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Posts Tagged ‘Ken Silverstein’

Journo Says D.C. Politics Has ‘Worn Him Down’

Today is Harper‘s Ken Silverstein‘s last day on the job as Washington Editor.

The long-time political writer is moving on. He explained over e-mail, “Washington and Washington politics has worn me down. Every time I write a story I feel like I wrote it a year ago and five years ago and 10 years ago. Nothing every changes here.”

Silverstein, who moved to Washington in 1993 and has been covering Washington politics ever since, got a fellowship at Open Society Institute and will also lead special investigations at a London-based group, Global Witness. His work for both will center largely on long-term international investigations. “Which is what I like to do best,” he said.

He will still be based in Washington, but will travel for work.

Silverstein has worked at a number of publications that have included: LAT, the AP in Brazil,  Mother Jones, Washington Monthly, The Nation, Slate, and Salon. No doubt he’s looking forward to doing more investigative reporting. In 2008 he remarked, “As punditry has replaced muckraking as the profession’s highest calling, undercover reporting has been abandoned as too embarrassing and undignified.”

Congratulations to Silverstein. FishbowlDC wishes him well.

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What We Almost Missed…

Dr. Hakki of the new walk-in Botox cafe.

1. C-SPAN will capture the Friday Judiciary Committee hearing complete with testimony from comedian Stephen Colbert.

2. The critics say Bob Woodward and David Broder have been breaking WaPo rules on giving outside speeches for years. Ken Silverstein has yet another story making the charge in Harper’s. He has been tracking this charge since the summer of 2008. Read the most recent piece here.

3. Tonight some media types are set to attend a  party in Georgetown for the first ever (in D.C.) walk-in Botox boutique. It’s called Luxxery Express. That’s celeb plastic surgeon Dr. Ayman Hakki, owner of the Botox cafe,  above. We’ll tell you more tomorrow, but for now, expected media attendance includes Fox5, ABC,, Washington Examiner, Politico, WaPo and

Is Politico the Pot to WaPo Kettle?


In a post for Harper’s Mag, Ken Silverstein takes a swing at Politico in response to the fire Mike Allen lit under WaPo for offering deep-pocketed lobbyists a chance to mingle with policy-makers and Post journos at a series of “salon” events.

Silverstein calls out Politico hypocrisy; offering examples of Politico-lobbyist love affairs like their Glover Park Group co-sponsored bash at the DNC last August and their invite-only Oktoberfest fete that was co-sponsored by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (a powerful lobby).

Silverstein also claims that Politico editors have been known to aggressively court advertisers and that Mike Allen even sent an email to Politico staff urging them to attend the Oktoberfest party because “the marketing department had spent a lot of time organizing” the event.

When Silverstein contacted Allen for comment, he was directed to Politico Media Director Kim Kingsley who eventually offered up EIC John Harris. He told Silverstein:

“I strongly don’t accept your interpretation that the Post‘s salon events and the items you mentioned are equivalent in any way. These were essentially social events, not journalism events, organized by the business side. There was no business conducted at them. What raised questions about the Post events was turning over the news operation for non-news purposes, and promising special interests they would be connected with newsmakers in a policy-making setting.”

“I don’t want to be name-calling with the Post, which I’m an admirer of. What troubled me about the salons and other similar events held by other media outlets is that you had an organization essentially advertising itself as an escort service. There is nothing wrong with advertisers sponsoring events but they need to be transparent, not an off-the-record setting.”

So, is the “lesson learned” that as long as an organization doesn’t entice participants and sponsors by publicizing their intentions, then the event is A-OK???

Definitely check out Silverstein’s piece at Harper’s for the full scoop. It’s a must-read.

Morning Reading List, 07.11.08

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Good Morning Washington. I really doubt you’re going to guess what local trail the above picture was taken on, but knock yourselves out.

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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Mark Murray: The FishbowlDC Interview

060905_firstread_murray_hmed_2p.widec.jpgSay hello to NBC News Deputy Political Director Mark Murray (photo credit).

What word do you routinely misspell? Elleithee (as in Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee). Thank goodness for my Outlook rolodex.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? limelight

What time did you get up this morning? 6:00am

When did you last cry and why? The last time my beloved Texas Longhorn football team lost (November 23, 2007)

How many emails do you receive a day, roughly? 400-500

What’s your favorite letter? M

Read the rest when you click below…(and see previous FishbowlDC interviews: Julie Mason, David Shuster, Joe Curl, Alex Pareene, Peter Beinart, Jonah Goldberg, Megyn Kendall, Ana Marie Cox, Jim Brady, Howard Mortman, Amy Argetsinger, Jose Antonio Vargas, Chuck Todd, Tom Gottlieb, Kelly Ann Collins, David von Drehle, David Lat, Mark Leibovich, Zain Verjee, David Plotz, Paul Kane, Karen Travers, Mark Halperin, Hugo Gurdon, Greg Kelly,Ken Rudin, John Dickerson, Anne Schroeder, Spencer Ackerman, Bret Baier, Bob Sellers, Greta van Susteren, Danielle Jones, Jonathan Salant, John McCalla, Pam Hess, Ryan Grim, Marc Ambinder, Marty Kady, Jack Shafer, Annie Lou Bayly, Jerry Zremski, Charlie Cook, Dave Hughes, Howard Fineman, Katie Tarbox, Mark Segraves, Chris Cillizza, Tom Sietsema, Bill Triplett, Robin Givhan, David Brody, Norah O’Donnell, Carl Cannon, Jordan Lieberman, David Folkenflik, Molly Henneberg, Ernesto Londono, Brody Mullins, Aaron Blake, Martha Raddatz, Andrew Sullivan, Christina Bellantoni, Shane Harris, Nora McAlvanah, Adam Nagourney, Erin McPike, Mike Memoli, Ju-Don Marshall Roberts, Arthur Delaney, Chris Mincher, Rachel Sklar, Laura Sullivan, Jeff Kosseff, Matthew Cooper, Scott McCrary, Dan Reilly, Jennifer Griffin, Ari Shapiro, Jonathan Kaplan, Rick Klein, Mike Allen, Olivier Knox, Erik Wemple, Nathan Burchfiel, Andrea Mitchell, Mike DeBonis, Anne Kornblut, April Ryan, Amy Morris, Keith Koffler, <strongMark Silva, Ann Compton, Mark Knoller, Betsy Fischer, Katherine O’Hearn, Pamela Brown, Beverly Kirk, Wendell Goler, Glenn Kessler, Susan Page, Michael Crowley, Claudia Milne, Kelly Dinardo, Bruce Becker, Michael Rogers, Paul Schur, Diana West, Eric Nuzum, Bill Adair, Jonathan Ward, Jennifer Sergent, Jeffrey Goldberg, Ken Silverstein, Dana Milbank)

Also, drop us a line to let us know who else you’d like FishbowlDC to interview. They must work in the Washington area and you must include their email address.

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Morning Reading List, 07.16.07

morningsun.gifGood morning Washington.

  • The Weekly Pew News Interest Index shows, “In the news last week, the war in Iraq and the investigation into the London and Glasgow car bombs were the most closely followed stories.”

  • From Carol Joynt’s blog, she writes, “Email to me today from Deborah Jeane Palfry, the ‘DC Madam.’ Make of it what you will: ‘FYI (for what it may be worth) I can tell you that Harlan Ullman’s name is splattered throughout the phone records. In addition, I remember taking a few checks from him over time. -Jeane’ Here’s Harlan’s response: ‘no comment–except those were her calls, not mine’”

  • Wonkette looks at the City Paper vs. Late Night Shots fallout. Meanwhile, “LNSers have got to find some way to make their outrage known while they wait for their high-profile lawsuit to reach the courts.”

  • Ed Henry loves him some Green Day (Hat Tip: Politico).

  • DC reporters enjoy some private quality time with Romney.

  • That whole Post/ tension thing is overblown, if you ask this fella.

  • Washington Times’ Robert Stacy McCain writes, “There was something intriguing in the strong reaction to Jon Ward’s Fishwrap post yesterday about 13-year-old Jessica Hackerd, who burst out in tears after President Bush responded sarcastically to her question about immigration Tuesday. … It was something of a Rashomon — people seemed to see what they wanted to see.”

  • William Schulz writes, “When Ken Tomlinson calls for an investigation into the ‘cover-up’ of U.S. Arabic broadcasting outrages, it is clear he understands where that probe would lead: to Karen Hughes

  • U.S. News announced that intern Alison Go has joined the staff of U.S. News as an associate producer for the Education and News You Can Use sections of the website. She will also serve as a reporter for the Money & Business section.

  • Wall Street Journal reports, “There is encouraging news on the First Amendment front. Members of the House and Senate have introduced identical versions of the ‘Free Flow of Information Act of 2007,’ and the full House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on the bill just a few weeks back.”

  • A reader tells us, “The O’Briens back together again… Miles is anchoring Sit Room, Soledad promoting her new special. It was kind of cute when Miles said, ‘Good to see you again!’”

  • Check out the latest latest episode of Richard Miniter’s online TV show “The Corn & Miniter Show” co-hosted with The Nation’s Washington Editor David Corn.

  • A CNN release announced, “As the first CNN/You Tube-sponsored presidential debate nears, CNN will air a week of one-hour specials in which the role of the Internet in the 2008 campaign will be examined. The program, ‘CNN/YouTube Debate Countdown,’ will feature a sampling of videos submitted to YouTube for the Democratic presidential debate in Charleston, S.C., on Monday, July 23.”

  • Ken Silverstein writes, “Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post has faithfully parroted the talking points of the two lobbying firms I embarrassed in this month’s Harper’s, but APCO and Cassidy & Associates have had less luck with other journalists.”

  • reports, “MSM continues to fall for bogus numbers”

  • Jules Crittenden writes, “But I’d like to point out that not only was I right and the AP and NYT wrong about Bush caving to Congress on Iraq, but AP sucks.”

  • From Confederate Yankee: “A little bit of cross-referencing reveals that the photographer ‘Talal’ mentioned in Michael Yon’s dispatch Second Chances is Associated Press photojournalist Talal Mohammed.”

  • A Modernist Society release announced that U.S. Marine turned Al Jazeera correspondent, Josh Rushing, will appear at an “Intelligent Lounging” event, on July 26 at 9 p.m. at Bourbon in Adams Morgan.

  • Business Week explores, “Why the San Francisco Chronicle is a candidate to exit print”

  • Political Derby has “the only time the ‘DC Madam’ makes the VP short list.”

  • From Jules Crittenden: “NYT news desk embarrassed by NYT ed board? Could be, except that in lieu of meaningful reporting, this dire frontpage warning about impending doom in Iraq satisfies itself with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker’s relatively lame, defensive remarks, in which he comes across as almost apologetic, doing NYT’s work for them as he casts the discussion in terms of political posturing”

  • Don Surber writes, “I see where Bruce Bartlett is giving up his gig as a newspaper columnist. Officially, I am solemn and understanding. Yes, it is difficult to give ‘quality commentary.’ Inwardly, I am laughing and baffled. Columnists express opinions on anything they want. It is like being paid to breathe. And he is turning down the money? Instead of writing a newspaper column, he will write books. That’s like giving up playing the kazoo to become a concert pianist because it is easier. Of course it pays better. You actually have to have talent and work at it.”

  • Jennifer Moire’s last day in C-SPAN’s media department is Friday, July 27.


  • American Chemical Society is looking for a Production Editor for Chemical & Engineering News.

  • Al Jazeera English is looking for a Unit Manager.

  • The Politico/ is looking for a National Account Executive.

  • East-West Center Washington is looking for freelance copyeditors for its Policy Studies series.

  • National Geographic Kids Magazine in Washington, DC is looking for a hard-working, enthusiastic assistant to the Editor-in-Chief. Email cover letter with an attached resume and salary requirements to

    Hat Tips: DCRTV, TVNewser, IWantMedia, Romenesko, MediaBistro, <a

  • The Washington Press Corps Loves To Cozy Up

    So says Harper’s Ken Silverstein.

    Morning Reading List, 06.29.07

    morningsun.gifGood morning Washington.

  • It was a close call, but you thought Chris Matthews would be the sweaty one.

  • An NBC release announced, “NBC News has been awarded the 8th Annual RTNDA/Unity Award in the television network category for ‘Separate and Unequal, Reported by Tom Brokaw.’”

  • Ann Coulter takes a shot at “Hardball”

  • ABC News’ President David Westin named Vinnie Malhotra the new EP of ABC News’ Weekend News Content according to a release. Also, David Reiter “will be joining Vinnie at Weekend News as senior broadcast producer and will continue his work at ABC’s Special Events Unit with the new title of senior broadcast producer.”

  • CNN’s Pipeline signs off.

  • A NBC release announced, “Meet the Press with Tim Russert” was “the top rated Sunday morning public affairs program, placing first in all categories for the week ending Sunday, June 24.” On Sunday, the show attracted 3.230 million total viewers, 18% more than CBS’s “Face the Nation”, a 31% advantage over ABC “This Week” and a 243% lead over FOX’s “News Sunday”.

  • Merger plan leaves XM headquarters intact

  • SPJ has created a new website, Generation J, “a free, educational online resource designed specifically to fit the needs of young journalists.”

  • The Seattle Times reports that the Recording Industry Association of America has sent out warning letters to students from “about 100″ universities about paying a $3,000 settlement to avoid a lawsuit for illegally downloading files.

  • Tom Shales on Larry King’s interview with Paris Hilton: “She didn’t exactly tell all, but then she wasn’t exactly asked all, either; King seemed to be playing more a grandfatherly than journalistic role as he gently questioned the infamous heiress.”

  • Bob Schieffer Sings Honky Tonk.”

  • Reuters reports, “YouTube, which has had to pull copyrighted videos off its site after legal attacks by some big media franchises, has enjoyed a surge in U.S. audience share that leaves it far larger than the next 64 video-sharing sites combined, a survey found.”

  • Washington Post reports, “AOL is blurring the lines of news with a makeover that gives its traditional news sites the look and feel of blogs, a shift that is part of its efforts to change from a subscription-based service to a free, advertising-based Web business.”

  • Romesesko answers the question, “Why WSJ reporters didn’t show up for work Thursday”

  • “Iraq has been the most closely followed news story in 18 of the 22 weeks that Pew has been tracking public attentiveness to the news,” according to the weekly News Interest Index.

  • Redding News Review reports, “A white supremacist leader is planning a rally outside the home of Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts.”

  • Multichannel reports, “Gemstar-TV Guide International will launch the TV Guide Online Video Awards, an annual awards franchise that will recognize the best and most innovative professional video programming created specifically for the Web.”

  • CNN is close to completing an overhaul of its website after publicly testing the new look.”

  • Last Call for 2007 Online Journalism Awards Entries

  • Cincinnati Enquier reports, “Allowing readers to contribute content online to a local newspaper gives them new chances to shape coverage and get community concerns into print. Newspapers hope it also lures new readers and advertisers to support an industry that is fighting for survival, leaders of The Enquirer said Tuesday at a forum hosted by the Northlich advertising agency.”

  • ‘Portfolio’ Website Struggling In Beta Until Fall

  • A reader writes about Wednesday’s Post, “today’s a-section of the washington post was interesting. when was the last time you saw a bob woodward bylined story on A-16 or whatever page number it was.”

  • Public Eye reports, “A tempest in the sweltering DC teapot has developed this past week with regards to an investigative report in the upcoming issue of Harper’s. Ken Silverstein, Harper’s Washington Editor, has a piece called ‘Their Men In Washington’ that is causing some consternation in the media circles … Or at least along those mediaphiles that aren’t obsessing over a certain former jailbird.”

  • Can you answer CQ’s Trivia Question?


  • Capitol Press LLC is looking for a Cornerstone Staff Reporter.

  • The News Leader is looking for a Local Government Beat Reporter for Web and Print and a Copy Editor.

  • America Abroad Media is looking for a Senior Program/Field Producer/Radio Documentary Series.

  • The Magazine Group is looking for a Managing Editor.

  • Congressional Quarterly is looking for a Schedules Researcher.

  • American Association for Justice is seeking a Writer in the Communications Department.

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

  • Morning Reading List, 06.27.07

    morningsun.gifGood morning Washington.

  • Dow, Murdoch in Agreement on Safeguards

  • An ABC release announced, “For the ninth consecutive week, ABC’s ‘World News with Charles Gibson’ was the #1 evening newscast among Total Viewers, Households and Adults 25-54.” The show outperformed NBC by a 450,000 Total Viewers and 240,000 key demo viewers. “With last week’s win, ‘World News’ has now held the #1 position for more than two months.”

  • CIA Wiretapped Brit Hume In 1972

  • A release The Society of Professional Journalists announced that SPJ “commend[s] for its recent investigation into the practice of journalists contributing to political campaigns. It is exactly what SPJ’s Code of Ethics intends when it encourages journalists to ‘expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media’ and to ‘abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.’”

  • The biggest media stories of 2007

  • Re: the Hill – Roll Call match, one reader writes in, “You should know that there was no animosity in the game. We brught 2-3 cases of beer and afterwards we all joined together for at least 2 hours of sideling beer drinking. It was a lot of fun. Would have preferred to win, to be sure. There was talk of another game in August.”

  • New York Times reports, “The main thing about Facebook, Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield wants to make clear, is that it is ‘not just for college students — if you have not signed up or have not used it lately, you should.’ And if you are a big media company, he has another piece of advice: Buy the company.”

  • Not enough people subscribed to CNN’s Pipeline.

  • Bob Woodward’s warning re. ‘Secret Government‘”

  • The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing. All entries must be in English and be postmarked by July 1, 2007. For more info, click here.

  • Did your magazine make the Chicago Tribune’s list?

  • Robert Stein writes, “There was a Hall-of-Mirrors quality to watching reporter Ken Silverstein interviewed by Bill Moyers Sunday about his article in Harper’s describing the sting operation he conducted to get two Washington lobbying firms to pitch for the non-existent account of a repressive government.”

  • New York Times reports, “The iPhone doesn’t go on sale until Friday, but Steven P. Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, is already changing the perception of the mobile phone, from a quick way to call a friend to a hip, media-friendly device. In doing so, he has forced mobile phone and Hollywood executives to react by chasing hungrily after the newest thing or face being left behind.”

  • The National Press Club Travel Writing Panel is this Thursday, June 28 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Lisagor Room. Reserve online or by calling is 202-662-7501.

  • From TechCrunch: “Mobile application Shifd from the New York Times allows users to easily share any content, from web feeds, listings and maps to personal notes and data, between a desktop computer and a mobile phone.”
  • The PEJ News Coverage Index shows, “The 2008 presidential contest was the leading story last week, filing 11% of the newshole in the period from June 17-22, according to PEJ’s News Coverage Index.”


  • is looking for an Opinions and Comments Editor.

  • Hearst-Argyle Television is seeking an experienced, aggressive reporter to join its Washington Bureau.

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

  • Silverstein Goes Undercover

    Howard Kurtz takes a look at Harper’s Ken Silverstein, and how he went underground to report a story:

      Ken Silverstein says he lied, deceived and fabricated to get the story.

      But it was worth it, he insists. Those on the receiving end don’t agree.

      As Washington editor of Harper’s magazine, Silverstein posed as Kenneth Case, a London-based executive with the fictional Maldon Group, claiming to represent the government of Turkmenistan. He had fake business cards printed, bought a London cellphone number and created a bogus Web site — all to persuade Beltway lobbying firms to pitch him on representing Turkmenistan.

      “For me to deny, or try to shade the fact that I tricked them would be stupid,” Silverstein says. “Obviously we did. If our readers feel uncomfortable, they’re free to dismiss the findings of the story.”

      Says Harper’s Editor Roger Hodge: “The big question in our mind was whether anybody was going to fall for it.”

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