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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Smith’

Andrew Sullivan Takes Up For Nate Silver

In an interview with TNR‘s Isaac Chatiner published Tuesday, Politico co-founders John Harris and Jim VandeHei took swipes at Nate Silver, the number-crunching NY Times journalist who correctly predicted all 50 states’ outcome in the 2012 presidential election.

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In Memoriam: Michael Hastings

Michael Hastings, a writer for Buzzfeed and Rollling Stone best known for the career-ending profile of Gen. Stanely McChrystal, was killed yesterday in a car crash in Los Angeles.

News of Hasting’s death first came Tuesday afternoon from BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, who posted a note on the site that said,”We are shocked and devastated by the news that Michael Hastings is gone.”

“Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story, and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered from wars to politicians,” Smith said in his note. “He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him there are great stories that will go untold.”

Rolling Stone followed with an obituary a few minutes later.

Hastings’ hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power. While other embedded reporters were charmed by McChrystal’s bad-boy bravado and might have excused his insubordination as a joke, Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war.

Buzzfeed has a full story about Hastings here, there are tributes from the Buzzfeed staff here and finally, a collection of remembrances from other journalists, here.

Read on for a selection:

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Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

A TRIBUTE TO MICHAEL HASTINGS: “Michael Hastings was really only interested in writing stories someone didn’t want him to write — often his subjects; occasionally his editor. While there is no template for a great reporter, he was one for reasons that were intrinsic to who he was: ambitious, skeptical of power and conventional wisdom, and incredibly brave. And he was warm and honest in a way that left him many unlikely friends among people you’d expect to hate him.” — BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith. More… “We fought, first, over the adjectives in his stories — ‘discredited’ was a favorite — and then over his theories, which were typically the opposite of whatever I was hearing from my Washington sources. In the meantime I marveled at his talent and at the thing I hadn’t particularly expected: his generosity.” Read the full story here.

“I am no Michael Hastings and I probably never will be. My temperament and orientation is different. I approach my subjects from a different angle and I ask different questions. I do pretty well for myself. But when I’m in the arena with people like Hastings, I’m always forced to check myself.” — The Week’s Marc Ambinder. Read his full post here.


Confessional.

“I got the IRS chiefs mixed up. So audit me! Sorry about that. They’re all blending together.” — FNC’s Dana Perino.

In a twist on the usual 9-month pregnancy, NBC Luke Russert’s 20-month gaffe

“House now voting on bill by Rep Trent Franks’s (R-AZ) restricting abortions after 20-months.” — NBC Luke Russert on the bill that passed the House Tuesday. About a minute later, after some razzing, he wrote, “Correction to my last tweet. Bills would restrict abortion after 20 WEEKS not months.” Phew!

Hello Buttercup! Martin smooches NYT colleague

“Do yourself a favor: pre-order @peterbakernyt book DAYS OF FIRE now. A history of Bush-Cheney admin > http://www.amazon.com/Days-Fire-Cheney-White-House/dp/0385525184/ref=pd_sim_b_3/184-3921963-1609821″ — NYT‘s Jonathan Martin regarding Peter Baker‘s upcoming book.

NBC’s Chuck Todd from Berlin: “Btw, TOBBS (twitter on black berry sucks)”

Anonymous email to FishbowlDC: “My brother works for a local NPR station and he says the amount of money the big wigs at NPR lavish upon themselves is sickening. It makes him wonder what would happen if donors saw the gluttony. But, he needs the job so he keeps his mouth shut.”

Weighty reaction to Mika Brzezinksi

“Dear Mika, Arsenic is a poison. Soda is not. Bleach is a poison. Sugar is not. You are a ridiculous lunatic.” — Rare‘s Content Editor Mike Cover to the MSNBC “Morning Joe” host who wrote Obsessed, a confessional book about food addiction, her own and others. He added, “There are few things that make my skin crawl more than the nanny-state busybodies lecturing other folks about what to eat or how to live.”

Chuck Todd Lunges at BuzzFeed Over PBS Embargo Fiasco

We can see it now. The 10 angry facial expressions of NBC Political Director Chuck Todd. The 7 safari animals that most resemble Chuck Todd. Chuck Todd with a cornucopia of mustaches and facial hair ensembles — which one is best? Oh wait — in May of last year they already ran a listicle on Chuck Todd’s goatee on everybody.

The old-school newsman is at odds with BuzzFeed this morning. The last 18 hours has been a flurry of controversy ever since BuzzFeed butchered an embargo set by PBS on President Obama‘s appearance on “The Charlie Rose Show” last night. The embargo was set for 11 p.m. BuzzFeed broke it and ran a preliminary transcript of the interview at 3:45 p.m. And soon, others such as WaPo, which sought permission from PBS to break the embargo after BuzzFeed did, followed.

Was BuzzFeed in the wrong? Will Todd get over it and should he?

“We take agreements with sources very seriously. In this case, there wasn’t one,” BuzzFeed Political Editor McKay Coppins told FishbowlDC early this morning. When pressed, he added, “An embargo is an agreement, not a command.”

Todd aggressively disagreed. “Come on. It’s a crappy thing to do to PBS,” he wrote on Twitter last night. “It’s Charlie Rose’s interview. Not mine. Not BuzzFeed’s. The entire thing airs tonight.”

He went deep with it, talking about honor and manners. “This is not a legal dispute,” he wrote. “It’s about basic manners … it’s about whether there’s any honor left.” He spoke of old, worn established media rules. “Many news orgs are respecting PBS 11 p.m. ET embargo on the Rose POTUS interview. Some have chosen to ignore. Who changed the ‘rules?’ Wow, so in the obsessive world of trying to get clicks, we have news orgs no longer respecting embargoes. Can we have some rules respected?”

Todd has had a mostly warm relationship with BuzzFeed and has had the outlet’s reporters on his program, MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.” But he has bristled at the name, saying repeatedly that he doesn’t like it. In November of last year, theGrio.com‘s Perry Bacon praised BuzzFeed on “The Daily Rundown” and Todd cracked, “I’m not crazy about the name. I agree, I agree, the work is good, but the name sort of bothers me. BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed? Sounds like electroshock [unintelligible word] therapy.”

Others quickly jumped on Todd’s embargo bandwagon. TIME‘s Mark Halperin wrote on Twitter, “history + digital + fast food, hit-and-run culture. Forward an embargoed email to your non-pro cousin, have ‘em email back. Presto.” Mark H. Anbinder, contributing editor at TidBITS, added, “There’s a generation of reporters (I hesitate to say ‘journalists’) without proper training who don’t know what an embargo is.” And James David Dickson, op-ed editor for The Detroit News, answered Todd’s thoughts on honor, saying, “You live in Washington and ask if ‘there’s any honor left’ No, Chuck. There isn’t.”

But even those with time in the business don’t all agree with that. Commentary‘s John Podhoretz, among others at BuzzFeed, remarked that no agreement existed, and Todd argued that the “golden rule applies.” Still, Podhoretz insisted, “If PBS sends out transcripts that simply state there’s an embargo, no agreement exists on embargo.”

Which happens to be BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith‘s take on off-the-record interviews. Ever since his days of manning a blog at Politico, he has consistently vocalized his staunch belief that they are agreements to be forged, not assumptions. “Is this like implied off the record?” he asked on Twitter last night. Coppins backed him, saying, “Is it that crazy? I see the golden rule arg, but if we never agreed to an embargo, why are we bound?”

Officially bound or not, a longtime Washington editor declared BuzzFeed “wrong” and had this ominous thought: “What BuzzFeed did was wrong, and they will pay the price by not getting embargoed transcripts in the future. There has to be an agreement for speaking on background or off the record. The same principle doesn’t apply to embargoes.” And Eric Koch, a Democratic strategist and flack who formerly worked on Capitol Hill, warned, “Issue is flacks (like me) will probably just stop sending stuff out and giving people time to plan.”

With that very real prospect in site, some scribes are not pleased by this apparent new way of doing things. A political reporter who spoke to FishbowlDC anonymously said it was a “pretty shitty” thing for BuzzFeed to do. Read more

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

“Her internship application was impressive!” — NPR Morning Edition.

On Journalism.

“In this city, talking on the record is so rare, that when someone does it on something important, we make him the story, not what he says.” — AP investigative reporter Matt Apuzzo.

“If you’re a journalist and your first instinct in the Snowden case is to attack him, maybe you should consider a different line of work.” — The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza.

Huh? Someone get this woman a manicure. Pronto!

“I bit my nails down too far then painted them a heinous, white-out-esque color. I am scared to remove. Physical pain or sartorial pain?” — Marta, a Capitol Hill communications aide.

Attn: Publicists

“Note to PR folks: I just programmed my Outlook account to delete any message with the words ‘Interview Opp’ in the subject. kthanksbye.” — Mother JonesJosh Harkinson.

Convo Between Two Media Types

This morning’s conversation is between The Daily Caller‘s Alex Pappas and conservative blogger Matt Mackowiack. It transpired at about 4:15 a.m. this morning.

PAPPAS: “Do you ever sleep? You tweet at all hours!”

MACKOWIACK: “I’m sleeping now.”

Columnist gets “fishy” emails

“Dear @BarackObama — I’ve been getting some fishy emails about the NSA tracking my phone calls. That can’t possibly be true, right?” – Washington Examiner‘s David Freddoso.

Politico Playbook Publish Time: 7:56 a.m.

Reporter runs out of gas

“To make my day even more interesting the rental car I got ran out of gas two blocks after I picked up the car.” — Pittsburgh Tribune-Review political reporter Salena Zito, who has also written for TPM.

BuzzFeed Editor tries love, peace and understanding

“:(. Our kids will be teenagers soon enough. There but for the grace of god?” — BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith to TPM‘s Josh Marshall and BuzzFeed’s John Stanton regarding the story on Sen. Jeff Flake‘s (R-Ariz.) son tweeting racial slurs against blacks and Jews.

And another.

“Glad my parents weren’t personally accountable for the crap I pulled growing up. Kids need freedom to make mistakes.” — Radley Balko, senior writer, HuffPost.

Journo TV habits

“Watching #ImHavingTheirBaby. I love @oxygen for showing tough, courageous decision to carry and put a baby up for adoption. Important.” — MSNBC’s “The Cycle” Co-host S.E. Cupp.

And Trump hates “Modern Family”

“Just tried watching Modern Family – written by a moron, really boring. Writer has the mind of a very dumb and backward child. Sorry Danny!” — America’s know-it-all Donald Trump.

BuzzFeed Ramps Up International Coverage

We knew it was coming, but the day has come. BuzzFeed is ramping up its coverage — internationally. To that end, they’ve hired Miriam Elder as its Foreign Editor. Elder, who is currently Moscow Bureau Chief for The Guardian, will “expand and shape the social news site’s foreign and overseas coverage, building a team of reporters who will break news and cover major world events.”

Will this also mean listicles of foreign leaders who resemble house cats?

“Miriam is a great journalist and social web native who has an great sense both for news and for the next big story, as her coverage of the recent political protest in Russia — on the web, and on Twitter — has shown. Her deep roots in international news will be vital to bringing this coverage to a new medium and through new forms,” said Ben Smith, BuzzFeed‘s Editor-in-Chief in a morning release. “Foreign coverage is one of the last spheres where new media haven’t competed aggressively with newspapers and television networks. We see an opportunity to reinvent international news for the social age and Miriam is the right person to do it.”

See the many pubs where Elder’s work has appeared… Also: See Uri Friedman‘s story on the news in Foreign Policy at 9:15 a.m. today. He reports that Elder will be New York-based and will supervise a team of a dozen reporters including Rosie Gray. Gray will remain in Washington. Read more

Politico’s ‘Lifetime’ Ban From FNC; Was It Ben Smith’s Fault?

It’s well known that the staff at Politico is between the sheets with MSNBC and on the outs with FNC. An excerpt from the to-be-released An Atheist in the FOXhole published by Salon confirms that fact and provides a little more detail:

Sometimes entire organizations were given lifetime bans [at Fox News]. The website Politico wrote something a few years back that rubbed Roger the wrong way (we were never told what exactly the transgression was) and word went out to all the shows: No more Politico reporters as guests. Also, any anchors who mentioned the site on air had to use the phrase “left-wing Politico” — an absurd designation for a publication that usually played it down the middle.

A web search shows Politico has, in the past, been referred to as “liberal” or “lefty” at FNC. Those references seemed to take place exclusively on FNC’s morning show “Fox & Friends” and with particular zeal from co-host Steve Doocy.

It’s common knowledge that many current and former reporters at Politico (and a lot of different publications on Planet Earth) are on the outs with FNC and FNC PR in particular, with editors and scribes dealing with intense squabbles. But is Ben Smith to blame for the deep rift? Read more

Ben Smith Razzes Mom’s Twitter Talk

What happens when BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith‘s mom attempts to talk Twitter with him? This. Come on, @BuzzFeedBenMom, fire back!

In a similar vein, Ashley Codianni of NowThisNews cracks on her grandmother.

Note to readers: This is not Codianni’s actual grandmother.

 

Heritage Drops Out of BuzzFeed Event

What, they don’t like beer? BuzzFeed Brews’ more serious event on Immigration is hitting a minor snag as Heritage drops out. Their loss. Daily Caller‘s Mickey Kaus is stepping in.

Editor Ben Smith announced the news last night on Twitter. The Immigration Summit is Tuesday.

See who was supposed to appear at the event here.

The Latest, More Serious, Round of Buzzfeed Brews

On Monday night, Buzzfeed’s Bureau Chief John Stanton sat down with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). At the event, there were rumors flying that a bigger, more involved event was in the works. More involved? What, no GIFS or listicles? On Thursday, we found out the details.

On May 14 at the Liaison Hotel will be The BuzzFeed Brews Special Edition: Immigration Summit. It’s a more serious panel discussion on immigration that will be moderated by Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith.

Want more details? Read more

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