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Posts Tagged ‘Erik Wemple’

Ben Freed Fired From DCist

DCist Editor-in-Chief Ben Freed has been fired after fighting with his employer about publishing a story for BuzzFeed. The news was first reported by WaPo‘s Erik Wemple.

Wemple writes that Freed was given the axe after he freelanced a story for BuzzFeed on the impact of the $250M WaPo sale on local D.C. news. The part of the story that is still a mystery, and we don’t get why Wemple didn’t ask this, is that Freed’s Publisher, Jake Dobkin, told him to spike the story. BuzzFeed said they would be amenable to spiking the story, but also thought it would bring attention to DCist.

And yet… it still ran.

We’ve reached out to BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith on whether he’d hire Freed as well as the details of why the story was not spiked. Unfortunately Smith is on vacation until Aug. 12 so we’re reaching out to other BuzzFeed sources.

Developing…

WaPo’s Wemple Wimps Out

Dear Readers,

At 1:46 p.m. Monday, WaPo‘s opinionated media writer Erik Wemple wrote to ask about the whole Friday flap with Wonkette Publisher Rebecca Schoenkopf. In case you missed the fiasco, on Friday she fabricated a story that I was going to be fired. Why? Because she – her words – wanted it to be true. Wemple wrote me by email, “Schoenkopf says you called her a liar over the Politico party thing without even checking first with Politico itself. Then, she says, you took their version of events at face value and smeared her. Any response?” A second later he wrote back: “And to tack on one other: Does FBDC have higher standards than Wonkette and if so, in what way?”

Before we examine Wemple’s questions, let’s give you proper context since he couldn’t be bothered. Schoenkopf is Wonkette‘s editor who admittedly hates my guts for this, this and this. All the stories were based on actual reporting and sources. One includes research and numbers regarding Wonkette‘s web traffic after we noticed Schoenkopf was on the record stating wildly different numbers to different reporters (a story we’d cover no matter who it was about). Another discusses a party at the GOP Convention in Tampa at which Schoenkopf, according to witnesses, got sauced at a Politico soirée and claimed to be tossed out of the party. The funniest part was her nonsensical writing. She herself admitted to FBDC that she was 7 out of 10 on the drunken scale. Based on witnesses, we’d put her at 11.

Wemple called the details of the original story and source of her hatred for FishbowlDC “irrelevant.” Yes, Erik, why let facts and reporting get in the way of your story? But don’t worry. You’re in the same boat as Schoenkopf in that she doesn’t have time for facts either. In fact, she’s allergic to them–I think they may give her hives. She thinks I’m “vile” and  a “c–t” – and, wow, she sounds just like Anthony Weiner‘s Communications Director Barbara Morgan.

So according to Wemple’s statements in his email to me, Schoenkopf says I called her a liar over the Politico party incident without checking with Politico first. Simultaneously, I fell for Politico‘s statements because we never write anything negative about Politico or question them about anything. So somewhere in the craziness of Schoenkopf’s mind I both did NOT check in with Politico and I ALSO believed them because I – what? – talked to them? Come on, Wemple, even you can see that that’s a whole pack of stupid in one sitting.

But no.

Wemple offered a woman who INVENTED an entire story simply because she wanted it to be true the opportunity to insult me and my colleagues for most of his post.  Normally a reporter at a news outlet would be fired for intentionally publishing a false story for malicious reasons. But instead of questioning Schoenkopf hard on her brand of fairytale journalism, Wemple went easy on her and reduced the incident to little more than a cat fight between two websites run by women.

As Wemple so brilliantly put it… Read more

Afternoon Reading List 07.30.13.

About that NYT article — Jonathan Van Meter’s piece on Anthony Weiner for the April 2013 issue of NY Times Magazine was well received. The story with the headline, “Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s Post-Scandal Playbook,” narrated Weiner’s fall from Congress, his life after and his first steps back into politics. But WaPo’s Erik Wemple argues that the story is now “being blamed for enabling Weiner’s political rehabilitation.” Weiner told Van Meter that he was “eying” the mayor’s race and enlisted the help of pollster David Binder. As many journalists do when writing profiles, Van Meter immersed himself into Weiner and Abedin’s life. But, Wemple argues, immersion wasn’t the key to this story. Instead, skepticism should have ruled his reporting. Van Meter didn’t question Weiner on when he ceased having those online sexy chatfests or phone sex, which we now know he continued having after he resigned.

Why you should read it: The NYT piece drew well deserved praise, even from the likes of Poltico Editor-in-Chief John Harris, when it was first published, but had Van Meter pushed Weiner on whether he had halted the online relationships, it could have been a very different story.

Hindsight is 20/20 — In an op-ed for Scoop San Diego, Doug Curlee says he has covered Bob Filner, San Diego’s pervert mayor, since he was elected to school board in 1979. He says that he and many other San Diego journalists knew how abrasive and abusive he was throughout his political career. Now that Filner is facing a slew charges of sexual harassment, Curlee questions why the media, including himself, didn’t investigate Filner earlier. He doesn’t know the answer, but offers a few suggestions: the media could have been lazy, because Filner had established himself as a Democratic power or because Filner controlled votes and campaign funds of “large and ever-growing organized labor groups, the unions.” None seem like good reasons to not investigate the mayor’s behavior, but Curlee says the media as a whole “didn’t try, or try hard enough” and that San Diego journalists “should be a little ashamed of that,” noting that he is.

Why you should read it: How often does a journalist say he f–ked up? That in itself is a good reason to hear him out. According to Curlee, Filner had been a subject of speculation among San Diego journalists, and he offers insight into why those stories were never pursued.

Prepared for battle — Religious scholar and author Reza Aslan’s interview Friday with Fox News’ Lauren Green has spread around the Internet like Chicken Pox before there was a vaccine, starting with it being posted by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, and labeled as one of the most embarrassing interviews to appear on the network. Green tore into Aslan asking how, as a Muslim, he can write a book about Jesus Christ. But Slate’s Josh Voorhees argues that Aslan knew what he was doing coming into the interview. In battling Green and establishing credibility for himself by listing off his college degrees, Voorhees says that Aslan “highlighted the gaping hole in Green’s line of questioning.” The interview worked out well for Aslan. After the interview, Zealot was at the top of the Amazon and Barnes & Noble best-seller lists.

Why you should read it: Voorhees offers–something different–a look from Aslan’s side.

Afternoon Reading List 07.08.13.

The hut in the Philippines where the Internet started  Once upon a time, the Internet didn’t exist. Instead of Googling everything, people actually had to know things. The origins of the web can be traced in part back to a hut in the village of Leyte in the Philippines in 1945. As The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal writes, it was there that the young Navy radar technician Doug Engelbart picked up an issue of LIFE magazine and read an article titled “As We May Think” by Vannevar Bush, a science icon of the time, that presented Bush’s vision for a system to improve human understanding of the world (the article originally appeared in The Atlantic, Madrigal is sure to note). Engelbart, who died last week, went on, inspired by Bush’s essay, to work on groundbreaking technology that inspired generations of scientists. He invented the computer mouse and demonstrated what could happen when computers communicate with each other, showing hypertext links, video conferencing and hypertext links more than a decade before IBM released the first personal computer.

Why you should read it: Because you can, by just clicking the link. Engelbart was a major force in the early development of the personal computer and the web and worked hard so that doing that would be possible.

Rupert Murdoch is a happy guyRupert Murdoch has not just owned the news, but he’s being the subject of it lately as he and Wendi Deng have filed for divorce. But he’s not upset about it. As Michael Wolff wrote in his column for the Guardian, Murdoch is “happier than he’s ever been.” Those close to the media tycoon say Wendi is “a terrible person” and that she spends money and parties out of control, among other accusations. Murdoch also apparently believed that Wendi would upstage him after his death and that she “doesn’t deserve to be my widow.” Ouch. He believes he’ll be around for another decade.

Why you should read it: It’s an interesting look at Murdoch in the present. He’s had a storied past, and this piece looks into what may be ahead for the media mogul.

Read more

Morning Reading List 06.24.13.

Gregory catches fire for misguided question — David Gregory’s interview with The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, who broke much of the recent information on the NSA, Sunday on “Meet the Press” was going smoothly until Gregory pointedly asked Greenwald why he shouldn’t be prosecuted. WaPo’s Erik Wemple detailed the interview and criticized Gregory on his question, saying “he seeded his question with a veiled accusation of federal criminal wrongdoing, very much in the tradition of ‘how long have you been beating your wife.’” The exact question was the final one in the interview: “To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” Wemple points out that only Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) argued for Greenwald’s arrest. Wemple adds that Eric Snowden, the NSA leaker who has been in contact with Greenwald, probably wouldn’t need any help from a journalist in securing sensitive info that he had access to.

Read more

Afternoon Reading List 05.21.13

Another kind of ‘House’ wins votePatrick Gavin of Politico writes about a new Amazon.com TV series called “Alpha House” that will begin shooting this year in New York City and Washington. The show is a comedy about four Republican senators living as roommates and stars John Goodman, Clark Johnson, Mark Consuelos and Matt Mallow. The show was part of an Amazon contest that featured 14 pilots that viewers voted on to choose which ones would be made into a full season.

DOJ scandal deepensWaPo’s Erik Wemple further examines the DOJ scandal today in a piece on Fox News host Shepard Smith’s statement that the Justice Department gained access to the news organization’s servers and took information from them. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a statement that DOJ is not identifying the “news organization or the reporter involved in the Stephen Kim investigation.”

Reporter’s computer compromised — Also on Politico today, Dylan Byers reports CBS News investigative reporter Sheryl Attkisson’s computer was compromised. Attkisson said she’s been looking into the intrusion for months but is “not prepared to make an allegation against a specific entity today.” The reporter said suspicious activity was first seen in Feb. 2011 while she was reporting on the Fast and Furious scandal and the White House’s green energy spending.


WaPo’s Limp Citation for Roll Call

A memo to WaPo: Next time you want to give credit to a paper for breaking a story, how about doing it in the first couple of graphs? How about doing it at all?

On Friday morning at 9:58 a.m., Paul Farhi wrote about the flap over Politico yanking a video on its “about” page because Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office got its knickers in a twist about the potential lack of ethics involving a video of his staffer on a page where they’re selling Politico.

The story is well-written and cites Politico Chief Operating Officer Kim Kingsley. But why does it take Farhi eight flippin’ graphs to mention the story and publication that broke it in the first place, which was Roll Call on Thursday at 4:58 p.m.? He writes,

“Roll Call, a Politico competitor, reported Thursday that senate ethics rules prohibit senators and their staff from making endorsements. The publication reports Holmes said he didn’t realize that the video would be used as an ad. He received a written request for a video interview from Politico’s director of marketing, who said the video would be ‘a profile of you first — and how you use Politico second.’”

Farhi told FishbowlDC by email: “I was not aware that Roll Call had broken the story until I got your email (I’m assuming you’re correct, btw). I was first alerted to the story yesterday by a colleague, who didn’t mention where he’d seen or heard about it. I reported it out and filed something short about it late last night. I DID notice that Roll Call had done some fine reporting on this and credited them accordingly.”

Psst…Farhi! Google is your friend.

We also reached out to Roll Call‘s Meredith Shiner, who broke the story, for comment.

UPDATE: WaPo‘s Erik Wemple also writes about the Politico-McConnell debacle — because why shouldn’t two media reporters from the same publication delve into the same story? He cites Shiner by name five graphs into a pretty lengthy post.

Wemple, Albright Cut Lines WHCD Weekend

It’s one thing to stand in long lines to enter any number of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekend parties. It’s another when it comes to waiting at the bar for a drink or buffet for food once you’re inside. WaPo‘s media reporter Erik Wemple and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have figured out how to bypass the latter.

At a pre-party hosted by The Atlantic, NJ and CBS on Saturday, Albright was spotted jumping to the front of a line building up at one of the event’s three fully-stocked bars. The line was eight people-deep but nobody had the heart to stand up to the 75-year-old, 5’5″ woman. After getting her drink, Albright stepped aside to engage in conversation with Howard Fineman, editorial director of AOL-HuffPost Media Group.

Fast-forward to Sunday’s brunch at the Hay Adams rooftop, hosted by Thomson-Reuters and Yahoo! News. There, Wemple was seen cutting a line stretched out for one of the food bars that featured seafood, cheeses and breads.

When alerted of his faux pas, Wemple said he was aware, that it was a mistake and that by the time he realized, it was too late. He just had to commit and finish what he started, piling on the cocktail shrimp to his plate. He told FishbowlDC that he would go to the back of the line immediately and do things right. He did. And for that, we commend him for his amended party behavior at the swanky brunch.

Aasif Mandvi: ‘Conan Had Best Joke of Night’

The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi gave fellow comedian Conan O’Brien a big thumbs up today, insisting he had the best joke of the night.

“Yeah, I thought he was good,” said Mandvi. “It’s a tough gig talking to people while they’re eating and following President Obama. I thought he was very funny and had the best joke of the night — the Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow joke.”

The joke involved comparing Obama and House Speaker John Boehner getting together to CNN’s Anderson Cooper and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “Nothin’s gonna happen,” he cracked.

The highlight of Mandvi’s weekend? “I guess meeting Michelle from Downton Abbey. I’m a huge Downton Abbey fan.”

Mandvi’s impromptu review of O’Brien’s performance was told to FishbowlDC today at the Thomson-Reuters/Yahoo! News post prom night brunch at Hay Adams, where a variety of journalists were buzzing around the room.

Spotted in the mix: BuzzFeed‘s Evan McMorris-Santoro and publicist Ashley McCollum, who, while making fun of her own boat shoes, said it made her feel so good being at such a posh party. Also dotting the room was WaPo‘s Erik Wemple (from the ERIK WEMPLE BLOG) and Jack Shafer (where does he work again, Reuters?) as well as The Hill‘s Emily Goodin and Judy Kurtz (Howiella!) and Washingtonian‘s Carol Joynt. A journo who shall remain nameless and genderless somehow sneaked his or her way into the party without being on the list (yes, crashing a party, even at the opulent Hay Adams, can happen.)

Quotable: “If this wasn’t here I’d be shitting my pants.” — FBDC’s Eddie Scarry standing on the balcony of the Hay Adams, safely inside the wrought-iron railing.

Nancy Pelosi Helps TNR Celebrate New Digs

Three weeks after moving into 529 9th St. in Chinatown, The New Republic officially celebrated its new office space on Friday.

“The convenience of the location played a big part,” Chief Operating Officer Sloan Eddleston told FishbowlDC. The office, which sits over the International Spy Museum, features a newsroom with some 30 computers, a library for reporters seeking a quiet respite and a spacious roof deck with a view of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (another selling point).

Eddleston said the space was renovated before the TNR crew could move in and that changes to the office were paid for by the owners of the building. He said TNR has signed a multi-year lease, but declined to say how many years.

Notably, most of the computers in the office are desktop PCs with only two or three Macs. Asked if any of the staffers gripe over who uses which computer, TNR Editor-in-Chief Franklin Foer said no. Actually, most of the computers go unused. “I think you find that most people have laptops,” Foer said, “and they’re working off Macs.”

Foer said it’s “very sweet to be in a place that is our home and will be our home for a long time.” Previously, TNR was taking up shelter in an office sublet by the American Grain Council.

The party featured two fully-stocked open bars and another bar where attendees could sample different liquors. WaPo‘s media reporter Erik Wemple was spotted taking a shot of something dark before heading out onto the deck. Catering included copious amounts of humus and cheese, veggie spreads and an assortment of chips.

Throughout the early evening, Chris Hughes, publisher of TNR, was seen… Read more

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