Here’s a new one. Use your birthday to get new readers.
Translation: F%$k the B-Day Messages, Read me!
Here’s a new one. Use your birthday to get new readers.
Translation: F%$k the B-Day Messages, Read me!
One of the most entertaining stories we’ve read lately was published this week by Roll Call’s John Stanton about tattoos in the U.S. Congress. Stanton let us know which members of Congress are sporting ink under their buttoned up suits. Some have small reminders of time in the service or of their heritage. Others, like Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) have half-sleeves that cover their upper arms. Stanton reports:
“So if, as lawmakers are so fond of saying, Congress is indeed a reflection of America, it would follow that some 60 Members of the House and 16 Senators have found themselves at least once under the gun, so to speak.”
Stanton revealed that he has ink of his own. He has a total of eight tattoos and he tells FBDC that his “right sleeve is almost done and my upper left arm is almost done. I have an ink well and quill tattoo, a tattoo of a harp carved from bog wood that my great grandmother brought from Ireland, among others.” Stanton’s stature combined with his well-known tattoos sparked plenty of instant reaction via Twitter on Tuesday.
Christina Bellantoni of PBS’ NewsHour says, “I’ve been waiting for this story for 2 years.” Mike Madden of Washington City Paper says, “File under ‘write what you know.’” USA Today’s Jackie Kucinich tweets, “It is pure poetry that @bigjohnrc wrote this story about lawmakers with ink.”
Say what you will about the competitive nature of journalism, we lost count of how many retweets and kind words were spread around the internet. It reached a feverish breaking point to where NY Mag’s obviously cantankerous Assoc. Editor Dan Amira snapped, “Ok, we get it Roll Call, you have an article on tattoos.”
While Stanton “outed” several members of Congress for having tattoos, it’s interesting to note that none of the lawmakers who admitted to having the ink would pose for a picture showcasing their body art. So, while these politicians will talk freely about their tats, they clearly still feel that there is a stigma attached to coming clean with their body art.
Roll Call has been quietly grooming Senate reporter David Drucker for a new position: Associate Politics Editor for CQ Roll Call. It’s a role that hadn’t been filled ever since Roll Call‘s Christina Bellantoni left to become Political Director for PBS’ NewsHour. In a phone interview with FishbowlDC Monday, Drucker, a Malibu native, shed light on his career, a physical altercation he once had with actor Gary Busey‘s son, Jake, and why he thinks Hollywood celebrities seek Washington’s limelight.
What will you be doing in your new role? I’m going to sort of be a deputy, but I’m going to write regularly both in print and for At the Races campaign blog.
How do you feel about the switch? It’s exciting. When I originally came to Roll Call in ’05, I was on the politics team. As much as I love the Senate and all the Capitol Hill intrigue, I really love campaign politics. It’s something that I definitely made a choice to do, both in writing and in editing to help to drive our politics coverage. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Will you be doing a lot more TV? That’s my plan. My plan is for this position to help me in that regard, not hinder me. Everyone here has been really encouraging about wanting what I do media wise to continue and grow.
Are you comfortable on TV? Yes, more or less. I’d never done TV until the summer or fall of ’06. The first time I did it I figured it was pretty much a disaster. I joke around here that I am a media whore, but I enjoy going on TV and giving my analysis. I like the stage. I think it’s fun. I think it’s good for the paper. I hope it’s helpful to the paper, but I really enjoy doing it. I feel our PR has helped me get places I’ve wanted to go.
It’s no secret that it’s looking like CQ and Roll Call are officially merging. How do you feel about that? [Before journalism] I was in a different business. You have to be very vigilant and pay attention to the business side of things. My thumbnail sketch of journalism is maybe it was always this competitive, but I think it’s more competitive now than what it used to be. I used to sell home furnishing products, [which meant] always competing on price and delivery. We had to find creative ways of delivery. To me, this is what I’ve always done. Make sure you love what you do, but make sure you are at a company that is successful so you can make sure you can pay the rent. It’s one of the things I like about Roll Call. Even through the recession we have continued to make a profit.
What do you think about the potential of Roll Call being swallowed up by CQ? I think we still put out a really good product. In any company there are changes. Most of the changes I’ve experienced are positive. Change isn’t always fun, but I look at it as something that goes along with a business. In some ways I consider myself to be a part of both CQ and Roll Call. In a lot of the ways we are marketed as both. I write for Roll Call according to the masthead. My name appears in Roll Call and I’m still proud of that. My general rule of thumb is as long as the checks still clear and it is well received I will be happy with all.
Tell me about your start in journalism. I got my start at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, in Ontario, California. Eventually they sent me to Sacramento, where I covered the ’03 recall campaign and Arnold Schwarzenegger. After he was elected governor, the parent paper in our group, the L.A. Daily News, hired me to cover him and state government from their Capitol bureau. I had a great time.
You grew up in California? Grew up in Malibu. You can only do so much in Malibu when you’re not surfer. I fashioned myself a basketball player when I was a kid. I’d do that rather than surfing. It was still fun to live at the beach. I went to UCLA.
So stars were clearly part of the culture. I saw them in the grocery store. You see them dressed in their ratty grungy worst. Dustin Hoffman used to jog at the Junior High School. I went to elementary school with Josh Evans, whose father was Ali MacGraw and Robert Evans. And Jake Busey [son of Gary Busey pictured at right). We actually got in a fight once. Oh nobody won. It was a stupid Jr. High School fight. He kicked, I kicked. There were Roy Orbison’s kids in my junior high. I haven’t thought about this in a long time. you get so used to it.
With the White House Correspondents’ Dinner coming up this weekend, why do you think Hollywood is so focused on Washington? How can I say this? I think Hollywood actors under value what they do. I think they provide a lot of entertainment to people that is actually meaningful. They make a lot of money. I think they don’t value what they do, and I think they think what we do here is valuable. They can tell a story and make people feel happy or sad. It’s actually very unifying. I think they undervalue it, so they look at us and think we’re doing something really important. I think you could tell this to any of them and they might think I’m ridiculously idiotic.
See the memo… Read more
Here’s something to chew on. PBS NewsHour Political Editor Christina Bellantoni announces the hire of a new reporter-producer for the network’s politics team. She’s Cassie Chew, who comes to PBS from AIS Health. She formerly worked for Bloomberg and BNA to name a few.
Congratulations to Chew!
See the internal memo…
PBS NewsHour has hired Katelyn Polantz to be a brand new reporter-producer. She starts on April 9. Polantz comes to the program from the Roanoke Times where she was purportedly known for her “scoops.” Among other things, she interned at Bloomberg and completed a fellowship at Poynter.
See the internal memo from Politics Editor Christina Bellantoni…
Yahoo! News has swooped in and hired Olivier Knox, formerly a congressional correspondent for Agence France-Presse. He is their first White House Correspondent. Knox had been with AFP for more than a decade.
Knox told FishbowlDC: “July would have made it 16 years at AFP,” he wrote in an email. “They hired me right out of SAIS. I’m thrilled, and I guess a little nervous. This is a phenomenal, can’t-turn-it-down opportunity to push myself while working with a team of all-stars. I would be remiss if I didn’t use this opportunity to remember my late mentor, Peter Mackler, to whom I owe all that is good about my reporting (all that’s bad is entirely mine).”
In a early morning release, they explained that Knox has covered “almost every facet of the political story, from presidential campaigns to Congressional drama to the real-world implications of policy decisions at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. As the White House Correspondent, Olivier will bring that broad and deep perspective in his original reporting to the Yahoo! News audience, providing both timely coverage of critical events and a unique perspective on how and why developments in Washington matter for the nation as a whole.”
They cite his keen reporting skills: “Olivier has delivered exclusive takes and scoops and news, including his on-the-scene report of the infamous shoe-throwing incident at former President George W. Bush’s 2008 press conference in Baghdad and the current GOP candidates’ growing calls for ‘covert ops’ directed against Syria. Olivier is also a social media standout, recognized for regularly breaking news on his twitter account.”
The outpouring for Knox on Twitter this morning is what is most striking — if this were a Class President election, or Miss America for that matter, Knox would win hands down — everyone from CNN’s Lizzie O’Leary and former CNNer Campbell Brown to HuffPost‘s Jennifer Bendery, CBS’s John Dickerson, Reuters‘ Sam Youngman, ABC’s Jake Tapper, TPM’s Josh Marshall, PBS’s Christina Bellantoni and The Australian‘s Business Editor Geoff Elliott, all sing his praises.
Olivier will report directly to…
In some newsrooms it’s the new law of the land. If you’re going to work for a competitor, you’re told to pack your things and get out on the very day you resign.
Such was the case with Keith Perine, an employee for CQ Roll Call until yesterday, when he resigned. He begins his new job as Deputy Tech Editor for Politico Pro tomorrow.
CQ Roll Call is not notorious for this treatment. While they would not comment on Perine’s exact situation, we know that many other reporters who have left the publication are not immediately asked to leave. For instance, Christina Bellantoni, who recently left for PBS, spent at least two weeks at Roll Call before departing. Others have spent even longer time there after they’ve resigned.
Quotes of the Day
“I’m appalled at the number of people who interpreted my innocent, joyful left-hand tweet from this a.m. as something masturbatory.” — WaPo‘s Gene Weingarten.
HOH confused for dating site
“Dear person who believes I run an online dating site. HOH doesn’t mean what you think it does … #justsaying.” — Roll Call‘s HOH Columnist Neda Semnani. The backstory: A reader wrote in to ask if they could guest blog on HOH, which they presumed was an African American online dating site.
Congressman mangles Chuck Todd’s name
“Well, Chad, Mitt Romney should be channeling…” — Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) on “The Daily Rundown” this morning. Chad, or Chuck, didn’t flinch and didn’t correct him.
Headline that could raise eyebrows at NBC…“Lunch Break Video: Tuc Watkins and David Gregory wear speedos.” No, not that David Gregory. This is the hunky soap star on One Life to Live.
A trick question from DCist’s Ben Freed: “Examiner, TBD, HuffPost people, what food item, if dropped off for free, would your newsroom go absolutely nuts over?”
“Hey @RickSantorum, I bet U pay a higher tax rate than Millionaire Mitt. He uses offshore tax havens. Ask him why in [today's] #CNNdebate.” — CNN Democratic Commentator Paul Begala.
“Learned a new TV term today: ‘hot edit.’ It’s not what you think.” — PBS’s Christina Bellantoni.
Excuses that work…
“It is starting to look like my ‘but I can’t file a piece today, the INTERNET IS BROKEN’ excuse will work afterall. #sopa” — The Guardian‘s Ana Marie Cox.
Quotes of the Day
CNN and Former FishbowlDC’s Matt Dornic: “New show: Silver Fox Sundays w @bobcusack?” Cusack is Managing Editor of The Hill.
Scribe on strange flight
“Flight attendant just scolded passengers, says boarding process lasted longer than her first marriage. Ouch.” — Roll Call‘s Shira Toeplitz.
Did journo smoke ashes before writing this?
“When someone Tweets a link without crediting the person it comes from, their ReTweets are ashes in the mouth.” — CBS Political Director and Slate‘s John Dickerson.
“Colbert with @georgestephanopolous is brilliant!” — MSNBC Contributor Karen Finney.
And an alternative viewpoint…
“Breaking: Zombie David Brinkley wakes up. ‘F**k this shit, I’m taking the show back.’ #ThisWeek’” — Below the Beltway blogger Dave Mataconis.
Journo savors New Year’s resolution on relationships
“OK, that’s it for my purple-hued career. Now sipping porter and savoring 2012 resolution to stop putting energy into broken relationships.” — Former Yahoo! News‘ Chris Lehmann, former husband to The Guardian‘s Ana Marie Cox. “No new gig to speak of — just getting out,” he wrote in response to what he’ll be doing now that he’s no longer with Yahoo! News. He also recently explained to another Chris Lehmann on Twitter that, “Actually, I’m no longer married to Ana Marie Cox.” Lehmann II replied, “Oh dear. Sorry to hear that.”
Scribe grateful for break from GOP primary
“Thank you Tim Tebow and Tom Brady for being interesting enough to cancel out the GOP primary in my timeline for a few hours.” — Roll Call‘s John Stanton.
From the Road
“I’m in Dubai. Just enjoying a leisurely breakfast at the Media One Hotel before I head to Kabul on Monday.” — USA Today and ABC Radio’s Carmen Gentile.
And the award for the most ridiculous way to connect an event back to you goes to…
“Farewell, Huntsman! Thanks for meeting w/ the @HarvardIOP students during the campaign.” — PBS’s Christina Bellantoni on hearing that Jon Huntsman was dropping out of the presidential race.
Happy Birthday to…first lady Michelle Obama.
Convo Between Two Types
Today’s conversation is between Big Big Fat Ritchie and Human Events Jason Mattera. Who Big Big Fat Ritchie isn’t really important.
Mattera: “Anthony Weiner saga continues: He’s turned on by other dudes apparently.” (Inexplicably he links to a weeks old Dec. story in the NYP.)
Big Big Fat Ritchie: “Jason Mattera, Weiner is old news. May he rest in peace. #freaks”
Jouno laments speeding tickets from Iowa
“Just learned of some speeding tickets I picked up in Iowa. Come on, Hawkeye State. Y’all used to be cool. And where did you catch me?!” — Reuters‘ Sam Youngman.
Quotes of the Day
Big Ball of WHAT? FNC’s Greta Van Susteren remarked: “We spotted one of our colleagues crossing the street in Manchester but what really caught our attention is the car right behind her….just WHAT is on top of that car?” See item on Gretawire blog here. Guesses include: hairball, dung, weed etc..Alas, it’s a big ball of hay.
Bloomberg‘s Joshua Green: “Greta interviewing the @jon2012girls in my hotel.”
“And of course, of course, the media and the other candidates have jumped on Mitt like Newt Gingrich on a younger, healthier wife.” — Stephen Colbert.
Birthweek bulls%$#: The Daily Caller‘s Michelle Fields celebrated her birthday yesterday. Happy Birthday Michelle! (h/t Michelle Fields) Her fans also had wishes for her, like this lowlife Bill Price (a.k.a. @Fireballil) who has Fishbowl Peter screaming for feminism: “Michelle Fields, too bad there’s no #RedEye tonight. Wear that dress in the #legchair and watch @FishbowlDC’s head EXPLODE.” Another F.O.M., a politically aware conservative Christian from Milwaukee, remarked, “Happy Birthday Michelle. May you have a wonderful & less attacked year.” She replied (after she RT of course): “Haha, thank you!” Of course she ran this picture of — guess who? — herself with the Fox News makeup woman, saying, “It’s my birthday and my Fox News make-up artist’s birthday! #TheBirthdayGirls.”
From the Road
“Protesters shouting ‘are you going to fire the baby’ as Mitt awkwardly holds an infant.” — Bloomberg political reporter Lisa Lerer.
A journo’s wish.
“What I wouldn’t give to see Chris Farley do Chris Christie just once on SNL.” — NYT‘s Mark Leibovich.
Twitter Nastiness has Happy Ending (Not that kind of Happy Ending)
The fight begins here.
Yglesias: “The activities of individual business executives have no relationship to the level of economy-wide employment.”
Elk: 1. R u an idiot? 2. How does @mattyglesias make a living – the man produces nothing of value & doesn’t understand Econ 101. 3. Can someone name a shitkicking piece @mattyglesias has ever written?
Boybander lawyer steps in.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: “Mike Elk, I think different people should write about different things. #everyoneistoastoncetheplanetmeltsanyway.”
Yglesias: “He has some problem with me whose nature I don’t quite understand. I think the issues I’ve been writing about this week do impact workers.” Elk: “Point is @mattyglesias claimed actions of individual executives have little to do w/ overall econ, people cover workers know its not true.”
Elk: “My apologies for calling you names @mattygelsias, that was wrong, but go cover some strikes, lockouts, organizing drives, raids etc.”
Necessary Tweet of the Day
“I hope my jet blue flight doesn’t only have sad movies available. I don’t want to get emoticonal on the plane ” — MSNBC Contributor and Daily Beast Columnist Meghan McCain. Earlier in the week she told MSNBC that the Obamas deserved an “emoticon” of privacy in regards to NYT’s Jodi Kantor‘s new book on them.
Wolf gets ‘pumped’ for primary
“I got a good night’s sleep. I ran five miles on the treadmill. I ate some healthy yogurt and fruit. I’m strong, ready to go. I’m pumped!” — CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to Access Atlanta’s Radio & TV Network before the New Hampshire GOP primary. Read the full story here.
From the Dept. of Bragiculture…
“Jim Lehrer told me I’m off to a good start. Win!” — PBS’s Christina Bellantoni, the new Politics Editor for Newshour.