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As The SCOTUS Sands Turn: D.C.’s Biggest Broadcast Diva Orders A Serious BFD Correction

Mark Levine, a radio host (but not the Mark Levin; the other Mark Levine, with an extra “e”), emailed FBDC yesterday to alert us of a mistake we made in a three-week old story.

The story: our round-up of the media scene in front of the Supreme Court the day the Affordable Care Act was ruled constitutional. The mistake: Levine, who was seen staring distractedly into his phone while on-camera with Current TV’s David Shuster, was identified as “an inattentive guest.” It turns out Levine was not a guest, he was co-anchoring a show with Shuster (who, Levine says, would surely tell us that he “couldn’t have done it without” him). But, as Levine filled us in, there is a myriad of other ways we could have described him:

“I am a Constitutional attorney, a former Congressional attorney, a frequent TV pundit and the host of the Inside Scoop radio show since 2003 and television show since 2005. I co-host the Raucous Caucus on Pacifica Radio, as well as the Inside Scoop on We Act Radio.  I also host the nationally syndicated Leslie Marshall Show on 80 stations.  I am a graduate of Yale Law School, I am well-versed in Supreme Court opinions, and I served as Legislative Counsel to Congressman Barney Frank for Judiciary Committee matters. I also drafted the Congressional Challenge to the Florida Electors in 2000.”

Got it?!

Furthermore, Levine wasn’t “inattentive” as we stupidly thought. On Planet Levine it was more like this: “The reason I was looking at my cell phone,” he said, “was that I had a trained runner enter the Supreme Court building and she quickly texted me and sent me the six-page syllabus before running to hand me the entire 193-page decision so that I could correctly report the decision early, which I did at 10:08 am.”

Her majesty Levine is apparently sensitive about being called “inattentive.” Mr. Drama Queen said we “libeled” him by using that word and that he “reserve[s] all legal rights” to sue us for completely defaming him the way we did.

FBDC recognizes the incredible blow we dealt Levine’s national reputation and for that we are truly not sorry. We can only pray this matter is squared away by this “prominent correction,” per his request, and that Queen Levine can return to his high-profile career in media without a hitch.

Still friends?

UPDATE: Queen Levine wrote in to ask if we’re trying to censor him. Apparently he is having a technological glitch that is preventing him from commenting on the post. As we told His Majesty, we wouldn’t dream of stifling him in any way whatsoever. Take back the night Levine! And see his full email response after his initial email to FBDC after the jump…Best line ever: “David Shuster will tell you he could not have done it without me.”

UPDATE #2: Queen Levine writes in again after saying he can’t comment on the site which he has already commented on. A note to readers: We have deleted nothing from the Queen, though she he continues to accuse of “censoring” him. She He may write whatever he wishes in as many comments she he so desires. Queen, write to your hearts content! And for next time, mediabistro is written like this in one word, not “Media Bistro” as His Majesty has it. See his second letter after the jump…

We’ve highlighted the best lines…

I do not plan on taking legal action unless the correction is insufficient. I did just see your story for the first time yesterday after Mediaite linked to it in a story that came out on their website yesterday. And I was referring to my right to take legal action if you did not agree to correct the story. I apologize for my harsh tone, and I appreciate your correction. As an explanation for my tone, I was surprised by the story and by your failure to do the very easy steps necessary to verify who I am and what I was doing.  Our entire three hours of coverage is on my website at MarkLevineTalk.com, with only a few small breaks caused by the internet overload at the Supreme Court.  I have been a journalist for 10 years now and have done about 200 national and international TV shows, as well as thousands of radio shows. I guess I shouldn’t expect you to know who I am but I did expect you to check your facts before reporting. It particularly stung as I had, using the very cell phone you criticize, been able to quickly review the syllabus of and report on a Supreme Court decision before any broadcaster in the country. Instead of praising this triumph — no small task for a small DC radio station with a video web stream competing against CNN, FOX, CBS, NBC, and ABC — which I was able to do quickly and accurately precisely because of my legal expertise, I was criticized as some clueless “guest with a cell phone.”  I co-hosted the show. David Shuster will tell you he could not have done it without me. And you also missed our (Shuster’s and my) very strong coverage of the Supreme Court oral arguments where I predicted in March that Kennedy was lost but if anyone was going to join the four liberals, it would be Chief Justice Roberts. 131000+ watched our show.  I thought we deserved better.  As I said, I do appreciate the correction, and if you have any questions about it, please don’t hesitate to call me.
Letter from the Queen: In typically snarky fashion, Media Bistro failed to print the most salient aspects of the story they missed, even though I alerted them to these facts by email before they issued the correction.  They have not printed the full email exchange, failing to include for example their email where they promised they’d issue a correction and expressed concern for a lawsuit. I was “thanking them” for agreeing to correct the record and apologizing for my tone.  But in hindsight, it was obviously a big mistake to try to treat Media Bistro with civility since I thanked them before they printed their nasty and misleading “correction.”  You would think that someone who fails the basic journalistic test of getting their facts right would issue a humble, respectful apology for their error.  But instead, at the Media Bistro, snarkiness reigns supreme and facts be damned.  (They’re also pretty lousy at keeping comments you post from “disappearing.”  If you ever post a comment here and it doesn’t show up, accuse them of censorship.  Apparently that’s what it takes for your comments to stop “disappearing.”)

 

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