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Posts Tagged ‘James Fallows’

Morning Reading/Watch List 01.22.13

1. President Obama blows Fallows’ mind. In a quick reaction post, The Atlantic‘s national correspondent James Fallows says how surprised he was by the President’s second inaugural address. He writes, “I was expecting an anodyne tone-poem about healing national wounds, surmounting partisanship, and so on.” Read here.

2. Has NBC’s goofball weatherman Al Roker lost his mind? He’s already shit his pants and went commando in the White House, so it’s really hard to go down from there. But Roker makes a valiant effort. NowThisNews features the “sharter-in-chief” at the Inauguration parade in which he makes such a spectacle of himself that the Vice President has to come say hi. “Al Roker wins today. He is ridiculous,” tweets Sarah Kenigsberg. Watch here.

3. WaPo‘s Wemple wants to save world from NYT’s Kantor. Kantor takes a much deserved beating from Wemple, who wonders why Jody Kantor keeps writing stories on the first couple without interviewing them. He’s right. It’s annoying already. It’s the NYT. They should be better than this. He writes, “It’s a story that would have benefited quite a bit from some direct input from President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.”

When is XOXO Too Much?

The Atlantic‘s magazine is out and among its offerings is the onset of hugs and kisses in workplace interactions. And by that, they mean over email. For example, two professional women collaborate on a project and one follows up with: “xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo.” Even ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer is known to use it, so often in fact, that employees fear not seeing it.

An excerpt of quotes: 1. “I feel like xo has taken on its own kind of life,” says Karli Kasonik, a Washington-based consultant. 2. “I do it, most women I know do it,” says Asie Mohatarez, a writer and social-media editor, noting that she prefers a single x to the full xo. 3. “In my field, you almost have to use it,” says Kristin Esposito, a yoga instructor in New York.

Read the story here.

Also in the magazine but a digital exclusive… Read more

Morning Reading List 09.18.12.

1. Media bias at a glance: Is WaPo‘s Ezra Klein angling for a job at Breitbart.com? No, not so much. But late Monday afternoon, he published a post with a headline sure to at least initially draw the ire of his conservative compatriots: “The media is biased and so are you.” The story addresses the idea that reporters have great incentive to keep campaign stories provocative enough to keep the reader coming back for more. He writes that there’s a certain natural propensity to root for the underdog candidate. He even has a study to prove it. Read here.

2. A special blend of “news”: From special panda Twitter updates to murder to great horse trails to explore, Washingtonian has it all.

3. The Charmer: Just before 2 a.m. this morning, The Atlantic‘s James Fallows published a quick post on the media that won’t disrupt your already nonexistent attention span. He uses a WaPo headline to explain a complex point regarding the “ongoing struggles of the journalism biz to convey what reporters think is actually happening while trying not to seem opinionated.” Fallows’ headline: “Forgive me for finding this charming.”

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

“That was a weirdest thing I have ever seen at a convention in my entire life and it will be the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen if I live to be 100. That was bizarre.” — MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow‘s immediate reaction to Clint Eastwood‘s convention speech in which he spoke to an invisible President Obama sitting in an empty chair.

Journos weigh in on Mitt’s big night

“Romney looking like man of the people — so long as the people are kept behind a rope line.” — U.S. News & World Report‘s Robert Schlesinger.

“Mitt’s a little moist in the eyes.” — Asst. Managing Editor for NYT Jim Roberts with perhaps the grossest description of Romney for the evening.

“No prepared remarks much to every reporters annoyance.” — ABC’s Karen Travers.

“This is like Ward Cleaver’s salute to June.” — Rolling Stone National Affairs reporter Tim Dickinson.

“After saying he’s Mormon, he immediately talked about how it doesn’t matter. There’s a man of faith for you.” — HuffPost‘s Dan Froomkin.

“When Mitt tells jokes an angel dies.” — Sports Editor at The Nation Dave Zirin.

“Romney doing what he needs to do here. Not spectacular but very, very solid.” — WaPo‘s Chris Cillizza.

Ana off the Wagon? “MEDICARE LIE. Drink.” — The Guardian‘s Ana Marie Cox.

“Yo teleprompter guy, cue Mitt to nix the lip smacking #RNC2012″ — HuffPost‘s Senior Political Economy Reporter Zach Carter. He soon added, “Should you really hug your kids a little longer when gas prices go up?”

“I feel bad for Mitt. He’s everyone’s second choice in the primary, and now he has to follow Clint. The poor bastard.” — Jared Keller, director of Social Media for BloombergLP.

Convention Commentary

“I vote for conventions without politicians.” — WaPo‘s Jennifer Rubin.

“1) Eastwood: Whoa!! 2) Rubio: too long, pushed Mitt too late 3) Mitt: just fine, and unlike Ryan mainly true. But enthusiasm in hall???” — The Atlantic‘s James Fallows.

“Dear Republicans, I thought we’d all agreed to not do embarrassing white people dances at#GOP2012” — RedState.com and CNN’s Erick Erickson.

“I’m not sure those dance moves should ever be done. But they should definitely not be done in a grey suit.” — The Atlantic‘s Megan McArdle.

“Fuck some asshole delegate brought a baby to RNC – someone call protective services.” — InTheseTimes.com labor journo Mike Elk.

Speaking of white guys commenting on Taylor Hicks…

“I never regretted my vote for Taylor Hicks and I never will.” — Slate‘s Dave Weigel.

“Quote of the night goes to @Ari_Shapiro: ‘For some reason I thought Taylor Hicks was a woman.’” — ReutersSam Youngman. Shapiro is a White House Correspondent for NPR.

 

Journo takes stab at NBC

“When will Republicans learn and NOT give NBC News press credentials for their convention. NBC News is not the press.” — Real Clear PoliticsIan Schwartz.

And an Esquire writer blasts them all…

“The political media are reminding us all this morning how irrelevant they are becoming.” — Ex-Romney foreign policy spox Richard Grenell.

And a Breitbart.com editor reflexively lashes out at BuzzFeed

“I’d pay real money if @McKayCoppins would give it a rest.” — Breitbart.com editor John Nolte, later adding, “These #BenSmithers are all professional trolls.” Ben Smith is BuzzFeed‘s Political Editor.

Blah blah who cares?

“The beauty of the restaurant business is we gratefully serve the left, the right, and everyone in between.” — Mr. Norah O’Donnell i.e. Geoff Tracy during Mitt’s speech.

“Folks, we got a Jim Bunning sighting on the floor.” — Politico Senior Reporter Jonathan Martin.

And now…onto Charlotte

“15K overtired, overworked, high maintenance, often hungover journalists are about to descend on Tampa airport. This will go well.” — Politico‘s Ben White.

Balloon photograph above by AP’s Phil Elliott.

An Assignment in Paradise

How magical does this assignment sound? An arctic explorer. A bestselling author. A brain scientist. Most importantly: La Jolla, Calif. in mid October.

The Atlantic magazine and the University of California San Diego’s annual event, “The Atlantic Meets the Pacific” will gather newsmakers on October 7-9, 2012, in beautiful La Jolla.  This year’s event will delve deeply into the topic of disruptive technologies in media, energy, and health and will feature a series of headline interviews and panel discussions with newsmakers that include… Read more

Brokaw Blasts Nerd Prom, More Journos Follow

On Sunday’s “Meet the Press”, Tom Brokaw was analyzing the Presidential race of 2012 when he took a sharp turn into Curmudgeon-ville to take major swipes at Nerd Prom. He is not pleased about the glittering of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with stars like George Clooney and Charlize Theron. Some people may argue that at last those stars are politically active and aware of what’s going on the world. The same can’t be said for the likes of Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan.

In any event, reaction started pouring in over Twitter as Brokaw’s comments went viral. WSJ’s Neil King welcomed Brokaw’s comments by saying, “Here’s seconding Brokaw’s takedown of the WH Correspondents Dinner. And here’s predicting the day when POTUS says thanks but no thanks.” Longtime Washington political journo and columnist for the Dallas Morning News Carl Leubsdorf told FBDC, “I think he spoke for many of us.” He went on to say, “Tom is spot on. And as the dinner has become glitzier, fewer seats have gone to actual correspondents and more to corporate executives, advertisers and celebrities. The upcoming 100th WHCA anniversary in 2014 might be a perfect time to consider this, though I’m not too hopeful that will happen.” Something that got the attention of HuffPost’s Michael Calderone was Brokaw’s mention of “taking over the Italian embassy.” It just so happens that was the location of the blowout MSNBC after-party. National Correspondent for The Atlantic, James Fallows also agreed with Brokaw, saying, “Good for Tom B!”

Brokaw is one in a procession of Washington journalists who are trashing what the dinner has become. Late last week we reported on U.S. News & World Report’s Susan Milligan,
who also believes celebs ruin the image of the event. Some may also recall WaPo Dana Milbank‘s take on Nerd Prom last April, in which he says journalists have turned themselves into pimps for the politicians and the stars. He intimated that he grew sickened as he started to RSVP for parties and “made other plans for the weekend.” But Brokaw’s blast is a little bit different. First, he has the highest profile of anyone who has criticized the dinner. Second, he doesn’t seem to differentiate between George Clooney and Lindsay Lohan. He wants Hollywood out of the dinner.

It’s interesting to note that while Twitter was having a field day with Brokaw’s comments, neither Betsy Fischer, Exec. Producer for “Meet the Press”, nor host David Gregory made any comments. Watch Brokaw’s comments in the video below.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Tricks of the Trade With The Atlantic’s James Fallows

The Atlantic‘s James Fallows is the subject of our Tricks of the Trade interview this afternoon. He more than qualifies to answer these questions. He has written for the magazine since the late 1970s and once served as former President Jimmy Carter‘s chief speechwriter.

Favorite Interview Technique – It’s not so much a technique as a state of mind. The crucial imaginative leap for reporters is being comfortable with the reality of always dealing with people who know more than you do. Or you should strive always to be in that situation. This might sound like a “Duh!” point, but I think it is deceptively important. Suppose that you are a teacher. Or a doctor or an administrator or a politician. Or even a parent or a boss. Most of the time you’re in the situation of knowing more than the people who are coming to you, or being assumed to know more. You are the expert, they are the civilians. That is a comfortable situation, often too comfortable. There is a kind of ritual humiliation that goes with the opposite situation – of approaching the experts, from the position of the amateur. But that’s the only way you learn anything! So being comfortable with saying, “I don’t understand, do you mean?…” and “Sorry to ask a basic question, but…” is the state of mind I find most important for interviewing.

Most Compelling Question You’ve Ever Asked – In a variety of weird settings, it turns out to be variants of, “How can this be?” For instance: When I was living in China, I found it very hard to put two parts of reality together. One was all the data I saw, and stories I read, about China’s ever-larger financial holdings in the United States. China was rich! The other was what I saw around me all day every day: namely, a country that was absolutely full of poor people. So I started going to economists and financiers and bankers and saying, “How can this be?” Over the years, the most reliable guide to what will make a “good story” – in my particular venue of The Atlantic – is something that lends itself to “how can this be?” treatment. There’s usually an explanation for why things are the way they are. That is, the answer is usually not, “I have no idea ‘How this can be,’ it’s purely random.” Finding that explanation is a lot of the satisfaction in journalism for me.

Best Self-Editing Approach – Many of the answers here are obvious, so I won’t be the thousandth person to say that you should cut out “fancy” writing, etc. Instead I’ll say something I bet others have not said: For writing where “style” matters – where you want to sound polished – think of reading what you’ve written aloud, to see how it sounds. There’s a reason that matters. If you pay attention to writing that is meant to be heard – dialogue, poetry, memorable speeches – you will notice certain familiar patterns of rhythm and sound. For instance, in such writing the stress in a sentence often comes at the … end. Even for writing that will never actually be read aloud, somehow it flows better through the eye into the brain if its rhythm follows those rules too. So: if what you’re writing is important, consider taking the time to read it to yourself out loud. If something sounds unnatural in its rhythm, that’s a sign that you need to change it in some way. (Sorry, Fallows…we do love this suggestion, but The Weekly Standard/Daily Caller’s Matt Labash is the king of this technique…)

What to do When an Interview is Tanking

Read more

Separated at Birth: The Atlantic’s James Fallows

Today we match The Atlantic‘s James Fallows with TV evangelist Pat Robertson.

The Atlantic’s September Issue

A sampling of the offerings in the September issue of The Atlantic are as follows: In the cover story – “Can the Middle Class be Saved?” – Don Peck explores how America adapts to “societal transformations.” James Fallows, meanwhile, reports from China on the “Jasmine” protests that occurred on the heels of anti-government demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt. Megan McArdle writes on why the White House should miss the recently departed economist Austan Goolsbee. James Parker explores the the world of celebrities who “crack under the lens” of outlets like TMZ. And bugs. You didn’t read that wrong. Daniel Fromson reports on an Amsterdam-based company selling soy-glazed mealworms. That’s right…to eat. Visit TheAtlantic.com to read the stories.

Rahm, Spike, Hitchens, Amanpour, Williams, Edwards to Show to The Atlantic Ideas Forum

atlantic-obama.jpg

The Atlantic, in conjunction with the Aspen Institute and the Newseum, will host its second annual Washington Ideas Forum in Washington from September 29 through October 1, 2010.

Confirmed newsmakers: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Ahmed Chalabi, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, filmmaker Spike Lee, authors Elizabeth Edwards, Christopher Hitchens and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Craigslist’s Craig Newmark, and The Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein.

Participating journalists: include ABC’s “This Week” host Christiane Amanpour and Diane Sawyer, NBC’s Brian Williams, Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson, CNN’s John King, FNC’s Chris Wallace, CNBC’s Erin Burnett, NYT’s David Rohde, the Aspen Institute’s Walter Isaacson and Atlantic Media’s James Bennet, Ron Brownstein, James Fallows and Jeffrey Goldberg.

“This is an opportunity for influential Americans to hear important thinkers and policymakers as they are interviewed by American’s leading journalists. It is a unique celebration of thought and dialogue,” said David Bradley, chairman of Atlantic Media.

Leading journalists will interview policymakers; breakout sessions planned. More on press credentials after the jump…

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