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Posts Tagged ‘David Plotz’

Slate Hosts Live ‘Gabfest’ Tonight

Want to gab with Slate?

Tonight’s your chance. The publication is hosting a live discussion with Emily Bazelon, David Plotz and John Dickerson at the Synagogue at Sixth and I at 7 p.m.

Tonight’s topics:
- the shootings in Arizona
- Freshmen in Congress
- GOP contenders for the 2012 presidential race

Of course we wondered whether Slate‘s savvy reporter Dave Weigel will be there. “As for Weigel, the Political Gabfest features David Plotz, John Dickerson and Emily Bazelon. Weigel won’t be on stage with them, but being that it’s a Slate event there’s a good chance he’ll be in the audience,” a spokeswoman said.

Tickets are $12. Purchase them here.

Slate’s Plotz: So What Does He Do?

Slate‘s Editor David Plotz is the subject of a lengthy interview this week in the latest installment of mediabistro’s SWDYD (So What Do You Do?). In it, he discusses the hiring of David Weigel and why it wasn’t a pass off from WaPo – both Slate and WaPo are owned by the same company.

Plotz goes into detail about his management philosophy – it’s not based on a– kissing or fear. He also admitted to being distracted by a 50-foot billboard of a Michelle Obama lookalike hanging outside his workplace window.  “I had to lower my shades, and kept them lowered until they removed the billboard a few months ago,” he said.

Slate‘s New Wave Journalism


Are they potential Internet hipsters? This morning, Slate launches what it hopes will be a wave of the future feature called Slate Labs.

Yahoo! serves as the exclusive launch sponsor.

The new feature houses the magazine’s interactive features, games, and experiments and will serve as a testing site for new projects in developing stages. The lab has existed all along, but until now has been for employees only. “We’ve got really brilliant readers at Slate, and we look forward to turning some of them into collaborators,” Slate Editor David Plotz told FishbowlDC.

Today, for example, Slate Labs debuts a political forecasting game for the 2010 midterm elections called Lean/Lock. View it here.

Plotz says the idea behind Slate Labs is to “show our experiments – even before they are ready – and invite readers to suggest their own projects or tweak ours.”

But, Plotz insists, they must proceed with caution. After all, they can’t just mindlessly turn their servers over to anyone who wants to play…

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Slate’s Plotz: ‘I Flew Slightly off the Handle’

“I hate to admit it, but I flew slightly off the handle,” admits Slate’s Editor David Plotz of his remarks about “disgusting” Wall Street on a Slate political podcast. He had gone into a mini-rant about taking pitch forks to Wall Street. “We should burn them down, we should go after them with pitch forks, knives, guns, mace, anything,” he said.

Even Plotz’s wife reacted to it, telling him, “You know, you sound kind of crazy?”

But then something happened he didn’t expect: Newsbusters picked it up and ultimately he became “Fox News’s pinata” of the day.

Plotz insisted that he was joking around on the podcast, that he was being tongue-in-cheek.But FNC’s Laura Ingraham and “Fox and Friends” didn’t find his words to be a joking matter and skewered him.

“More power to Fox for having such sport with me,” Plotz said in a subsequent video posted on Slate. “If it’s good for their ratings to pick on some random podcast rant and to extrapolate on that, the decay of American civilization, then bully for them … but I do wish they would have given a link back to Slate and used a more recent, a more flattering photo.”

Watch Plotz’s Slate video entitled: “My 15 Minutes of Fox News Fame, How I Became a Fox News Punching Bag”

Slate Sets Its WHCA Dinner Table


Slate will attend Prom. No celebs, but fun should be had. The big names at the table are solely those of Slate descent. Dinner guests include: Jacob Weisberg, David Plotz, Mickey Kaus, John Dickerson, Vijay Ravindran, Dahlia Lithwick, and John Alderman.

Slate’s Dickerson Takes a Stab at Risk


Slate begins a 5-part “Fresca” series today by Chief Political Correspondent John Dickerson on risk (the theme, not the game).

Frescas are Slate’s contribution to long form journalism on the Web. They’re in-depth, special series pieces, which every Slate staffer is encouraged to take time off to write. The name “Fresca” evolved from Online Magazine Editor David Plotz‘s favorite grapefruit-flavored soft drink, Fresca. And it appears to have bubbled up creativity. A different chapter of the scribe’s series runs each day this week through Friday.

Dickerson, who took a month off to complete his series, posted the following on his personal experience with risk when he left Time for Slate:

An excerpt:
In 2005, I left Time magazine, where I had worked for 15 years. I was their White House correspondent, a job that people instantly got excited about when they, say, met me at a wedding. In my job I traveled with the president and interviewed him and knew the most “important” people in the world. I left that high-profile work, and many friends, to join Slate. People thought I was nuts. A lot of them assumed I’d been fired. Suddenly I had to explain at weddings: Slate? Is that a construction magazine?

I took the leap because I needed to upend my world to find my truer voice as a writer. I wanted to experiment, to sometimes fail, and to learn in a place that thrived on that cycle. Maybe if things worked out I’d be able to find a project of the kind that had brought me to journalism in the first place almost 20 years ago: I’d get an idea, go find stories that explored it, and get to tell those stories to readers. I got lucky. This series is one of my rewards.

Dickerson’s first story involves two mountain climbers. He then tackles musicians, entrepreneurs and military personnel. He asks readers to submit their risky stories and submit them to He plans to collect readers’ ideas and write about them.

Find the series here.

The FishbowlDC Interview With Slate’s David Plotz

fishhead.jpgPlotz_preferred_1.jpg Say hello to Slate’s Online Magazine Editor David Plotz, a funny man who is clearly unafraid to use the word “f–k”. This may be the most number of times I’ve written (or heard) f–k in the course of an interview. F–k. F–k. F–k. What fun. It’s “deeply” fun (you’ll understand this reference by the end of the interview.)

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Fresca. I was caught on film once yelling about how someone didn’t replace the Fresca in the office fridge.

How often do you Google yourself? Not very often. Once a month, it’s usually pretty specific. Who is your favorite working journalist? David Grann of The New Yorker.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? That’s not even a question – Michelle Obama. She has this air of intelligence and wit and she’s very funny. She’s tough and she’s a total babe. Sarah Palin is also a total babe and interesting in her own way – but not my way.

What word do you routinely misspell? Reality. I didn’t know there was a difference between realty and reality for a very, very long time.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? It’s whatever the default is. [This was followed by a long string of expletives as he attempted to figure out how to find the cell phone ringtones on his rather complicated BlackBerry.] Honestly, I still have not figured it out.

What swear word do you use most often? F–k or F–king. Usually directed at my computer.

What word or phrase do you overuse? Deeply. I say deeply all the time. It’s such a stupid phrase. I’m mocked for it constantly.

What TV show do you have to watch? “Friday Night Lights”

If you were trapped on a deserted island, which public official would you want to be trapped with and why? Energy Sec. Steven Chu. The dude is so smart he would cobble together some elaborate communications system. He’s a pretty charming guy. I don’t think he eats a lot so I’d probably get the lion share of the food.

What’s the best advice you ever received in the course of your career? It’s from my colleague Slate media columnist Jack Shafer. Replace every “is” and “are” in a story with the word ‘f–k’ and then go back and replace those ‘f–ks’ with active verbs. So you’re going to have he “thumped” or he “pummeled.” It’s going to have more muscle.

What and where was your first job in journalism? City Paper, 1993, a job which I got because I wrote my undergraduate thesis on [former D.C. Mayor] Marion Barry. Jack Shafer had an opening and made me a staff writer.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? In 1996 I wrote an article about how it was logistically impossible for the President to have an affair []. A few months later it turned out that he [Bill Clinton] was having an affair.

What’s the biggest scoop you’ve ever had? I’m not really a scoop journalist. That’s not what I do. I’m not built for that kind of journalism.

Read more Plotz after the jump and find out why he can’t stand actor Robert Pattinson

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Labash Blowout Book Party: Marion Barry Has Arrived!

IMG_0217.jpgThe Weekly Standard/Daily Caller Matt Labash’s book, Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures With Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, And Jewish Cowboys came to life Thursday night as characters from his anthology filed in one by one to the beautiful home of Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson and his wife, Susie. The evening was one of fun, frolic and, of course, drinking, as the Distilled Spirits Council sponsored the party with a well-stocked Scotch-filled bar.

Characters from the book who showed up to the festivities included Democratic political strategist and former campaign aide to Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) David “Mudcat” Saunders, Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens and GOP consultant Roger Stone, who famously taught Labash how to properly tie a tie (he claims Labash still needs help). Stone (in photograph above with Labash) explained that he was leaving later to catch a train to Manhattan – his policy is to never stay overnight in D.C. as the town is too awful a place to remain too long. “I hate it,” he said. “People are phony.” (Stone splits his time between New York City and Miami.)

Soon the party turned into a roast.

“Nice house, not waspy enough,” Stone cracked. “I appreciate the enormous role I have played in making Matt Labash.” Stone joked that people always ask of Labash: ‘What’s with all the Hitler memorabilia?’

Saunders, to whom Labash devoted an entire chapter, said the author was much more than a writer but a life confidant whom he still phones for advice. “He knows enough about me to get me arrested,” he said. Initially, Saunders said, he feared a story about him appearing in The Weekly Standard: “I’m a Democrat. The Weekly Standard ain’t a damn Democrat publication.”

The party was the scene of scenes for D.C. journalists. Faces in the crowd included conservative radio personality Laura Ingraham, The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes and Andy Ferguson, Politico’s Anne Schroeder Mullins, Patrick Gavin, Kiki Ryan, Michael Calderone and Pia Catton. Politico’s Jonathan Martin and NBC “Meet the Press” Executive Producer Betsy Fischer arrived simultaneously. The Daily Caller was represented well with opinion editor Moira Bagley, publisher Neil Patel, V.P. of sales Alex Treadway and congressional reporter Gautham Nagesh as well as Sean “Jim Treacher” Medlock on crutches. Others in attendance: The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard, the New York Post’s Charlie Hurt, Reason’s Michael Moynihan, Edelman’s Exec. V.P. Tony Blankley, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, D.C. media consultant David Bass, former Time scribe Tim Burger and Slate’s Editor David Plotz. The Atlantic’s Josh Green was there and spoke of the story he has been living as of late – that of Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) and the old Navy buddies who told him, among other sordid details, about the ex-congressman’s infamous Massa massage and now compelling “snorkeling”. Green joked, “I feel dirty talking about it.” More seriously, he called Massa the “Andy Dick of Congress.”

Lightening struck when former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry arrived. Late and decked out in a suit and cherry-colored tie, Barry stole the show. And for a good while, it was all guests could do but stare and snap cell phone pictures.

“It took me an hour to find this place,” Barry told the awed crowd, explaining his tardiness. “I wandered here and there and everywhere.”

Initially Labash had no idea that Barry that arrived. “No, no, I don’t publicly speak!” the author was imploring guests, unaware that his most striking character was about to weigh in.

Carlson explained to guests that The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol was sorry he couldn’t attend – he was in Manhattan hanging out with former N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Massa (everyone laughed). Carlson read a note from Kristol that said, in part, “When we hired Labash, we had hoped he’d become a star – we’re still hoping.”

Carlson, who wrote the introduction to Labash’s book, had solemn praise for Labash with a twist. “Matt doesn’t simply write about people,” said Carlson. “He takes them as lifelong friends – almost in a proctological way.” He said when subjects first read the stories Labash has written about them their first response is “horror.”

Then they realize that what Labash has written is true, that the author has maybe captured them more deeply than anyone ever has.


More party pictures after the jump…

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Plotz to Chat with Tucker: Participate or be a Voyeur

tucker-carlson4.jpg At 2:30 p.m. EST today, Slate will feature a live Web chat between Slate Editor David Plotz and The Daily Caller’s Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson.

They’ll discuss and debate the latest happenings in Massachusetts, health care, and whatever else they find of interest, a spokeswoman writes by e-mail.

Readers may submit questions and topics they’d like to see addressed, or “they can sit back and indulge in some good old-fashioned voyeurism as David and Tucker take on the news of the day.”

The live chat will be hosted on both sites, on Slate here: or

This is the debut. Plotz plans to make this a regular weekly between Slate and The Daily Caller. So far the feature is unnamed.

WaPo Journos Lunching With Ravindran

Don Graham has been holding journo lunch meetings for Vijay Ravindran, WaPo’s chief digital officer. According to Washingtonian, the lunches are being held to ramp up the former Amazon exec. on the business of news.

WaPo’s Liz Spayd, Joel Achenbach, Dana Milbank, Ian Shapira, Jose Antonio Vargas, Mike Wilbon, Jason LaCanfora, Dan Steinberg, Stephen Hills and David Plotz of Slate met with Ravindran at the last luncheon.

Most surprising is the one person that hasn’t hit Graham’s lunches… Check out Washingtonian’s Capital Comment blog for the full scoop.