TVNewser Show TVNewser FishbowlNY AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote PRNewser SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Posts Tagged ‘Ben Freed’

Farewell Letter Contains Typo in First Graph

As blog writers we’re sympathetic to typos. We’ve made them. We regret it. We know most journalists are pained to see their glaring errors. Sigh – if only we were all specimens of perfection.

But a typo in the opening graph of your farewell letter post firing?

This is the first graph of ex-DCist Editor-in-Chief Ben Freed this week. Freed was fired this week – not for writing a freelance piece as some reports and tweets might suggest – but for purposefully defying his boss.

 

 

 

Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101 Online Boot Camp

Freelancing 101Starting April 28, this online event will show you the best way to start your freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. By the end of this online boot camp you will have a plan for making a profitable career as a freelancer, and the skill set to devote yourself to it. Register now! 

Morning Chatter

TOO SOON? “Found this while cleaning out some files today. Heh” — Ben Freed, who was fired as Editor-in-Chief of DCist this week for defying a boss’s orders about spiking a freelance story he wrote for BuzzFeed. Earlier in the day Wednesday Freed wrote, “I appreciate all the kind tweets, DMs, and emails. I thought @ErikWemple’s piece about what happened was totally fair.” Of course he thought it was “fair.” WaPo‘s Wemple defended the reporter who defied a directive from a boss by discussing standards set by the Washington City Paper, which is all well and good but for the fact that Freed was not fired for freelancing; he also no longer works for WCP. Wemple left a gaping hole in his story on Freed, jumping right from the publisher, Jake Dobkin, asked for the BuzzFeed story to be spiked to… “It ran.” Good going! But why should details matter to Wemple, who picks and chooses whom he defends based on an elusive criteria that’s hard to comprehend. He recently gave quite the easy time to a “publisher” who invented a story because she wished it was true. What’s not to like? Wemple later posted a letter from Freed which solved the mystery he could have clarified in his original post seeing as the letter from Freed circulated well before Wemple’s breaking story published. Freed wrote, “While the feedback on the piece has been largely positive, Jake had asked me to tell BuzzFeed to spike the article, but they and I went ahead with the decision to run it. I knew Jake would not be pleased, but I did not think this would be his recourse.” They and I? Hmmm so nice of Wemple to defend Freed on purposefully defying his boss based on standards at a publication where both he and Freed previously worked.

Workplace weirdness

“The co-worker who doesn’t want me following his twitter, follows ME on twitter! And we kind of are friends. That is why it’s weird.” — ABC7′s Stephen Tschida.

Reporters fall prey to goat pitch

“Congressional cemetery goat bounce piece: Reporters more susceptible to press releases in August.” — CNN’s Zach Wolf. Speaking of goat stories…“ITK: Goats graze the Congressional Cemetery…which leads me to this uber important q: Do goats “bahh?” Just sheep?” — The Hill‘s Judy Kurtz, who links to this story. The Hill’s Associate Editor Niall Stanage replied, saying,  “I believe they bleat, officially. And thank you for provoking me to Google ‘noise Goats make.’” And Yahoo! News‘s Chris Moody: “I got hit with poison ivy while chasing goats around the Congressional Cemetery. WORTH IT.”

TMI?

“Many have asked about Twitter’s verification process. Not too difficult, though urine test was embarrassing.” — “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak.

Words to Live By

“Give us your tired, your weary, your Zuckers.” — Mother Jones reporter Tim Murphy.

Reporter shares slice of life

“My 7 y/o in preparation for married life always tells me: ‘Daddy I really don’t like being asked how my day was.’”

Journo admits confusing actresses

“I mistook Glenn Close for Meryl Streep at Dem Nat’l convention in LA once. I was mortified, she laughed. Can relate.” — Albuquerque Journal Washington Bureau Chief Michael Coleman, who links to this post in which a fan confuses Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg. “Humble and hilarious, we just gained more respect for Marky Mark,” writes HuffPost in a post that’s neither humble nor hilarious.

Politico Playbook Publish Time: 9:01 a.m.

Another view of This Town

“Working my way thru #ThisTown, but it’s a grind. Are the only people in ‘this town’ Democrats & @JohnMcCain (which, you know, close enough)?” — NJC’s Hannah Jackman.

Ben Freed Fired From DCist

DCist Editor-in-Chief Ben Freed has been fired after fighting with his employer about publishing a story for BuzzFeed. The news was first reported by WaPo‘s Erik Wemple.

Wemple writes that Freed was given the axe after he freelanced a story for BuzzFeed on the impact of the $250M WaPo sale on local D.C. news. The part of the story that is still a mystery, and we don’t get why Wemple didn’t ask this, is that Freed’s Publisher, Jake Dobkin, told him to spike the story. BuzzFeed said they would be amenable to spiking the story, but also thought it would bring attention to DCist.

And yet… it still ran.

We’ve reached out to BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith on whether he’d hire Freed as well as the details of why the story was not spiked. Unfortunately Smith is on vacation until Aug. 12 so we’re reaching out to other BuzzFeed sources.

Developing…

Attack of the Poorly Sourced Piranhas

As a twist on the old saying goes, reports of my firing have been greatly exaggerated.

Or else they were just flat out wrong. But why let facts get in the way of a good story?

On Friday I took a day off. Vacation and comp days aren’t exactly a strange phenomenon. But Rebecca Schoenkopf, publisher of Wonkette who has been known for reporting and writing while on the sauce, and for making no sense whatsoever, on Friday published a story saying that “a source” had told her I was going to be fired. “Betsy out at Fishbowl as of this afternoon,” she posted on her site. Rebecca didn’t spell this out, but her “source” was a guy makes it his business to pass around a bogus naked Craiglist ad of one of my writers.

This is the kind of “sourcing” Schoenkopf (pictured at right) used to write her “story” Friday afternoon. Schoenkopf never called or wrote me to ask if it was true. She never even called my employer until her story was out and clunking across Twitter like an elephant with severely bruised shins. There’s nothing worse in journalism than being sloppy and wrong.

Regular reporters took awhile to give the “news” any merit. Meanwhile, some on Twitter called Rebecca “powerful” in that she could make something happen that well, wasn’t happening. And oh boy, there was Mediaite‘s “White House” Correspondent Tommy “Carl Berstein Jr.” Christopher hot on the case. He called. I never answer his calls. He wrote, “Betsy, I just got a tip that said you’re leaving FBDC as of this afternoon. Is that true?” I asked to go off record. He said OK. I wrote him back, “No, Tommy. Not true. I know it’s unheard of, but I’m just taking a simple day off. I do get vacation and sick days. Do you?” Like an eager porpoise, he promised to write me back and fill me in if he heard anything more. Gee, thanks Tommy! How kind of you to inform me on my own life via a man who creates phony X-rated Craigslist ads. What no preachy trial race reporting today? Oh, that’s right. His editors scolded him a few weeks back on his George Zimmerman “coverage” and told him to tone it down. Bernstein Jr. really muckraked on this one. He phoned and emailed my coworkers, who, of course, had nothing for him. Good work Tommy!

Next up to the plate: Washington City Paper‘s Will Sommer. Sommer wrote, “Hey Betsy, So, people are saying you’ve been ousted at Fishbowl. Any truth to that? I’m getting it from the same guy who sends around photoshopped nude pics of one of your writers, so I’m not sure how seriously to take it. Thanks.” I also requested to go off record with him. He agreed. I told him I was taking the day off. Sommer did not write a story.

The last of The Three Stooges… Read more

Site Refuses to Acknowledge TWT Scribe’s Joke

When CNN Contributor Van Jones foolishly fell for the fake photoshopped Fox News report that President Obama had blamed Russia’s meteor on global warming, he did what any reasonable political type would do — he deleted his tweet, said “Pobody’s Perfect” and moved on with his life.

But DCist? They’re stubborn little jackasses who refuse to acknowledge that TWT‘s senior opinion writer Emily Miller was joking when she published this tweet on Friday morning:

DCist‘s Ben Freed, who has unfortunately been in a couple of nasty bike accidents, and has previously suffered a concussion and may not be thinking clearly, used the following headline: “The Dumbest Tweet You Will Read All Day About the Meteor That Struck Russia.” He then looked down on Miller, writing, “…just wanted to dispel one thing real quickly. Meteors—and other astronomical phenomena—are not connected to global climate change.”

DCist‘s wimpy Editor-in-Chief, Martin Austermuhle, stuck by the ridiculous report and weakly directed Miller to Freed when she lashed out at them on Twitter, asking, “What moron wrote this story? I was clearly making a joke.” She continued, “You need to post a correx. Would he make that assumption for a liberal reporter?” Freed replied on Twitter, “Yeah, I would.”

Miller said her joke was obvious. “Anyone with the slightest knowledge of current events and even a passing sense of humor knows that it was sarcasm, and that I don’t literally believe that global warming caused an asteroid to hit the earth,” she told FishbowlDC. “This is clearly not journalism, but even worse, these staunch liberals show they will do anything to mock those who have conservative views, even if it means being dishonest to the public.”

Even commenters who disagree with Miller’s politics and think she’s a “partisan tool” understood she was joking. Wrote one woman, “It was an obvious joke. She’s suggesting the Obama administration makes outlandish claims about global warming. Guh. While she may be a partisan tool, she gets that blaming the meteorite on climate change is absurd.”

No one at DCist bothered to ask Miller if she was serious. But worse… Read more

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

Here we have the fantasy baby of our own FBDC’s Eddie Scarry and Mark Levine, a determined radio correspondent we affectionately refer to as “Queen Levine” for his dramatic email exchanges with Eddie. We must say, they’d produce adorable offspring. We’ll call her “Levina Scarry.”

Valentine’s Day Success Stories

“The Obamas went to Minibar tonight. That is a serious I-never-have-to-face-the-voters dining option. Also delicious. …How did he get a reservation?” — The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza.

“My parents spent Valentine’s Day at Disney World. Their 1st time w/o kids! How romantic. And cute! I’m super jealous.” — WJLA’s Mike Conneen.

“We were so stuffed from our Valentine’s Day lunch that we had a quiet dinner at home.” — Chairman of Accuracy in Media Don Irvine.

Stupid Question never to Ponder: “Is there a special app that will protect my tweets so morons can’t read them?” — Commentary‘s John Podhoretz. Note to Podhoretz: If you don’t want morons reading you then you shouldn’t be on Twitter.

Uh Oh.

Conservative radio host Dana Loesch: “Pick battles wisely folks so that they move our agenda forward, not back, or cause needless division. We’re all on the same side. Smiles!”

Conservative blogger and author Michelle Malkin: “I don’t get people who lecture me not to engage liberals on Twitter. This is a social ENGAGEMENT tool. For, you know, ENGAGING.”

Bureau Chief: Outraged by Poopy Cruise

“CNN has a ‘sweet home Alabama’ cryon for the poop cruise. I want those responsible put in a sack and thrown off a bridge.” — BuzzFeed D.C. Bureau Chief John Stanton.

Washington sex terms

“Lots of Washington terms are appropriate for Valentine’s Day: Holds, Mark up, Pocket veto, Rider, Score, Whip, Yield.” — Paul Brandus of WestWingReports.

Valentine’s Day Downers

“Totally having a 2 star meal at Brasserie Monte Carlo tonight. I’ve been bumped by the waitstaff at least a dozen times.” — Ben Harris, Rockville-based communications professional.

“When your boyfriend does last minute Valentine’s Day shopping you get a card in Spanish.” — National Journal‘s Ben Fishel. (Actual card at left.)

“Oh angry, loud single ladies getting drunk and wearing fake mustaches at this bar, Happy Valentine’s Day.” — Roll Call‘s Meredith Shiner.

“So much sappy music on the cab radio tonight. Can’t imagine why.” — Greenwire‘s Jessica Estepa.

“What a nightmare. Not one not two but three separate accidents and TWO lanes closed for roadwork on 395.” — Fox News Producer Kara Rowland.

The Media Critics

“CNN led am show with cruise nightmare OVER Russian meteorite!” — NJ‘s Josh Kraushaar.

“If a Free Beacon reporter asks your group for tax forms you don’t want to provide, tell Politico you’ve been assaulted by racists #protip.” — Newsweek-The Daily Beast‘s Eli Lake.

See the current names on our FishbowlDC Fan Club Board. Read more

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

Convo Between Two Journos: BFF’s discuss Adele, Chris Brown, Rihanna

NBC’s Luke Russert: “Loved how Adele didn’t even acknowledge Chris Brown before her hug to Rihanna. #Grammys”

Politico‘s Jake Sherman: “Good. Guy is scum.”

Female journos outraged over Fun’s capris pants

“So, man capris are not ok. We need a national conversation about that, for Fun.” — HuffPost‘s Elise Foley.

“After tonight, we shan’t speak of this again.” — NBC White House Producer Shawna Thomas.

NPR correspondent’s daughter succumbs to Justin Bieber

“For the first time ever, Kayleigh uttered the name Justin Bieber tonight. I pray it is the last we hear of him.” — NPR’s Andy Carvin.

Dating a woman from BuzzFeed means…

“My boyfriend who is not on Twitter: ‘Please don’t send a tweet to all your friends about this conversation.’ #doesthiscount#hellneverknow.”  — BuzzFeed Publicist Ashley McCollum.

Politico Playbook publish time: 7:53 a.m.

Guiding Sophia’s Light

“The reason we don’t stay committed today and love forever is because we analyze, think 2 much, & give up 2 quickly. #LostValentine” — theGrio and Essence’ Sophia Nelson.

Weekend party hazards

“When white girls go ‘WOOOO!’ and throw up hands it’s a eye hazard for tall bamas like me. #giantproblems #ouch” –BuzzFeed Washington Bureau Chief John Stanton.

Hooked on ‘Homeland’: NBC’s David Gregory

“Only Homeland has given me as many headaches as the Wire from watching episode after episode without a break. ‘You feel me?’” — NBC “MTP” Host David Gregory.

Editor encounters enigma of city living

“Randomly oracular statements from lightly medicated schizophrenics u pass on street is one of the curious elements of urban life.” — TPM founder Josh Marshall.

Unnecessary Tweet of the Day

“Started Cycle with @cyclemeter at 3:30 PM, on a new route, see cyclemeter.com/74b1bad6b8971c…, Cyclemeter will speak your replies to me.” — DCist‘s Ben Freed. Speak your replies? Do our ears deceive us? We just may have to try this, because why wouldn’t we want to converse with Ben Freed while he’s “cycling” around town?

Why Gov. Christie’s heft is a plus (no pun intended)… Read more

BuzzFeed Brews: ‘It’s Like a First Date’

Asked to describe the idea behind “BuzzFeed Brews,” John Stanton says, “It’s like a first date. Get them a little drunk and relaxed so they can talk about things people don’t normally hear them talk about.”

Stanton is the Washington Bureau Chief for BuzzFeed and last night was the launch of the website’s new series wherein newsmakers are invited to sit before an audience and answer questions. And there’s free beer.

It’s essentially the same thing as Politico‘s Playbook Breakfast, “minus the stale bagels, plus the beer,” cracked BuzzFeed‘s Politics Editor McKay Coppins to FishbowlDC. (The site’s publicist Ashley McCollum boasts that she came up with that description.)

The first guest: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). For roughly 45 minutes Rubio answered questions from BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith about immigration, gay marriage and the future of the Republican Party. Of course, lengthy segments here and there were spent on why Rubio prefers Tupac over Biggie Smalls (“His lyrics are more insightful in my opinion.”) and whether he had to “think long and hard” before letting his son play recreational football. Stanton said that’s another thing distinguishing the Brews series from Playbook Breakfast, whose audience may not be interested in those things. Read more

CNN’s Blitzer, O’Brien Make Cameos in Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’

Though he participated in a well-documented Twitter fight back in 2009 with TWT‘s Emily Miller, it appears actor Kevin Spacey has forgotten who she is.

“I don’t know she is,” he said when asked if we could send Miller his regards at the red carpet premier of Netflix’s “House of Cards” last night at the Newseum. FishbowlDC explained that Miller tipped off the FBI about details surrounding the Jack Abramoff scandal, as portrayed in the film “Casino Jack,” starring Spacey himself. “Oh,” Spacey said, sort of recalling who Miller is. “Hi! Sure. I don’t know what you’re asking me,” he said. Then his handlers moved him along.

“House of Cards” tells the story of Francis Underwood, played by Spacey, a congressional Democrat who wheels and deals his way to the top of the political world. Michael Dobbs, the creator, told FishbowlDC that he wrote the story “as a form of therapy” after having worked as the chief of staff to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the late ’80s.

The Washington news corps. plays a heavy, fictional role in the show, which is based on the original 1990s BBC series of the same name. James Foley, one of the show’s directors, said while working on story lines he’d ask himself whether it would be believable if he saw it reported on CNN. If not, he’d ask the lead writer for adjustments to the script. He also said actual on-air talent from CNN make cameos in the show, including… Read more

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

CONTEMPLATIVE: “Getting ready for Meet the Press this morning from Richmond” — House Maj. Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in a moment of deep, meditative, almost wax figure silence before going on the program.

“Okay, buddy. Great night. Get some sleep. In about 72 hours, Axelrod’s gonna be looking for us.” — Joe’s Mustache (@AMJoesMoustache) to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, who made a campaign bet last week that will either have him growing a stache or Obama Campaign Advisor David Axelrod shaving his off.

Sunday morning at 4:38 a.m.: “I would like about 3 more hours of sleep. Instead: DCA.” — Yahoo! News’ Olivier Knox.

Journo hears anti-gay sentiment on trail

“An irate attendee at this Boehner event in OH told me she opposes Obama because ‘he’s forcing through this gay shit.’ Alrighty then!” — HuffPost‘s Jennifer Bendery.

Editor invents new Twitter terminology

“Defining new term: Twitter War Hostage| when yr handle gets dragged along in twitter fight btw 2 others long after u have anything 2do w/it.” — TPM Editor Josh Marshall.

Journo nightmare

“I had a terrible dream that I set my clock back and it was Nov. 4, 2011.” — Politico‘s Maggie Haberman.

On Saturday night NBC “MTP’s” David Gregory encouraged everyone to have fun with daylight savings: “My feeling is don”t wait until 2am to turn your clocks back. Have some fun with it. Do it now.”

Editor wrestles with cat’s underarm hair

“Spent half an hour untangling my cat’s underarm hair – finally had to give up and cut out a matted hunk #MaineCoonproblems.” — Washington Gardener Editor Kathy Jentz, who clearly made the most of her daylight savings time this weekend.

Anticipation: “Moving to my third coffee shop of the day. … But, I’m thinking y’all will think this story is worth it.” — BuzzFeed‘s Chris Geidner. Anticipation II: “Hour 19 of today: waiting. waiting. and more waiting. We cannot wait to actually have control of our own lives.” — LAT‘s Maeve Reston.

Captain Obvious: “In three days, we’ll know who the president will be for the next four years! Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?” — The Daily Caller‘s Matthew Boyle. What?!?! Is there an election??? We’re thinking he should stick with stories on senators and Dominican prostitutes.

Irony is…

“Starbucks Dupont believes in overheating its coffee to mouth-scalding temperatures but they’re too cheap to turn on the friggin’ heat.” — MetroWeekly‘s Randy Shulman.

FNC’s ‘Fair and Balanced’ reaches preposterous proportions

“Fox News anchor: If viewers want ‘far-left’ news, they go to MSNBC. If they want ‘fair and balanced,’ they come here.” — HuffPost‘s Amanda Terkel.

D.C. publicist would rather do anything than watch Sen. Rob Portman. And which Politico reporter basically tells complaining NY marathoners to STFU? Also: journo witness to giant car wreck caused by a bear.

Read more

NEXT PAGE >>