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Posts Tagged ‘Alan Colmes’

FishbowlDC Interview With Paul Brandus

Say hello to Paul Brandus who writes West Wing Reports and a column for The Week. He’s an independent White House Correspondent who writes a blog and has a Twitter account in which he doesn’t use his name. How come he goes nameless? “Here’s a question for you,” begins his standard refrain about it. “Name the CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN & Fox reporters at the White House 10 years ago. How about five years ago? This may come as a disappointment to many folks in this egocentric town, but most people can’t remember the names. And that’s at the most visible beat in Washington. Names fade quickly. But brand names have enduring market value. People have no idea who I am personally. I’d prefer they know my brands, one of which is West Wing Reports. Brands can be licensed, flipped, monetized in more enduring ways.” Even so, let’s get to know the man behind the brand, shall we? Brandus was a foreign correspondent in Moscow for five years. He worked for the U.S. Embassy, eventually NBC and NPR and did some magazine work. While in Moscow, he bought the broadcast rights to the Super Bowl from the NFL. He later worked at MSNBC and Fox — he says the concept of this makes people’s heads explode. “I helped launch MSNBC back in 1996,” Brandus explains. “Worked for Steve Capus, who went on to become President of NBC News. Good man. I was a writer, but apparently too good of a writer because they put me in charge of editing all the other writers. That’s where I learned the 80/20 rule: 20 percent of your people will cause 80 percent of your problems. At Fox News, I was a senior prime time producer in New York, working on news cut ins every half hour. If the you-know-what hit the fan, we had to run into the control room across the hall and break into Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity & Alan Colmes. Great fun.” Brandus worked on Wall Street for several years, cashed out and started another media company, his own. In 2011 he became a columnist for The Week. He moderates conferences for them on energy and cybersecurity. He also works with a Northern Virginia venture capital firm. Brandus won’t be found on the Washington cocktail circuit. Instead, he spends his weekends with his 18-month-old daughter or family horses in Fairfax County.

Now let’s proceed to the really important stuff.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Cherry Coke Zero

How often do you Google yourself? Once or twice a year.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? My old boss, Jim Farley, who hired me twice – first at NBC years ago and later at WTOP – taught me WGAS: “Who gives a shit?” It has universal applications today and I’ve used it to great effect in various times and places. WGAS is also text-friendly.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Anyone who understands it’s not about them. Anyone who eschews the limelight and simply focuses on finding things out, communicating about it well and not pretending to be an expert or feeling compelled to have an opinion on everything.

Who is your favorite White House reporter and why? The wire service folks are usually the best. Not flashy, just solid, nose-to-the-grindstone types day in and day out. I really admire them.

Do you have a favorite word? “Dada.” Uttered by a certain 17-month old little girl.

What word or phrase do you overuse? “Dumb ass.” Use it a lot.

Who would you rather have dinner with – CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s John King or CNN’s Piers Morgan. Tell us why. I think John King is an honest, hard-working, straight shooter guy. You know what I like about him? He made a mistake during the Boston coverage and dealt with it in a transparent, humble and honest way. People err – and it’s how they deal with it – for better or worse – that I remember. I tend to get along well with people like that.

What is the most interesting conversation you’ve had in awhile in the course of your work and who was it with? If I hadn’t hung up on Ronald Reagan in 1990, it might have been the time when, on a dare, I called him at home in 1990. This was a year after he left the White House. The Reagans were living in Bel Air and I never thought he would answer the phone himself. But I heard that famous voice: “Hello?” on the other end, freaked out and hung up. To use my favorite word, I was such a dumb ass. So I guess the answer would be the time I downed vodka shots with Boris Yeltsin at a Fourth of July party at Spaso House, the home of the U.S. Ambassador to Russia. I was lurking by the bar when he came over and we wound up downing a few and chatting. That’s what you do in Russia. Drink. Talk. Drink some more.

Tell us a funny story from the White House Briefing Room. Can be long or short. There used to be a guy named Lester Kinsolving, who used to show up in the briefing every day. Haven’t seen him in many months. He used to ask the most bizarre, completely out of left field questions imaginable on completely obscure, irrelevant matters. Bush’s flacks and now Obama’s used to call on him as a diversion. And, in this digital age, he used to carry a giant cassette recorder around with him like it was 1983 or something. Not picking on Lester, he is a nice guy. Hope he’s OK.

Without naming names, tell us some shitty thing that happened in the course of you covering the White House… Read more

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Fishbowl5 With FNC’s Monica Crowley

FNC recently celebrated the publication of conservative commentator Monica Crowley‘s new book What the (Bleep) Just Happened?: The Happy Warrior’s Guide to the Great American Comeback at a party in New York City last week.

CEO Roger Ailes introduced Crowley at an event, calling her “brilliant” and “a star.” He said “she is Fox News.” Crowley joked that the original title of her book was “Fifty Shades of Obama,” saying “Given the massive sales of [50 Shades of Grey] maybe I should’ve stuck with that title.”

We checked in with Crowley about her book and her relationship with FNC liberal sparring partner (and brother-in-law) Alan Colmes.

1. You and Alan Colmes face off on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor on a regular basis. Is your rapport the same off camera? Alan and I are polar opposites politically, but we’re great friends. He’s sweet and kind, funny and thoughtful. His only downside is his leftist ideology, but I’m working on him. He’s a real challenge to my powers of persuasion, but I won’t rest until he’s Tea Party.

2. Aside from Colmes, who’s your favorite liberal to have a friendly (or not) debate with? I respect and am friendly with every person with whom I debate. That makes flattening their arguments so much more fun and gratifying.

3. What’s the opposite of a “happy warrior”? Can you name someone’s who’s a happy warrior and someone who’s the opposite? In the book, I list the 10 keys to the Happy Warrior. The first is that we recognize that we are, in fact, in a war: we’re in an ideological war against leftism and an economic war against the forces of redistributionism. But the Happy Warrior recognizes that America can be saved, and that she is worth saving. Above all, the Happy Warrior is, in fact, happy, and takes on the mission to restore the nation with joy and optimism. The opposite of the Happy Warrior is what President Nixon‘s team once called the “nattering nabobs of negativity.” These are the folks who are either actively advancing American decline or resigned to it. President Obama channeled a lot of American optimism with his ambiguous but upbeat message of “hope and change” in 2008, but because his record is so horrendous, he is now almost totally negative and can only run a scorched earth campaign. He is the opposite of the Happy Warrior. President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were consummate Happy Warriors. Today, I’d put Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisc.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) in that category, among others. Gov. Mitt Romney has a bit of the Happy Warrior in him; he’s getting better at embodying that positive embrace of conservatism. If he were to totally embody the Happy Warrior spirit while continuing to advocate pro-growth economic policies, he’d have this race sown up.

4. How’d you come up with the title What the (bleep) just happened? What’s the word you’d most often associate with the “(bleep)” part? One day last summer, I was having dinner with a good friend. I told her that I wanted to write a new book but was unsure as to what its focus should be. We then started talking about how epically weird the last few years under Obama have been. Every day, we were getting hit with a new piece of insane leftist social engineering or some new policy to take down American power or prestige abroad—a rapid-fire assault I call “Barack-a-mole.” Our enemies were getting olive branches, our allies were getting dissed, and millions of Americans were being moved into government dependency at home. “What the (bleep) just happened?” I sighed. She looked at me and said, “That’s your title.” And so it came to be. Of course, I used a more colorful word, but I thought I’d let each reader supply his or her own favorite profanity.

5. Free for all: What’s something you’d like to say?
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Hitchens Takes On Hannity, Reed

These are becoming better pick-me-ups than your morning cup of coffee.

Best part? When Alan Colmes turns to Ralph Reed to get his insight on Jerry Falwell, Hitchens says:

    And why not a word now from the friend of Jack Abramoff to give a kosher scent to religious fraud..That’s all it needs now, let’s hear from the Abramoff faction and another religious rip off artist. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

And, PLEASE, someone make out that last part and write us…we can’t quite hear it…when Hitchens says at the end of the segment, “If you gave Falwell an enema, he could be buried in…?????”