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Archives: August 2012

Christie, Romney Speeches Leave Journos Questioning Meaning of Love, Respect

The stress of planning a four-day convention in the middle of a hurricane is something few will ever worry about. But an extra look at the list of speakers, what they plan to say and in what order?

Seems pretty standard.

On Tuesday Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivered their much-anticipated speeches back-to-back. “I want to talk to you about love,” Ann gushed. “Love so deep only a mother can fathom it — the love we have for our children and our children’s children.” When Christie took the stage, he recalled his mother telling him that when it comes to choosing between being respected and being loved, “always pick being respected” and “that respect could grow into real, lasting love.” Then Christie offered up the most glowing endorsement of love to date: “I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.”

In short, Ann said, love is everything. Christie? F–k love.

The juxtaposition of the speeches left some people’s mouth’s agape.

“Can you love your children without being so paralyzed by the sensation that you ruin America?” Slate‘s Dave Weigel wrote.

“Just when we were getting softened and buttered up by Ann Romney, comes the raging bull of Chris Christie,” WaPo‘s Carter Eskew wrote. “Did Ann Romney’s and Chris Christie’s speechwriters share drafts with each other before last night’s keynotes? I ask because I thought it was a little strange… Christie’s speech almost sounded like a rebuttal.”

But producing live TV isn’t easy. A longtime TV news producer tells FishbowlDC the criticism aimed at the pairing of Romney and Christie’s speeches is “a little off base.”

The producer, who didn’t have time to be cleared by the media relations dept. to talk on record, noted that most voters who were watching the convention coverage, were likely flipping through channels and not trying to find a story line. “The number one goal for the convention was to get eyeballs on Ann Romney,” the producer said. “If doing that is pairing her with Chris Christie, who’s a rock star in the world of politics, it helps them, frankly.”

Nonetheless, the two speeches got the BuzzFeed treatmentRead more

Twitchy and Ezzy Engaged in Battle of Wills

In a brave new nasty world of online reporting, things can get twitchy.

Today, Twitchy, the right-leaning site that highlights weird or entertaining happenings on Twitter, engaged in a battle of wits with WaPo‘s left-wing blogger Ezra Klein.

Twitchy went after Klein on a nuance of a technicality. In other words, he made a mistake, they went after him for a post one of his writers did on VP Paul Ryan saying the Janesville plant shut down during the Obama Administration and then they nailed him for what they deemed was his not properly highlighting the mistake. Klein’s blog maintains that Ryan was misleading. The decision to close the plant was made during the Bush Administration. The actual shut-down happened under Obama’s leadership.

Twitchy thinks Klein needs to apologize for being a liar. “We are right,” Klein tweeted in response to their accusations. Somehow we don’t see an apology happening in this century.

Take a look here. See the latest version of post that started the squabble here.

Tucker Carlson Goes Green?

The Daily Caller is apparently having some sort of crisis of environmental consciousness at the GOP Convention in Tampa this week. So much so that they’re handing out recycled swag at their nightly soirees. Our tipster tells us the swag resembles toilet paper.

“Greetings from steamy Tampa,” replied Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson when we asked him about it. “I had no idea we were passing out recycled products. Seriously? Seems like we could afford new ones. I would have stopped it if I’d known. Please give me a heads up next time.”

The publication sponsored the smoking room at a larger Magnum party, where there was also a room with video games and a large concert hall in back. The Daily Caller room had people hand rolling cigars and glasses filled with cigarettes on every table.

We just hope Carlson had enough Nicorette to deal with a night like that.


CQ Roll Call Fires Sales Associate

CQ Roll Call has fired Dwight Mulbrachdt for poor sales performance. He is not part of the recent spate of layoffs. He was not meeting his quotas.

To provide some context, Mulbrachdt was brought in by former CQ Roll Call Director of Digital Advertising Braden Wright in May, who left for Politico in early August. Earlier in the month Wright was hired by Politico, for which he has Mark Walters, formerly at CQ Roll Call and now with Politico, to thank.

As one industry insider explained it to me, “Underperforming sales people get axed. It happens.”

We sought comment from the PR department. They declined.

What’s Gene Tweeting?

I’ll say this about Gene Weingarten. The man is entertaining. The problem is, I’m not sure if he’s losing his mind and we’re laughing at him, or if he is pulling an Andy Kaufman-esque stunt on us and laughing with us. The Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist for WaPo spends a fair amount of time on Twitter. His tweets range from sad attempts at comedy to random observations on everyday life. Gene even lets us in on the life of his dog, Murphy.

Leave it to Gene to take in a dog even weirder than he is. But, that’s hardly the weirdest thing that Gene tweets. He also spends plenty of time tweeting about pee. He tweeted, “I have said this before but it bears repeating: Write your name on the cup first, THEN pee.” I’ve found it always makes sense to take life advice from a man with a pile of poop as his Twitter avatar.

Gene also offers up advice to recently fired Yahoo! News Washington Bureau Chief David Chalian. He tweeted at Chalian, saying, “I don’t know you but I get this joke. It’s at the expense of liberal media, not the Repubs. You should make that clearer.” Weingarten followed up with his followers by saying, “Yahoo! shouldn’t have fired this guy. It was clearly a joke not intended to be public. I’d say same if target was Dems. ”

Chalian hasn’t responded to Weingarten, obviously. When you’re in a hole, it’s probably best to stop digging.

Reader Calls us ‘Idiots’

We get a lot of poisonous mail here in the Fishbowl. Sometimes the hate comes in waves and other times one sharp jab stands out in the mix.

This week we wrote about The Daily Caller‘s Executive Editor David Martosko, who, at the moment, is more obsessed with his cigars and biweekly cigar columns than anything else. During the first night of GOP Convention speeches Tuesday night, he ignored NJ Gov. Chris Christie and mentioned some of the others in his Twitter remarks. One thing he didn’t ignore that evening was an offer for readers to get cigar alerts. So we wrote about his impeccable timing.

A reader wrote in, “You people are idiots. Martosko has his pigmotional tweets automated, like everyone with a big audience. Morons.”

For starters, we’re the “idiots” and “morons?” Maybe so. But when the Executive Editor of a daily online pub feels the need to promote his cigars bullshit on an important evening of speeches, it should be noted. On a brighter note, we adore the word “pigmotional” and hope you won’t mind if we borrow that. And a “big audience?” Hilarious! We love self-promoters and braggarts! As my cohort Peter Ogburn remarked to me, “He could at least TRY to hide that it’s him.”

Thanks for writing in Martosko!

Dumbass Pitches

In this continuing series, we want to shine a light on the truly terrible story pitches that we receive in the Fishbowl. Rather than throw them in the trash, we wanted to share, so settle in for a truly Dumbass Pitch.

Today poor pitch comes from formerly-famous TV psychic John Edward. He has a new book out called Fallen Masters. So, if you were looking for some light end-of-summer reading, it’s described as a novel about “the final confrontation of good and evil.” In other words, it sounds just like any political ad running these days. While Edward is best known for his psychic abilities, he seems to think he’s quite the writer. Just look at how they describe how the book will change your life. They say, “Many of us remember how we felt when we read Stephen King‘s The StandFallen Masters will resonate with readers just as deeply as King’s iconic epic!!” Just like that, he’s the next Stephen King?!

While we haven’t read the book, we can’t imagine it will change our lives. Maybe he should just stick to being a psychic. Then again, he can’t be very good at it. If he was, he would have known that I was going to delete this Dumbass Pitch before I even finished reading it.

CNN Grill to Unveil Top 5 Political Journos

This afternoon CNN has an important announcement to make. Will NYT‘s Mark Leibovich, a newfound Twitter fiend who was recognized this week for his skills on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” be among the winners? Funny, he didn’t seem to take it well. Hence the eye roll.

2 p.m. to 2:30: CNN’s Peter Hamby hosts a Google hangout to announce CNN & Klout’s “Top 5 Political Journalists” in social media, with CBS News and Real Clear Politics National Reporter Scott Conroy and TIME Mag White House Correspondent Michael Scherer. Watch at

We’re on pins and needles. Stay tuned…

VP Hopeful Paul Ryan Acquires a New Enemy: It’s Miller Time, Or is it?

On the heels of all the professional and armchair critics of VP hopeful Paul Ryan speech last night comes one more — the great granddaughter of the founder of the Miller Brewing Company, who finds it insulting that Ryan thinks Miller flows through his veins.

Speaking recently in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, Ryan told the crowd: “My veins run with cheese, bratwurst, and a little Spotted Cow, Leine’s, and some Miller.”

Milwaukee resident Paula John begs to differ with the powerful pol.

“Paul Ryan doesn’t have a drop of Miller beer in his veins,” John told FishbowlDC. “If he did, his policies would show respect for women’s intelligence to make decisions for themselves as well as compassion toward the poor, because that is the Miller family legacy.”

Frederick Miller, founder of Miller Brewing Company, was John’s great grandfather.  Her father, Harry John, Jr., was his grandson. Her father’s mother, Elise Miller, was Fred’s youngest daughter. She married Harry John, Sr., thus taking his name.

By the way, her family did not inherit any money from the Brewery.  Before he was married, John’s father donated his shares of the Brewery – 47 percent – to a charitable foundation, which he founded and ran for many years with her mother.

What’s Michelle Malkin Eating?

We know campaign trail food is crappy, but really, Sweetzels spiced mini-creams is what conservative author and commentator Michelle Malkin is eating these days? “I cannot stop eating Sweetzels spiced mini-creams,” she told the world Wednesday from the GOP National Convention in Tampa.

Apparently spiced wafers, apple cider and a glowing fire are hot traditions in Philly in the fall. The spiced cream cookie is the latest offering from the company.

In the meantime, we hope that big hand isn’t really hers — hardly the dainty qualities we expected. But if it is, any palm readers out there want to give it a shot?