Welcome to Fishbowl D.C., a blog that covers the ins and outs of media coverage in the nation’s capital. This blog’s goal is to provide an outlet for some offbeat coverage of Washington’s real power brokers.
For all of its monuments, tourists, and dedicated public servants, this is a city that runs on the news: Within the Beltway, tens of thousands of people follow the circadian rhythm dictated by the Note at 9 a.m., the Hotline at noon, and Inside Politics and Last Call at 4 p.m. Similarly thousands of days happen between the morning gaggle and evening’s “full lid,” and for far too many people “the desk” is not something that one sits at during the day, but instead someone who calls during dinner.
Oscar Wilde once wrote, “In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever,” and indeed, as anyone who has spent time around Washington can attest, the city is a living embodiment of that observation. Presidents, senators, cabinet secretaries, house representatives, and supreme court justices all come and go routinely, but day after day the thousands of members of the Washington press corps slog on, attempting to explain the sausage making that goes on here.
Tens of millions of dollars go into influencing their coverage, and thousands of press secretaries and communications directors daily dissect their reports and articles. And, boy, all of those flacks have so much to read and do.
Indeed few cities in the world have the concentration of reporters and news organizations that Washington offers. The National Press Club claims over 4,000 members; there are over 1,800 reporters accredited to cover the Senate and the House, and 1,600 credentialed White House reporters. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that Washington’s biggest social event of the year revolves around an organization of reporters: For D.C., the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is the Oscars, the Grammys, and the Sundance Film Festival all rolled into one.
Despite the broad power and influence that these reporters and editors wield, there’s surprisingly little coverage of them. Beyond a few columns in weekly and monthly publications and the intrepid work of a few reporters who cover the media industry for major news organizations, the lives of Washington’s true power elite lie largely unexamined, and if you are to believe Socrates–that “an unexamined life is not worth living”–than that’s no fun at all.
In fact there are so many lives to examine that we can never cover it all, so if you have some dirt to shovel or some gossip to dish, feel free anytime to email us at garrett AT fishbowldc DOT com or instant message us at “fishbowldc” on AOL.
Over the coming days, weeks, and months, Fishbowl D.C. will focus its gaze on the true power brokers of Washington–the reporters for whom a trip on Air Force One is a regular ordeal, the editors who decide what makes A-1 and what makes A-34, the Sunday morning talkers who like to claim to set the agenda, and the round-the-clock cable news buzz that more and more dominates political discourse in America. We won’t promise that it’ll be pretty, but we will promise it’ll be fun.