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Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Beck’

Behind the Scenes With the Bawdy Julie Mason

When we heard that Julie Mason was leaving her post as White House Reporter for Politico to begin a radio show on SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. channel, we were intrigued. While many reporters love to hear themselves talk, not everyone can hold an audience for three full hours. Not only is she hosting her own radio show, she’s also keeping extra busy this time of year as Secretary for the White House Correspondents’ Association. Mason is known for her bawdy personality and sharp wit, so our preconceived notion was that radio could fit her like a glove.

We caught up with her last week to see just how natural a transition it has been to go from print to radio. Upon entering the impressive SiriusXM complex in the NoMa neighborhood, we were greeted by Patrick Ferrise, Mason’s producer. Immediately we can see the perks of working here. It’s constantly stocked with snacks, drinks and goodies for visiting guests. Ferrise sips a can of seltzer and says he never really drank soda until he started working there.

As we enter the nerve center of the P.O.T.U.S. studios, Mason is deep into prep for her show, “The Press Pool.” In the next room, Tim Farley, the Program Director of the POTUS channel is wrapping up his own show, “The Morning Briefing.” While she continues to prepare, Julie says that she is enjoying the adjustment to radio. However, there was a learning curve. Her bosses told her that she was going to need to learn how to run a soundboard, which is something many talk radio hosts don’t even do anymore. When we’re talking about the soundboard, think of the control center of the Starship Enterprise. A large console of glowing lights and buttons that, for most people, might as well be part of a space shuttle. Mason says, “My employers have been so patient with me as I learn my way around the board (Limbaugh doesn’t run his own board!) and all about radio.”

As Farley wrapped up his show, Mason assumed her position behind the console and kicked off the show. She started by talking to Stephen Dinan, National Politics Correspondent for TWT about the now-dead Buffett rule. And then things started to shake up a bit. POTUS (The President, not the radio station) began talking about increasing oversight on manipulation in the oil market. This is what makes P.O.T.U.S. different from almost any other radio station. They carry it live, uninterrupted. They also carry Jay Carney’s press briefing uninterrupted each day. It’s a task that has given Mason many headaches considering Carney is rarely on time. We asked if this was a constant source of frustration. “Killing that time before the briefing is a radio skill I am learning, along with making a smooth transition when he finally comes to the podium,” she says. “It’s not frustrating, it’s challenging! Which I am sure is Jay’s intention. We are the only news organization that still runs every briefing, which I do think is pretty cool, for all my grumping about it on the air.” After POTUS wraps up, Mason checks in with their in-house Washington Correspondent, Jared Rizzi. It’s time for the briefing.

While the briefing is carried live, Mason gets to step away to decompress. The night before, Bill O’Reilly had called Mason a “loon” because she suggested that he and Glenn Beck may have damaged the Fox News brand. Tim Farley enters to make sure that Mason has seen an email he sent to her suggesting a new logo for her show: A picture of a loon. Mason takes the ribbing in good stride and says she realizes things are different now that she’s in radio. If someone had called her a partisan loon while she was still working in print, she might have gotten in trouble. Now that she’s in radio, her bosses could not have been happier.

The whole time that Mason and I are chatting… Read more

The FishbowlDC Interview With The Root’s Top Byrd

Say hello to The Root‘s Publisher Donna Byrd. Prior to her present post, Byrd was CEO of Black America Web, where she worked with national radio personality Tom Joyner to launch three African-American news and lifestyle websites. Byrd has sold toilet paper for Procter & Gamble; she’s quick on her feet — she once sang a jingle during a Coca-Cola presentation when technology broke down. “I remember being bright red,” she told FBDC in a phone interview, explaining that she cannot carry a tune. “I remember my face burning the entire time.” Schooling: Byrd has a B.A. in American Government from UVA and an MBA from Duke Business School.  Byrd was a military brat — she graduated from high school in Germany and has lived up and down the East Coast, North Carolina and five different places in Virginia growing up. She has traveled to 41 countries. Capetown, South Africa is the favorite. By the way, cabbies, if you want a tip don’t chatter away on your cell phone and put Byrd’s safety in jeopardy. It tends to get under her skin. Enjoy!

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? IZZE pomegranate flavor.

How often do you Google yourself? Rarely.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? Who wrote this?

Do you have a favorite word? Wow.

Who would you rather have dinner with –  MSNBC’s Chris Matthews or FNC’s Chris Wallace? Chris Matthews. It seems like he has evolved as a journalist and reporter over the years. I’d be interested in hearing his perspective on a lot of issues, particularly social issues. 

Who is your favorite working journalist? CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. I don’t always agree with him, but I always think his opinions are thoughtful, smart and provocative.

You are ordered to go on a road trip to an undisclosed location. You can go with White House Spokesman Jay Carney or Bo, the President’s Portuguese Water Dog. No ones feelings will be hurt. Who do you take? Jay Carney, unless the location is in a deserted area with water, in which case I’d roll with Bo.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Old phone.

It’s 3 a.m. and you get up to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Do you check your BlackBerry? Yep.

What swear word do you use most often? The one when you string them all together.

If you weren’t a journalist what would you be? If I weren’t a publisher, I’d travel the world as a relief worker.

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.) Shannon Reeves, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Melissa Harris-Perry, Cynthia Gordy and I’d add a wildcard guest, Dave Chappelle.

When you pig out what do you eat? Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

When did you last cry and why? Four weeks ago when my dad passed away.

What TV show is your guilty pleasure? HBO’s “True Blood.”

What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken? A land and water safari in South Africa.

What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? We want the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible. My cotton UVA sweatshirt. I think I bought it for $40 in college.

Pick one: Will Ferrell’s Bush impersonation or Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin? Tina Fey, hands down.

Find out what Byrd hates after the jump…

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Whitaker and McCain to Share Bigotry Stories

USA Network is busy this week securing Washington journos for an upcoming Newseum event called “A More Perfect Union: Stories of Prejudice and Power” on Wednesday, October 26th. The evening will feature five storytellers, including Oscar-Winner Forest Whitaker and blogger Meghan McCain, who will share a true tale of facing bigotry or discrimination and describe how the experience impacted their identity and outlook.

While Whitaker’s story is sure to involve race, McCain has experienced great scrutiny over the years about her weight. It’s hard to forget ex-FNC host Glenn Beck‘s shocking rant against McCain’s physique, saying the idea of her naked body made him want to vomit. This was in response to a skin cancer PSA she made in which she wore a revealing dress.

The star-studded event is part of a national storytelling tour in support of USA Network’s Characters Unite initiative – – which seeks to end discrimination and bigotry.  For the tour, they’ve  partnered with The Moth – – to use the power of storytelling to promote greater tolerance and acceptance.


Begala Whips Out Glasses to Say Bye Bye Beck

Inside Media Matters warehouse office space Monday night, Democratic pundit Paul Begala was among the throng of guests whooping and hollering about the farewell of Fox News’ Glenn Beck. Begala is not timid — at one point he donned dark horn-rimmed Beck glasses and did his best dramatic impression of the host on a wild rant. “I am a rodeo clown,” he began. Media Matters founder David Brock also showed up. Less of a comedian, he spoke of the serious dangers Beck posed and ultimately, after a small degree of reluctance, later agreed to a few private media interviews on the fall of their nemesis.

“This is probably the largest crowd we’ve ever had at Media Matters,” said Brock, scanning the room of mostly twentysomethings with beer. Of his employees who helped topple Beck, he told the crowd, “They are tireless, tenacious and so so so so so smart. … Because of it, Glenn Beck is going to have a little more free time next week. The absence of Beck is not only a victory for us here, but a victory for civil discourse in our country.”

The room exploded into cheers and APPLAUSE!

This was their “Bye Bye Beck” blowout bash. The place was packed. Madonna blared. One thing was clear: Brock and the employees of Media Matters feel personally responsible for Beck’s demise. They couldn’t be more proud.

Begala publicly thanked Brock for having “the spine” to put Beck watch into place. Later he remarked on the strangeness of Beck’s “delusional” and “paranoid” conspiracy theories while admitting there is a real entertainment factor to Beck. “Sometimes it was riveting television,” he said. Lefty radio host Bill Press was also there to celebrate. He, too, feels invested in Beck’s fall and didn’t hide his gloating. “I have two words for Glenn Beck: Conan O’Brien.”

Monitoring Beck and all of Fox News has been no small feat. From 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. employees man the network in a “war room” in four shifts and this includes specific teams that focus on Beck’s three hour radio show and one hour Fox News program. “They are the reason this happened,” Brock said.

“We take it seriously,” agreed Todd Gregory, a Media Matters researcher as he drank a celebratory beer. “It really is our mission.” Does he hate Beck? “I would say that hate is an awfully strong word.” Gregory acknowledges he will miss Beck’s theatrics. Research colleague Terry Krepel also touted Beck’s performer skills. He thinks the host’s tears are real “to a certain extent.” He also thinks they’re mechanical — he knows how to turn them on and off.

Angelo Carusone is something of a Beck celebrity inside Media Matters. In July 2009, while in law school, he began monitoring Beck for a site called He came aboard the company in the winter of 2010. Put it this way: Carusone has been listening to and watching Beck for four hours a day five days a week for a very long time.

Which brings us to a weird reality. Some admit it, some won’t, but the anticipation of no more Beck is a real emotional loss for these progressive soldiers.

When asked if he’ll go through Beck withdrawal, Carusone laughs. “I’m sure I haven’t lost brain cells,” he said, when asked if watching so much Beck has had any detrimental effect on his brain. But when I wonder more seriously how he will feel without his daily ingesting of Beck, he looks suddenly nervous and says earnestly, “I’ll tell you off the record.” I tell him I don’t want to know off the record. He says I have to understand that he has spent four hours daily with Beck for years now. Yes, there are things he finds amusing, but more importantly he sees his “irresponsibility” and “indecency.” Ultimately he concedes an emotional component to no more Beck. “It obviously has an affect,”  he said, disappearing into the crowd.

More from Brock…

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Media Matters to Booze Over Beck’s Departure

The liberal watchdog organization Media Matters is hosting a special rooftop happy hour on June 27th with Democratic political strategist Paul Begala and Media Matters founder David Brock. The cause for celebration is FNC Glenn Beck‘s departure.

June 30th marks Beck’s last day for his daily Fox News program: “We will be bidding him adieu with a ‘Best of Beck’ screening and discussing what’s next in the fight against right-wing media.”

We don’t suspect Beck, an admitted recovering alcoholic, will show up as the guest of honor.


The Black Snob Leaves TheLoop21

Many of you know her as “The Black Snob.” On Friday Danielle Belton left her job as Managing Editor of theLoop21, a website focusing on African American issues that seeks to advance Black economic progress by discussing politics, finance and culture. The publisher, Darrell Williams, is an economist and former prof at UCLA.

But something smells fishy. Belton cites “changes in editorial direction” as to why she left, but says little more. Then she details all the many, many ways in which she helped the site succeed. Why state that the largest story in the site’s entire three-year history was hers? Indeed, that story was a whopper. It was her interview with close friend Yesha Callahan, the woman to whom ex-Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) sent the infamous photograph of his bare chest via Craigslist.

Belton ultimately wished the publication well in its relaunch later this month. She told FishbowlDC: “The nicest thing I can say is that it just didn’t work out. We had different ideas on what my role should be with the site.”

We wish Belton well on her upcoming book.

In the meantime, read the letter…

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Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers


Photograph by Film/TV Producer Tammy Garnes in Atlanta on Sunday at Spelman College graduation. The commencement speaker was first lady Michelle Obama.

Roland’s down on Trump

“Don’t forget: @soledad_obrien’s doc & Heat-Bulls @ 8 pm est. Damn #CelebrityApprentice. Don’t watch. @dumpdtrump.” — Washington Watch’s Roland Martin in  a weekend tweet.

French sex scandal

“We have the Charlie Sheen of global finance running the IMF.” — Conservative MSNBC commentator Pat Buchanan on “Morning Joe” this morning. IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was picked up by the police over the weekend for allegedly assaulting a maid at a Manhattan hotel.

Writer/Publicist hits bikini bootcamp

“I’m so zen upon my return from 4 days at Amansala’s Bikini Bootcamp #travel #family #moms” — Poshbrood Creator Elizabeth Thorp in a weekend tweet. Amansala, an eco-chic resort, is located in Tulum, Mexico near Cancun. Want to know more? Read here.

Meghan McCain relaxes with friends and beer

“After truly what has been one of the weirdest weeks of my life – it’s nice to end it with best friends and beer.” — The Daily Beast Columnist Meghan McCain in a weekend tweet. Last week she endured Glenn Beck saying the idea of her naked made him want to vomit. She had filmed a PSA that showed skin just to her collarbone to highlight the issue of skin cancer.

Ifill threatens to kiss college men

“Congrats to the 500 black men of Morehouse graduating this morning. And thanks for including me.  — PBS’s Gwen Ifill in a weekend tweet. She gave the commencement speech at Morehouse College. Then she added, “Would it be too cougarish of me to kiss em all? #morehouse”

Greta readjusts to reality after trip to North Korea

“…How bleak when you get such a concentrated form of news after days out of the loop.” — FNC’s Greta Van Susteren on her Gretawire blog on checking the news after four days without it in the countryside of North Korea, where she had no Internet and no TV. Visit here for more. The photograph is from her blog. On a “lighter note” she wrote, “The fact of the 8 hours to travel 130 miles should tell you how bad the roads were — the ride was so bumpy that I think my internal organs were all re-arranged.” Since this was her third trip to North Korea, Van Susteren said the government was looser with pictures and video, but not entirely. Officials followed her and her staff at all times. Her coverage centers around the country’s food shortage that is set to begin in June and is expected to impact millions.

Washington journos react to Huck’s Circus Act

“Huck advisers wanted it more than him and also wanted to build up a prideful guy who never got estab respect.” — Politico‘s Jonathan Martin in a Saturday night tweet.

“The chair Huckabee is sitting in is too small for him.” — NJ “The Hotline’s” Amanda Munoz-Temple in a Saturday night tweet.

“How do people watch this nauseating, sociopathic channel regularly?” — Gawker Political Editor Jim Newell in a Saturday night tweet.

“Mike Huckabee: ‘All the factors say yes, but my heart says no.’ Like I feel about eating certain cheeses.” — NPR’s Scott Simon in a Saturday night tweet.


Drudge’s Midas Touch

The Washington Examiner isn’t the only Washington outlet obsessed with Drudge hits. This morning The Daily Caller tweeted this after getting a hit for its Glenn Beck story:

“just hit @Drudge_Report – the Daily Caller: Conservatives hit Glenn Beck for taking content without attribution…”

From Christopher Hitchens to Kim Kardashian: TIME’s List of Most Influential

The names on TIME‘s 2011 100 Poll were revealed today.

No doubt, VF’s Christopher Hitchens will be relieved to know he made the same list as Kim Kardashian, Justin Beiber, Snooki and Charlie Sheen. Some other media personalities and journalists to make the list include FNC’s Roger Ailes and Glenn Beck, HuffPost/AOL’s Arianna Huffington, NYT David Brooks, Nick Denton, Oprah, I-Look’s Hung Huang, NPR’s Andy Carvin, Bravo’s Andy Cohen and NYT food writer and blogger Mark Bittman.

Michelle Obama also made the list along with Petraeus, Gingrich, Giffords and more.

Readers have until April 14th to say whether they think someone on the list is influential or not. The winner will be included in the TIME 100 issue.

Inside Media: Dana Milbank on Glenn Beck

On Saturday, November 06, 2010 at 2:30 PM, Washington Post syndicated columnist Dana Milbank will discuss his new book “Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America” for the Newseum’s “Inside Media” series. 

Milbank’s book looks at the remarkable rise of Beck, the former shock jock who has become one of the most recognizable leaders of antigovernment conservatives. Beck’s daily radio show draws a weekly average of nine million listeners. His show on the Fox News Channel is watched by nearly 3 million daily viewers.

A book signing will follow the program. The event is being held at the Newseum’s Knight TV Studio and seating is on a space-available basis.  For more info on this and other events, visit the Newseum’s site here.