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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Sammon’

Incest Desk: Examiner in Bed with FNC

This morning we present a very special “Incest Desk” to unveil the ongoing love affair between the Washington Examiner and Fox News.

It’s not only the Yeas & Nays gossip column that’s guilty of having makeout sessions with FNC all over town, it’s now the editorial page, which has an even deeper love for the network that parallels all the great loves — Heidi and Spencer, Tina and Ike, Michaele and Tareq, Whitney and Bobby.

The op-ed celebrates FNC’s 15th anniversary and is so raw and gushing that it’s embarrassing. They say people have lost faith in journalism and journalists. But not in foxy Fox News. A sampling of their sweet nothings: 1. “If television news survives long into the future, it will largely be as a result of Fox News.” 2. Citing a WaPo quote, they explain that FNC anchor Bret Baier goes into his morning office meeting and does what most people who call themselves journalists do. That is to say he – gasp! – determines what’s news in a “balanced” manner. They write, “Baier’s claim makes sense to Washington Examiner editors and reporters who worked with him and other Fox journalists in preparing for the Iowa Republican presidential debate in August that was co-sponsored by our two new organizations.” 3. But the best line is saved for last. “If other news organizations refuse to heed the lessons of Fox News’ success, they will be even further behind the next time Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes pop the bubbly in an anniversary celebration.”

Did Fox News write this for them?

To be sure, FNC has returned the love. FNC Managing Editor Bill Sammon used to work at the Examiner as did FNC Digital Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt.



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With Friends Like David Shuster…

…Who needs enemies at Fox News?

Over the weekend Current TV’s feisty substitute anchor David Shuster took a caveman’s club to the Fox News commentators who moderated the most recent GOP presidential debate. He aired his grievances on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” in a tirade he says wasn’t meant to be angry even though the shouting blasting from the TV sounded like he was trying out for The McLaughlin Group. “If I need to smile more, I’ll take that critique and work on it,” the Emmy-award winning anchor told FishbowlDC in an email interview this week, punctuating his sentence with a smiley emoticon.

But even more striking than Shuster’s sharp jabs at Fox News anchors Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace was what came long before he dismissed them as idiots. “I still have a lot of friends there [at Fox News], too” he made a special point of saying when host Howard Kurtz announced that he once worked at the network.

Shuster said his comments stemmed from recent conversations he’d had with those “friends” at Fox News. “Speaking to a few of them on Friday/Saturday is what inspired me, in part, to bring up Brett [sic] and Megyn on Sunday.  Several people in the Fox DC bureau were embarrassed by some of the questions in the debate.  Furthermore, there seems to be a strong sense that Fox News has lost a lot of credibility/watchability with Brit Hume‘s semi-retirement.”

Fox News PR did not return a request for comment.

But a “Friend of Fox” told FBDC, “He may be right about Megyn but not about Brett. Ratings wise Brett does better than Brit did. Of course, Brit has been around Washington for a long time and has a great deal of institutional knowledge. But Brett will get that. Megyn seems to talk to pundits more than newsmakers, that hurts.”

But are Shuster’s attacks credible? “I think David Shuster is a hack who went over to MSNBC and sold whatever credentials he had in order to get a job over there. So my guess is a lot of this is sour grapes,” said right-wing radio host Mark Levin, who is based in an undisclosed location in the Washington area, possibly a bunker. “But he has ceased being a journalist in my eyes long ago, so who cares what thinks about Fox or anyone else?”

Others also sense the irony of a Shuster critique on Fox News. “It’s kind of funny that a guy who was fired for a lack of credibility and honesty with his former employer at MSNBC would feel comfortable commenting on the credibility of others. But a lack of credibility and self-awareness have always been Shuster’s calling card,” said TownHall columnist and WMAL radio host Derek Hunter. “He’s a perfect fit for Current TV – no one cares what he thinks and no one watches that network. It’s a match made in wherever matches no one gives a damn about are made.”

Jeff Poor, TV writer for The Daily Caller, said “Shuster has been going around talking down Fox News and how he has inside info for a few months — since he had the leash taken off after departing MSNBC.” Poor’s referencing Shuster’s recent call for FNC’s Bill Sammon‘s firing. “I mean, take that for what it’s worth as far as his motivations for attacking Fox News – a [guy with an] association to MMFA and fill-in host for Keith Olbermann.”

In the days following Shuster’s fiery performance on “Reliable Sources,” press hits began rolling in. Both favorable and damning. While HuffPost reported a straightforward account of what happened on CNN (Shuster praised them for it on Twitter), BigGov tweaked him, calling him “barely employed” in a banner-like headline.

Shuster was nonetheless grateful for the attention. He told FBDC, “Actually, I thought that was funny. And it was great to see Andrew Breitbart pick up and run the segment. Given the soft and humorous jab at my employment (I’m fully employed, thank you) I suspect Andrew also thinks the debate questions could have been/should have been sharper. In any case, I’m always thankful for Andrew’s attention.”

Did someone say attention? “Shuster, like his pal-in-career failure Olbermann, loves talking about his ‘conversations’ with ‘friends’ ‘inside the network’ as ways to justify whatever lunacy he comes up with to get someone to pay attention to him,” said a Washington journo on condition of anonymity. “I’ve yet to meet anyone who calls either ‘friends’ and even if these conversations did take place, talking to one or two employees is hardly indicative of the overall consensus within a large news organization. But I’m glad someone’s paying attention to Shuster. It must be a nice change of pace for him.”

More Shuster…

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Finally! FNC’s Bret Baier Awards Media Matters Research Fellow Trivia Prize

We can all breathe easier now that FNC’s Bret Baier has finally seen the light. Yesterday he awarded that Media Matters research fellow who has been on his ass for weeks now the grand prize for his weekly Twitter trivia contest, despite the fact that Eric Hananoki has been making a mockery of his contest.

Well, a mockery if you think it’s wrong that Hananoki ask Baier about remarks made by FNC colleague Bill Sammon about President Obama being a socialist — Sammon was caught on tape saying he he had linked Obama to socialism even though he didn’t believe it.

When the weekly Twitter trivia contest came up, Hananoki took it as a chance to ask Baier about Sammon, and tagged a question onto one of his trivia answers. Baier was not going to take that sitting down. So he began instituting strict Twitter trivia rules and awarding second place contestants first place prizes. He relentlessly blocked Hananoki with all the fair and balanced juice he could muster. But each week Hananoki was one step ahead with a new Twitter account and more right answers to Baier’s trivia questions. Funny enough, he changed his own avatar to Sammon’s picture.

This week Hananoki, again under an assumed handle — BHOisSocialist — won the game. Baier’s Q: Which liberal commentator did Brit Hume reference last night for saying “The war on terror is over”? The answer: Peter Beinart. Baier tweeted the winner as he normally does. But mysteriously, this winning tweet soon vanished into thin Twitter air. Nevertheless, he wrote Hananoki by Direct Message and asked him to pick his prize.

The Fox News mug. That should go over well in the Media Matters newsroom.

FNC’s Bret Baier Makes Surprise Peace Offering to Media Matters Fellow

In a stunning turn of events, FNC’s Bret Baier saw it in his heart this week to unblock the Media Matters research fellow who has tried to sabotage the anchor’s weekly Twitter trivia contests to poke around about his FNC colleague Bill Sammon.

Eric Hananoki, the fellow, saw the trivia contests as an in to learning more about Sammon’s admission on tape that he pushed the sentiment President Obama is a socialist even though he doesn’t believe it. He also wanted to win the free FNC hat, tie or mug goddammit. But when he tagged on a question about Sammon onto a response and rightfully won the contest, Baier gave the prize to someone else and eventually blocked him. Ouch! The next week Hananoki tried again under a new handle: @SammonCmmntPlz. This week — and this is nothing short of a miracle — Baier unblocked him and allowed him into his Tuesday afternoon Trivia game.

“Maybe it’s sort of an olive branch,” Hananoki told FishbowlDC.

Hananoki has now changed his Twitter photograph to Sammon. He says he’ll follow Baier’s rules, one of which says all answers must pertain to his trivia topic only, which, so far, have included a toad sculpture outside the Defense Department and another about the State Department. “Sure, I’ll play by the rules & use this account as long as I’m unblocked,” said Hananoki. “Though I’ll use my Sammon profile pic unless that’s ruled illegal.”

Want the back story? Read here, here and here.

FNC’s Baier Understandably Squashes a Fellow’s Dreams

FNC’s Bret Baier, you are no fool. Most importantly, you’re staying one step ahead of Eric Hananoki, that little liberal bastard fellow over at Media Matters who keeps trying to taint your doctorate-level Twitter trivia contest.

Today, Hananoki attempted to confuse you by entering the contest under a new name. His new handle was screamingly obvious and you saw right through it: @SammonCmmntPlz. At 2:45 p.m. you implemented a new rule to prevent anyone from asking anything that strayed from vital trivia matters:

Sorry to bring up last week’s fiasco when Hananoki entered your contest and won. The deviant tagged on a question about your colleague Bill Sammon that rightfully pissed you off. So you gave the prize — a choice of a hot Fox News tie or mug to show off around town — to someone worthy. We’re going to break this to you gently. At 2:35 p.m. today, Media Matters fellow Simon Maloy gifted Hananoki a FNC tie as consolation to what they are calling last week’s injustice. Please, that was justice. Clearly, he doesn’t deserve to wear the esteemed tie.

Today’s Trivia Q: “Twitter Trivia:Yesterday on SR we told you about Pres.Obama welcoming a group of students at the WH. What state were they from & what grade?” At 3 p.m., @SammonCmmntPlz came in second place by two seconds with the correct answer of: 8th grade, Colorado.

Contest aftermath: At approximately 3:35 p.m. Baier blocked @SammonCmmntPlz. But it might not mean much. Hananoki (posing above in his FNC tie with Baier in the background) is already plotting his next move.

Letter to Bret Baier: Watch Out for the Fellow

Dear  Bret Baier,

Here’s the tip-off. Eric Hananoki, that tweeting weisel over at Media Matters, is already plotting to break into your seriously kick-ass Twitter trivia contest on Monday afternoon.

Last week the research fellow joined in on the G-rated fun, won your contest about a toad and watched in slow motion horror as you awarded his prize to someone else – a clearly better someone who doesn’t work at Media Matters. He tagged on a pointed question about your FNC colleague Bill Sammon, a disgusting move for a research fellow taking time away from his afternoon ping pong game to participate in your trivia. Now you’ve blocked him on Twitter — a pivotal act as you take your game to the next level: Actual frogs. News of you blocking him shattered the concrete walls at Media Matters just before lunch today.

Good thought — ruin those monsters’ lunches. We don’t blame you.

But here’s the thing: He’s technologically savvy, rabid and liberal. He thinks your trivia contest should be open to all and wants back in. He also has the audacity to still want your prizes — Fox News ties and such — which would get him stuffed into a closet if he wore the neckwear to work. “I would still trade the prize of an FNC tie – value $15.95 — for Baier’s reaction to Bill Sammon’s recent admission,” he told FishbowlDC. Hananoki then went into a long-winded explanation of what Sammon said. It was a long sentence that could make a person choke, something ridiculous about Sammon saying he pushed some “mischievous speculation” about POTUS that he found rather “far-fetched.”

In goody two shoes fashion, he said NBC “Meet the Press” Executive Producer Betsy Fischer gave him a mug when he won her trivia contest. “Though to be fair, I didn’t pair it with any questions,” he reasoned.

Here’s what we say to you Baier. F&@k fair. Don’t let him back in. We’ve enclosed his mug above so you can be on the lookout.

Yours truly,


FNC’s Sammon Accused of Slanting News

As promised, Media Matters’s Joe Strupp wasn’t done going after Fox News. This afternoon he comes out with a story on Fox News management, specifically Washington Managing Editor and V.P. of News Bill Sammon. The piece claims that there is pressure on Fox News reporters by management  (Sammon’s a known conservative) to “distort” or “slant” the news.

The story cites two unnamed sources. Not surprisingly, Fox News PR provided no comment when approached.

An excerpt:

Sources tell Media Matters that the situation in the Fox Washington bureau represents a dramatic change from when Hume was managing editor. According to one source, the pressure to slant Fox’s reporting is coming from Sammon himself. Another source says that directives are coming from Fox management in New York and that Sammon — unlike Hume — doesn’t have enough sway to push back.

Who Does Fox News PR Favor? (It’s Not Hard to Tell…)


It’s no secret amongst Washington reporters that Fox News PR has a Black List. It includes reporters, editors and pundits, and just about anyone who occasionally looks at them cockeyed or has an ounce of audacity to question their journalism methods or – god forbid – phone the person or network they are attempting to slam. The Black List is a seasons, reasons and lifetime endeavor. Sometimes you’re on the list. Sometimes not. Sometimes you’re on and off in the same week. But these days, one thing is clear: Fox News PR has found a comfortable landing strip in the Washington Examiner.

Today’s story about Geraldo Rivera celebrating his 40th anniversary on air is just one example. Earlier this week they had that whopper of a story on Shepard Smith not wanting to watch those falling tower images. In June there was the war between Fox News and Bloomberg – this item was, to borrow the catch phrase, a fair and balanced approach on the war for Helen Thomas‘s White House seat. The Yays & Nays team indeed reported both sides. But also in June, Fox News went straight to the Examiner after Politico published a story about Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace getting escorted from his seat at a Nats game when he sat in seats belonging to former President Bush aide Karl Rove. The network gave a reaction to Politico’s scoop in The Examiner. Fox News made sure the story that published in the Examiner was a more Fox-friendly version than the more sharp-elbowed version that ran in Politico.

There’s a clear nexus between Fox News and the Examiner.

That Fox News Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon and Chris Stirewalt went from the Examiner to Fox certainly doesn’t hurt. Add to that the fact that current columnists Byron York, Michael Barone are Fox News contributors and you have more than a solid Fox News-Examiner bond.

One last Fox-y detail: A visitor to the Examiner offices told FishbowlDC this week that Editor Stephen Smith‘s office TV is typically tuned to – guess what – Fox News.

Sunday Show Preview

NBC’s Meet the Press: Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Bob Shrum, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and Maria Shriver

CBS’ Face the Nation: Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Georgetown University sociologist Michael Eric Dyson

ABC’s This Week: Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and a roundtable with Liz Cheney, WaPo‘s EJ Dionne, ABC’s Sam Donaldson, PBS’ Gwen Ifill and George Will

Fox News Sunday: Former Vice President Dick Cheney and a panel with Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon and Fox News contributors NPR’s Mara Liasson, Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol and NPR’s Juan Williams

CNN’s State of the Union: Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Boston Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino, Mayor of Boston Thomas Menino, former Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Thomas M. Menino and nephew Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and CNN’s Mary Matalin and James Carville

CNN’s Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz: Time‘s Joe Klein, WaPo‘s David Broder, former The Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant, WGBH “Beat the Press” host Emily Rooney, “Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values and Renew America” author Kurt Andersen

CNN’s GPS with Fareed Zakaria: Former Secretary of State/Treasury James Baker, VF‘s Christopher Hitchens, “Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy” author Fawaz Gerges, “Left in Dark Times” author Bernard-Henri Levy, “Standing Alone in Mecca” author Asra Nomani and Carnegie’s Minxin Pei

NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, CBS’ Bill Plante, Newsweek‘s Howard Fineman and NPR’s Michele Norris

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal: Time‘s Karen Tumulty, WaPo‘s David Broder, WSJ‘s David Wessel and NBC’s Pete Williams

Bloomberg’s Political Capital with Al Hunt: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) and historian Robert Dallek

Will update as we learn them.

Fox News Names Rosen State Dept. Correspondent

James Rosen has just been upped to State Department correspondent at Fox News, as announced by Washington bureau managing editor Bill Sammon.

From Sammon’s email: “He poses tough questions to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but also finds time to chat her up on Beatles trivia.”

Check out that email announcement, in which Sammon also calls Rosen an “expert on Nixon, Watergate and pretty much everything from the Vietnam era,” after the jump…

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