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Posts Tagged ‘Marc Ambinder’

Happy Birthday Mike Allen!

Today is the birthday of “the man the White House wakes up to.” That’s Politico‘s Playbook Author Mike Allen, who was born in 1964 in Orange County, Calif.

You won’t see this news in his own birthday section — he’s not that sort of guy. So we wanted to shower him with Happy Birthday wishes here. (h/t ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who tweeted the news this morning, saying, “Happy Birthday Mike Allen, the one birthday you won’t read about in Playbook.”)

We have remarks from a special person in Allen’s life: NJ‘s Marc Ambinder, who lobbed a public grenade at Playbook last week at the Page One screening/panel at the Newseum. Ambinder specifically criticized Allen’s select birthday listings for “further politicizing Washington” and for “pushing the Administration’s agenda.” The pair later exchanged relative niceties over email.

Ambinder’s birthday message for Allen is as follows: “Happy Birthday to the best-sourced, most jealousy-inducing and nicest journo I know (and like to occasionally public tweak).”

NYT‘s Mark Leibovich, who wrote the immense 2010 profile on Allen, remarked, “Is it his birthday? If it wasn’t in Playbook, how can we be sure he (or anyone) was really born? It’s the DC equivalent of the long-form birth certificate.”

When asked for birthday comments for Allen, Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris wrote: “Mike and I have known each other for 20 years–we were both young reporters in Richmond–and I think we’ve been friends longer than any of his other Washington colleagues. He was a force of nature then and is a force of nature now. One of the most exceptional journalists of his generation, and one of the most exceptional people.”

We at FishbowlDC wish Allen a very Happy Birthday.

UPDATE: ABC’s Ann Compton tweeted a birthday message to Allen today. She wrote, “Happy Birthday to the guy in the only picture on my WH booth wall.” See the photograph after the jump…

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Awwwkward Times Between Two Scribes

Washington is known for his staid, bland, appropriateness. So it was a shocker last night at the Newseum screening of “Page One” when NJ‘s Marc Ambinder publicly insulted Politico Playbook by Mike Allen. At a panel post screening moderated by Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson, Ambinder questioned Playbook’s usefulness and remarked that Allen’s select Birthday listings  — a cutesy section in which he mentions, for instance, a White House staffer’s birthday party and then offers a h/t to the person who tipped him off — only “further politicizes” Washington by “pushing the Administration’s message.”

Asked for comment this morning, Allen told FishbowlDC: “Marc’s conspiracy theories about birthdays strike me as goofy. I assume he was joking, and will remember to give him a polarizing birthday shout-out on Aug. 8.” He later added, “I have emailed with Marc and he was making a broader point about the press that has been lost in the birthday nonsense.”

Allen was obviously in the audience listening to his critic. At one point it was suggested that NJ‘s Hotline On Call was an early version of Playbook. This is when Ambinder went on the attack. Those in attendance say Allen turned to a man seated next to him, smiled, shrugged his shoulders in response and even walked to the stage after, perhaps to show Ambinder that he was there. “Pretty ballsy and smart,” one attendee remarked. The conversation quickly shifted to another subject just before the panel ended. No one really reacted or agreed with Ambinder.

Ambinder responded to our morning request for comment. “I love Playbook and find it helpful,” he wrote by email. “I was saying, as a random aside, because it popped into my brain at that moment, that it’s polarizing.  A lot of folks think it’s sycophantic and indicative of the too-cozy relationship between the press and those we cover.  That was germane to the subject we were discussing.

“When I read it, I tend to ignore the silly shout outs and skip to the helpful stuff.  Mike is an institution and to the extent that people gossip about his product, it is a reflection of our collective insecurity about what we do and our secret envy at his source base.”

Although there were no further reports of confrontation between Ambinder and Allen, one FishbowlDC spy did see Ambinder leaving the Newseum in a hurry. But perhaps the rushing was overstated. “I knew he was there,” wrote Ambinder. “How? I read it in Playbook.”

NJ’s Internal Love

NJ‘s Digital Editor Dave Beard delivered good news to reporters this week. It showed up in an internal memo in the height of WeinerGate and our attentions were elsewhere. But here it is, complete with the news that NJ is “flexing its muscles as never before for a beyond-the-beltway audience.”

See the internal memo…It’s well-written. You won’t die through it.

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The FishbowlDC Interview With @DCjourno

In the just over three weeks he’s been tweeting, Washington has wondered about the identity of @DCjourno, who describes himself only as “an important political reporter in Washington.” The stinging parody account takes aim at Washington media, and the resemblance to real journalists is uncanny and to some, scary. “Just always a little too close to the bone,” said one reporter, relieved to have so far been spared mention. ABC’s Jake Tapper admitted there was a “subtle genius” to the account.

But others don’t think he’s genius at all. As one D.C. Editor put it, “Just read his stuff. An “important political reporter in Washington.” Bullshit. I’ll bet you my car nobody’s ever heard of this guy. Anyone who thinks [NJ's] Marc Ambinder is worth writing about can’t be over 23.” The journalist added, “It has a faux insider feel, like someone who watches too much Morning Joe.”

Some see a self-loathing. Still others just find him loathing. “I don’t give too much credence to people too chickensh*t to put their name behind something because, obviously, once we know who they are, we’ll soon realize that they’re just as douchy as the rest of us,” said a longtime Washington journalist. “Likely: Even more douchey.”

@DCjourno recently told the NYT, “Several of my followers still don’t understand that I’m a parody. They think I’m just a cool D.C. journalist, which really says it all.”

And it’s easy to see why he has some people fooled. Just like the journalists he mocks, he’s always speaking with “senior administration officials.” He suggests good people to follow, including WaPo‘s Ezra Klein (“Few understand health care better than Ezra,” he tweeted sarcastically) and Politico‘s Mike Allen (“Follow foreign policy guru @mikeallen for updates on Egypt. He’s tweeting from the frontlines in Rosslyn”). He always directs his followers to “must reads” and “smart takes.” In fact: “If anyone out there sees a tweet that i can re-tweet with “Interesting … ” in front of it, DM me!”

Tapper suggested his followers check out the stream to see what really went down at former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs‘ farewell party. Apparently, “Gibbs telling the Mark Knoller/vodka-filled-plastic-guitar Vegas story.” Later: “Ambinder talking abt 19th century German philosophy. Gibbs goes, ‘Marc, we know you’re smarter than us. U gonna hit this jameson or not?’” And later still: “Alright, Vietor just challenged me to a dance off with your pants off. Zeleny is the judge. Have a good night, everyone.” Slate‘s Dave Weigel said that @DCjourno was “winning the evening” with his fake live-tweets.

The guessing game has grown more intense as @DCjourno’s follower count has risen, now to more than 3,000 people. CNN’s John King, USA producer Abby Livingston tweeted: “More ppl care about who is @dcjourno than who authored ‘o.’” ABC News’ Political Director Amy Walter agreed: “Ha. So true.”

Asked if he’s @DCJourno, The Daily Caller‘s Mike Riggs adamantly denied it to FishbowlDC, saying, “As much as DCJourno pretends to be in this world, but not of it, whoever’s writing those tweets cares deeply about Beltway culture and the assholes who maintain it. I don’t. Or at least, not enough to glorify its participants through caricature. I’m flattered that you think me even-tempered enough to maintain such a ruse, but I’m not your man, and I don’t know who is.”

@DCJourno wouldn’t give us any clues whatsoever about his identity, but did agree to an interview by e-mail. He wouldn’t, however, allow any follow-up questions. We tried to press him on a couple of things, but no such luck.

Are you actually a D.C. journalist, or more of an observer? I am an actual D.C. journalist, hence the Twitter handle, @DCjourno.

Why are you anonymous? Will you ever reveal yourself? I’m definitely not anonymous. Pretty much everyone in this town knows me now.

Are you a man or a woman? Man.

Find out what @DCJourno likes to do in his spare time and why he’s so looking forward to Tammy Haddad‘s garden brunch…

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Pious Pareene: The Prince of Preachy

Salon‘s Alex Pareene never misses a beat when it comes to addressing many other journalists as if they are beneath him, which seems to utterly contradict what he claims he believes to be the proper way for a distinguished reporter (such as himself, no doubt) to conduct himself.

In a story this week, he takes out two D.C. journalists — NJ‘s Marc Ambinder and MNSBC’s Congressional Correspondent Luke Russert — for their thoughts on ideas regarding Congressional security post shootings.

An excerpt:

The eternally useless Luke Russert has fixated on the supposed need to boost congressional security in his every MSNBC appearance since Saturday. Today, Marc Ambinder talks to some security professionals who offer the sort of ideas that security professionals would offer.

Read Ambinder’s story here. No reason to link to pious Pareene today.

Middle of the Night Banter

What are journalists like in the wee hours of Election Night? Some attended parties, others did TV hits and still others were holed up in bed with a dangerous combination of champagne and computers (thank you FamousDC for that excellent imagery). To give you a sense, we’ve rounded up the best of the best (or something like that).

NJ‘s Marc Ambinder: “Can I go to sleep yet?” (At approximately 1:43 a.m.)

Politics Daily‘s Matt Lewis‘s bragging rights: “So I’ll actually be on from like 2:35-3:35 a.m. ET.”

C-SPAN’s Jeremy Art safe and sound: “Made it home. Very few cars on the road at 2:30 a.m.”

Politico‘s Kasie Hunt: “Aaand at 2:43a, my BlackBerry has finally gone to sleep. Not me, though.”

Politico‘s Ben Smith leans on Slate‘s Dave Weigel: “I need a Twitter editor at this hour.”

NJ‘s Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier marveling at the new NJ: New and old friends just toasted the first election day in the united NJ newsroom. God Bless Crown Royal (It’s close to 3 a.m.)

ABC News’s Jake Tapper sees a possible political career for a certain situation from MTV’s “Jersey Shore”: “Say hello to Rep.-elect Ben Quayle & former Real World star Rep.-elect Sean Duffy [Door open for Rep. Situation]”

HuffPost‘s Ryan Grim anticipating unoriginal headlines: “How many headline writers will think “up in smoke” is the cleverest way to describe the pot initiative losing?”

National Review Online‘s Kathryn Lopez: “MSNBC is the seat of cockiness right now.”

Bloomberg TV‘s Lizzie O’Leary: “Okay, now for a two-hour nap. See you guys on #insidetrack.” Before that she remarked, “Official: I have been awake 24 hours. #startingtoloseit”

The Nation‘s Editor/Publisher Katrina vanden Heuval: “Like Lawrence O’Donnell on elections. Serious, intense in semi-wonky + saavy way.

The Daily Caller‘s Chris Moody: “Long night. Just downed one of those 5-hour energy shot things. Haven’t eaten. Getting the shakes. #journalism”

Politics Daily‘s White House correspondent Alex Wagner: “For those interested in #Boehner crying jags: they come often.” Wagner suggests this WaPo story.

Politico‘s White House scribe Glenn Thrush: “If Christine O’Donnell doesn’t get a reality show I’m canceling basic cable.”

WaPo‘s Jonathan Capehart remarks on his facial hair after a follower scolds him, saying, “OMG, @CapehartJ, you’ve got scruff! #MSNBCafterdark. ” He replies. “LOL. Not my shaving day.”

Donald Edmond, attorney, who wants to take over Politico by starting a publication called Common Sense 2012: “@FishbowlDC You realize you’d overtake Politico in this town if I wrote for you FT right? Black Republican in DC w/humor and insight.” (Note to readers: Edmond is an anti-trust lawyer we were Twitter “arguing/discussing” with well into the morning.)

ABC’s Rick Klein: “@karentravers I will sleep only when @berman14‘s hair gets out of place.” (Travers is an ABC White House reporter; Berman is an ABC News correspondent.)

Mother Jones D.C. Bureau Chief David Corn: “The up side: at least now I can get back to worrying about Charlie Sheen.”

SKDKnickerbocker’s Hanna Rosin: “Man up John Boehner. Stop crying.”

Political Wire‘s Taegan Goddard: “Two things I’ll forever miss on Election Day: Mechanical voting machines and Tim Russert.”

CBS News White House Radio correspondent Mark Knoller: “Haven’t seen anyone smiling at the WH this morning. With good reason.”

Washington Ideas Forum Comes to Close

That’s a wrap!  The second and final day of the Washington Ideas Forum came to a close this afternoon following a lively panel discussion featuring Margaret Carlson, NBC’s Chuck Todd, Atlantic Media’s Ron Brownstein, Charlie Cook and CNN’s John King.  The crew discussed a variety of topics but ultimately landed on the media’s role in politics and why a very disenchanted American public believes that Washington is broken and disconnected.  Chuck Todd conceded, admitting that Americans have a lack of faith in the media because ”we’re doing a poor job covering the recession.”  Todd went on to explain that the media makes a spectacle out of issues that aren’t of great concern to the average citizen.  “Rahm leaving, Rahm not –that’s why the media doesn’t have the trust of the public.  It’s just stupid,” he said. 

But journalists weren’t the headliners for most of  the event, attended by a ”who’s who” of media, business and the political set.  Director Spike Lee, Governor Haley Barbour, Richard Holbrooke, Senator Jim Webb, Tony and Heather Podesta, and  Ahmed Chalabi all took to the stage today.  Spotted taking in a few sessions were CBS’s Chris Isham, The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove, Slate‘s Dave Weigel, HuffPost’s Sam Stein, NYT‘s Maureen Dowd, CNN’s Edie Emery and Michelle Jaconi, Sally Quinn and The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder

Members of the media view interviews from the press room.

CBS Announces “Campaign 2010″ Team

CBS News recently announced its political lineup for the 2010 midterm elections. In the Washington bureau, Rob Hendin and Jill Jackson have been named senior political producers. Those promotions were announced via “Washington Unplugged” last week (below).

Additionally, Chief Political Consultant Marc Ambinder and Political Analyst and Contributor John Dickerson will join a group led by CBS Evening News Anchor and Managing Editor Katie Couric that includes Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer, Senior Political Correspondent Jeff Greenfield and Correspondents Wyatt Andrews, Sharyl Attkisson, Jan Crawford, Nancy Cordes, Byron Pitts, Chip Reid, Dean Reynolds and Political Analyst Dan Bartlett.

Political Reporters Brian Montopoli, Kevin Hechtkopf and Stephanie Condon will lead up Web-only coverage while National Correspondent Dan Raviv will anchor CBS Radio’s coverage of the results, joined by White House Correspondents Peter Maer and Mark Knoller, and Capitol Hill Correspondent Bob Fuss.

The team’s reports and political analysis will be featured across all CBS News broadcasts and platforms on the run-up to election night 2010 on Nov. 2, including CBS Evening News, The Early Show, Face the Nation, CBS Radio News and CBSNews.com.

NJ Announces New WH ‘A-Team’

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Two journos will join forces to be NJ‘s new “formidable” White House team. They are The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder and USA Today‘s Aamer Madhani.

The New ‘A’-Team – Ambinder and Aamer – is going to be formidable,” said National Journal Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier. “They are smart, savvy and richly sourced in foreign policy, domestic issues and politics.”

They will join George Condon, Jr., who covers the White House for CongressDaily.

Notes on Ambinder:
• He currently blogs for The Atlantic
• He’s chief political consultant for CBS News
• He was founding editor of NJ‘s “Hotline on Call”
• He was one of the founding editors of ABC’s “The Note.”

Notes on Madhani:
• The D.C.-based reporter covers foreign affairs.
• He joined USA Today in 2008 as the Baghdad Bureau Chief.
• His Iraq coverage with USA Today and the Chicago Tribune spans three years.

Ambinder will stick with The Atlantic through the November elections. Madhani begins next month.

Congratulations to Ambinder and Madhani.

Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers

Quote(s) of the Day

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A slide, what fun!

“Is there a giant inflatable slide on the House floor I’m unaware of?”
- Bloomberg TV’s Lizzie O’Leary on Twitter Tuesday on the suspenseful events of the House floor Tuesday, namely Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) unanticipated floor speech.

Not tweeting while vacationing proves fruitful

“Question: why all the new followers when I’m on vacation and not tweeting? Is less more?” – Mother Jones D.C. Bureau Chief and Politics Daily columnist David Corn on Twitter Tuesday. Update: Corn is vacationing on Cape Cod.

Reporter is frank with Ed

“Frankly, it’s people like you, Ed.”
The Hill‘s White House correspondent Sam Youngman on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” after the host questioned him on what kind of liberals White House Press Sec. Robert Gibbs complained about in a Youngman published Tuesday. Schultz didn’t appear fazed; he thanked Youngman for being on the show.

Oh, Gibbs had sniffles?

“Gibbs has a sore throat ‘and the sniffles’ Burton says, explaining absence from briefing.” – HuffPost‘s Sam Stein on Twitter Tuesday revealing why Deputy Press Sec. Bill Burton filled in for Gibbs.

Journo bashes poor headlines

“By the way: can we not see headlines like ‘primaries test the mood of voters.’ Um yes. That’s what primaries do.”
- The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder on Twitter Tuesday.

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