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Posts Tagged ‘George Will’

On Pareene’s 2012 ‘Hack’ List: Oh, Everyone

“Who’s Pareene?” asked Michael Goldfarb of The Free Beacon. He tweeted the question yesterday linking to a Salon column that named The Drudge Report‘s Matt Drudge as 2012′s No. 5 biggest media “hack.”

Assuming it was a serious question from Goldfarb, Alex Pareene, whose mustache sometimes makes him look like a porn star, is a writer at Salon and the news world’s favorite ginger. Each year he names his personal 10 “hacks” in news media that are “hurting America.” While the not-that-much-anticipated list is harmless, it causes a buzz for directly and brazenly (or, as brazenly as can be done sitting at a keyboard) calling out big names in news.

Over the last two days, the list trickled out full of the kind of angst generally reserved for misunderstood teenagers in high school courtyards. In the end, we couldn’t help but think that in a few places, Pareene colored outside the lines.

No. 1 on the list is Politico, which Pareene said is founded on “a myth” that its reporting is “exclusive” when in fact it’s the same old Beltway journalism.

He specifically named Executive Editor Jim VandeHei and White House Correspondent Mike Allen as the driving forces behind Politico‘s hackery. Of Allen, who writes the widely-read Playbook tip sheet, Pareene said he is “paid a fortune” for emailing out “a bunch of links to day-old news stories.” It’s a business model Pareene has apparently mastered so well, it’s a wonder he’s not making his own fortune copying it. Or, maybe he’s pissed he didn’t think of it first?

Pareene dismissed all of Politico‘s election coverage. “No one reading any of these pieces … gained any genuine insight into the state of the presidential race,” he said. And yet, even after the election, Politico maintains high web traffic (though on election night, traffic climbed to 2.2 million page views an hour) which brings in money and allows the publication to expand.

In case Pareene wasn’t aware, it turns out there’s an audience for people who want to read about politics– in fact, every teeny tiny detail on the subject. Pareene doesn’t understand it. He’s kind of like a gorilla frustrated that he can’t make the star-shaped block go through the square-shaped hole.

It’s the audience he should hate. They’re reading Politico. Even if he doesn’t see why they should.

Moving on to No. 2 on the list… Read more

Jonathan Challenges Jonathan On ‘A–hole’ Scoop

An “asshole” has found itself right in the thick of media things today. And no, this has nothing to do with George Will‘s prostate exams.

Yesterday evening CQ Roll Call‘s Jonathan Strong and Daniel Newhauser double bylined a story headlined “‘Obstinate’ Factor Continues to Roil GOP.” The article looks at the decision of Republican leadership in the House to recently strip four GOP congressmen from coveted committee assignments. It contains the following (emphasis ours):

“‘What I tried to explain to them was, it didn’t have anything to do with your voting record, a scorecard, your work across the street or anything else. It had to do with your ability to work within the system and to try to work. And to be, I guess, constructive in things. And I said, “I guess you could say it was an asshole factor,”‘ Westmoreland said. ‘Now I wasn’t calling any member in particular an asshole, I was just trying to describe an environment where some people that you’re trying to work with, they just don’t want to work within the system.’

“Westmoreland later expressed regret for using that language, saying, ‘Maybe I should have used ‘obstinate factor.’”

Today, 15 hours later, Politico‘s Jonathan Allen published a very similar story with very similar language… Read more

Washington Media Mysteries

Noticeably absent from today’s Washington Examiner is Paul Bedard‘s Washington Secret’s column. Where could he have gone? We checked his Twitter profile for a clue–nothing. Bedard hasn’t tweeted since Friday.

We started to worry that Bedard, lover of doughnuts, may have had a bad experience with Krispy Kreme. For all we know he could have passed out on a public toilet in Chinatown and needs our help. So we emailed him. Still nothing. Fortunately, the Examiner‘s Executive Editor Stephen Smith got back to us and told us Bedard is on vacation.

Bedard’s specific whereabouts are still unknown, however. So we started to wonder: Where would a man who writes on secrets head for a vacation? Our best guesses:

  1. To sift through Mitt Romney‘s tax returns
  2. To search President Obama‘s college transcripts.
  3. On a mission to discover conservative columnist George Will‘s real hair color.
  4. Fox News HQ in New York just to hang out.

Next mystery: Where is Joe Scarborough‘s Politico blog?

Using a high-res magnifying glass, we were able to locate it on Politico‘s homepage. When the blog was launched at the start of the year it was prominently placed with its own caricature of Scarborough and link under the rest of the Politico blogs. It has since been reduced to a small link underneath the “Opinion” header, simply marked “blog.” And it hasn’t been updated in more than a month.

FBDC reported in early June that Scarborough’s blog was losing steam. An NBC publicist assured us he was posting “frequently” though never intended on posting daily. How about monthly?

We reached out again to MSNBC and Politico on the matter.

FishbowlDC Interview With Ex-Gawker Jim Newell

Say hello to Wonkette, Salon and The Guardian Contributor Jim Newell, who recently departed Gawker for what, even he’s still not sure. He worked there for a year and a half as their Politics Editor and left at the end of January. “New opportunities, I don’t know. They were going in a different direction,” he said in a phone interview. “I think they are doing less full-time politics, which is what I was doing there, so I moved on.” When Newell sent me the following email at 2:50 a.m. this morning I figured he had stayed up late watching LMN. He wrote, “Here you go Betsy! I hope it’s alright, I only went on one extended murder fantasy.” Born and raised in Annapolis, Md., Newell looks back on his childhood and describes himself as a shy, not very rebellious kid who lived on the water, which may not mean a whole lot.”We just happened to live in Annapolis by the water,” he said. “We’d look at the water, we wouldn’t go in the water.” For the last several months, he has enjoyed making his own hours as a freelancer, but he thinks he may need to start job hunting for something full-time soon. “I need structure,” he said. “I have just been sitting on my couch for five years. I’d like to do something where I can write longform, where I can go out and report and take a little bit more time. But I’ll take what I can get. I’ve cursed out most of the newspapers in town.”

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be? This is a ludicrous question.

How often do you Google yourself? Usually if I want to see if I’m getting any responses to a piece that I’ve put work into. So like once a decade.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)? “I’m leaving you for Gawker.”

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? I don’t know, there are a bunch of bloggers and reporters I read regularly but there’s no one muckraking investigative long-form shitkicker who really stands out, off the top of my head. Probably because I mostly read “campaign journalism” now, which is all nonsense. I just finished Robert Draper‘s new book about the House, though, and it was excellent. Now I’m reading Steve Coll‘s new book about Exxon Mobil, which is a goddamn professional reporting job.

Do you have a favorite word? No.

Who would you rather have dinner with – Ice’s wife, Coco, Kim Kardashian or Lindsay Lohan? Tell us why. Lohan, I guess. She has stories/is a human being.

The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Gabby Sidibe (“Precious” etc..) or Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). Who will it be? (Neither is not an option.) Interesting pair of choices, there. Is Fishbowl DC suggesting that black women with strong personalities are such unappealing potential mates that I’d consider allowing the Earth’s human population to die out rather than procreate with them? I would let the human population die off regardless of who it is, thank you very much. Anyway… Sidibe?

Editor’s note: Easy there, Newell. Precious has eaten a human for breakfast for far less. To insinuate that we think these women are sexually unappealing is wrong. Precious is bursting with sex appeal and watch out if you get in SJL’s way during any State of the Union Address when she manhandles the President for a handshake or kiss. We have previously thrown ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner into the ring for female interviewees but didn’t think he’d be appealing for you.

What swear word do you use most often? Shit. My favorite though is “fucktard,” but only as a treat.

You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.) Ideally it would be four middle-aged/elderly white men working at the nation’s premier news outlets where they’ve been wrong about every major event of the past 20 years, but I think the other Sunday shows have them all under contract. I think I’d just put four planks of wood in the chairs and meditate for an hour. It’d be less damaging to the world.

Read more

Trump vs. Will: Who Reps the Modern GOP?

The relationship between game show host Donald Trump and conservative columnist George Will is a love-hate one. It started back in March when Will suggested in a column that it may be a more feasible strategy for Republicans to abandon hope of obtaining the presidency and instead focus on taking over Congress. To that, Trump on FNC called Will “a totally overrated fool” and said “I don’t think he’s really smart, he looks smart with the little glasses and hair swept to the side.”

Fast-forward to this past Sunday’s episode of ABC’s “This Week” in which Will referred to Trump as “this bloviating ignoramus.”

Responding at lightening speed, Trump tweeted, “George Will may be the dumbest (and most overrated) political commentator of all time. If the Republicans listen to him, they will lose.”

The crew at FNC’s “The Five” discussed and it led to Eric Bolling saying this: “You know what Donald Trump represents? He represents a new Republican, a new GOP, a new conservative, where it’s not the old, established, George Will, boring out of their mind, bored out of your mind listening to him in Washington.”

Does this mean Will will lose his spot on “This Week” to Trump? The jury’s still out on that one. But let’s compare the two.

Here we have George Will

Age: 71

Hair: Hazelnut #81, purchased at your nearest men’s grooming store.

Education: Princeton University

Spouse: Mari Maseng, Republican consultant who previously worked on Texas Gov. Rick Perry‘s presidential campaign before he withdrew from the race.

TV behavior: Subdued, pensive and professorial. Will is someone you can listen to if you’re older than 30 and/or are stocked up on Ritalin.

Best on-air moment: We’ll get back to you on that.

Controversy: As mentioned above, a column by Will in March offered up an alternative plan to Republicans that assumed the GOP wouldn’t win the presidency in the November election. It caused a ruckus in the conservative media and got the attention of the guy conservatives want to piss off the least: Rush Limbaugh. Will was asked to clarify his column and did a little backtracking on “This Week,” saying, “At this point, I would say no, keep fighting [for the presidency], but prepare to retrench.”

Famous relative: Will’s wife Mari Maseng is well-known in Republican politics and worked as a speechwriter in the Reagan White House.

Workload: Twice-weekly column for WaPo, news analyst for ABC and regular panelist on the network’s Sunday program “This Week.”

Accomplishments: Pulitzer Prize winner.

And here’s Donald Trump

Age: 65

Hair: Scorched, tossed, turned, flipped, pressed, twirled…in short, a disaster.

Education: Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania

Spouse: Melania Knauss, a former model.

TV behavior: Obnoxiously loud, confrontational and generally dismissive of everything that can’t be tied back to his wealth.

Best on-air moment: His interview with “Entertainment Tonight” from 2006 in which he called TV personality Rosie O’Donnell the following: “disgusting,” “a slob,” “bad people,” “a disaster,” “fat,” “ugly,” “chubby,” “unattractive both inside and out,” “fat ass” and “a loser.”

Controversy: Relentless birther.

Famous relatives: Three of Trump’s five children, Ivanka, Donald, Jr. and Eric are involved in the production of Trump’s successful NBC show “The Apprentice.”

Workload: President of The Trump Organization, Host of “The Apprentice,” occasional candidate for president of the United States, author.

Accomplishments: Billionaire, New York Times bestselling book

Fish Food

(A Sprinkling of Things We Thought You Ought to Know…)

Oh no they didn’t — Expect backlash from this one. The Root wants to know why conservatives in the media are focused on “black-on-black” violence as opposed to, say, “white-on-white” crime.  They call this a “false media narrative” and point to a statistic recently shared by conservative columnist George Will on ABC’s “This Week” program. He said that every week 150 black men are killed — 94 percent by other black men. The headline of the piece: “Don’t White People Kill Each Other, Too?” The author, an author, columnist and MSNBC Political Analyst, says the term “black-on-black” is destructive and cites a stat from the Justice Department that says that 84 percent of white people killed each year are by other whites: “The half-truth he spoke went curiously unchallenged by the panel — including former White House adviser Van Jones — largely because the meta-narrative of black-on-black violence is widely accepted in journalistic and political circles.” The author’s conclusion: “It seems that the media in general and white American society in particular prefer to focus on crime perpetrated by African Americans because it serves as a way to absolve them from the violence, prejudice and institutionalized discrimination engendered for generations against blacks.” Read here.

Is WaPo “She the People” blogger just asking for trouble? — In a new post by Bonnie Goldstein, she skirts around a topic sure to rile some readers — namely, the issue of whether the Santorums should have had Bella in the first place. She never comes out and boldly says it. If she was going there, why not just go there? Instead she writes, “The little girl’s parents knew when she was still in utero that she would have serious developmental and physical disabilities. They nevertheless welcomed her joyfully despite having many other children to raise and not unlimited resources.” She also insinuates that Santorum hitting the campaign trail has affected the girl’s health. Again, gingerly broaching what could be dangerous territory without really fully going there. Read the rest here.

New book to hit the shelves… PBS’ and PRI’s Tavis Smiley and Professor Cornel West are out with their first co-authored book together, The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto out in stores, Tuesday, April 17. They will appear in Washington on April 17 as part of their 10-city book tour.  On April 22, West will also speak at Howard University. On April 16, Google will host a special The Rich and the Rest of Us online chat LIVE from Google Headquarters, 12 p.m.–1 p.m. PT.  To watch, visit:

President Obama makes funny monster faces…See BuzzFeed’s picture spread here.

The FishbowlDC Interview with SharkTank’s ‘Big Enchilada’

Say hello to SharkTank Editor Javier Manjarres. He’s in town from Fort Lauderdale this week for CPAC. And it just so happens he was seated right next to FishbowlDC. What are the chances, right? “Que pasa?” he asks his mother on his cell on Blogger’s Row. “Superbien..estoy muy occupado,” he complains. (Translation: I’m really busy. I’m really important.) Does he find it ironic that SharkTank is sitting next to Fishbowl? Does he think he’s better than us? “As a matter of fact the irony of the shark tank sitting next to the guppie bowl is interesting,” he said. “There is enough room in the sea for El Sharko and El Fishbowl.” SharkTank, a right leaning politics blog, came to life in 2009. Javier is the sole editorial employee. He embarrassingly calls himself “the big enchilada” and says he has one colleague who handles “technical stuff.” His opening line: “You didn’t notice me with my big fin?”

What does SharkTank write about? We pretty much write about everything political, we follow a lot of candidates. We get a lot interviews that no one else gets. I can call Marco Rubio, Allen West, Connie Mack. We’re all friends. We met at political events. We got to know each other on the campaign trail, you break bread, you’re on flights together.

Have you always been a reporter? I was in the clothing business, and I’m straight. I helped design and manufacture men’s apparel, women’s lingerie and bathing suits. I started writing for Red County in 2008 and then I started the SharkTank in November 2009.

Why SharkTank? Florida is the shark attack capitol of the world. And politics is a cutthroat business. It just fell in my lap, and there’s a lot of hot chicks involved too. I throw my press pass around. I go around saying, ‘I’m a big deal, would you like to go out for drinks?’” (He’s joking mostly, we think.)

Do you go tanning in between stories? I do suntan in my Speedo. I live two minutes from the beach. I go suntanning once in a blue moon, but I pride myself that when I play soccer in my Speedo I tan at the same time. Cleats and Speedos go hand in hand..

If you were a carbonated beverage what would you be? Red Bull..sugar free. Because I’m just a spaz.

What is your most embarrassing moment? I have a lot. This one was a badge of honor. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in front of the entire Cuba Democracy PAC in Miami, gave me a full embrace, kissed me on the cheek twice, and told me I was the biggest pain in her ass. She did it in front of Sen. Marco Rubio and 20 congressional members.

What’s your favorite swear word? Maybe shit.

What word or phrase do you overuse? Maybe predicated.

Who is your favorite journalist? George Will.

Who would you rather have dinner with – ABC’s Diane Sawyer, CNN’s Candy Crowley or CBS’s Gayle King. Tell us why.  Diane Sawyer, she’s attractive.

Who is your favorite Kardashian? The father, because he was fortunate not to see the train wreck his daughters turned out to be and you have to honor that. And I mean Ron Kardashian. Bruce is complicit in that crap.

The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Sec. Janet Napolitano or former AG Janet Reno? Who will it be? (Neither is not an option.) I’ll guess I’ll go down as the man who ended civilization. They don’t strike me as the type who would be interested in me, and there is no chance in hell that I would be attracted to either woman. If Ellen DeGeneres is thrown in the mix, I’d probably have to reconsider.

What word do you misspell most often? Taht. But that’s just typos.

When you pig out, what do you eat? Wendy’s number 6 spicy chicken medium, no mayo.

From Reason’s Peter Suderman: You’re given a choice between living a normal length life looking like you’re 28 and a thousand year life in which your age shows the whole time. Which would you pick and why? I’ll take 28 because I’m all about me – self-centered — it’s all about aesthetics.

Breitbart Lets it Rip on Eve of CPAC

Give Andrew Breitbart a plate of spare ribs and a goblet of red wine and he’s yours for as long as you want him. In fact, he’ll stay up until 5 or 6 in the morning telling you what he thinks about a whole host of things on his mind. Hey, if we’re going to do that, can we at least have some ribs and wine too?

For now, it’s 8 p.m. on Wednesday night — CPAC eve — and Breitbart, a publisher who runs six websites, is just getting warmed up. He’s at home at “The Embassy” (the townhouse he and his business partner, Larry, call “home” in Washington) for a book party on digital kids books that focus on family values like hard work and patriotism. Larry is a little freaked out about by my miniature blue notebook and pen but soon enough he gets over it. No one is talking about those kiddie books. Certainly not Breitbart.

He’s chilling in the parlor in a masculine rich brown leather armchair. His exquisite mop of gray curls sets off nicely against his attire, a pale blue button down, faded blue jeans and dark loafers, and his eyes, a crystalline blue.

For starters, Breitbart in person is not Breitbart online. He dominates every room he enters with his emotional and physical presence, but he’s warm and hospitable — and quite the goofball. He knows the perception is off. “All these bastards in media who meet me like me because they know I won’t lie,” he says. But not all like him, not even on the right, and he knows it. Hence the bodyguard he’ll have as he attends CPAC this week. He doesn’t like to think about danger too much. He jokingly mentions weapons he carries that include a “bazooka, a dog feces catapult and horse urine balloons.” He gives a nod to his publicist on the dog feces line and makes sure she thinks it’s funny. At two or three junctures in our conversation, he prefaces what he is about to say by declaring that THIS will be the most shocking thing I hear from him all night. In those moments, I brace myself for news that he once ate a live chicken including the beak and then he inevitably tells me something comparatively benign.

But Breitbart, even at his least shocking, is anything but benign…

Read more

Fish Food

(A Sprinkling of What we Think you Ought to Know…)











Newt’s campaign still upset about tame audience– Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich complained Tuesday about NBC’s Brian Williams requesting that the audience remain silent during Monday’s debate. After experiencing a relatively docile audience during Thursday’s debate, the Gingrich camp is now getting conspiratorial. Kevin Kellems, a senior adviser to Gingrich, accused rival Mitt Romney‘s campaign of manipulating the makeup of the audience. “They definitely packed the room [with Romney supporters],” Kellems told HuffPost. Goddammit. Where are those moon colonists when you need them?

In jealous rage, The Atlantic calls Weigel a “raging jerk”– As bitchy as journalists can be, the ones on the Republican primary campaign trail have a lot to be happy about. They’re in Florida where the temperature is hanging around a balmy 70 degrees. But that doesn’t mean The Atlantic, founded in frigid Washington, has to be happy for them. On Thursday the magazine called out the braggy tweets from journos in Florida. They called Slate‘s Dave Weigel a “raging jerk” for sending out a tweet last week in which he said, “High on the pleasantness scale: That moment the Florida sun retreats behind a cloud.” And WaPo‘s Philip Rucker is “cruel” for tweeting about the “sunset in Ormond Beach.”

Two Speakers sit down for “This Week”– Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will appear on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday to discuss his campaign and the Florida primary with ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper. Then it’s out with the old and in with the orange. Speaker John Boehner will be on after Gingrich to comment on the details of President Obama‘s State of the Union speech. Other guests: conservative columnist George Will, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, and conservative talk radio show host Laura Ingraham.

Editorial writer recalls “most embarrassing correction” of his career– After The Daily Caller‘s Matthew Lewis found glaring errors in a Thursday morning article about Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio published by Reuters, Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner offered up a quasi-defense of the wire service. In a blog post, he recalled his own time at Reuters and a mistake he once made that resulted in a dirty mudslide of corrections:

“[B]ecause it was the most important news of the day and it was rattling many markets, other Reuters reporters simply grabbed my wording to put into our stock report, bond stories, foreign exchange dispatches, and so on. So after I corrected the story, it triggered what my co-workers teased was a ‘global correction tsunami,’ as reporters throughout the world had to issue corrections because of my bungle. It was one of the moments in my career where I could have starred in a Southwest ‘Wanna get away?’ commercial.”

Klein went on to lambast Reuters for their errors Thursday, saying that it was different from his own experience because “this isn’t the type of breaking news financial news story that needs to be pumped out in minutes. It’s a longer feature that the writer and editor had more time to work on. There’s no excuse for being this sloppy.”

Is Will’s Fashion Influenced by Colbert?

On Sunday’s edition of “This Week,” a clip of Stephen Colbert mocking conservative columnist George Will‘s bow tie was played with Will looking on from the roundtable.

“If anybody knows fun, it’s George Will,” Colbert said on his show last Thursday. He was discussing a recent op-ed in which Will called Rick Santorum a “fun” Republican presidential candidate. “After all, a bow tie is just a necktie that’s doing this,” Colbert continued, crossing his arms near his neck in a type of 1990s gangster rapper pose.

Will, ever the funster, didn’t comment on the clip. But, as Roll Call’s Ryan Beckwith noted in a tweet, Will was noticeably not wearing a bow tie. Could it be that he’d seen Colbert’s joke and decided it would be best to go with a standard necktie from now on?

We checked around previous appearances of Will on “This Week” to find out if he typically opts for the necktie. He does (see here, here and here). In fact, it appears he’s also wearing a regular necktie in the mugshot for his column in WaPo. We asked the paper’s PR department if they could confirm it was a necktie. “Your guess is as good as mine, but it looks like a necktie,” WaPo‘s communication’s director Kris Coratti told us. “I do not know how Mr. Will felt about Colbert’s segment.”

Our conclusion: Colbert mis-mocked Will and is decidedly out of touch with Washington fashion.

We contacted Will on the matter. No response thus far.

Watch the clip from “This Week” here.