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Posts Tagged ‘Lauren Ashburn’

Incest Desk: A Lesson in Kissing Up With Howie Kurtz

Forget CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

A story on Wednesday’s Daily Download showcases a fine example of how one kisses up to founder Howard Kurtz.  Seriously, if a Web site could win a Pulitzer for the best suckup in 2013, this would be a hot contender. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the year is young.

No question that Kurtz landed a big scoop by interviewing Jill Kelley, the other other woman in the General David Petraeus sex scandal. It landed on Drudge after all. But does his ass really need to be kissed for writing a good story?

Enter Lauren Ashburn, Daily Download‘s co-founder, who often appears on his CNN show.

A snippet… Read more

Morning Reading List 10.30.12.

1. Stormy Strip Club — There are few things more disturbing than waking up to CNN and The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz tweeting about sexy strippers. This morning he highlights a story by Lauren Ashburn on their Daily Download site in which Ashburn passes through Georgetown last night and notices a light on. Sure enough it’s the Good Guys Club. She writes about how she had to stop for the sake of the story — sex sells, a new concept, right? She spoke briefly to a stripper in a blonde wig who won’t give her name. “Georgetown Cupcake is open down the street,” the “well-endowed, slightly overweight stripper” told Ashburn.  “I know men would much rather come here.”

2. Frankenstorm StyleWaPo Style Section writer Emily Wax brings us the lexicon of Hurricane Sandy this morning. She asserts that the “cliches” and “neologisms” are a way of trying to control the uncontrollable. She explains the words and images that cropped up for Sandy, including “ponding” and Sandy from “Grease.” Read here.

3. Reporters covering Sandy – In a piece published at the crack of dawn, The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf writes about reporters covering Hurricane Sandy. The story takes a distinct point of view — namely that reporters shouldn’t be out in the storm. He writes, “The notion that it is safe to stand in waist high floodwater and gale force winds, given a bit of experience, is nonsense. And it undercuts rather than strengthens the message that people should stay inside.” He calls it “pure entertainment” value that has little other value. Read here.

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day: The Food Edition

Convo Between Fmr. Flack and Reporter

Politico‘s John Bresnahan: “Love Derek Jeter #TheBestEver”

Quinn & Gillespie’s Jim Manley, former Senate flack: “Love ya-but you are as obnoxious on the tweeter as you are as a reporter. Jeter sucks.”

Destroying their own bread and butter

“Howie, why do the people at home need you and me to tell them what to think?” — The Daily Download‘s Lauren Ashburn in a nerdy video clip with her always nerdy colleague Howard Kurtz. Here she makes a case why no one should listen to pundit types like herself and Howie. HUH?! Watch here.

Travel Complaint Desk

“[obligatory enraged tweet about AMTRAK wi-fi]” — Yahoo! NewsOlivier Knox.

Quintessential HuffPost story: “11 favorite foods to wrap in bacon”

Awe…

“Speaking at colleges makes me unbearably nostalgic for college.” — WaPo‘s Democratic advisor Ezra Klein. FYI readers, our Ezzy graduated from UCLA, where he earned a B.A. in political science.

Thoughts on cookie dough with righty editor and CNN pundit

“We can’t be the only family in America that makes cookies and eats most of the dough before it goes in the oven.” — CNN and RedState.com’s Erick Erickson.

Necessary Tweet of the Day

“Migraines are so demoralizing.” — TWT arts and entertainment writer and Doublethink fiction editor Kelly Jane Torrance.

Deep Thought to Ponder: “Twitter has driven a number of writers I like and admire totally bananas.” — National Review Online‘s Reihan Salam, who admits to watching a lot of TV’s Full House as a child. Favorite line in his bio: “Despite his controversial eyebrows, he has appeared on CNN, ABC, PBS, FOX, NBC, MSNBC, BBC, CBC, TVO, AJE, RT, HBO, and a number of other television networks that may or may not exist outside of his imagination.”

Morning Reading List 09.25.12.

1. Punctuation and the modern writer: In honor of National Punctuation Day,  The Atlantic Wire‘s Jen Doll has a delightful story out on writers’ favorite punctuation marks. She, for example, prefers the semi-colon. Or the ellipses or the em-dash. A Boston Globe columnist, a New Yorker writer, a horror novel author and others weigh in. Deadspin, Gawker and GQ writer Drew Magary isn’t so kind about the comma, saying, “Commas are the worst because eight billion people have eight billion different ideas about where they’re supposed to go.” And film critic and author Kurt Loder (formerly of MTV) can’t say enough about the ellipses. Read here.

2. Facials gone awry: There are facials and then there are BuzzFeed‘s idea of facials. You have to love that they have this right on their front page. Read here.

3. Koppel not thoughtful? Fox News Contributor Bernard Goldberg calls newsman Ted Koppel “not thoughtful” in reaction to Koppel’s take down of cable news last week on NBC’s Rock Center. WaPo‘s Erik Wemple seems truly perplexed by this assessment. Read here.

Have a story you’d like to submit for Morning Reading List? Let us know about it, even the night before. In this instance, we promise we won’t accuse you of bragging. Send to fishbowldc@mediabistro.com or to Betsy@mediabistro.com.

Kurtz Goes Double Dipping Again

On Friday we pointed out CNN Howard Kurtz‘s penchant for double dipping. Over the weekend, Kurtz, also an editor for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and co-founder of The Daily Download, was at it again, straddling his various jobs.

Kurtz on CNN:

Should the media have chased Drudge on the Condi-for-VP “scoop”? Our Reliable Sources discussion. [See here.]

The Daily Beast:

How the Drudge Report, With Its Condoleezza Rice ‘Scoop,’ Again Rules the Media  [See here by Lauren Ashburn, co-founder with Kurtz of The Daily Download.]

It’s getting awfully incestuous in here. We wonder how Kurtz’s bosses at CNN and Newsweek/The Daily Beast feel about the fact that they’re both paying him to do the same thing. Media ethicist? Mind-boggling.

Intern Aftermath

Earlier in the week, we got tipped off by a WaPo staffer that management had released an internal document to the entire newsroom introducing the current crop of interns and what drew them to the paper.

One intern, Rosie Powers, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate, proceeded to introduce her new WaPo colleagues to their own CEO Don Graham. She told them he’s the son of Katharine Graham, explained who she was and misspelled her first name. Rosie committed no crime here. Nor did we “attack” this young woman or say she committed a “sin.”

But as usual, when we do what the rest of Washington’s journalism community does — which is, we dig, report, we get leaked documents — some went into an apoplectic uproar. FishbowlDC is “loathsome” remarked James Grimaldi, a longtime investigative reporter who recently took WaPo‘s buyout and is headed to the WSJ. 1. We’re quite certain that the self-righteous Grimaldi has been leaked documents once or twice in his career. 2. We’re sure he appreciated it. 3. We’re convinced he didn’t give a rat’s ass about the person in question’s feelings. A day earlier, NBC’s Luke Russert said FBDC had reached a “new low” and PBS’s Gwen Ifill appeared to second him, calling him a “good man” — apparently for writing that. For starters, we have a history of defending Luke when his enormous army of detractors writes to say what scum he is for riding his father’s coattails. Funny, he never saw fit to praise us for that. But more fittingly, Luke likely never considered the feelings of others when he interviewed ex-New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner last summer and nailed him on that Weiner underwear shot because everyone was doing it. By Luke and other’s standards, he probably should have thought about Weiner’s poor wife, Huma Abedin, or the innocent, unborn Weiner who hadn’t yet breathed his first weinerous breath.

Journalism is not about protecting people’s feelings. And in Washington when it’s not journalists being covered, it isn’t about feelings. When President Obama recently goofed and called Mitt Romney “George” which is his dead father’s name, the news cycle went wild. Was it petty? Maybe. Did family members get their feelings hurt? Who knows? No one cared. And when Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said first lady Michelle Obama had a large derriere in a private phone conversation, countless pubs (including and especially us) covered it. Were Michelle’s feelings on the line regarding the size of her rump? Again, it wasn’t an issue. But there’s a double standard. All reporting is fine as long as you’re dissecting the lives of government officials, their staffs and the White House. But dare to cover media in the same way that journalists here cover politics and that is preposterously off limits.

The outrage didn’t end with Grimaldi or Russert. WaPo‘s Gene Weingarten, who devotes much of his waking existence to poop, dubbed FBDC “petty” and called us “kindergarten muckrakers” who specialize in “phony” controversy. He spent actual time searching for FBDC stories he feels were particularly egregious. Meanwhile, Weingarten routinely calls up company administrators to harass them about a myriad of stupid things and then he writes about it. Half the time they don’t respond, the responses in his stories are blank spots and somehow this is considered humor. Meanwhile, FBDC is the lowest form of, to put in Weingarten terms, feces, out there. And for what? Getting leaked an odd piece of news about his own paper’s intern? Yes, suddenly there’s a huge moral problem here.

But what is more morally outrageous is the fragility with which this young woman, Rosie, is being treated by these longtime journos like Weingarten, Katharine Zaleski and Lauren Ashburn, Editor-in-Chief and founder of DailyDownload.com. They coddled her. Worse, they pitied her. Weingarten referred to her as a “kid.” Zaleski, formerly Executive Digital Director at WaPo, said an internship at WaPo was “preschool for interns” adding, “that’s what an internship is for.” She later said that was a typo and meant “press-school.” That’s SOME typo. Ashburn said this was “sad” that an “innocent” girl was being attacked. Russert, meanwhile, rode in on his white horse, saying, only “professionals” like him should be on the receiving end of supposed attacks. I’d like to think Rosie is well worth being considered a “professional” and not demean her as a weakling who needs swaddling. Whatever happened to grizzled editors who told you when your work wasn’t worth a damn? They cut your copy with brutal honesty and toughened you into being reporters who didn’t emote all day long. There were editors who killed your copy when it didn’t make sense. Or the ones who threw you out of their offices when you wasted their time with nonsensical chatter. Or the journalism profs who gave you big fat F’s for a single spelling error. Are today’s journalists expecting to have hands held and pacifiers in mouth every step of the way? Is the new mentality that media coverage must be gentle and Washington’s journalists must be protected from hurt feelings?

Seems the word “intern” caused some to go haywire this week as if the young woman’s age was reason enough to scrap the story. When a newspaper employs human beings, it is our beat to cover them, whether they are interns, reporters, editors or the blanched Marcus Brauchli himself. Chandra Levy was covered, but then again she was murdered and had been sleeping with a lawmaker. Monica Lewinksy, a low level White House aide, was covered. She gave the President a blowjob. What’s next, are reporters going to be forbidden from covering low-level staffers on Capitol Hill because they are fresh out of school? Next up: Jim Romenesko wrote a quick and dirty post wondering if FishbowlDC had reached a “new low.” His comments were minimal as is the Romenesko way. But he described what we wrote about Ms. Powers as “her sins” — his description not ours. Now there’s no doubt in our minds that Romenesko has never been leaked anything. To put the icing on the cake, The Guardian‘s Ana Marie Cox, who once made it her life’s mission to screw over many who helped her by giving them a good ass kicking on Wonkette, wrote in all caps, “Romenesko: HAS FISHBOWL REACHED A NEW LOW?” That’s rich, Ana. Call us when you get to that amends step.

Finally, where is the outrage for WaPo? Not only did they release internal documents about these youngsters to an entire newsroom of journalists, but they clearly didn’t carefully read what they had put out there. Or did they read it at all? WaPo Asst. Manager of Personnel Peter Perl wrote to say, “A new low today, picking on an intern. Really?” He didn’t bother with an email. He kept it all succinctly in the subject line. We certainly hope he’s coping in his paper’s post buyout haze with journalists leaving in droves this week and last. Maybe he was on a sugar high from all that goodbye caking? Clearly Perl wasn’t aware, but in a shocking twist of irony, WaPo went on Facebook this week to call for a public mocking of summer interns that they could meme-ify. They wrote, “Tell us about the questionable interns you’ve encountered and we’ll meme-ify your experience.” Urgent memo to Mr. Perl: Picking on an intern. Really? We’re not sure what’s worse — the word meme-ify or the fact that WaPo can’t apparently see its ass from its elbow or its own bullying mentality starting with Weingarten who devoted his entire Tuesday night to casting aspersions on FishbowlDC. Next Tuesday, Gene, we hope you will spend your evening doing something far more valuable such as changing the toilet paper roll or harassing a company spokeswoman. Let’s just hope she’s older than 22 and not an intern.

Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers

Quotes of the Day

“The problem for the media is there is no stained blue dress.” — The Daily Caller‘s media writer Matt Lewis on Sunday CNN’s “Reliable Sources” while discussing the sexual harassment accusations against GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain. Lewis’ remark set off a heated discussion on the program as another guest, Newsweek/Daily Beast‘s Lauren Ashburn, spoke bluntly of the sexual harassment she endured, including a boss’s boss who spoke about her “rack” in the workplace. Ashburn says the subject needs to be a national conversation, that women’s accusations must be taken seriously. She would not discuss an incident her mother experienced, saying sheepishly, “It involves underwear and it’s my mother and I really can’t do that.”

The Senate has a ‘Banging’ Committee?

“Closed captions on Meet the Press just said Chris Dodd was chairman of the Senate ‘banging’ committee. #transcriberfail” — Roll Call‘s Ryan Teague Beckwith. Beckwith has officially redeemed himself after communicating with chewy granola bars online.

Congratulations to Slate‘s John Dickerson on becoming CBS News’ new Political Director. Dickerson, who had been a CBS News Political Analyst, had rough start to his new expanded roll this weekend as GOP Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann received an accidental email from him saying she wouldn’t get much play at the CBS/NJ debate. Dickerson remarked on Sunday, “Thanks everyone for your good wishes, support, humor and friendship over this last exciting and strange 24 hours.”

Have an issue with Weingarten? Take it up with the NYT

“Have you found that the folks who brag the most that they have deep faith and love God more than you do tend to be the ones who, like, get caught nude with a goat?” — WaPo‘s Gene Weingarten on faith and Christ and running for President. (At the end of his piece he noted, “If this has riled you at all, by all means write to me in care of the New York Times.)

To Gloria with hate

“Dear Gloria Allred: STFU” — The Daily Caller‘s TV reporter Jeff Poor.

Memory moves journo to tears

“Just broke down sobbing w/ family in Dubrovnik church lighting candle for Vukovar. Had not realized: 20th ann of massacre.” — NPR’s Scott Simon. The war crime — the murders of hundreds of Croatians by Serb militia –  occurred in 1991.

Sunday Show Preview: 01.31.10

SSP.jpg

NBC’s Meet the Press: David Axelrod,Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), NYT’s David Brooks, CNBC’s David Faber, WaPo’s Eugene Robinson, U.S. News’ Mort Zuckerman.

CBS’ Face the Nation:

ABC’s This Week: Barbara Walters in the anchor chair with guest Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA).

CNN’s State of the Union: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D), AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and CNN’s Mary Matalin and James Carville.

Fox News’ Fox News Sunday: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn), Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). Round table: Bill Kristol, NPR’s Mara Liasson, columnist Charles Krauthammer and NPR’s Juan Williams

CNN’s Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz: Lauren Ashburn, managing editor and executive producer, USA Today Live; Lola Ogunnaike, pop culture commentator; Robin Liss, president and CEO, Reviewed.com; Steven Levy, author, “The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness.”

CNN’s GPS with Fareed Zakaria: Director of National Economic Council Larry Summers and Iran Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show: PANEL: CNBC’s Jim Cramer, The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan, NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell and Newsweek’s Katie Connolly.

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal: WaPo’s Dan Balz, NYT’s Peter Baker, CNN’s Gloria Borger and Politico’s John Harris.

Bloomberg’s Political Capital with Al Hunt: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), Sec. Ray Lahood, Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker , Hans Nichols , Margaret Carlson and Kate O’Beirne .

Washington Watch with Roland Martin: Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education Arne Duncan.

CNN’s Amanpour: Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive; Michelle Montas, Haitian journalist and acting chief of the UN mission to Haiti; Amy Wilentz, author of ‘The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalie’ and Leader of the UK Conservative Party, David Cameron.

C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers”: Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Roll Call’s David Drucker and Politico’s Eamon Javers.

We’ll update as we get ‘em.

Kurtz Discusses Sex Scandals on “Reliable Sources”

WaPo’s Howard Kurtz convened a Sunday roundtable on his show, CNN’s “Reliable Sources”, to discuss the many sex scandals of 2009.(I know, but someone’s got to do it,” Kurtz tweeted, for those who possibly thought it unseemly or not serious enough.)

Those at the table took easily to the topic: “2009: the Age of Sex Scandals”. They included The Examiner’s Chris Stirewalt, Bill Press, syndicated radio talk show host and intern to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Lauren Ashburn, president of Ashburn Media, and CNN’s Jessica Yellin.

Kurtz showed footage of candid moments we’ve seen with GOP South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, former presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards (D-S.C.) and CBS’s David Letterman.

At one point HLN and “The View’s” Joy Behar flashed on the screen, saying, “Let’s tell it like it is. He’s a dog and people do not like him.” That “dog” was Edwards.

Roundtable participants ate up the topic, not wanting to move on when Kurtz forged ahead to 2009′s dire economic situation.

Press remarked, “The sex stuff is easy and media take the easy route.”

Sunday Show Preview

NBC’s Meet the Press: Former President Bill Clinton, NY Governor David Paterson (D), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA)

CBS’ Face the Nation: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

ABC’s This Week: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and a roundtable with WaPo‘s Bob Woodward, NYT‘s Tom Friedman, ABC’s Martha Raddatz and ABC’s and columnist George Will

Fox News Sunday: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), Virginia Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell (R), filmmaker James O’Keefe and a panel with Fox News analysts former White House press secretary Dana Perino, NPR’s Mara Liasson, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer and NPR’s Juan Williams

CNN’s State of the Union: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and CNN’s Mary Matalin and James Carville

CNN’s Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz:
“The View” and HLN’s Joy Behar, CNN’s Ed Henry, Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson, WaPo‘s Kathleen Parker, USA Today Live’s Lauren Ashburn

CNN’s GPS with Fareed Zakaria: Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi

NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show: CNBC’s Trish Regan, Time‘s Richard Stengel, NYT‘s Andrew Ross Sorkin and WaPo‘s Kathleen Parker

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal: LAT‘s Doyle McManus, Time‘s Karen Tumulty, McClatchy News’ Nancy Youssef and Politico‘s John Harris

Bloomberg’s Political Capital with Al Hunt: Presidential adviser John Podesta

Washington Watch with Roland Martin: Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) and a panel with WaPo‘s Kevin Merida, syndicated columnist and author Deborah Mathis, American Urban Radio Networks’ April Ryan, Comcast Network Washingtong bureau chief and Philadelphia Tribune columnist Robert Traynham, TWT‘s Armstrong Williams and Interactive one’s Smokey Fontaine

CNN’s Amanpour: President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, U.S. Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe

Will update as we learn them.

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