a bizarre dirty line that baffled us. He writes, “WUSA9 comes in third and Fox 5 brings it up the rear.”

Really, Jaffe, up the rear? Bravo on getting that through editing.


White House Soup of the Day

The White House Soup of the Day, as reported by MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” is…

Cajun Gumbo.

Host Chuck Todd must be all tuckered out from the hard week in Tampa — he had absolutely nothing to say about the spicy soup that vaguely looks like slop. Hopefully urgent soup puns will pick up in Charlotte, N.C. next week.

TV Twins!

Two peas in a political reporting pod: This morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” NBC Political Director Chuck Todd and Charlie Cook of National Journal‘s The Cook Report came on the program looking as though they had planned their matching attire from the waist up.


Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

“That was a weirdest thing I have ever seen at a convention in my entire life and it will be the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen if I live to be 100. That was bizarre.” — MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow‘s immediate reaction to Clint Eastwood‘s convention speech in which he spoke to an invisible President Obama sitting in an empty chair.

Journos weigh in on Mitt’s big night

“Romney looking like man of the people — so long as the people are kept behind a rope line.” — U.S. News & World Report‘s Robert Schlesinger.

“Mitt’s a little moist in the eyes.” — Asst. Managing Editor for NYT Jim Roberts with perhaps the grossest description of Romney for the evening.

“No prepared remarks much to every reporters annoyance.” — ABC’s Karen Travers.

“This is like Ward Cleaver’s salute to June.” — Rolling Stone National Affairs reporter Tim Dickinson.

“After saying he’s Mormon, he immediately talked about how it doesn’t matter. There’s a man of faith for you.” — HuffPost‘s Dan Froomkin.

“When Mitt tells jokes an angel dies.” — Sports Editor at The Nation Dave Zirin.

“Romney doing what he needs to do here. Not spectacular but very, very solid.” — WaPo‘s Chris Cillizza.

Ana off the Wagon? “MEDICARE LIE. Drink.” — The Guardian‘s Ana Marie Cox.

“Yo teleprompter guy, cue Mitt to nix the lip smacking #RNC2012″ — HuffPost‘s Senior Political Economy Reporter Zach Carter. He soon added, “Should you really hug your kids a little longer when gas prices go up?”

“I feel bad for Mitt. He’s everyone’s second choice in the primary, and now he has to follow Clint. The poor bastard.” — Jared Keller, director of Social Media for BloombergLP.

Convention Commentary

“I vote for conventions without politicians.” — WaPo‘s Jennifer Rubin.

“1) Eastwood: Whoa!! 2) Rubio: too long, pushed Mitt too late 3) Mitt: just fine, and unlike Ryan mainly true. But enthusiasm in hall???” — The Atlantic‘s James Fallows.

“Dear Republicans, I thought we’d all agreed to not do embarrassing white people dances at#GOP2012” — and CNN’s Erick Erickson.

“I’m not sure those dance moves should ever be done. But they should definitely not be done in a grey suit.” — The Atlantic‘s Megan McArdle.

“Fuck some asshole delegate brought a baby to RNC – someone call protective services.” — labor journo Mike Elk.

Speaking of white guys commenting on Taylor Hicks…

“I never regretted my vote for Taylor Hicks and I never will.” — Slate‘s Dave Weigel.

“Quote of the night goes to @Ari_Shapiro: ‘For some reason I thought Taylor Hicks was a woman.’” — ReutersSam Youngman. Shapiro is a White House Correspondent for NPR.


Journo takes stab at NBC

“When will Republicans learn and NOT give NBC News press credentials for their convention. NBC News is not the press.” — Real Clear PoliticsIan Schwartz.

And an Esquire writer blasts them all…

“The political media are reminding us all this morning how irrelevant they are becoming.” — Ex-Romney foreign policy spox Richard Grenell.

And a editor reflexively lashes out at BuzzFeed

“I’d pay real money if @McKayCoppins would give it a rest.” — editor John Nolte, later adding, “These #BenSmithers are all professional trolls.” Ben Smith is BuzzFeed‘s Political Editor.

Blah blah who cares?

“The beauty of the restaurant business is we gratefully serve the left, the right, and everyone in between.” — Mr. Norah O’Donnell i.e. Geoff Tracy during Mitt’s speech.

“Folks, we got a Jim Bunning sighting on the floor.” — Politico Senior Reporter Jonathan Martin.

And now…onto Charlotte

“15K overtired, overworked, high maintenance, often hungover journalists are about to descend on Tampa airport. This will go well.” — Politico‘s Ben White.

Balloon photograph above by AP’s Phil Elliott.