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Posts Tagged ‘Sean Hannity’

FishbowlDC Interview With Paul Brandus

Say hello to Paul Brandus who writes West Wing Reports and a column for The Week. He’s an independent White House Correspondent who writes a blog and has a Twitter account in which he doesn’t use his name. How come he goes nameless? “Here’s a question for you,” begins his standard refrain about it. “Name the CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN & Fox reporters at the White House 10 years ago. How about five years ago? This may come as a disappointment to many folks in this egocentric town, but most people can’t remember the names. And that’s at the most visible beat in Washington. Names fade quickly. But brand names have enduring market value. People have no idea who I am personally. I’d prefer they know my brands, one of which is West Wing Reports. Brands can be licensed, flipped, monetized in more enduring ways.” Even so, let’s get to know the man behind the brand, shall we? Brandus was a foreign correspondent in Moscow for five years. He worked for the U.S. Embassy, eventually NBC and NPR and did some magazine work. While in Moscow, he bought the broadcast rights to the Super Bowl from the NFL. He later worked at MSNBC and Fox — he says the concept of this makes people’s heads explode. “I helped launch MSNBC back in 1996,” Brandus explains. “Worked for Steve Capus, who went on to become President of NBC News. Good man. I was a writer, but apparently too good of a writer because they put me in charge of editing all the other writers. That’s where I learned the 80/20 rule: 20 percent of your people will cause 80 percent of your problems. At Fox News, I was a senior prime time producer in New York, working on news cut ins every half hour. If the you-know-what hit the fan, we had to run into the control room across the hall and break into Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity & Alan Colmes. Great fun.” Brandus worked on Wall Street for several years, cashed out and started another media company, his own. In 2011 he became a columnist for The Week. He moderates conferences for them on energy and cybersecurity. He also works with a Northern Virginia venture capital firm. Brandus won’t be found on the Washington cocktail circuit. Instead, he spends his weekends with his 18-month-old daughter or family horses in Fairfax County.

Now let’s proceed to the really important stuff.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Cherry Coke Zero

How often do you Google yourself? Once or twice a year.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? My old boss, Jim Farley, who hired me twice – first at NBC years ago and later at WTOP – taught me WGAS: “Who gives a shit?” It has universal applications today and I’ve used it to great effect in various times and places. WGAS is also text-friendly.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Anyone who understands it’s not about them. Anyone who eschews the limelight and simply focuses on finding things out, communicating about it well and not pretending to be an expert or feeling compelled to have an opinion on everything.

Who is your favorite White House reporter and why? The wire service folks are usually the best. Not flashy, just solid, nose-to-the-grindstone types day in and day out. I really admire them.

Do you have a favorite word? “Dada.” Uttered by a certain 17-month old little girl.

What word or phrase do you overuse? “Dumb ass.” Use it a lot.

Who would you rather have dinner with – CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s John King or CNN’s Piers Morgan. Tell us why. I think John King is an honest, hard-working, straight shooter guy. You know what I like about him? He made a mistake during the Boston coverage and dealt with it in a transparent, humble and honest way. People err – and it’s how they deal with it – for better or worse – that I remember. I tend to get along well with people like that.

What is the most interesting conversation you’ve had in awhile in the course of your work and who was it with? If I hadn’t hung up on Ronald Reagan in 1990, it might have been the time when, on a dare, I called him at home in 1990. This was a year after he left the White House. The Reagans were living in Bel Air and I never thought he would answer the phone himself. But I heard that famous voice: “Hello?” on the other end, freaked out and hung up. To use my favorite word, I was such a dumb ass. So I guess the answer would be the time I downed vodka shots with Boris Yeltsin at a Fourth of July party at Spaso House, the home of the U.S. Ambassador to Russia. I was lurking by the bar when he came over and we wound up downing a few and chatting. That’s what you do in Russia. Drink. Talk. Drink some more.

Tell us a funny story from the White House Briefing Room. Can be long or short. There used to be a guy named Lester Kinsolving, who used to show up in the briefing every day. Haven’t seen him in many months. He used to ask the most bizarre, completely out of left field questions imaginable on completely obscure, irrelevant matters. Bush’s flacks and now Obama’s used to call on him as a diversion. And, in this digital age, he used to carry a giant cassette recorder around with him like it was 1983 or something. Not picking on Lester, he is a nice guy. Hope he’s OK.

Without naming names, tell us some shitty thing that happened in the course of you covering the White House… Read more

CNN Shutting Down Martin’s ‘Funk’ in Final Days?

The TV world can be so cold. When you’re out, you’re out. And sometimes sooner than you might expect.

There are 17 days left on Roland Martin‘s CNN contract. But the powers that be appear to be shutting it down early. With his contract ending April 6, some producers have been informed not to book him, FishbowlDC has learned. We knew something was awry when we noticed Martin hadn’t tweeted his usual #bringthefunk alert on Twitter that he’d be appearing on Erin Burnette’s “Out Front,” which he hasn’t done in a month. On Wednesday he tweeted that he did Canadian TV. The Canadians can find time to bring Martin’s funk, but not CNN?

Let’s get this straight. That semi-usual appearance he had on Thursdays during Carol Costello‘s slot? Gone. It’s been three weeks since he appeared on her program and months since he appeared on “The Situation Room.” He was also non-existent during CNN Inauguration coverage in January. A final appearance on his close friend, Soledad O’Brien‘s program, which ends next week? That appears to be a dead end proposition, too.

Martin’s fierce Twittering following is not pleased. “I’m certainly going to miss you on CNN,” wrote Pasadena, Calif. resident Carolee Reed. “I cant believe that the two people who always kept it real are leaving.” (Person number two being O’Brien, she explains.) Ebony Shamberger, a UNC J-School student, was dumfounded. “Leaving CNN on April 6 — what?” she wrote in response to Reed.

Martin isn’t the only one being given the shaft. Read more

POTUS Gets a Pass In ‘Scandal’

On ABC’s political drama “Scandal” this week, we’re treated to the almost-full return of Fitzgerald Grant as commander in chief. Previously, an attempted assassination had left Grant hospitalized with a concussion.

In this episode, the problem arises when Grant prematurely steps back into the Oval Office, still suffering difficulties with his motor functions. Nonetheless, he holds a presser in which he plans to answer questions. He thinks it’s the best way to go despite the protests of his mistress and crisis public relations aide Olivia Pope.

But when a reporter asks if there is any sign of PTSD or any other health-related problems that will impair his judgement as president, Grant takes a long pause and gulps his water. What followed was a harrowing monologue on how “weakness is our strength.”

Here’s how that would play out in real life

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Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

INSOMNIA AT A GLANCE: “Nights when I’m up against my will worrying about everything affecting everyone I love are dumb and pointless, but I get to see this. It’s nice.”Laurie White, writer, photographer, blogger, with accompanying photograph.

AnonymASS Tipster of the Day

Anonymous: “Why does nobody look into the affair between BLANK and BLANK?” Memo to ASS: Why do frogs ribbet? Because you have no proof whatsoever, AnonymASS. Or if you do, you haven’t given it to us. It also sounds like you have a personal stake in this, which, frankly makes me nervous.

Oh no! Is Gene Weingarten radioactive?

“If any of you wants to melt some gold down for quick cash, my body appears to be at 230 degrees celsius right now.” — WaPo‘s Gene Weingarten, who clearly missed his flu shot. God speed, Gene! I have FBDC and Current TV’s Peter Ogburn praying for you all day long.

Speaking of Ogburn…is he bringing sexy back?

“@BPShow Are you guys still live on Current? I can’t seem to get you. I want to feast my eyes on @peterogburn’s smexxy bod-eh. ♥‿♥” — Unknown. Twitter account no longer exists. And the answer? Yes, “Full Court Press” is still on the air for another few months.

Incest Desk: Isn’t this lovely? 

“Wishing my friend @seanhannity and his lovely wife Jill a very happy 20th anniversary.” — House Maj. Leader Eric Cantor to his good buddy, FNC’s Sean Hannity. Last time we checked, Hallmark is still in business and stamps are still available. If all that fails, there’s always email. But Twitter?

Congrats to…Olivia Alair, who has joined SKDKinckerbocker as a V.P. Reporters on the trail know her as the campaign press secretary to first lady Michelle Obama. She joins the communications firm from the trail, where she coordinated the first lady’s national communications strategy. Previously, Alair was press secretary for Dept. of Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood. She began her career as a press aide to then-Sen. Joe Biden. Also joining the firm is Nina Jenkins as a senior associate. She spent two years as a member of the research department for the Obama campaign.

HuffPost employee irked by press room in “The West Wing”… Read more

Ask Piranhamous Anything

Today we have another installment of: “Ask Piranhamous Anything.” And we do mean anything. Send your queries to FishbowlDC@mediabistro.com. This isn’t an advice column — Piranhamous doesn’t know what the hell you should do with your life any more than you do — and worse, he doesn’t care. Try to keep your questions short — we want to keep this fun, simple and insightful.

1. Which journo would you most want to spend the holidays with?

Dear God, do I have to? I’m fairly certain Hell would be filled with more cheer. But since I’m obligated to answer, I’ll put it to you this way – depends on the holiday.

Hanukkah – Chris Hayes, Ezra Klein, Dave Weigel and the rest of the Boy Banders. Some are Jewish, some aren’t, but that doesn’t matter because I’d imagine it would be an 8-day bender. Come to think of it, any 8-day stretch with them is probably a bender, and it would be a lot like hanging out at a hipster bar after all the hipsters moved on because the wannabes started outnumbering them. And I value my IQ points too much to emerge myself in that much MSNBC so I’ll just limit it to one MSNBCer and revise my remarks to Al Sharpton. This may seem like an odd choice but I think picking up all the remarks he mutters under his breath each of the 8-days would be amusing.

Christmas – Bill O’Reilly. Aside from the embarrassing gang on Fox & Friends, no one has done more to defend Christmas from idiots who seem only to engage in their “War on Christmas” to get publicity for their fringe group no one has ever heard of before or will hear from again than Bill. And I imagine the whole day will be spent tackling anyone who tries to TP a pine tree since he never stops.

Kwanza – Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Schultz. Why would I pick the two whitest men on the planet next to Sean Hannity to spend a little-known, radical separatist black holiday with?  Because I think they’d try to celebrate it to prove they’re multi-cultural and would have no idea how to do it. Can you imagine anything more amusing than watching them trying on Dashikis and trying to mean it? I can’t.

Boxing Day – Howie Kurtz: For no particular reason.

Or course this is all moot, or at least most of it, since the world is ending on Dec. 21st. So I’d just like to say thank you to the Mayans for saving me from this Hell.

2. Do you have high hopes that Jeff Zucker will really shake things up at CNN? 

Am I supposed to? I don’t have high hopes that the guy who sucked up NBC and re-unleashed Katie Couric on the world will be able to patch the hole in that Titanic. He’d have a better shot, and I’d probably actually care, if he were one of the Zuckers who brought us the movie “Airplane!” But he’s not, so I don’t.

Read about reporters sleeping with their sources… Read more

ABC’s Scandal Portrays Voter Fraud As Fox News Wishes It Were: Vast, Consequential

If you could visualize the moist dream of several FNC anchors it would look a lot like last night’s episode of ABC’s political drama Scandal.

In the episode, a news reporter comes out of retirement and quickly learns that the sitting president won his election through a vast voter fraud conspiracy in swing-state Ohio.

How it happens in the drama: James, husband to White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene, receives a tip from the U.S. Attorney’s office that voting machines in a crucial Ohio county may have been rigged to swing the presidential election. James flies to the appropriately named Defiance County, Ohio, to investigate. He learns that indeed the memory cards in the machines had been tampered with by oil tycoon Hollis Doyle. Doyle needed the president’s victory as a way to secure approval for a pipeline to be built through the middle of the country.

Here’s how this would actually happen in real life and it involves Sean Hannity… Read more

Ask Piranhamous Anything

Today we have another installment of: “Ask Piranhamous Anything.” And we do mean anything. Send your queries to FishbowlDC@mediabistro.com. This isn’t an advice column — Piranhamous doesn’t know what the hell you should do with your life any more than you do — and worse, he doesn’t care. Try to keep your questions short — we want to keep this fun, simple and insightful. 

1. “Special Report with Bret Baier.” How fucking special can something be if it occurs for an hour each and every day? That’s not special. Christmas is special. Your birthday, Dear Piranahmous, is special, because it comes but once a year.

How culturally insensitive! Christmas isn’t special to those who don’t celebrate it, birthdays aren’t special to Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Special Report isn’t special to fans of Al Sharpton or people who watch whatever is on CNN at that time (I don’t know what show it is and ratings indicate no one knows what show it is).  You’re right, the word “special” is overused these days. I’d peg the blame on the DVD. One all the Charlie Brown specials came out of DVD and kids could watch “The Great Pumpkin” in July, it was no longer special. That said, there is no “line” in Nightline, but no one complains about that. And NBC’s Night News barely has any actual “news” some days and airs in the evening, not the night. We could take this to the extreme or we could just accept that it’s a name and not give a shit. I choose the latter.

2. What’s this crap about the “Liberal Media” and how it’s so dominant? Last time I checked, the top cable news channel was Fox News. The top newspaper by circulation was The Wall Street Journal. And the top talk radio hosts were those well-known commies Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Dominant liberal media my ass.  

Compared to the number of people who watch network news, the amount of viewers who watch Fox could fit in a clown car (I’ll let you make your own joke there). So to say there is no liberal media because they’re the tallest cable news midget is a false comparison. Same goes for the Wall Street Journal. Yes, the editorial page of the Journal leans right, but studies have shown the news pages don’t. And even if they did, who gives a shit? It’s quantity, not content. For every WSJ there’s a Times, Post and whatever other stupid names newspapers give themselves. It’s like a nation winning the most gold medals at the Olympics but losing the overall medal count – when the tally is done liberal newspapers and liberals newscasts outnumber the WSJ and Fox total numbers of organizations and readers/viewers. So you take your attitude and stick it in your butt, mister!

Piranhamous addresses the burning question whether Luke Russert should have asked Nancy Pelosi the age inquiry after the jump… Read more

Separated at Birth: NARAL’s Nancy Keenan

This afternoon we’re pairing NARAL’s left-wing red meat speech giver Nancy Keenan and FNC’s Sean Hannity as well as the Wonder Year’s father and football coach Dan Lauria. We know this is a tough one to swallow. What can we say? It’s all in the hair, and well, the face and the eyes.

Mitt and Paul? ACU Puts ‘em Last

Reporters take note.

The American Conservative Union today opened registration for media to cover CPAC Colorado on Oct. 4 at the Crown Plaza Denver International Airport. What and who to expect? Says a release: Blockbuster speeches. Policy discussions. Networking opportunities “all celebrating the shared principles of smaller government, a strong national defense and traditional values.”

CPAC Colorado’s invited speakers includeGlenn Beck, Herman Cain, Ann Coulter, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, FNC’s Sean Hannity, Conservative radio personality Laura Ingraham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-5), Michael Medved, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, WSJ‘s Peggy Noonan, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-1), and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

As you’ll note above… they somehow put those two really unimportant guys, Romney and Ryan, toward the bottom of their list. We get that it’s alphabetical order, but maybe in this case they’d make an exception?

Sponsor organizations include Focus on the Family affiliate CitizenLink, Common Sense Policy Roundtable, and The Heritage Foundation.

Find out about blogger and media credentialing…

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Pentagon TV’s Set to MSNBC

FishbowlDC encountered an all-too-chatty stranger in a cafe this morning reading WaPo. At first, we ignored. But soon enough, he told us about the viewing habits of he and his colleagues at the Pentagon.

Our anonymous media critic, a smiley white male in his mid to late 30s, works in a managerial role at the Pentagon. If you polled the employees “they’d probably be more of a Fox News crowd.” But to be fair to different political views, the Pentagon cafeteria TV is set to a different news channel everyday. “One day it will be on Fox News, the next MSNBC and then CNN,” he said. “One day I think it was on HLN.”

Despite the heavy Fox News crowd, as of late, all TVs have been fixed on MSNBC. Asked if this was due to Olympics news coverage, he said no, the MSNBC marathon at the Pentagon began before the Olympics.

Our ranter is somewhat torn between FNC and MSNBC. He likes FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, but  MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow also appeals. After bringing up Sharpton’s name, our instapundit said the outrage Sharpton exhibited over the Trayvon Martin controversy was a wash. “Ten black people are shot in Chicago at any moment,” he said, “and yet when one black kid in Florida is killed, it’s all over the news.” As if he were speaking directly to Sharpton, the critic said, “On your flight to Florida, 10 people in Chicago were shot. Why aren’t you flying there?”

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