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Posts Tagged ‘Tim Russert’

Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers

Quotes of the Day

Boybander attends very bad movie

“Gonna go catch the Lion King later today, or, as Rick Perry calls it, ‘Niggerhead 3D.’” — TPM‘s Brian Beutler in a reference to Gov. Rick Perry‘s family hunting camp. 

Personally? Milbank wants Christie in.

“Selfishly, I hope he abandons his reluctance and enters the race. If nothing else he will entertain us on the campaign trail.”WaPo‘s Dana Milbank in a Sunday column.

Bio of the Day

Brian Danza: Director of BS (Business Strategies) for The Daily Caller: “Jazzercise Weekend Warrior and Live-Tweeter to the Stars, Occasionally seen roaming offices of The Daily Caller.”

Online idiocy

“A guy sent WWR a message saying he hopes [Jimmy] Carter drops dead soon. Boorish, crude behavior only diminishes yourself & shows a lack of class.” — West Wing Report.

Rangel gets shooed away

“Just ran into a colleague who says that Charlie Rangel tried to come to the start of the #OccupyWallSt march, but was booed away.” — NYT‘s Brian Stelter.

West Wing Reportage…

“So… The motorcade comes rolling through Georgetown is serious. #outsidethebubble.” — AP‘s Philip Elliott.

Ambinder weighs in on Christie

“Chris Chrstie WILL be judged unfairly because of his weight. Asking should he be … says more about the person who asks. That said…Public figures can deal w/ weight stigma by being open about it & Christie prolly will. Most people with a bias against him b/c of weight.” — NJ‘s Marc Ambinder, who had his own issues with obesity and had bariatric surgery after the late NBC “MTP” Host Tim Russert‘s death scared him into taking drastic action.

FishbowlDC Interview: Bob Schieffer

Bob Schieffer is a living legend and icon of American journalism.  The moderator of “Face the Nation” and Chief Washington Correspondent for CBS News has worked as a journalist for more than 50 years.  Since joining the network in 1969, Schieffer has won six Emmy Awards, two Sigma Delta Chi Awards, was inducted to the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and became the namesake of Texas Christian University’s School of Journalism.

And though he’s moderated two presidential debates, earned nearly every award under the sun, and is arguably one of the most recognized figures in American media, Bob’s ability to maintain humility and a wicked sense of humor may be his greatest accomplishments of all – and the secret sauce behind his ‘staying power.’

When I asked Bob what it’s like to be considered an icon, he replied, “I’m not sure I am, but as Jack Benny once said, ‘I find being famous quite enjoyable.’”

Next Wednesday, CBS brass will host an event to toast Schieffer’s 20 years as moderator of “Face the Nation.”  In anticipation of his platinum anniversary, we caught up with Bob for a very special FishbowlDC interview…

What was the proudest moment of your career? I’m not sure it was deserved, but I think the thing that means the most to me was when my alma mater TCU named the journalism school in my honor.

Most embarrassing moment? I once dropped a hot cup of coffee on Maria Shriver, but that was on the morning news. And then there was the time President Ford called on me at a prime time news conference and I couldn’t think of a question to ask. So I just said, “What about the Russians?” and lo and behold he gave me an answer that made page 1 news.

Most shocking answer you’ve received in an interview? The most startling answer I ever got on Face the Nation came from Bob Bennett, then President Clinton’s attorney. A woman named Paula Jones alleged she had intimate relations with President Clinton. She was said to have described characteristics about Clinton that only someone who had been intimate with him would have known. When I asked Bennett about this he said, “The President is normal in size, shape and direction.” I nearly fell out of my chair.

Who was your most memorable guest? I guess the most antagonistic interview I ever had was with Ollie North when he was running for the Senate. I have fond memories of interviews with Henry Kissinger, various presidents, Billy Graham and also, Morgan Fairchild.

What inspires you? Walter Cronkite was my hero when I was growing up. I always wanted to be like Walter and I still do.

Any career regrets? Yes, I wish it was just starting.

What’s one unfulfilled item from your bucket list? It involves Gwyneth Paltrow but I don’t want to go into detail.

*Bob’s favorite journalists,  rising stars, advice for aspiring reporters and why he wears purple socks every day after the jump.

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The Hill‘s Puff Piece on Geoff and Norah

Items you will need in order to read The Hill‘s recent story on Chef Geoff Tracy and his wife, CBS Chief White House Correspondent Norah O’Donnell: A pillow (to take periodic naps), a brick wall (to bang your head against) and a red pen (for rewriting purposes).

The journey begins with a picture on the front page of the Washington Scene section. Though the story is about the couple, the picture shows Tracy with the V.P.’s wife,  Jill Biden. No, O’Donnell’s husband hasn’t run away with the second lady. The full picture inside shows the couple and their children posing with V.P. Biden and his wife.

We’re going to keep this simple since the story itself is a torture chamber.

Five Ways the Story Unnecessarily Cozies to the Couple

1. Affection abounds. The writer begins with Tracy (with his hidden warm blue eyes) kissing his wife. Shortly thereafter we must endure Norah playfully tapping her husband on the shoulder after a particularly unfunny canned joke about how long they’ve been married. “Yeah, thank God he bought me diamond earrings for our anniversary,” O’Donnell said, hitting Tracy on the shoulder playfully. (Did they choreograph this before the interview?)

2. Soundbites. A reporter is supposed to steer interviewees away from quotes that make readers want to crawl into a hole. Instead, the piece reads as though author Kate Oczypok let her interviewees sit down and write it, not the other way around. Example: Norah: “CBS came to me and offered me an incredible position so few women have held. I’ll have a front row seat to history and be the principle substitute for Face the Nation and contribute to 60 Minutes—It’s my dream.” (No questions about the poor treatment of women in the business. Not even a single question about whether Norah has ever experienced sexism in the course of her career.)

3. Missed opportunities. In two random lines, we learn that O’Donnell, when she was little, used to pretend to be Barbara Walters and that she wanted to be the female Tim Russert. We get zero details. Really? You don’t even ask Norah how she distinguishes between being a man versus a woman or if she looked in the mirror and did a Wawa imitation? You don’t ask her to do one now? And Russert — is this really her eventual goal? How would she critique the current NBC “MTP” hosted by David Gregory? The lack of tough questions throughout this puffy piece is daunting.

4. Pointless sucking up. Norah “hates the idea that women can’t have a high-powered job and be a mother.” She says, “It’s absolutely archaic.”  “…And sexist,” Tracy added. (Yes, they are a modern couple trying to make the life-work balance work. There’s nothing new or interesting about this. And what a relief to see that Geoff also thinks sexism is “archaic.”)

5. Soundbites II. This one made us cringe. “Norah’s the national and international star and I’m just the local mayor, unelected of course,” Tracy joked. “In all seriousness, I’m very fortunate that I get to entertain people on a daily basis.”

Remember that brick wall we asked you to bring? Time to use it unless you prefer the pillow.

Read the complete monstrosity here.

 

The FishbowlDC Interview With The Daily Caller’s Southern Scribe Alex Pappas

When I spoke with The Daily Caller reporter Alex Pappas Thursday afternoon, he mentioned that his boss, Tucker Carlson, had consulted with him on what Carlson should say about him when approached. I told him that wasn’t legal. “I told him he had to say all bad things,” Pappas assured through a slow drawl. A Mobile, Ala. native, he graduated college and began working for the the Mobile Press Register. A year and half ago he’d heard from D.C. contacts that Carlson had a new website. On a whim, he sent in his resume. To his amazement, he got the job and started in on the ground floor. But in December of 2010 he left for the Washington Examiner. Back in Mobile he’d covered local news. “I love local news,” he said, explaining the draw of the old-time newspaper track. “They know I’m a young guy and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do.” Carlson let him go but immediately wanted Pappas back. “We’ve lost a number of people over the past year and a half, but he’s the only one we’ve aggressively wooed back,” he said, explaining that he mounted “Operation Homecoming,” in which they slowly lured him back to the The DC, “mostly with promises of more and better office parties.” About two months into his new job, Pappas received an email from Carlson saying that Gov. Tim Pawlenty had entered the 2012 presidential race. “You want to come back?” Carlson asked. “At that point I was so fresh into the job, but I’d been a political nut for as long as I could remember. I couldn’t get the email out of my mind.” A total of four months after he left, Pappas returned to The Daily Caller. “It’s a great fit for me,” he said. “It definitely feels like I’m back home.” His 80-something Grandma Reedy is also relieved. As a Fox News junkie, she loves Carlson. “It made her year that I decided to come back,” he said.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Coke in a glass bottle.

How often do you Google yourself? Google alerts do it for me.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor? My computer just crashed. I’ve lost my story.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Tucker Carlson is the best writer I know.

Do you have a favorite word? ubiquitous.

What word or phrase do you overuse? Roll Tide. How so? It’s a football slogan from the University of Alabama. I didn’t go there but I’m a big fan. [Pappas attended the University of the South in the mountains of Sewanee Tennesee.]

Who would you rather have dinner with –  MSNBC’s Chris Matthews or FNC’s Chris Wallace? I’d play Hardball.

You are ordered to go on a road trip to an undisclosed location. You can go with White House Spokesman Jay Carney or Bo, the President’s Portuguese Water Dog. No ones feelings will be hurt. Who do you take? Carney. It would be great for The Daily Caller to get some exclusives from the White House. I don’t know how much of that we’d get from Bo.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Classic phone remix.

It’s 3 a.m. and you get up to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Do you check your BlackBerry? I check my phone several times throughout the night.

What word do you routinely misspell? Initiative.

What swear word do you use most often? All of them.

If you weren’t a journalist what would you be? I’d write movies and TV shows.

You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.) 50 Cent, Grover Norquist, [FishbowlDC's] Betsy Rothstein and [WaPo's] Ezra Klein.

When you pig out what do you eat? All types of fast food.

When did you last cry and why? When asked to do this interview.

Find out how often Pappas checks his BlackBerry after the jump…

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Who Will Replace Ed Henry at CNN?

Yesterday we learned the stunning news that CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry is jumping ship for the network’s competitor Fox News. The mood inside CNN is one of shock as colleagues never saw this coming. CNN says it will announce Henry’s replacement soon. The network has a solid policy of hiring from within. But that choice rests largely with Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist.

So who are the possibilities? We lay them out here.

TOP PICK: Jessica Yellin


Why she’ll get it: As the National Political Correspondent, her work goes all over the world both for CNN and CNN International. She’s wicked smart and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. She’s a great campaign reporter. As a national reporter, she knows how to cover both the White House and campaigns. Very personable on camera. Young and vibrant. Asks tough questions. People like her. They respect her. “When I watch her I can relax,” an industry source remarked.

Why she won’t: Does CNN really want so many women at the White House? Most of the network’s producers there are women, with Alexander Mooney as the lone male White House producer. Her off-air meticulousness (which could also be construed as a compliment) sometimes grates on colleagues.

SAFE PICK: Dan Lothian


Why he’ll get it: He’s earned it. He’s second in command on the White House beat and knows the nuts and bolts of daily coverage inside and out. He’s the safe choice and CNN has a penchant for making relatively safe choices (don’t think Eliot Spitzer, but everyone else). Lothian earned his B.A. from Tennessee Temple University and a master’s degree from American University in Washington, D.C.

Why he won’t: He lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. No pizzazz. 

THE RIGHT CHOICE: Dana Bash


Why she’ll get it: She handled the recent, topsy turvy Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) scandal with grace and skill. She knows how to cover the politics of Capitol Hill, but she could also shift easily to the presidential campaign trail. Quick on her feet. Excellent sources. Knows how to break news.

Why she won’t: Her water is about to break. “The joke is that she’s going to break her water live on air.”

UNUSUAL TWIST: Brianna Keilar


Why she’ll get it: The new kid on the White House beat, Keilar has social buzz. She attends events around town and gets mentioned in magazines. She sings. She’s unafraid. Coming from the Capitol Hill beat, she has a depth of understanding about politics.

Why she won’t: Too green to the White House beat. Others deserve it before she does.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Jim Acosta


Why he’ll get it: People like him. He’s physically attractive. He’s covering Gov. John Huntsman‘s presidential campaign and is at ease out on the trail. Brass likes him on the trail. He’s solid. He knows his stuff.

Why he won’t: He’s in with the campaigns and that’s where he belongs. Sources tell us he’s not exactly the most energetic person.

WILD CARD: Richard Quest


Why he’ll get it: He’s funny. Really, really smart on economics and business. Not boring. He’d ask fantastic questions in the tone of The Daily Show — so bizarre, but at the same time, enticing. He’d be the entertainment choice.

Why he won’t: He’d be entertaining. So not a chance in hell. There’s also that little brush with the law. In April, 2008 he was arrested in Central Park after he’d been cruising for men with a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals. He had a sex toy in his boot and Meth in his pocket. Need we say more?

UNCONVENTIONAL CHOICE: NYT‘s Jeff Zeleny.

Why he’ll get it: He’s at ease on TV covering national politics. He’s smart, wonky and networks have been known to steal print journalists for the bright lights. Think NBC’s Chuck Todd, lured away from NJ’s The Hotline by the late Tim Russert.

Why he won’t: Would this print journo make the leap to TV? He’s an unknown entity in a few different senses. CNN likes safe. And while Zeleny might be an interesting choice, he’s not safe.

The Hill Reports Death Threat on Late Tim Russert

On March 11, The Hill‘s Kevin Bogardus filed a FOIA request for a FBI file on a death threat against the late NBC “MTP” Host Tim Russert. Some three months later, the publication acquired the file and that report was published today.

Bogardus reports that on March 7, 2001, Russert received a evening threat on his voicemail. The pointed threat, full of expletives, clearly involved his son, Luke Russert, now a congressional reporter for NBC. An excerpt of the graphic threat: “You’re no good, you’re absolutely no good, and nothing would treat me or do me any better than to put a bullet right between your f—king eye.”

Police ultimately tracked down a suspect. No charges were filed. Russert died in 2008 at age 58.

Luke Russert had no comment for The Hill on the threat.

Read the full story here.

PROFILE: NBC Chuck Todd’s Solo Act

NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd is a real charmer. In some respects. “You know, I’m never crazy about it to be honest,” he says at the onset of our phone interview late last week when I ask if he likes this sort of thing and if he minds being interviewed. “It’s part of the business. I get it. Not to name-drop, but Washington is such a fishbowl these days. Literally. I’m not trying to suck up. Everybody is part of the process.” He pauses for a few beats. “I don’t think it’s how I would like to see the system redesigned.”

Todd, 39, has a wry, sometimes cornball sense of humor. He likes puns. On one morning in April, the White House Soup of the Day was Chili Con Carne. “It’s not a soup, but it’s a good one,” Todd remarked on “The Daily Rundown.” And the kicker? “Chili Con Carne cause everything’s better with Carne!” Like it or not, he has been a part of this system since 1992 and in a sense helped create aspects of the fishbowl by honchoing NJ’s “The Hotline,” which, in the 90s and beyond was an absolute must-read in Washington newsrooms. Today marks the day that he sets off on his own uncarved path as he goes it alone on “The Daily Rundown.” For the past year and a half Savannah Guthrie has been stationed to his right. Now she journeys on to the third hour of NBC’s TODAY show, leaving Todd to try to make the show work without her.

Miami childhood causes minor delusion on tanning

Believe it or not, the auburn-haired fair-skinned Todd was born and raised in Miami. He resents the implication that just because his complexion is the color of glue that he doesn’t fit the Miami image and insists he has seen a beach or two. “The best picture I ever took was on a fake ID,” he says. “I look  like a total beach bum. I look John Boehner tan. My problem is, I still see myself as this guy who was constantly tan his whole childhood.” He concedes he often ends up burned to a crisp.

Todd looks back at his pairing with Guthrie with relief. “I didn’t know her very well,” he says. They had offered him the position but didn’t say who his partner would be. “They had hit a wall,” he recalled.  Eventually they chose Guthrie. Todd phoned her and asked, “Are you ready for this?” She put him at ease, saying, “I’m just so relieved it’s you. I think I can work with you.”

And so it was. Two correspondents with eerie similarities, one being that their fathers died when each was 16. The anchors are four months apart in age. “I imagine this is what it’s like to have a sister,” says Todd, an only child. “We literally lived in a 8 by 15 ft. space, cooped up on buses, on planes, you get to know each other.”

Which isn’t always  a good thing, Todd says, explaining that some pairings can be disastrous with vicious competing. “If you like each other it’s great,” he says. “If you don’t, it’s toxic.”

When Tim Russert calls, it’s hard to say no…

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FishbowlDC Interview: NBC’s Antoine Sanfuentes

It was no shocker when NBC News announced that Antoine Sanfuentes would replace Mark Whitaker as their Washington Bureau Chief.  After all, Sanfuentes was already second in command. Perhaps the most astonishing part of the press release was found in the obligatory biographical information included in all HR announcements.  Surprisingly, Antoine’s career began as an intern for the same newsroom he now leads.  In 1990 he landed a desk assistant gig and within five years made his way to the White House as a senior producer.  Now 21 years after his humble beginnings as a D.A., Sanfuentes has become one of the network’s top executives.

“Everyone respects him because he rose up through the ranks, paid his dues, and understands this bureau and this network instinctively,” explained NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. “For him to become bureau chief made perfect sense – he’s one of us.”

Guthrie describes Antoine as a leader with “razor-sharp competitive instincts” – a view shared by most everyone at the bureau.

“Antoine brings a no-nonsense, ‘make it work’ mentality to the newsroom. He is incredibly knowledgeable, clever and resourceful – the benefit of decades of experience,” said Guthrie.

But it’s more than the network’s on-air talent that feels the love for Sanfuentes.  It’s not unusual to find a D.A. hanging out in his office and he’s been known to keep in touch and offer career advice to former interns, long after they’ve completed their internships.

“Antoine is loyal, passionate and somebody who cares greatly about the future of NBC News in Washington and also the bureau’s employees – from the top talent to the midnight-shift maintenance worker,” said Luke Russert.

Besides the full, professional drum kit that resides in his office, Sanfuentes is the epitome of Washington newsman.

“Antoine’s heart is in the news business but his soul belongs to music. He’s an accomplished rock n’ roll and jazz drummer who may even show you his latest drum solo after a meeting about Capitol Hill coverage plans,” added Russert.

With such glowing endorsements, we couldn’t resist asking Antoine to do the FishbowlDC interview.  Read it after the jump.

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In Honor of Tim Russert

Tom Brokaw will present the Lincoln Leadership Prize to Maureen Orth and Luke Russert to honor of the late Tim Russert, longtime host of NBC’s MTP. The event is tonight at the Four Seasons in Chicago.

And on Friday morning Orth and Russert will appear together on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” at 8:40 a.m.

NBC’s Whitaker Named Managing Editor of CNN Worldwide

NBC Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker is leaving the network for an executive role at CNN.  Whitaker, who took the reins of NBC’s Washington Bureau following the death of  Tim Russert, has been named executive vice president and managing editor for all CNN Worldwide brands.  The New York- based position will place Whitaker at the helm of CNN, CNN International, HLN and the websites, effective February 14, 2011.

“Our aim is to position a strong managing editor, working closely with the head of each CNN network and Web site, to generate reporting and analysis that consistently stands out, sparks conversation and captures the true meaning and relevance of the events in the news,” said CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton. “Mark is a distinguished journalist and news executive who is experienced in leading large enterprises, and I am pleased that he will help direct our long-term editorial approach and strategy.”

Before joining NBC in May 2007 as senior vice president, Whitaker was vice president and editor-in-chief of new ventures in the digital division of The Washington Post Company. He was editor of Newsweek from 1998 to 2006, during which time the magazine won more top editorial awards and nominations than at any time in its history, including four National Magazine Awards for coverage of the attacks of September 11, the Iraq War, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the 2004 elections.

See Whitaker’s FishbowlDC Interview from April of 2009 here.

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