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The FishbowlDC Interview With Margaret Carlson

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Say hello to Bloomberg News’s Margaret Carlson. A longtime figure in Washington, she hardly needs an introduction. She prefers Alec Baldwin to Steve Martin (romantically speaking, that is). She had a strong feeling about that two-timing former Sen. John Edwards long before it was fashionable. And please, she’s not from Sweden.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Dr. Pepper for the pepper part which journalists should have.
What joy to bring tears to the eyes of the Wall Street bankers who destroyed everyone’s 401ks.

How often do you Google yourself?nI Amazoned myself when I had a book out. As for Googling, not much. I just did, however, and learned that I was born in Sweden, have written columns I would rather forget and wore glasses way too large in the 80s.

Who is your favorite working journalist? Michael Kinsley

Did you see “Twilight” and “New Moon?” If so, who is more your type, Edward or Jacob? I’m more concrete in my movie-going. My last was “It’s Complicated.” I want to be Meryl Streep but end up with Alec Baldwin (instead of Steve Martin). This is not because Martin doesn’t have his own charms but because his architect character was the jump-the-shark plot point. Streep’s kitchen was
the most perfect this side of Martha Stewart Living. No one would have
changed as much as a copper pot.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or bestselling author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? Palin to find out if she really doesn’t read newspapers or know the difference between North and South Korea.

When did you last cry and why? For real, when my daughter married the man of her (and my) dreams and at Invictus when Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) wins the World Cup. I’m a sap, if you haven’t noticed.

What word do you routinely misspell? Occasionally. Did I prove my point?

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? It’s a free one from ATT, the only free thing about my account with them.

What swear word do you use most often? Yikes.

What word or phrase do you overuse? Exactly.

What TV show do you have to watch? Morning Joe in, obviously, the morning. At night Law & Oder reruns because you switch on the TV and there it is. The new season of 24 for a dramatic version of Washington and the soothing refrain “Damn it, Chloe.” And John Stewart at 11 which I always regret when I’m too tired to watch the first hour of Morning Joe.

Where do you shop most often for your clothes? J.Crew.

Read more about Carlson and her initially awkward interview with Katherine Hepburn after the jump…


Who do you prefer for daytime talk, Dr. Phil, Oprah, Tyra or the women of The View? Hands down, the women

If you were trapped on a deserted island, which public official would you want to be trapped with and why? How about if I go negative. Not the feckless Peter Orszag. Or John Edwards. or John Boehner, who might be more frightening without his man-tan.

Who was your mentor? Walter Isaacson who brought me to Time magazine when I didn’t want to leave The New Republic. He said he knew best. And he did.

What’s the best advice you ever received in the course of your career? Never write early and there’s always time for lunch.

What and where was your first job in journalism? After I passed the D.C. bar and interviewed at law firms, I realized I had thrown away three years of my life. I went to a halfway house – The Legal Times – which began my path out of lawyering and into journalism.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? On the Don Imus show the day after the 2000 election when I made a comment I won’t repeat here because it was, ummm, embarrassing. Let’s say that I insulted many of the citizens of Florida and many of those who used it as a domicile while in the military. Because I insisted on apologizing the next day on a No Apologies allowed
broadcast, Imus banned me from the show for six months.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy most? Katherine Hepburn, in retrospect, upon publication of her aptly titled memoir, Me. Not my beat, but I was a known Hepburnphile. When I arrived a few minutes late at her house, she wouldn’t speak, except to call me an idiot, for the first 20 minutes. She then wouldn’t let me leave, force-feeding me lunch while going
on about how wonderful she was. (Read that story here.)

What’s the biggest scoop you’ve ever had?
I was named the first woman columnist at Time magazine in recognition of my four years of scoop-free reporting there. I will note, since it’s newsy at the moment, a reverse scoop. When the entire press corps hauled off to North Carolina in March 2007 expecting that John Edwards was going to drop out of the presidential
race after learning Elizabeth’s cancer had severely worsened, I wrote that he was way too much of a narcissist to do that. I also wrote that something was deeply wrong for the pair to want to spend whatever time was left shaking strangers hands in Iowa rather than with their two young children. In keeping with my scoop-free record, however, I didn’t know about
the videographer.

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