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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Novak’

Spiering Joins Breitbart Political Team

The Breitbart News Network announced today the hiring of former Washington Examiner reporter Charlie Spiering as the newest addition to the Breitbart News political team led by Washington Editor Jonathan Strong. Spiering worked previously as a reporter for Washington columnist Bob Novak before joining the Washington Examiner in 2009.

Spiering’s hiring is part of an expansion of Breitbart’s political team ahead of the mid-term election and 2016 presidential cycle that will include additional hires and an expansion into polling.

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Politico’s Mike Allen Sees Dead People

Tuesday night’s big party celebrating the return of “Crossfire” was held at the Carnegie Library. As expected, it was QUITE the affair. Newt Gingrich, Stephanie Cutter, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones were all in attendance and mingled with all the V.I.P. guests.

Naturally, Politico’s Mike Allen ran through some of the faces spotted in the crowd. Bill Burton, Dylan Byers, Laura Ingraham, Rep. Mark Sanford and his fiancé were there, according to Allen. One name that stuck out in his Tuesday morning Playbook was former “Crossfire” host Tom Braden and four of his children.

The only problem is… Braden is dead. Read more

Another Day, Another Round of Sycophantic Love for Michelle Fields

FishbowlDC’s latest post on The Daily Caller’s Michelle Fields brought about another round of smears and attacks from her Republican friends. I can understand the reflexive defense of someone on the right. But what I can’t understand is how someone, anyone, can, after taking a moment to think about the criticism of her “work” as a “journalist,” could reach the conclusion that she is some new, exotic kind of journalist.

There are a few questions to ask yourself.

1) What is her “beat”? What does Michelle cover? It’s haphazard, at best. She goes to where liberals are and records herself asking them questions designed to elicit an outcome she knows she’ll get and wants. That’s not journalism, that’s activism. Which is fine, activism has its place, but it’s not journalism.

2) What stories has she broken? Not every story has to be Watergate or Presidents hooking up with interns, but they also can’t be “I was pushed by police.” Journalists cover stories, they don’t manufacture them.

3) What is the difference between what she’s doing for The Daily Caller and what she did for Students for Liberty? One is a news outlet, the other is an activist organization. The answer is easy – there is zero difference. She is still doing activism, it just has an outlet that lends it credibility.

Michelle is an activist, plain and simple. And not even a particularly interesting one. Has she ever written any pieces? More words have been written about her on The Daily Caller (making herself the story) than have been written by her. At least “ambush journalist” Jason Mattera confronts people in power and asks them questions the mainstream media won’t, like Vice President Joe Biden. That’s actual journalism. Michelle doesn’t seem to have an interest in doing things like that.

Redstate’s Erick Erickson is a partisan and an activist, but he breaks news too. He’s not afraid of the truth, even if it makes someone on his side look less than favorably. He’s not quite Bob Novak, but he’s not that far away either. Speaking of Novak, he was a partisan, but he did actual journalism. He had sources, he made phone calls, he got original information, all the things that used to be called “leg work” by journalists. Any many still do it.

Try to find Slate’s Dave Weigel or Kerry Pickett of TWT and you’ll discover that they’re in the field. They’re in Iowa, New Hampshire, political events, talking with newsmakers and breaking news. Look for Michelle and she’s at an insignificant press conference asking people to make a donation to the IRS on her iPad. No one in their right mind would do that, and it wasn’t even original. How many op-ed pieces had been written at that point telling Warren Buffet he could write a check to the government while he was asking for higher taxes?

I don’t mind a hack, I don’t care for unoriginal hacks.

Michelle isn’t the only activist masquerading as a “journalist.” The most noted example of this the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein.

For those of you on the right who want to mindlessly claim FishbowlDC is a left-wing hack site, explain why this site broke the Weigel JournoList story and defended publishing private emails attacking the very conservatives he was covering by saying “this is serious for a blogger who covers conservatives. We have a vested interest in knowing and informing that a conservative beat journalist has a clear and angry opposition to the subject of his reporting.”, the story of Klein briefing Chiefs of Staff of Senate Democrats, called out Politico for ignoring Andrew Breitbart’s scoop in the Weinergate scandal, and many more.

The answer is you can’t.

This is a website dedicated to covering the media, not exposing media bias or taking sides in the media battle. If that’s what you want, there are plenty of sites out there that do just that, and do it well. This isn’t one of them.

There is no agenda here, as much as both sides would like there to be because it would help them dismiss it. It wasn’t “gossip” that Klein briefed the Democratic staffers — he eventually had to admit and explain it in his own newspaper.

That, and many other stories we’ve covered, is how we ended up with our criticizing of Fields. As much as some on the right would like to endear themselves to her for whatever reason, if you get your news from her you are not getting news at all. You are getting the opinions of 22-year-old activist who hasn’t been out of college a full year. That Brian Lamb would take an hour to get her “insights” can only be described as a quest for young fanboy viewers or insight into a new form of journalism some actually find appalling. And shame on Lamb for not asking Fields tougher, challenging questions about her “journalism” that many in the field are wondering.

BigGov Contributor Dan Riehl, who would like to see Michelle in a wet T-shirt contest (pretty sexist, if you ask me), tweeted out a passionate defense of Michelle’s “I get my news from Facebook” attitude from America Power Blog. It’s a glowing review of her CSPAN interview that barely touches the content of the interview and ignores the concept. Unsurprisingly, Michelle thanked them for “the honest post.”

Last night Michelle, ever the modest person, tweeted out that her interview was the 4th most watched interview on CSPAN. Well, videos of kittens and men getting hit in the crotch get a lot of views too. That doesn’t make them “journalists.”

Tricks of the Trade With TWT’s Emily Miller

Today’s “Tricks of the Trade” is with TWT Senior Opinion Writer Emily Miller. Credentials: She’s a former reporter for Human Events, where she often got in lawmakers’ faces for ambush reports, and previously wrote for Politics Daily. She’s also a former flack to ex-House Maj. Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).


1. Favorite Interview Technique: Take the elevator in the Capitol. Members and senators are less likely to be staffed, and they are, well, trapped. It’s where I caught Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) with high-priced defense lawyer Abbe Lowell right after asking for a continuance in his ethics trial because, he claimed, he couldn’t afford a lawyer.

2. Most Compelling Question You’ve Ever Asked: “What happened?”

3. Best Self-Editing Approach: To the chagrin of all my editors, I write long. Very long. A 500-word editorial is submitted as a book chapter. This FishbowlDC Q&A will need to be read after the jump. I have to trick myself to get closer to the column size. I open a second document with the same title and add “part 2.” Then I cut out all the paragraphs that I want to save for the second part in the series. (Shhh! Don’t tell me that there never is a “part 2” for news stories.)

4. What to do When an Interview is Tanking: I make a joke – it gets some people to let down their guard. The trouble is, a lot of politicians have no sense of humor. So when they don’t get the joke and I have to explain it, they are embarrassed and laugh harder. Then they are even more willing to show their good nature by continuing the interview. If an interview is tanking because the guy is simply parroting boring talking points, I just stop asking questions.

5. Approaching Lawmakers and other “Important People”: For goodness sakes, smile! I see reporters approaching politicians looking as if they are going to rip their heads off and eat their eyeballs for dinner. Other reporters ask how I can get picked on so often in press conferences. What they can’t see is that I’m smiling when I raise my hand. In a sea of frowns and grimaces, it’s human nature to pick the friendly face. Even cranky Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid likes a laugh; he calls on me all the time even though I’ve never written a single positive thing about him.

6. Most Surprising Thing to Happen During an Interview…

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‘Clueless II’ Starring Jim DeMint

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) may have more in common with Alicia Silverstone’s “Cher” than we know. Cher is attractive, popular and fashion-obsessed. She refers to her brother (in the movie) as “granola breath.” Until DeMint came to Washington, the senator hadn’t heard of a certain well-known conservative columnist.

From a NYT story over the weekend:

Mr. DeMint’s supporters describe him as a blank slate when he first came to Congress, with little ideology and little knowledge of Washington. Barry Wynn, a former South Carolina Republican Party chairman, recalled him asking about various reporters. “One he’d never heard of was Bob Novak,” Mr. Wynn said, referring to the conservative columnist. “He hadn’t been listening to ‘Crossfire’ or whatever people of that era had been listening to to form their views.

The FishbowlDC Interview with the Examiner’s Newly Promoted Tim Carney

tim-carney.jpg Say hello to the Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney. This week he was promoted to senior political columnist. He has been the lobbying editor for the past 18 months. Noteworthy details: He deeply regrets his involvement in the Dave Weigel wedding dancing story in his own paper’s gossip column, and considers it his most embarrassing career moment. His 3-year-old sounds like a budding comedian.

We must admit, we absolutely hate it when interviewees think they are somehow allowed to pick someone other than Michelle Obama or Sarah Palin for our dinner question and instead choose, “my wife.” Please. Your wife can come along if she absolutely has to, but just for answering the question like this, you will have dinner with Palin, a crying Trig, a fighting Bristol and Levi and the rest of the brood. Todd Palin will be in a particularly sour mood. And dinner will be Palin’s moose stew. Cooked rare.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Ommegang Trappist-style beer. Unless that meant I couldn’t drink Ommegang without being a cannibal. Pass.

How often do you Google yourself? I have Google news alerts, so Google Googles me for me.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? An editor to me: ‘Tim, I know what story I want you to write next week: The same one you wrote this week, except this time, do it well.’

Who is your favorite working journalist? Michael Lewis. If you mean more daily journalist, it might be Holman Jenkins. And by “favorite,” I mean most frequently fills me with teeth-gnashing envy.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? My wife.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? I think it’s called “old phone.”

What word or phrase do you overuse? I used to use “He [or she] is not alone… to segue from anecdote to data. I’m on a moratorium from that after Examiner Metro reporter Kytja Weir told me it was lazy and overused.

What TV show do you have to watch? I don’t watch TV. My wife and I watched The Wire on Netflix. I feel like it’s probably all downhill from there.

Where do you shop most often for your clothes? My wife buys my clothes – and my mom and brothers at Christmas.

Read Carney’s thoughts on his mentor, the late Bob Novak, who died about a year ago, after the jump…

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Risque Red Sweater Leads to “Merv the Perv” on “Morning Joe”

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“It’s just a sweater, but they’re turning me into ‘Merv the Perv’,” complained MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough this morning.

The situation was already degenerating with Willie Geist stepping in for host Mika Brzezinski, who is on a book tour. Scarborough began dissecting his own ensemble — a red sweater underneath a dark suit, white button-down shirt and striped dark tie. He thought he looked like the late columnist Bob Novak. Others thought he had achieved more of a Mister Rogers look.

Scarborough asked MTP host David Gregory to do his Tom Brokaw imitation. Gregory wasn’t in the mood — it was 7:25 a.m. “You look like you should have a small boy on your lap offering him Werther’s Original,” Gregory replied.

A small boy? The panel, which included, NBC’s Norah O’Donnell, PBS’s Tavis Smiley and MSNBC’s financial correspondent Erin Burnett, burst into laughter.

Without missing a beat, Smiley tried to abruptly change the subject: “David, what’s on tap for this Sunday’s Meet the Press?” Gregory laughed and replied: [Obama senior adviser] Valerie Jarrett and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Discussion turned to health care. “The Daily Rundown’s” Savannah Guthrie wanted to jump in. “Can I say something?” she asked?
Scarborough: “No!”

With that, the red sweater returned.
“Joe, that sweater is your softer side, but that was kind of tough,” Guthrie said.

The gentleman that he is, Scarborough relented and let her speak.


Washingtonian Mag Names Its Top 50 DC Journos

Photo by Washingtonian. CBS’s Lara Logan, ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg, the Atlantic’s Joshua Green, Hotline’s Amy Walter, the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza, and the NYT’s Charlie Savage.

Washingtonian (and former FishbowlDC’er) Garrett Graff is out with the magazine’s picks for the “50 Top Journalists 2009.”

The list has existed in Washington since 1973 and is always put together based on interviews with various DC journos, though this year’s is particularly unique because of the changing landscape of journalism. Another milestone– for the first time since 1973, neither David Broder or Bob Novak appear, as both retired from what the mag calls “day-to-day journalism” in 2009.

By our count, WaPo leads with ten journos, NYT not far behind with nine and relatively new, Politico has nabbed two well-deserved spots on the list (Mike Allen and Jeanne Cummings). On the TV side, NBC and ABC are tied with three each; CBS and CNN each have two.

Check out the list in its entirety here.

Kurtz on Off-the-Record Discussions and Network Interviews with the President

A few interesting items in Howie Kurtz‘s online WaPo chat yesterday, Critiquing the Press:

Washington, D.C.: When Walter Pincus revealed off-record discussions between Josh Block and three reporters, did he rat out any of his Post colleagues?

Intelligence Pick Blames ‘Israel Lobby’ For Withdrawal (Post, March 12)

If one reporter at the Post, sitting in his cubicle, promises a source confidentiality, and a reporter in an adjacent cubicle overhears the conversation and can figure out who the source is, can that second reporter write a story free of that privilege?

Howard Kurtz: Reporting on an overheard conversation would be flat-out unfair. But there are times when journalists have had to report on the confidential sources of other journalists, even in their own newsroom. I, for instance, had to question who Washington Post reporters had used as sources in the Valerie Plame affair (as well as those used by Bob Novak, Matt Cooper, Tim Russert, Judy Miller et al). I did not know who the sources were until that information emerged in the court proceedings and Bob Woodward eventually acknowledged the administration source who told him about Plame’s CIA role.

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Morning Reading List, 11.11.08


Good morning Washington.

Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line or let us know in the tips box below.

We’ve got your morning mix of media Muesli after the jump…

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