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Posts Tagged ‘Will Sommer’

On Taxing ‘Yogurt’ with Former DC Mayor Marion Barry, Jr.

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WJLA’s Holmes interviewing Barry; Roll Call’s Tom Williams photographing.

Friday night at LOOK, the restaurant’s Supper Club, Michael Kosmides and Janet Donovan‘s Hollywood on the Potomac hosted an on-the-record dinner with Marion Barry, Jr., the former four-term DC mayor known nationally for smoking crack cocaine on camera in a DC hotel room with a mistress, on his autobiography out last week Mayor for Life. The now DC Councilman was open to all questions from 20 press in attendance, including a FishbowlDC reader submitted question on the proposed “Yoga Tax” on yoga classes and gym memberships in the District.

Although his comments were quite hard to hear (given a very, very large happy hour crowd standing toward the entrance to the club, who were, getting extremely happy), Barry was confused by the question, confusing it with a non-existent “yogurt” tax in the District.

“Yogurt is really more healthy than some other things, as is cottage cheese…The best kind of yogurt is organic, without all these fillers and stuff…I don’t know who proposed that…I think Jack proposed that. I’m not sure. But whoever proposed it, it shouldn’t be.”

Suffice to say, Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans has not proposed a tax on yogurt.

The former mayor re-focused on his career highlights throughout the night while being cognizant of his downfalls and encouraged guests to read his book in full before offering any criticisms.

WJLA’s Kristen Holmes sat down with the former mayor for a piece that aired Saturday night. On his legacy, Barry said, “Don’t judge me by one night, judge me by hundreds of nights, hundreds of days, hundreds of years, 31 years in DC of public service.” Barry is 78 years old.

On how he wanted to be remembered, Barry told Hollywood on the Potomac, “That I cared about people. That I did all I could [to] improve the lives of people, particularly, the poor…That I served as an inspiration, to a whole bunch of people, who needed some help.”

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The Final (Really) Mayoral Debate

Remember when WUSA 9 called that screamy cross-talkathon they did Wednesday night the “Now or Never” Debate? Supposedly, that was because it was the last Democratic debate before the primary election. Well that may be technically true, but it wasn’t the last opportunity for the candidates -Democrat or otherwise – to make their pitch to the voters.

Last night, 6th & I hosted The Very Last Debate, moderated by WCP‘s Will Sommer, featuring Tommy Wells, Rita Jo Lewis, Vincent Orange, Andy Shallal, and Jack Evans. Cameo appearances were made by Muriel Bowser and Vince Gray, who showed up about 10 and 5 minutes before the end of things, respectively.

Your humble FishbowlDC editor was in the audience, tweetin’ away. Check out the blow-by-blow, in all its gory detail, after the jump.

(Photo: Andy Shallal speaks at 6th & I Synagogue)

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In Case You Missed It: Tom Sherwood, Chemical Company Exec Get Roughed Up

Gawker Wants Cohen Canned

WaPo columnist Richard Cohen wrote a Dear Diary type confessional this morning. The headline gets right to the point: “When Linda cheated.” And this afternoon Gawker got to their point – Cohen ought to be fired.

Their opening line: “Today Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, the paper’s resident expert on racism and sexism who should be immediately fired by new owner Jeff Bezos, delves deep into the mysteries of the human heart to explain why Huma Abedin continues to stand by Anthony Weiner.” They go on to remind everyone that Cohen “fucked Peter Jennings wife back in the day.”

Gawker isn’t the only news outlet to call for Cohen’s head on a stick. Last year, Washington City Paper‘s sharp-tongued Will Sommer also wanted Cohen axed. In November of 2012 he wrote, “As long as Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth is looking for old guys to toss overboard, may I suggest columnist Richard Cohen?” This was in reference to a column Cohen wrote about the casting of James Bond and the ability of a much older man to attract younger women. You can guess where this is going – Cohen ultimately wants young women to sway his way: “The name is Cohen. Richard Cohen.” (Blech…)

Back in Cohen’s confessional from this morning… Read more

Attack of the Poorly Sourced Piranhas

As a twist on the old saying goes, reports of my firing have been greatly exaggerated.

Or else they were just flat out wrong. But why let facts get in the way of a good story?

On Friday I took a day off. Vacation and comp days aren’t exactly a strange phenomenon. But Rebecca Schoenkopf, publisher of Wonkette who has been known for reporting and writing while on the sauce, and for making no sense whatsoever, on Friday published a story saying that “a source” had told her I was going to be fired. “Betsy out at Fishbowl as of this afternoon,” she posted on her site. Rebecca didn’t spell this out, but her “source” was a guy makes it his business to pass around a bogus naked Craiglist ad of one of my writers.

This is the kind of “sourcing” Schoenkopf (pictured at right) used to write her “story” Friday afternoon. Schoenkopf never called or wrote me to ask if it was true. She never even called my employer until her story was out and clunking across Twitter like an elephant with severely bruised shins. There’s nothing worse in journalism than being sloppy and wrong.

Regular reporters took awhile to give the “news” any merit. Meanwhile, some on Twitter called Rebecca “powerful” in that she could make something happen that well, wasn’t happening. And oh boy, there was Mediaite‘s “White House” Correspondent Tommy “Carl Berstein Jr.” Christopher hot on the case. He called. I never answer his calls. He wrote, “Betsy, I just got a tip that said you’re leaving FBDC as of this afternoon. Is that true?” I asked to go off record. He said OK. I wrote him back, “No, Tommy. Not true. I know it’s unheard of, but I’m just taking a simple day off. I do get vacation and sick days. Do you?” Like an eager porpoise, he promised to write me back and fill me in if he heard anything more. Gee, thanks Tommy! How kind of you to inform me on my own life via a man who creates phony X-rated Craigslist ads. What no preachy trial race reporting today? Oh, that’s right. His editors scolded him a few weeks back on his George Zimmerman “coverage” and told him to tone it down. Bernstein Jr. really muckraked on this one. He phoned and emailed my coworkers, who, of course, had nothing for him. Good work Tommy!

Next up to the plate: Washington City Paper‘s Will Sommer. Sommer wrote, “Hey Betsy, So, people are saying you’ve been ousted at Fishbowl. Any truth to that? I’m getting it from the same guy who sends around photoshopped nude pics of one of your writers, so I’m not sure how seriously to take it. Thanks.” I also requested to go off record with him. He agreed. I told him I was taking the day off. Sommer did not write a story.

The last of The Three Stooges… Read more

Washington City Paper’s Citydesk Gets a New Reporter

Washington City Paper has lured Perry Stein away from Talking Points Memo to take over the paper’s Citydesk blog.

Citydesk has been fairly dormant since WCP’s prick-ly Will Sommer took over Loose Lips, WCP’s political blog, earlier this summer.

In an announcement posted online at WCP, editor Mike Madden said Stein is a “smart writer with a real passion for covering local news—a passion which, as we all know, is sometimes a little rare in This Town®”

Stein is already DC-based. Before TPM, she’d written for the Miami Herald, the WSJ and TNR. She’ll start at WCP around mid-August.

Our congrats to Stein on the new job. Part of Madden’s memo announcing Stein to the newsroom, after the jump…

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Morning Chatter

Bravery personified: “Porcupine” pricks BuzzFeed 

“Things must be going really well at Buzzfeed if one blog post gets them so defensive.” — Washington City Paper‘s Will Sommer, who appears to have the courage of an ant in that he only feels safe to insult when piling on after Vanity Fair‘s Juli Weiner needled BuzzFeed with this story Tuesday. Good job, Will! Originality is dead. And groupthink is about as awesome as someone writing and reporting under the pen name “Porcupine.”

In defense of McDonnell’s inebriated son

“Are people really piling on McDonnell because his college age son got drunk and walked home?? Glass houses, people. Glass houses.” — Politico‘s Byron Tau. Sean McDonnell, the son of Virgina Gov. Bob McDonnell, was arrested for public intoxication in Charlottesville over the weekend.

Another thought on BuzzFeed

“It’s @BuzzFeedBen’s world. We’re just living in it.” — Columnist Jamie Kirchick and fellow for Foreign Policy Institute.

Sadness is…

“Always sad when your boyhood congressman died. I hand delivered my mother’s $25 check for his 1958 race.” — Yahoo! News‘ columnist and Yale Prof Walter Shapiro. See here.

Senator instructs reporters on conference call etiquette

“Leave it to Sen. @alfranken to urge us to mute our phones for better audio quality on this call. ‘Someone is going through a car wash.’” — AP‘s Phil Elliott.

Anonymous Rant (continued)…our reader continues complaining about Leibo’s This Town. When I suggest that the book hasn’t come out yet and we haven’t seen everything, the reader writes, “Fair point, Betsy, I should see the whole thing, but best bits out there, and not encouraged. Is Mike Allen’s corrupt promotion of friends, very good friends, and their causes covered? Seems like he got a pass. Politico and other press do much worse than I’ve heard described here.” Missed yesterday’s rant? See it here.

Politico Playbook Publish Time: 6:50 a.m.

Unnecessary Tweets of the Day: Vegetable Talk 

After Obama revealed that broccoli was his favorite vegetable Tuesday, the crowd went wild. 

“A kid journalist asked Obama today what his favorite food is. His answer? Broccoli.” — Reuters White House reporter Steve Holland.

“For the record my favorite vegetable is A NICE STEAK.” — Media Matters fellow Olivier Willis.

“My response to all this broccoli talk: Where’s the beef?” — Washington Examiner‘s David Drucker.

“Reminds me of Paul Ryan and asparagus, which he once said he’d prefer to eat over cake. #veggiebipartisanship?” — National Journal’s Rebecca Kaplan.

“Basically: if you make it, I’ll eat it. #analysis” – BuzzFeed‘s Evan “I love onesies” McMorris-Santoro.

“To be clear, I am strongly biased in favor of broccoli.” — The Atlantic‘s Molly Ball.

“Brussels Sprouts are underrated folks.” — Logan Dobson, a research analyst for The Tarrance Group, a GOP polling firm.

And the voice of reason?

“The vegetable debate engulfing the Washington press corps is why they hate us.” — MetroWeekly’s Justin Snow.

Nancy Pelosi Helps TNR Celebrate New Digs

Three weeks after moving into 529 9th St. in Chinatown, The New Republic officially celebrated its new office space on Friday.

“The convenience of the location played a big part,” Chief Operating Officer Sloan Eddleston told FishbowlDC. The office, which sits over the International Spy Museum, features a newsroom with some 30 computers, a library for reporters seeking a quiet respite and a spacious roof deck with a view of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (another selling point).

Eddleston said the space was renovated before the TNR crew could move in and that changes to the office were paid for by the owners of the building. He said TNR has signed a multi-year lease, but declined to say how many years.

Notably, most of the computers in the office are desktop PCs with only two or three Macs. Asked if any of the staffers gripe over who uses which computer, TNR Editor-in-Chief Franklin Foer said no. Actually, most of the computers go unused. “I think you find that most people have laptops,” Foer said, “and they’re working off Macs.”

Foer said it’s “very sweet to be in a place that is our home and will be our home for a long time.” Previously, TNR was taking up shelter in an office sublet by the American Grain Council.

The party featured two fully-stocked open bars and another bar where attendees could sample different liquors. WaPo‘s media reporter Erik Wemple was spotted taking a shot of something dark before heading out onto the deck. Catering included copious amounts of humus and cheese, veggie spreads and an assortment of chips.

Throughout the early evening, Chris Hughes, publisher of TNR, was seen… Read more

Why Does Matt Kassel Hate Big Butts?

URGENT question for The New York Observer‘s Matt Kassel: Why do you hate big butts? What did they ever do to you?

Late Thursday afternoon — STOP THE PRESSES — Kassel, clearly assigned to the Butt Patrol beat, wrote us an “urgent” email requesting information about whether our own Eddie Scarry‘s  planned to cover “big butts” at the upcoming White House Correspondents’ Dinner. There is no plan for Eddie to do that. But Kassel, being the ace reporter that he is, anticipated (good reporters do this by the way, they anticipate things BEFORE they MIGHT, MAYBE but HAVEN’T happened yet) that Eddie might have big butts on the brain. So here’s what he wrote (we’ve put it in bold):

Hi Betsy,

Hi Will,

I’m a staff writer at The New York Observer, and I’m writing an article about Eddie Scarry and the Washington correspondents dinner on Saturday. Specifically, I’m wondering if he plans to be taking any pictures of women’s butts again (I’m reaching to him as well). I’m wondering if you consider his prior coverage professional behavior, and if so, how you justify it. Why is appropriate for a media site to ridicule lumpy butts? Wose idea was it?

If you’d like to call, my number’s (609) 658-2650. As soon as possible is best, as we’d like to get this story up tomorrow morning.

Best,

Matt Kassel

He quickly followed up with this:

Actually, I don’t have Eddie’s email. Would you mind sending it my way?

First off, a quick note to Matty’s editor: Do you know that you have someone working for you who sends out emails as sloppy as this one? For starters, my name is Betsy, not Will. And why is Matt sending a note to us both? Could it possibly be because the “Will” he meant this for is Will Sommer, who writes for Washington City Paper, who is also outraged by the occasional “big butt” photograph we have run? These two are so dumb they might as well dress up in Hazmat suits and crash into each other just for fun.

Moving on. Let’s address the typos. This is — by far — my favorite sentence of Matty’s: “Wose idea was it?” Really, Matty, “Wose?” Please tell me where you went to J-School because I’d like to go there too!

Just for the hell of it, here’s some context since you’re clearly not adept at searching our website. Three years ago was the first time FBDC ever mentioned a big butt. It happened to be Kim Kardashian’s. She was attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner as the date of Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. One night at a party, the hot topic of conversation was Kardashian’s derriere. So we wrote about it. Van Susteren became incensed with our coverage, we had a spirited back and forth and Van Susteren apologized. She had no idea that Kardashian’s behind was actually a common conversation piece or that her big break was a sex tape. (At this point, I’ll refer you to an 11-picture slideshow of Kardashian’s butt on HuffPost here.) From there on out, it became a mild joke and we’d occasionally throw big butts into photo spreads.

And now, let’s address your dumbass questions one by one. Read more

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

Hawaiian senator’s departing thought: “Aloha”

Politico Breaking News alert: “Sen. Daniel Inouye, the second longest serving senator in U.S. history and a decorated World War II hero, has died, his office announced in a statement. He was 88. According to his office, ‘His last words were, ‘Aloha.’”

A real BigJournalism headline: “CBS Describes Semi-Auto Weapons as ‘Rapid-Fire’ to Make Them Sound Menacing”

Happy holidays! Now how about gun control?

“As we reflect on the lives lost last week, we must also, as the President urged, consider how each of us can play a part in making our country worthy of the memory of those little children. I hope you and the ones you love have a happy and safe holiday.”President Obama campaign aide David Axelrod in a holiday/political note to supporters.

GOP lawmakers mum on guns: “Republicans continue their own moment of silence on gun control. Nancy Cordes reports 2 dozen GOP lawmakers decline to discuss the issue.” — CBS White House Correspondent Peter Maer.

 

The White House tease

“Wow. Amazing sunrise behind the White House North Lawn camera setup position.” — Nathan Hager, WNEW morning anchor, appallingly without a photograph to go with it.

NBC’s Engel is alive and well

Statement from NBC: “After being kidnapped and held for five days inside Syria by an unknown group, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his production crew members have been freed unharmed. We are pleased to report they are safely out of the country.”

“I’m very happy to do this live shot this morning…We’re in good health, we’re okay.” — Richard Engel on NBC’s TODAY Show.

And a word from his fan club: “Y’all, Richard Engel’s hair has not suffered in this ordeal. The hair is still fabulous… After a kidnapping.” — the Twitter handle known as @emokidsloveme.

“Great to see NBC’s Richard Engel and his 2 colleagues alive and well this morning. Some happy news in a week of untold misery.” — CNN’s Piers Morgan.

See what today’s self-appointed media critic has to say… Read more

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