(A sprinkling of things we think you ought to know…)
Slate‘s Twitter guru offers rules for tweeting during catastrophe– Jeremy Stahl, the guy who runs Slate‘s official Twitter account, has a piece with the DOs and DON’Ts in using the medium after a crisis like the Boston Marathon bombings. “First, media outlets need to turn off their automated Twitter feeds to ensure that frivolous and/or off-topic items don’t get sent out by mistake,” Stahl wrote, noting that Slate wouldn’t want one of its edgy “Dear Prudence” advice columns to go out during a crisis. “Second, use first-person eyewitness accounts and official sources like the Boston Police department’s Twitter account or official press conferences.” (The New York Post reported that 12 had died in the Boston bombings; the actual count was three). Lastly, he said, “Keep your tone as serious as the occasion merits, even if you are in the business of opinion journalism or cracking snarky jokes.” Stahl links to tweets from The Daily Caller‘s “Jim Treacher” and BuzzFeed‘s Andrew Kaczynski as examples of ill-conceived tweets. Treacher had said “You’re going to hear the word ‘tragic’ a lot over the next few days. Not once will it be used correctly.” Kaczynski received three links to his tweets, two of which have since been deleted. One of the tweets questioned an AdWeek headline (“Boston Marathon Tragedy Shows Why Brands Need Human Touch On Twitter”).
Are you a ‘virgin’ or an ‘ultra’?– British bank First Direct conducted a month-long study on people’s social media usage and found a way to separate them into 12 different categories, according to PR Daily. The categories: Ultras, which are Facebook and Twitter addicts (TIME‘s Zeke Miller, Essence‘ Sophia Nelson); Dippers, infrequent users (Matt Drudge; Bill Clinton); Deniers, those who pretend social media doesn’t mean as much to them as it actually does; Virgins, first-time users; Lurkers, the watchers who rarely interact (we’ve heard RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is one); Peacocks, those who amass followers and fans like its their job (Fox News’ Dana Perino, CNN’s Jake Tapper); Ranters, users who have little to say until you put a keyboard at their fingers (Commentary‘s Jon Podhoretz; sharp-tongued Big Mouth Jay Rosen); Salon‘s Joan Walsh; Changelings, users who pretend to be someone else on social media (take your pick of any partisan blogger); Ghosts, anonymous users (“Southpaw” and “Fake Jim VandeHei”); Informers, those who love being first to share news (Yahoo! News‘ Chris Moody); BuzzFeed‘s Ben Smith; Quizzers, users who ask open questions to strike up conversations (hello, Marty Rudolf?); Approval Seekers, those who cannot sleep until someone “likes” or “retweets” their posts (Politico‘s Ben White admits he’s among them); NJ‘s Ron Fournier; Slate‘s Dave Weigel.
Schock defends company which once made food he would likely never eat– Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), known for taking his shirt off for Men’s Health magazine, writes in a column for Politico that anti-obesity campaigns by the government are hurting American job creators, like sugary snack-maker Hostess. “When a company like Hostess — which employed hundreds of employees in my congressional district — dedicates millions of dollars to market its products, it shouldn’t have to worry about the company’s tax dollars being used against it to dissuade the public from buying its products,” Schock says. Hostess closed down in late 2012.
WaPo reader wonders if she should settle for unmotivated dud boyfriend– In Carolyn Hax‘s WaPo advice column, one woman writes in for feedback on her post-divorce predicament: “I thought I wanted someone to push me to do more and be the best me I could be, but he’s very different from that — more tortoise than hare. I’ve come to realize that to some extent it’s good that he’s gotten me to slow down a bit. However, part of me just worries that I’ll slow down too much. Also, it’s my first relationship after a 20-year marriage, and I worry that I’m justrebounding.” Let’s hope the tortoise boyfriend doesn’t read WaPo, lest he find out what a tool his girlfriend suspects he may be. As for Hax’s advice, it could have come from anyone. “Think of relationships as having only these two states — enjoy his company, don’t enjoy his company — until you sort out the other stuff,” she says. Shorter version: Take some time to figure it out. That’s some sage relationship advice. Is Hax also tasked with fostering bipartisanship on Capitol Hill?
In a move only they’d have the balls to manage, The Daily Caller, the publication battling criticism over their coverage of Sen. Bob Menendez‘s (D-N.J.) alleged involvement with Dominican prostitutes, is having a party and inviting the hookers from the videotape.
Breitbart News‘ Matthew Boyle, the reporter who broke the original story while working for The Daily Caller, will be on hand with special voice gadgetry to conduct a test on whether the women he remembers interviewing by Skype are those in his midst.
No one from WaPo has been invited. However, they’ve hired Salon‘s Joan Walsh to sit in a dunking booth in a pale pink bikini while Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson throws softballs at the bulls-eye.
Beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served along with tapas. Tequila will be on hand in case the women get thirsty.
Carlson had only one thing to say about the upcoming party… Read more
Either WaPo‘s Erik Wemple got a heady PTSD reaction from writing his incredible suckup piece on Politico (headlined “Politico aces PR”) or else he just really wants to forget that his failed former publication, TBD, ever existed. A third possibility: He was trying to be funny, which, if the case, wasn’t clear or funny.
Wemple was ultimately Editor-in-Chief of TBD, a publication that was about as popular as Salon‘s Joan Walsh at a Daily Caller pool party with Dominican hookers or Dave Weigel in a Speedo (guess we have summer on the brain). It’s a shame he’s not prouder of the experience, even if it did fail. As Albert Einstein once said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Joan Collins also has wisdom: “Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you someone who has never achieved much.”
Here’s what Wemple tucked into his piece complimenting all the ways in which POLITICO, Politico or politico has succeeded in getting the word out. Pretty soon the media blogger may need stickies to put all over himself just to piece together what he ate for breakfast or his past at the “Allbritton entity.”
2) Embrace of television: Politico took grew up in the offices of Allbritton Communications Co., the Rosslyn shop that also houses WJLA-TV (ABC 7) and NewsChannel8. (Disclosure: I previously worked for a now-closed Allbritton entity that shall not be named here). That means it germinated among television cameras, a culture that it has ridden to prominence.
Fox News hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy are, in fact, two separate people but Salon‘s Joan Walsh mistook one for the other yesterday. All Fox News correspondents are evil and one and the same, right?
Hurricane Sandy forced Walsh out of her home in New York City last week. She wrote in a column Sunday that her five-day stay elsewhere was comfortable, so she “chose real suffering” in the last hour before heading home: She sat in a car and listened to Fox News on SiriusXM.
Walsh described her perception of that hour, hosted by “Romneybot Steve Doocy”: Read more
“A lot of moist sheets going into this next debate…” — Politico‘s Mike Allen on the Democratic sentiment going into the next presidential debate on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning just after dawn. Gross, Mike, please stop talking like this so early in the morning!
A Stupid Question to NEVER Ponder: “Wolf Blitzer, CNN why is it hard 4 journo 2 tell the truth y is easier 4 u 2 tell a lie ppl respect u when u do that.”
“Three of the top 10 most read Politico stories are about Big Bird. The people have spoken and they want more Big Bird news.” — Politico White House reporter Byron Tau.
Joan Walsh in Hell
“Oh dear Lord, between by Obama diehards and my [San Francisco Giants]diehards, my Twitter feed is some fine circle of hell right now.” — Salon‘s Joan Walsh, who regularly appears on MSNBC’s “Hardball.”
Writer has message for “important” people
“Gotta love the big name Tweeters who never acknowledge when us small people tweet them. respond to their tweets or RT them.” — Rockville, Md.-based marketing writer and consultant Deborah Brody.
Laura Ingraham’s embarrassingly bad debate humor
“If Biden flames out Thurs night how will Al Gore explain it away? What’s the altitude change from Delaware to Kentucky?” — Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham in an attempt to be funny ahead of Thursday’s VP debate. She added this equally unfunny tweet: “At debate Ryan will wear an American flag pin on his lapel–perhaps he should hand Joe a white flag pin for his.” Ugh.
Convo Between Two Journos
Daily Kos‘ Markos Moulitsas: “For liberals freaking out: The fundamentals of the race are still in our favor.”
Parody Andrew Sullivan account SullyPanic: “You’re fucking crazy.” CORRECTION: Goddammit. We got suckered by another parody account today. This was “SullyPanic” an faux account for The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan. We’ve changed the content to reflect the truth.
Congrats Ryan, you’re the BEST!
A heartfelt congratulations to our good pal Ryan Kearney who has resigned from Politico to go to work for The New Republic. Washington City Paper’s Will Sommerreported the news early Tuesday. Kearney was in a newly created position of breaking news deputy editor. He leaves Politico after just six months. In a quote to WCP, he thanked Politico profusely for throwing him a life preserver after his former pub, TBD, sank like The Titanic. We’re sure VandeHarris is thrilled he made good use of them for the past several months. We hear Ryan didn’t make much of an impression with his Politico colleagues — in fact one said it would be tough to know who he was even if he walked right by.
Say hello to The Daily Caller‘s Matt Lewis. He is a senior contributor for The Daily Caller. He is also editor of ‘The Quotable Rogue: The Ideals of Sarah Palin In Her Own Words.’ More often than not, you can find the unquestionably friendly reporter with dimples on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Howard Kurtz on Sunday. His colleagues find him “helpful and knowledgeable” around the office. We asked his boss, Tucker Carlson, what kind of human being Lewis is. He replied, “Matt is a great guy: low-key, hard working, relentless honest and decent.” Previously, Matt was a columnist for the now defunct Politics Daily, and before that, he was a blogger for Townhall.com. Matt grew up in Frederick County, Md., and graduated from Shepherd College (now University) in Shepherdstown, WV. Like any blogger, he can fall prey to the occasional bad mood. “If you’re a blogger, your mood is contingent on whether you have written anything good lately,” he tells me in a phone conversation this afternoon. “If too much time elapses and I haven’t written anything I’m proud of, I start to get a little testy, which is totally not good.” He does see his glass half full: “Any day as a writer beats working at a fast food restaurant.” This is a fate he escaped narrowly just after college when he worked briefly at a Roy Rogers in Frederick, Md. He was earning $30,000 a year in management program. “I was utterly miserable doing it,” he said. “I ended up quitting. I’ve come to learn, whether it s a relationship or a job, you usually know within the first day whether or not it’s going to work. It took me a couple of months to figure it out, but I finally did pull the plug on that.” Moving on to other topics, I wondered about Lewis’s thoughts on the hoodie. “I actually like hoodies and I wear them all the time,” he said. “I was going to tape an episode of bloggingheads the other night. I literally had to take off a hoodie and put on another shirt because I was afraid people were going to think I was mocking it. They’re very comfortable. It’s a brilliant invention.” Lewis wasn’t always a reporter. He started off doing campaigns. He initially thought his calling was to be a political operative. In 1998 he managed a campaign for a male candidate running for the Maryland State Senate. He became the youngest and the first Hispanic Republican ever elected to the Maryland State Senate. “That’s the part I love, the passion, the romance of being a kind of revolution and beating the machine,” he said. But the more entrenched he got into politics, he began to see that at the professional level “they suck the excitement out of it. You know the type…the douchebag type,” he said, explaining that he started his own blog in 2004 and began writing for Human Events. His first paying writing job was for Townhall.com, where he worked for two years. “It took me an evolution to find myself and find my calling.”
If you were a combined carbonated beverage, which would you be? Too personal. Next question.
How often do you Google yourself? I Googled myself twice while answering these questions. But this is because I am paranoid and needy – not because I’m narcissistic – there’s a difference.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)? I’ve found it’s best not to directly confront editors. Instead, it’s best to sneak into their offices and move things around on their desks until they slowly go insane.
Who is your favorite working journalist and why?Kirsten Powers has been doing terrific work of late. Her columns on important issues like sex trafficking and liberal hypocrisy regarding misogyny have been both eloquent and heroic.
Do you have a favorite word?Milieu.
Who would you rather have dinner with – Salon’s Joan Walsh, WaPo’s Ezra Klein or Maureen Dowd. Tell us why.Maureen Dowd. She can be funny. She has a flirty quality about her that’s utterly likeable. And I’m willing to bet that, off the clock at least, she’s capable of dropping the partisan BS for an evening. (Call me, MoDo!)
What’s your funniest TV blooper moment? Fortunately, most of my bloopers have occurred off camera. But I once narrowly averted appearing on NBC’s “Today” show as a medical expert (when an intern escorted me from the MSNBC green room to the wrong set).
What swear word do you use most often? Without a doubt, the f-bomb. But now that I have a little boy, my wife is trying to break me of that f-ing habit.
Now for a really serious moment: What is your dream job, money and practicalities aside? I’ve always wanted to pretend to be an architect.
When you pig out what do you eat? Dark chocolate.
What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? We want the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible. If it’s a certain kind of underwear we don’t want to know about it. Two words: Sweater vest. Or else… I do have a pair of cowboy boots I got in Austin that I’m pretty proud of. (Pictured here.)
Pick one: Kim, Khloe, or Kourtney? Kourtney.
Have you ever had a tarot card reading? Never.
Have you ever had a near-death experience? I’ve had several close calls: There was the time I caught a gas can on fire. There was the other time when I was riding my lawn mower up a steep hill (with the blade engaged) and it popped a wheelie. And there was the time the lifeguards had to pull me out of the water at Ocean City, Md.
Find out Lewis’s relation to the always suave “Uncle Rico” after the jump…
Today we’re feature Salon’s illustrious Editor-at-Large Joan Walsh from her appearance on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” last night. Come up with captions and we’ll print the best ones. Try to keep them clean but then again, it’s Friday. So go ahead, spill your guts.
Send your captions to FishbowlDC@mediabistro.com or to Betsy@mediabistro.com. All entries are anonymous unless you tell us otherwise.
1. Joan “The Tin Man” Walsh says: “Please, please: get my oil can & oil me!”
2. “OMG! I just Googled Santorum! Yeech!”
3. Wow Mittens kept telling me that taking Beano would stop this from happening after eating beans and rice!
4. Luke Russert has size 13 feet?!? Damn.
5. “I’m getting that tingly feeling going up my leg just like Matthews over Obambi!”
Quotes of the Day — The Mindmeld Edition: A melding of everything worthy, weird and otherwise from the past four days.
Journo’s cat sets her alarm clock
“The cat stepped on my iPhone dock alarm clock last night and set it to go off at 7 a.m. Which it did. Which was wonderful. #gah” — WaPo Express‘s Sara Schwartz in a tweet that Politico‘s resident cat lover Patrick Gavin might appreciate. We’re sure Gavin’s cats don’t have tricks like that.
White House scribe details Michelle O’s attire down to thighs
“The top of the first lady’s dress was a bright orange racerback; from mid-torso to mid-thigh it has a green and white jungle-like print; the final piece that fell to the knee was a grayish pattern.” — Politico‘s Jennifer Epstein in a Sunday Pool Report from Hawaii.
Corn on Bachmann on God
“Short version of Bachmann campaign event: God, God, God, God, God, God.” — Mother Jones‘ Washington Bureau Chief David Corn.
Necessary Tweet of the Day
“Here’s to a new year in which cell phone and Twitter users learn the value of an unexpressed thought.” — AP Radio News’ Jon Belmont.
Reporter does what it takes
“This crazy Iowa wind blew the address I need out of hand & across the parking lot. I literally parkoured [sic] over a fence to get it. #nprlife” — NPR White House Correspondent Ari Shapiro.
Journo loses cologne to TSA
“Leaving my new Christmas gift (cologne) in SC because it was .2oz too much. Thanks TSA.” — FBDC’s and The Blaze‘s Eddie Scarry, who explained that the cologne, Cool Water by Davidoff, was a sentimental re-gift from his father.
Not surprisingly, Walsh criticizes an R
“Leslie Stahl admitted that interview was part of a Cantor push to soften and humanize his richly deserved awful image. Ick.” — Salon Editor-at-Large Joan Walsh of Sunday’s “60 Minutes” interview with House Maj. Leader Eric Cantor.
Ahh…the warmth of the holidays
“Nice to see the TSA in ATL not give a hard time to the 3 yo with the toy gun who refused to let it leave his hand.” — RedState.com Editor-in-Chief and CNN Contributor Erick Erickson.
Um, Happy New Year?
“Ooh. Time for another round of my favorite neighborhood game: Fireworks or Gunshot?” — Reason Magazine Associate Editor Peter Suderman.
Words to live by…“Don’t forget: Resolutions are for quitters.” — Capitol File Editor-in-Chief Kate Bennett.
Birth Week: Nibbles Knox, son of AFP‘s Olivier Knox. A note from Roll Call‘s Meredith Shiner: “Happy birthday to the famous Nibbles Knox! May this year be filled with all the legos your little heart ever could desire @OKnox” — (quote by and h/t to Shiner. h/t to Politico‘s Mike Allen for the phrase h/t.) HAPPY BIRTHDAY NIBBLES!
Things are getting weird in Iowa
“Local reporter, desperate for people to interview, asks Jeff Zeleny if he’s media or voter. #blending” — Slate‘s Dave Weigel on NYT‘s Zeleny.
“Lady sitting next to me at Atlantic, Iowa, diner, on being a campaign reporter: ‘I think that would be a terrible job.’” — Politico‘s Reid Epstein.
“Went to the lobby to get coffee. When the desk clerk saw my bed head I thought he might offer me medical treatment.” — CBS Political Director John Dickerson.
“And…my first day of the year starts w a funeral. Sort of nice, though. #perspective.” — National Geographic Traveler Contributing Editor Carl Hoffman.
A given…“Sorry in advance for all the irresponsible things I’m going to do to 2012.” — HuffPost’s left-wing media reporter Jason Linkins.
Editor salutes his Beagle
“Smartest living being in the house today: Fred the Beagle, who laid his head on the remote during the Jets game and changed the channel.” — Digital First Media Editor-in-Chief and former TBD GMJim Brady.
Just who is Ben Smith?
“@benpolitico Someone from buzzfeed’s at this Santorum event trying 2 explain who u r to Iowan lady of certain age. She seems mystified alas.” — The Hill‘s Niall Stanage.
ME ME ME ME ME
“@danielabrams: dan abrams” — Mediaite founder Dan Abrams. To which Weigel replied simply, “#fail.” (To Abrams we give Tigi’s Bed Head line of conditioner called Self Absorbed for his lux locks.)
Is he SERIOUS?
“Is it New Years Eve 2011 or New Years Eve 2012? I get confused every year.” — Cheoff Geoff Tracy, husband to CBS Chief White House Correspondent Norah O’Donnell.
Unnecessary Tweet of the Day
“If you’re tracking, tonight’s Santorum Sweater Vest Color is navy blue. Or black. On CNN live now.” — Digital Producer for CNN Erin Burnett‘s “Out Front” Mark Joyella.
The year 2011 was the year the 7-second TV delay failed miserably, that members of Congress behaved badly and Weiner headlines became something of an art form. Today we’ve pooled our wisdom into another annoying year-end list, although we hope ours will hold your interest. We’ve picked the moments that stood out most in our minds and the journalists who made them happen. Here’s to you CNN’s Wolf Blitzer for gracefully using the word “underwear” on television and to you, TIME‘s Mark Halperin, for being baited into calling the President “a dick” live on “Morning Joe.” Ed Schultz also gets points (at least for the purposes of this list) for calling conservative Laura Ingraham a “slut.” And to CBS’s Lara Logan, there are not adequate words to describe her courage.
In November, Fox News anchor Bret Baier sat down with GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. It was a hard-hitting interview that saw Romney bristle at several of the questions. When Baier brought up Romney’s penchant for flip-flopping, Romney scolds Baier like a mommy with a 5-year-old and says, “We’re going to have to be better informed about my views on issues.” To Baier’s credit, he continued pounding Romney who kept twisting and turning in his seat. The interview certainly didn’t help Romney. That marked the beginning of a surge for second-tier candidates to make runs at Romney’s frontrunner status. Baier went on The O’Reilly Factor the following day and boasted that after the interview, Romney approached him and called some of the questions “uncalled for” and “overly aggressive.” Calling Bret Baier, a “boy scout” according to Mike Allen, “overly aggressive” is like calling Andrew Breitbart a “serious journalist.” For Baier, let’s stop at fair and mostly balanced and call it a day. — Peter Ogburn
9. The Talented Mr. Nelson Lewis
Nobody is ever going to accuse Washington of being an honest place to work, but Nelson Lewis took things to a whole new level. For starters, Lewis, a former producer for Laura Ingraham‘s radio show, tried to pull off impersonating Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), an old family friend. Police arrested him for “illegal possession of a congressional lapel pin.” If that’s not humiliating enough, NYP‘s Page Six reported that Lewis claimed to be related to former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis. He even went as far as creating a fake email account from Lewis to vouch for him. It didn’t take long for the fake world to come tumbling down around him and he was left with no other option but to admit he had a lying problem. According to Page Six, Lewis checked himself into a treatment center at the beginning of this year to address his problem, which he blamed almost entirely on his former employer, Ingraham! He was led to all this lying because, according to Nelson, “she emasculated me.” Psst….there are whisperings that Lewis is working on a weekly TV program here in Washington. Stay tuned. – Peter Ogburn
8. Politico Reporter Kendra Marr Forced to Resign for Plagiarism
This year saw highs and lows for former Politico Pro transportation reporter Kendra Marr. On one hand, she got engaged in April. On the other, she was essentially fired for insufficiently attributing information to the NYT and other publications in her stories. FishbowlDC broke the story of Marr’s misdeeds in October. At the time, her colleagues said newsroom culture was in large part to blame for Marr’s sloppiness. Politico founders John Harris and Jim VandeHei referred to Marr as “a valued colleague and friend” in a memo explaining what happened. WaPo media reporter Erik Wempleempathized with Marr, writing, “When you combine Politico Pro’s pressure for originality with Politico Regular’s factory conditions, you get a force powerful enough to corrupt an otherwise good journalist.” In a recent follow-up, Wemple broke news of a new mentoring program at Politico meant to cultivate young reporters; a system that would have likely benefited Marr. Marr has essentially disappeared. Her Twitter account is still active, but she hasn’t tweeted to her 2,600 followers since the day the story of her indiscretions broke on Oct. 13. We couldn’t find a Facebook account under her name. Her LinkedIn page says she still works at Politico. Her former colleagues aren’t talking. And, perhaps most biting, the initial Google suggestion you get when searching her name is “Kendra Marr plagiarism.” — Eddie Scarry
7. Al Sharpton Lands His Own Show
If the “thrill” running up the leg of Chris Matthews ever had a child, it would be this. Never before in the history of the English language has the line, “Resist we much” been uttered, and we were all the better for it. But with that butchered line, the Reverend Al Sharpton became a television icon. “PoliticsNation,” as it is now called, was in its infancy on MSNBC, replacing the unnamed Cenk Uygur show in the 6 p.m. slot. Uygur never found an audience, it just wasn’t good, it was boring. Off he drifted into obscurity and in stepped the Reverend. Sharpton’s early shows were rough but spirited. It was as though he was allergic to words on the teleprompter. But no flub went viral, they were just laughed at by politicos. Until, that is, on August 9, 2011 when he uttered the now famous line “Resist we much.” The lines are worth reading, but it won’t help you understand what he was trying to say any more than watching the video. Here it is: “Tonight is the measure of whether the country begins in the state of Wisconsin, a national drive to push back or whether we have more to go to build a movement of resistance… BUT RESIST WE MUCH, WE MUST, AND WE WILL MUCH, ABOUT THAT, BE COMMITTED…” Sharpton, who has somehow escaped his incendiary and race-baiting past, eventually found his on-air footing…sort of. He still has a strange relationship with the teleprompter like someone from southern California has with walking on ice, but he’s getting there. His guests adore him in a deeply entertained way few other cable TV hosts can claim. He’s even scored better ratings than the unnamed Uygur show he replaced, but he has a ways to go. Sharpton, who dropped 100 pounds, has vowed never to criticizePresident Obama, isn’t exactly interested in conveying news as much as advancing an agenda. That makes his show more of a pep rally for progressives than a news program, but at least it has relegated the bloopers (mostly) to facts and not delivery. Still, Al’s attitude and activism fit nicely into MSNBC’s line-up. Take that for what it’s worth. — Piranhamous
6. Bad Boys: Ed Schultz, Mark Halperin, David Shuster all do Dumb Things
Among MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, TIME‘s Mark Halperin and Current TV’s David Shuster, it’s tough to proclaim who behaved like the biggest idiot this year. While Schultz called conservative radio personality Laura Ingraham “a slut” and got suspended for it, Halperin called the President “kind of a dick” on live TV and Shuster tried to crash an MSNBC party during White House Correspondents’ Assoc. Dinner weekend. Shuster might have once been invited to such a soirée, but the former MSNBCer was suspended and ultimately let go after saying then-Sen. Hillary Clinton had pimped out her daughter, Chelsea, during her presidential campaign. The network also frowned on his sending a demo tape to CNN for a potential job. Schultz had to perform a humbling and awkward on-air mea culpa. Halperin, it turns out, was goaded into saying the slight by Mika and Joe, who practically drowned viewers in mindless apologies after it happened. When you watch the footage, it’s clear that nerdy Halperin was dying to be part of the in crowd, which perhaps makes his the dumbest act of all. At least Schultz’s insult was as genuine as it was crass and inappropriate. Shuster? One can almost chuckle at his failed party crashing. He’s clearly no Salahi. But he swore up and down that he’d been invited. Somehow party organizers missed that detail such as the one overheard on her walkie talkie saying, “Make sure he doesn’t get in here.” – Betsy Rothstein
5. Wolf Grills a Weiner
This past summer, in the days before former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was forced to admit that he had carried on several online relationships of a sexual nature, D.C. journos were having a field day trying to make sense of the Weiner Caper. You’ll remember that Weiner accidentally tweeted a picture of (ahem) enlarged boxer shorts. But, who was it? Weiner initially claimed that it was nothing more than a “prank.” He then spent the next several days flailing wildly trying to explain away the offending picture. Which brings us to this exquisite moment from CNN Wolf Blitzer.
There it is. Blitzer flashing a money shot to a U.S. congressman asking him, “You would know if these were your underpants?” Worse than that, Weiner acted as though he didn’t KNOW if those were his undies. There is not a man alive that wouldn’t recognize his own member. It was only days later that Weiner admitted the picture was of him. (And yes, those were his underpants.) — Peter Ogburn
Luke Grills a Weiner of His Own
An Honorable Mention goes to NBC Congressional Reporter Luke Russert. In the haze of the Weiner scandal, Russert proved that he could pull his own weiner weight at the network. He also obtained a bizarre sit down with Rep. Weiner to chat about the picture of someone’s “below the waist area.” Russert appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to recap his interview and — oops — MSNBC played the wrong package about Weiner’s package and left out the actual interview portion. When they corrected the mistake, we were treated to the first moment that Weiner admitted that he “could not say with certitude” that the picture wasn’t of him.We were also treated to one of those rare relatively unscripted moments when Luke burst out laughing at the absurdity of it all. — Peter Ogburn
In early November, Politico canned its On Media blog and relaunched Ben Smith’s blog, refocusing it on the intersection of politics and media. A new reporter, Dylan Byers, was even hired to help with Ben Smith‘s new-ish project.One month later, Smith announced he’s leaving Politico to be the editor of BuzzFeed. The move caught everyone by surprise for sure. After all, Smith made his name the last seven years reporting on political news, not BuzzFeed material like dogs dressed as pigs and “Shit Girls Say.” But, as he wrote in the announcement on his blog, “…I won’t stop writing or thinking about politics. In fact I’ll continue to write once weekly for POLITICO…” And he told Howard Kurtz on CNN’s Reliable Sources, “In politics, as in other areas, we’re going to hire some great reporters and turn them loose.” We shot Smith several questions. He wouldn’t answer all of them (like whether anyone was pissed that he’s leaving Politico just after his blog was relaunched), but he did tell us his official start date at BuzzFeed is Jan. 1. He said it’ll be the first time he’s back to working in an actual office in a while (“I currently work in a shared office space in Brooklyn, which I love, but also always enjoyed working out of the newsroom when I was in Washington or, pre-Politico, in New York.”) And he’s thinking of switching out his current Twitter profile picture — the official Politico cartoon of him — for “one of those Ben from BuzzFeed memes.” We’ve picked one for him. See here. Congratulations to Smith — we wish him well in his transition. — Eddie Scarry
3. Andrew Breitbart’s “Balls of Steel”
Remember “Abs of Steel”? The workout tape most famous for setting the Guinness World Record for VHS tape with the most dust collected without ever having been played? Well forget it, we have a new “of steel” winner this year – Andrew Breitbart and his “Balls of Steel.” Breitbart shell-shocked the media by hijacking the Manhattan press conference at which now former Rep. Weiner was set to resign. Every news junkie waited patiently for Weiner to show up to the presser he called, but he was running late. Breitbart, who coincidentally was in the neighborhood, heard about it and went to the hotel. Reporters mobbed him, as he was the man who broke the original “sexting” story. When WCBS reporter Marcia Kramer told him he should go to the still unoccupied podium, what happened next was among the most surreal moments in politics of the year. The cherry on top was when Weiner eventually showed up and apologized to Breitbart for implying Andrew had “hacked” his Twitter account. It was something Salon’s Joan Walsh and too many TV personalities have yet to do for insinuating the same thing. In the end, Weiner was out, Breitbart was in and most of the media, who had ignored the story for as long as they could, had egg on their collective face. Breitbart “crashing” Weiner’s press conference was one of the ballsiest, unforgettable moments of the year. While the world probably could have lived without Opie & Anthony leaking the “money-shot” picture from Breitbart’s cell phone, more than those images were seared into our memories from that story. Bravo, Breitbart. — Piranhamous
2. Greta Goes Apesh&t on Tucker
When a longtime friendship goes sour online, it’s something to watch. When it happens on live TV, you’re on pins and needles. If you’ve ever spent time with Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson, you know he’s first to laugh, crack jokes and understand another person’s point of view even if he abhors it. After The Daily Caller published a story in the fall reporting lewd comments Mike Tyson had made on a radio show — he referred to a sex act with the former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as “a womb shifter” — FNC’s Greta Van Susterenwent ballistic and called Carlson “a pig.” Wait a second — wasn’t Tyson the pig? To be sure, Greta is nuts for Palin. The former Gov. attended the White House Correspondents’ Assoc. Dinner parties as her guest and has appeared on her show multiple times. On her Gretawire blog, the host blathered on about Carlson’s sexism. She put a dent in their friendship by attacking him personally. She questioned how he ran the story with a wife and daughters. She said his female employees must be upset. She insisted that his publication must be doing so poorly for him to publish the story. Ultimately she invited him on her program, and he accepted. This is when a seriously pissed off Carlson showed up and coolly put Greta in her place. But not without a showdown. There were no smiles. No jokes. The friendship is not in enemy territory, but it’s certainly not as warm as it once was. – Betsy Rothstein
1. Lara Logan Offers an Interview to 60 Minutes
Of all the moments of 2011, by far the bravest came when CBS’s Lara Logan gave an on-air interview to CBS’s Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes.” She boldly went on TV in early May and spoke of the attack and rape that happened to her in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. “It looks like a party,” she said, slowly describing the scene for Pelley. …”It was impossible to not get caught up in the moment.” But soon there was a savage mob scene and things spiraled out of control. “For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands,” she said. “Suddenly, before I even know what’s happening, I feel hands grabbing my breasts, grabbing my crotch, grabbing me from behind.” Logan didn’t think she’d survive it. Eventually she was saved by Egyptian women in the square who closed ranks around her until she reached safety. Watch a clip of the “60 Minutes” segment with Logan here. But get the tissues. You’re going to need them. — Betsy Rothstein
Today we pair Salon‘s often contentious Editor-at-Large Joan Walsh, a frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Hardball” and “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Dr. Erica Hahn played by actress Brooke Smith. Hahn’s character was known to be a workaholic. She rejected romantic gestures from McSteamy (Eric Dane). She had a lesbian relationship with fellow physician Callie Torres played by actress Sara Ramirez. Smith was written out of the series in 2008.