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Posts Tagged ‘Ken Layne’

Mediaite White House Scribe ‘Hesitates’ to Inject His Kids Into Stories, Then Again, Why Not?

It isn’t hard to rile Mediaite White House Correspondent Tommy Christopher where his family is concerned. Just mention that his name isn’t the one he was born with and it sends him reeling into a wrathful state. Back in April he engaged in a bitter battle with The Daily Caller TV writer Jeff Poor when Poor lashed back and revealed Christopher’s alleged real name in a tweet. At the time, Christopher became incensed by what he called Poor’s “media campaign” against his brother and two children.

The irony is thick. Any chance Christopher gets, he mentions his children in stories that he often feels a need to personalize. And he feels justified. He believes it goes against journalistic principles to not mention them in the contexts that he does. He believes journalistic and parental responsibilities can go hand in hand. And as a designated opinion writer, he may have a point, even if it is the size of a pin prick.

To be sure, Christopher’s stories often feel more like grenade-filled crusades than just the facts ma’am type of journalism. Back in October of 2009, Christopher mentioned his children in a story about then-President Obama’s Safe School Czar Kevin Jennings. After dousing Jennings with praise, it was time to recognize the impact Jennings has had on him, followed by searing, some might deem them poignant, admissions. He wrote, “As the father of 2 teenage boys, one of whom is openly bisexual, the work that Kevin Jennings has done engenders a particular gratitude in me.  Before I ever knew his name, Kevin Jennings touched the lives of my 2 oldest boys when they each joined their school’s Gay/Straight Alliance.” A few graphs later, he continued, “This is why Kevin Jennings must not be driven out of office.  His work has helped my son to feel safe enough to be open about who he is. My son tells me, however, that at back-to-school night last week, there were parents ripping GSA posters down off of the school walls.”

Then in April of 2011, he went after the “vile” work of Wonkette Editor Jack Stuef for making fun of Trig Palin, the Down Syndrome afflicted son of former Veep hopeful Sarah Palin. Upon questioning Wonkette Chief Editor Ken Layne, he wrote in a column, “I divulge to Layne that I’m the parent of two special needs children. I don’t generally include that information in my commentaries (and didn’t intend to here) because I don’t wish to use that fact to gain moral authority, or to be emotionally manipulative.”

His fatherhood arose again in the summer of 2011 in the course of publishing stories on the alleged underage women he dubbed “Betty and Veronica” with whom then-Rep. Anthony Weiner had purportedly exchanged texts. Turned out, unbeknownst to Christopher, the girls didn’t exist. Someone had played a dirty hoax. But before Christopher learned it was a hoax, he brought up his own fathering anyway, in the context of wanting to protect the girls and attack Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas: “Dude, it is your responsibility to protect the identities of minors, sources or not,” Christopher wrote in a published email exchange. “I can’t believe you. This gesture will cost you nothing, and it will save these girls being subjected to fuck knows what. As a father, I beg you, please redact these girls’ names.” He also tried to appeal to Moulitsas personal fatherly role, saying, “You’re a father, think about it for a sec.”

A more recent case in point: Monday. Christopher went off on MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough for claiming that those on the autistic continuum could turn violent like the movie theater murderer in Aurora, Colo. Scarborough shared about his son with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Christopher felt it was his duty as a journalist to publicly correct Scarborough. In the process, he also felt he must stand up for his own two children who he revealed are autistic, a tidbit that undoubtedly brought home for readers why the issue is so charged for him.

An excerpt:

In case you were wondering what Scarborough based his assertions on, I believe it was a study that was recently published in The Journal Of Joe Scarborough’s Ass. There is absolutely no scientific data which links autism to mass murder, and what little research there is on autism and crime is flawed and inconsistent. The inherent absurdity and irresponsibility of Scarborough’s statements are aggravated by the fact that he is the father of an adult child with an autism disorder, which might lead viewers to believe that he knows what the hell he’s talking about. This is the main reason I hesitate to disclose that I am the father of two children with autism spectrum disorders, because I don’t want to derive unearned authority, moral or otherwise, from that fact. I reveal it now because it’s relevant to my initial reaction to Scarborough’s comments, which was one of hurt and revulsion. Autistic kids have enough to deal with in life without Joe Scarborough running around telling people they’re potential mass murderers, unless they’ve got an awesome dad like Joe Scarborough, or conflating autism, which is a neurodevelopmental disorder, with mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

For someone who “hesitates to disclose” his special needs children Christopher sure finds reason to do it. Repeatedly.

Christopher declined to comment on the record.

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Mediaite Takes Kurtz to Woodshed

Mediaite‘s White House reporter Tommy “I want to punch Wonkette’s dick writers  in the balls” Christopher dismissed CNN’s Howard Kurtz‘s coverage of the Wonkette Trig debacle on “Reliable Sources.” He called it “skin-deep” and “disappointingly superficial.”

Kurtz’s program had three journalists — WaPo‘s Jennifer Rubin, Adweek‘s Michael Wolff (who called Wonkette “tone deaf”) and Syndicated Columnist for the Chicago Tribune Clarence Page — all denouncing the Wonkette story on Trig Palin, which has since been removed from Wonkette’s site after some advertisers dropped them.

But Christopher, a father of two special needs children, wasn’t impressed.

“Cumulatively, the effect was a failure to convey the true character of the Wonkette post, which was ‘tone deaf’ in the way that a punch in the balls is ‘impolite,’ and the apology, which was of debatable sincerity and completeness,” he wrote.

If you haven’t read Christopher’s  entertaining emails to Wonkette Editor Ken Layne, here’s an excerpt…

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Morning Reading List, 09.25.08

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Good morning Washington.

Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line or let us know in the tips box below.

We’ve got your morning mix of media Muesli after the jump…

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Morning Reading List, 04.16.08

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Good morning Washington. Doug Heye celebrates a birthday today. Yesterday, the new Yahoo! election page went live in conjunction with Politico. And the first lady will soon co-host the “Today” show.

Quickly navigate Morning Reading List:

REVOLVING DOOR | NEWSPAPERS | TV | ONLINE MEDIA | MAGAZINES | RADIO | NEWS NOTES | JOBS

  • A third of you recycle, but you are not that into avoiding plastic water bottles.

  • Today’s “Angry Journalist” rant of the day: “How many times will upper management come up with quick money-maker schemes, spend money to put them in place and then refuse to give them the monetary and staff support they need to really be successful? And why does same upper management seem so mystified when said schemes completely tank? It’s all about making a quick buck, to hell with the product. I feel like I work at Wal-Mart.”

    REVOLVING DOOR

  • Washingtonian’s Ben Clark has joined Fleishman-Hillard’s DC digital team.

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    NEWSPAPERS

  • Poynter’s Ethics and Diversity Fellow Tom Huang writes, “Let me be a realist, if not a pessimist: The diversity numbers released by the American Society of Newspaper Editors on Sunday worry me. A lot. At first glance, the overall numbers don’t seem too gloomy: In the past year, the percent of minorities working at daily newspapers grew a smidgeon — from 13.43 percent to 13.52 percent. But it’s the absolute number we should be worried about. The only reason why the percentage of minorities in newsrooms has essentially remained flat is because both white and minority journalists left our newsrooms at about the same rate”

  • “Republican John McCain was a significant or dominant factor in only 35% of the campaign stories last week. But though he trailed both Hillary Clinton (56%) and Barack Obama (46%) in exposure, he was the winner when it came to the media narrative for the week of April 7-13, according to a Project for Excellence in Journalism study.”

  • His Extreme-ness writes, “The Washington Post Metro section has been hot on the trail lately, pursuing the story of full-length phone books getting decommissioned. From the sound of their breathless coverage, you would think there was only one left in the DC area — and that one was removed.”

  • On The Media reports, “Gene Weingarten, writer for the Washington Post Magazine, got an idea: he would lock himself in a room for 24 hours straight with 5 TV’s, 2 radios and a laptop all tuned to loud, opinionated pundits. After basically losing his mind, he tells us what he learned.”

  • The Press Gazette reports, “The number of newspaper journalists in the US fell last year by almost 5 per cent to a low of 52,600, the lowest it has been for almost 25 years and the biggest drop in 30 years. The new figures, released by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, reflects the attrition going on in the America media.”

  • The AP reports, “About half of the 1,326 employees at Media General Inc.’s Florida properties — including The Tampa Tribune and WFLA-TV — were offered buyout packages Monday as the struggling company tries to cut costs and consolidate platforms.”

  • Check out the winners of the “Best headlines of the year”

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    TV

  • Dan Rather On Les Moonves, The ‘Evening News,’ And Who Should Replace Katie When (Not If) She Goes

  • MSNBC won’t air ‘controversial’ gun ad

  • A NBC release announced, “‘NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams’ was honored with a 2007 Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in journalism in the category of ‘Breaking News Coverage (Network/Top 25 Markets)’ for ‘The Massacre at Virginia Tech.’ The NBC News program was the only network evening news broadcast to win the prestigious award. This is the third consecutive year ‘NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams’ has won for breaking news coverage.” Check out all of the winners here.

  • An ABC release announced, “‘World News with Charles Gibson’ was the #1 evening newscast among Total Viewers, Households, and Adults 25-54 for the week of April 7-13. The ABC News broadcast averaged 8.03 million Total Viewers, and a 2.0/8 among Adults 25-54, outperforming NBC’s ‘Nightly News’ by 110,000 Total Viewers and 160,000 key demo viewers. This marks the 15th time this season ‘World News’ has ranked first among Adults 25-54 and the 9th time this season the broadcast has ranked first among total viewers.”

  • Newsweek reports, “Craig Ferguson can’t beat Dave’s or Jay’s ratings, but he’s got something bigger: a date with the president.”

  • Check out “Bill Moyers Acceptance Speech for the Ridenhour Courage Prize” where he says journalists’ “deeper mission is to uncover the news that powerful people would prefer to keep hidden.”

  • The New York Times reports, “While the fate of Ms. Couric and the ‘CBS Evening News’ is in the headlines, the entire CBS News division represents only a fraction of the CBS broadcast network’s revenue. More perplexing is the prime-time schedule, where no new hit has emerged this year, and as a result, CBS is likely to lose the crown of most-watched network to the Fox network.”

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    ONLINE MEDIA

  • In conjunction with Pope Benedict’s visit to the U.S., washingtonpost.com and Newsweek’s interactive feature on religion “On Faith” is hosting a live webcast. Anchored by On Faith founder and Washington D.C. insider Sally Quinn and Washington Post journalist Eugene Robinson, the video will stream live the mornings of April 16 and April 17 here. The first show begins at around 10 a.m. today.

  • Tech Crunch reports, “AOL will announce the acquisition of San Francisco-based Sphere, a blog content engine that launched in 2006. The price is not being disclosed, but sources are suggesting it’s in the $25 million range, or possibly a little more.”

  • The Los Angeles Times has a, “Interview with Ken Layne, new owner of Wonkette”

  • Portfolio’s Mixed Media reports, “That’s the idea behind a new hyperlink technology rolling out on parts of WashingtonPost.com Tuesday morning. Two of the paper’s blogs, The Fix and Celebritology, will introduce links powered by a tech start-up called Apture. By rolling the cursor over a link, readers can see what’s at the destination — be it an article, photo or video — without clicking through.”
  • Portfolio reports, “No wonder Rupert Murdoch’s in no hurry to do away with The Wall Street Journal’s online pay wall. Even with it still in place around large sections of the site, traffic is still growing at a most impressive rate. According to internal numbers, WSJ.com hosted 15 million unique visitors in March, a 175 percent increase over March 2007, says Alan Murray, executive editor of the Wall Street Journal Online. Page views came in at around 165 million, up 75 percent year-over-year”

  • The Washington Blogger April Meeting is tonight at 7:00PM at Regional Food and Drink. For more info, click here.

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    MAGAZINES

  • The New York Post reports, “Magazines that cover news, business and luxury goods were sent reeling in the first quarter of the year, while food magazines offered a few rays of light for the publishing industry, according to just released figures.”

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    RADIO

  • Matthew Felling will be hosting NPR’s “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” today.

  • A release announced, “The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) congratulates the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) for receiving a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Established by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions recognizes and invests in small, emerging nonprofit organizations around the world that demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness.”

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    NEWS NOTES

  • The AP reports, “Rupert Murdoch and Sam Zell, two media figures who led major newspaper acquisitions in recent months, are among four new members joining the board of directors of The Associated Press, it was announced Monday at the news cooperative’s annual meeting.”

  • The Los Angeles Times reports, “Shares of media company News Corp., controlled by Rupert Murdoch, fell the most in five years after Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. and UBS analysts cut their outlook for the stock, citing concerns that growth will slow.”

  • The AP reports, “The Associated Press announced Monday it will further cut fees paid by struggling newspaper members and will develop an advertising-supported service that will deliver stories and photos to advanced cell phones, including the iPhone.”

  • MediaChannel.org reports, “Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications today announced 22 finalists in five categories in the second annual Mirror Awards competition honoring excellence in media industry reporting. The competition drew more than 100 entries. The media’s top writers, readers and leaders will gather June 23 at 11:45 a.m. at the Rainbow Room, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City, to fete the winners.” For the list of winners, click here.

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    JOBS

  • Forbes Interactive Media is looking for a Regional Sales Manager.

  • Congressional Quarterly, Inc. is looking for a Marketing Manager.

  • Society of American Florists is looking for a Senior Editor.

  • “An international news wire service is looking for an entertainment anchor and general reporter with a journalism education and background to anchor a daily entertainment webcast for their website.”

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    Hat Tips: DCRTV, TVNewser, IWantMedia, Romenesko, MediaBistro, JournalismJobs, JournalismNext

  • Morning Reading List, 01.23.08

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    Good morning Washington.

    Quickly navigate Morning Reading List:

    REVOLVING DOOR | NEWSPAPERS | TV | ONLINE MEDIA | MAGAZINES | RADIO | WEST WING REPORTAGE | JOBS

  • You are calling it right now – The Patriots are going to win the Super Bowl.

    NEWSPAPERS

  • Looks like lots of people are making this mistake.

  • The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs will host “Reporting from Iraq: the View from the Ground Up,” a forum on news reporting of the war featuring journalists who reported from the scene. It is this Thursday 8-10:30 p.m.

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    TV

  • TV Decoder reports, “As previously noted, Fox appears best positioned to weather the writers’ strike. ABC, on the other hand, may be hurt by it the most. Why? ‘Because it has the biggest scripted hits — and because its audience, heavily female, is most susceptible to being stolen away by ‘American Idol,” Bill Carter reported in Saturday’s Times.”

  • The Hollywood Reporter reports, “In the latest fallout from the writers strike, CBS has trimmed its development slate, letting go of about 20 projects, most of them dramas.”

  • Fortune reports, “Headlines about Oprah Winfrey last week focused, quite rightly, on the icon’s plans to start her own cable television channel. But there’s another story to be told about Winfrey’s partner in the venture, Discovery Communications, and how its relatively new CEO is on a mission to remake the company.”

  • Variety reports, “Media and entertainment stocks have been sluggish for months, but things could well take a turn for the worse today. Bearish signs were everywhere Monday despite U.S. markets being closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Major plunges in markets in Europe and Asia suggested a boomerang hit Stateside today. Stock index futures pointed to a grim start to the week, possibly a loss of 400 points or more for the Dow. One mark being watched closely is 20%. With a particularly rough session, the market could register a 20% pullback from its peak in October, which would statistically qualify this as a bear market. The current bull market began in 2002.”

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    ONLINE MEDIA

  • Poynter Online’s Steve Klein reports, “Since I first looked at the new White House blog, Trip Notes From The Middle East (which debuted on Jan. 8 with a couple posts by White House Press Secretary Dana Perino), there have been eight more posts by Ed Gillespie, Counsellor to the President; Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; Bill McGurn, Assistant to the President for Speechwriting; Joshua Bolten, White House Chief of Staff; and on Jan. 16, none other than George W. Bush — well, you know who he is!”

  • UPI reports, “The New York Times agreed Monday to offer it’s online Web content to AT&T wireless customers at no extra charge to subscribers. According to Nielsen Online, NYTimes.com registered 17.2 million unique visitors in December 2007, helping secure its place as one of the country’s leading newspapers. Based in San Antonio, AT&T, similarly, is the country’s largest wireless company, bizjournals.com reported.”

  • Bloomberg reports, “Yahoo! Inc., owner of the most- visited U.S. Web site, will cut about 700 jobs, or 5 percent of its workforce, as it reorganizes to compete with Google Inc., according to a person with knowledge of the plans.”

  • The Washington Note reports, “Facebook is no longer a college kid rolodex. It’s becoming part of emerging new media in the country — a distribution network for causes as well as news and opinion.”

  • Regarding this, The New York Post reports, “That three staffers — a writer, a photographer and an editor, former lobbyist Megan Carpentier — have been fired at Wonkette since Ken Layne took over the political Web site in DC. ‘He’s putting in place his own team,’ said owner Nick Denton.” And from Eat The Press: “Another Gawker Media Staff Shake-Up: Wonkette Editor Fired”

  • A tipster points us to this, the District Taxi Fare Estimator. “The estimator will help you determine if your cab fare in the District will cost more or less under the time and distance meters, which are scheduled to replace zones in April. You may choose one of our sample routes, or try your own by entering starting and destination addresses, or by dragging the green and red map markers. Remember, these are estimates. Actual fares will vary, depending upon how much time is spent stopped or slowed in congested traffic.”

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    RADIO

  • A release announced, “At noon, Friday, Jan. 25, 2008, WAMU 88.5′s weekly look at local politics will change names and broaden focus. Newly renamed, The Politics Hour with Kojo and Jonetta now will include comprehensive coverage and analysis of both local and state politics in Maryland and Virginia, in addition to the news and newsmakers in District politics. The monthly ‘Virginia Politics Hour’ and ‘Maryland Politics Hour’ episodes of The Kojo Nnamdi Show will be incorporated into the newly revamped Politics Hour, giving listeners a weekly source for the latest news from the Washington, D.C., suburbs and the statehouses in Annapolis and Richmond.”

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    JOBS

  • Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America is looking for a Director of Public Affairs.

  • Campaigns & Elections’ Politics magazine is looking for an Editorial Assistant.

  • Northern Virginia Daily is looking for a bureau chief.

  • NewsUSA is seeking a Manager Editor.

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    Hat Tips: DCRTV, TVNewser, IWantMedia, Romenesko, MediaBistro, JournalismJobs, JournalismNext