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Posts Tagged ‘Carl Bernstein’

How James Brown Helped a Fledgling Reporter Turn It Loose

ShutterstockJamesBrownThe day before James Brown answered the door at his home in Beech Island, South Carolina in the summer of 2003, reporter Karen Fragala Smith had valiantly rustled up bus fare. From her Huffington Post blog item:

I had withdrawn the last hundred bucks from my checking account and boarded a Greyhound bus for Augusta, Georgia, just over the state line from Beech Island. I was in town to interview James Brown for Newsweek magazine.

Well, sort of. I was an editorial assistant who spent most of my time arranging travel accommodations for the director of the foreign language editions, and making photocopies for an elderly editor who found both the technology of a copy machine and the fact that women in the office weren’t just secretaries anymore, to be equally confounding. I was eager to do something that resembled journalism.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: News Crews Witness Airstrike | Time Warner Stock Surges

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NBC News Crew Witnesses Gaza Airstrike (TVNewser)
NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin and his crew witnessed an Israeli airstrike that killed four children at a port in Gaza Wednesday. Mohyeldin, who was also caught in the crossfire as Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets on crowds in East Jerusalem earlier this month, called in to the West Coast edition of Today to describe what he saw, saying it was “a chaotic scene.” TVNewser Hours later, it was chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel who reported the story for Nightly News. FishbowlDC On Wednesday afternoon’s The Lead With Jake Tapper, the CNN host spoke over the phone with the Wall Street Journal’s Middle East correspondent Nick Casey for what proved to be a very intense interview. Casey was located near where the strike took place. Mashable The four children were killed by Israeli airstrikes that hit in close proximity to al-Deira Hotel, a Gaza City hotel full of foreign journalists. The attack came at around 4 p.m. local time and appeared to be the result of a naval shell. At least two additional children were injured, according to local reports. THR The BBC has defended its coverage of the latest Israeli air strikes in Gaza among accusations that the British public broadcaster is too pro-Israeli in its reporting on the region’s escalating conflict. The conflict has been the subject of extensive BBC news coverage, but a prominent pro-Palestine group claims the broadcaster’s programs have been systematically “entirely devoid of context or background.” The Palestine Solidarity Campaign posted an online open letter to BBC director general Tony Hall criticizing the broadcaster for not illustrating what it considers key aspects of the conflict.

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A Conversation with Robert De Niro’s Film Archivist | New Dish on Gone With The Wind

LunchAtMichaelsI was joined today by my good friend ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong who I first met (where else?) in this very dining room seven years ago. Joe has introduced me to countless interesting folks over the years including Carl Bernstein, Elton John and the late Elizabeth Edwards. He’s had a long and storied career in journalism having been at the top of the masthead of Rolling Stone and New York Magazine as publisher and has served as a trusted advisor to ABC News. These days when he’s not holding court here at Michael’s or dispensing invaluable advice to his faithful friends in the media biz, he’s a tireless champion of many worthwhile causes and institutions including the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin where he sits of the board of directors. Back in the day, Joe was editor in chief of the Texas Law Forum at the University of Texas School of Law. (Harry Ransom was his beloved mother’s English teacher — “Everything comes full circle!”) Today, he invited me to join the Center’s film curator Steve Wilson,  Alicia Dietrich, public affairs representative and  Jennifer Tisdale director of public affairs who dazzled me with fascinating stories about the Center’s extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia among many other types of cultural and literary artifacts — just in time for the upcoming Oscars.

At Table One: Front (from left) Steve Wilson, Diane Clehane, Jennifer Tisdale; Back: Alicia Dietrich and Joe Armstrong

At Table 1: Front (from left) Steve Wilson, Diane Clehane and Jennifer Tisdale; Back: Alicia Dietrich and Joe Armstrong

The gang was in town to meet with various news outlets to discuss the Center’s upcoming ’The Making of Gone With the Wind” exhibition, timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of one of the most iconic movies of all time. The exhibition will run from Sept. 9 through Jan. 4, 2015 and is a must-see for film buffs. Gone With the Wind was the most nominated film of 1939, scoring 13 Academy Award nominations, including a nod for Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to be nominated and win for Best Supporting Actress. No small feat since that year was truly one of Hollywood’s best with Wuthering Heights and The Wizard of Oz also competing for little gold men that year. Among the 300 items drawn from the Center’s collection from David O. Selznick‘s archives that will be on view: rare audition footage, storyboards from the film and three original gowns worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, including the famous “green curtain” dress, marking the first time these costumes were on view together in 25 years. A gloriously illustrated exhibition catalog of the same title was published by the Center and University of Texas Press last fall with a foreword written by Turner Classic Movie host and film historian Robert Osborne.

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Gauging the Next ‘Golden Age’ of Journalism

We’re still mulling over remarks made last Friday in Lawrence, KS by ProPublica founder and executive chairman Paul Steiger. Accepting the prestigious William Allen White Foundation National Citation from the University of Kansas’s White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, he talked a lot about “golden ages” of journalism.

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According to Steiger, the last such era started in the mid-1950s and ran through the mid-1970s. Ergo, ending right around the time a massive amount of students were compelled by Woodward and Bernstein to head to J-school. Steiger takes issue with Henry Blodget‘s 2013 declaration that a new golden age is upon us. He says we’re perhaps close, but not quite there yet:

“Creating millions of lone-wolf, single-person bloggers doesn’t get us to a golden age. It can give us cat photos that make us giggle, news scoops involving an original fact or two, a trenchant analysis of finance or politics or sculpture, video of Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift nuzzling their latest boyfriends, or possibly some movie and book reviews worth trusting. All nice to have but not game-changing.”

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Tales From a True Downton Abbey Thoroughbred

LunchAtMichaelsAfter being felled by a brutal bug (which I picked up in my doctor’s office while waiting for my flu shot) last week, I was glad to be back at 55th and Fifth today where I embarked on the second leg of my own personal trifecta of reporting on every aspect of my television obsession, Downton Abbey. I interviewed cast member Lesley Nichol two weeks ago and am planning a very special Downton lunch for December (No spoilers here! It’s top secret for now). Today I was thrilled to dine and dish with Harry Herbert, the second son of the 7th Earl of Carnarvon, who was in town on a whirlwind three-day visit to New York to meet a few Upper East Side swells and talk to them about his glamorous and highly successful racehorse syndication business, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing. As the company’s founder, Henry puts together racing syndicates — small groups of people with deep pockets — to share in owning a racehorse. So what’s Harry’s Downton Abbey connection, you ask? Harry’s ancestral home is none other than Highclere Castle, the stunning setting — and very much its own character — on Downton Abbey. I kid you not.

Alistair Morrison, Diane Clehane and Harry Herbert

Alistair Morrison, Diane Clehane and Harry Herbert

If you’re like me and have watched the specials that have aired on Highclere on PBS and HG-TV, you’ve seen Harry’s sister-in-law Fiona, the 8th Countess of Carnarvon, who is married to his brother George, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, giving behind-the-scenes tours of the great house and talking about what it’s like to have your home taken over by the cast of one of Britain’s most popular television programs. (They actually live in another home on the sprawling estate) Harry painted a fascinating picture for me of the real life cast of characters who have populated Highclere, worthy of their own PBS series. It turns out his parents’ love story mirror the one which plays out on Downton between the elder Grantham’s British-American union. Harry’s mother, Jeannie, was 19 years old when he journeyed from her home in Wyoming to England to visit friends and met his father, Henry. When she went back to the states, says Harry, ”He chased her to Wyoming and wound up marrying her.” Read more

Carl Bernstein Joins the Faculty of Stony Brook University

Per a cleverly headlined press release, Bernstein will start on September 2 as a Visiting Presidential Professor. He will co-teach and lecture not just to journalism students but also those majoring in English, history, political science, sociology and writing/rhetoric:

“We are so extremely fortunate to be able to have Carl Bernstein – a true American icon – share his experience and knowledge with the students, faculty and community of Stony Brook University,” said school president Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “Coupled with his perspective as a great historian, he brings to bear an incisive view of what is happening in the world today. I’m sure it will be standing room only when he’s teaching or lecturing on campus over the next two years…”

Bernstein, 69, said, “I’ve known for a while that I want to do more teaching, but I was determined not to be pigeonholed in a single academic department or discipline, and I wanted to be at a university that is breaking the traditional academic mold and structure.”

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Gov’t Pushes Shield Law | Bernstein Hacked | Gazette Office Closed


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Criticized on Seizure of Records, White House Pushes News Media Shield Law (NYT)
Under fire over the Justice Department’s use of a broad subpoena to obtain calling records of Associated Press reporters in connection with a leak investigation, the Obama administration sought on Wednesday to revive legislation that would provide greater protections to reporters in keeping their sources and communications confidential. Capital New York The administration opposed an initial draft of the Free Flow of Information Act, but eventually supported a compromise version that would allow federal judges to protect reporters from subpoenas for information, if the judge determined that the news value of the reports exceeded the government’s interest in uncovering the sources of a leak. HuffPost / The Backstory New York Times reporter Charlie Savage asked Attorney General Eric Holder, who had just announced he’d recused himself from the AP leak investigation, “Are you also recused from the Stuxnet investigation out of Maryland?” The New York Times has reason to be concerned about whether investigators are using similar tactics on them. The Maryland case is believed to be focused on Times chief Washington correspondent David Sanger’s reporting on how the U.S. and Israel helped derail Iran’s nuclear program through cyberattacks. Sanger’s June scoop, along with the Times’ front-page article on Obama’s terrorist “kill list,” spurred Congressional calls to investigate the leaks of classified information. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple Media Matters for America, a group that monitors the country’s conservative media for distortions and inaccuracies, fell in for criticism Wednesday over the Justice Department’s secret subpoena of the Associated Press’s phone records. Evidence of this Media Matters-Obama administration mindmeld? This piece here, which says: “If the press compromised active counter-terror operations for a story that only tipped off the terrorists, that sounds like it should be investigated.” The Daily Beast / Politics Beast David Brock explained all in a statement. “Media Matters for America monitors, analyzes, and corrects conservative misinformation in the media and was not involved with the production of the document focusing on the DOJs investigation,” he said. “That document was issued by ‘Message Matters,’ a project of the Media Matters Action Network, which posts, through a different editorial process and to a different website, a wide range of potential messaging products for progressive talkers to win public debates with conservatives.” Read more

Morning Media Newsfeed: Gov’t Pushes Shield Law | Bernstein Hacked | Gazette Office Closed


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Criticized on Seizure of Records, White House Pushes News Media Shield Law (NYT)
Under fire over the Justice Department’s use of a broad subpoena to obtain calling records of Associated Press reporters in connection with a leak investigation, the Obama administration sought on Wednesday to revive legislation that would provide greater protections to reporters in keeping their sources and communications confidential. Capital New York The administration opposed an initial draft of the Free Flow of Information Act, but eventually supported a compromise version that would allow federal judges to protect reporters from subpoenas for information, if the judge determined that the news value of the reports exceeded the government’s interest in uncovering the sources of a leak. HuffPost / The Backstory New York Times reporter Charlie Savage asked Attorney General Eric Holder, who had just announced he’d recused himself from the AP leak investigation, “Are you also recused from the Stuxnet investigation out of Maryland?” The New York Times has reason to be concerned about whether investigators are using similar tactics on them. The Maryland case is believed to be focused on Times chief Washington correspondent David Sanger’s reporting on how the U.S. and Israel helped derail Iran’s nuclear program through cyberattacks. Sanger’s June scoop, along with the Times’ front-page article on Obama’s terrorist “kill list,” spurred Congressional calls to investigate the leaks of classified information. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple Media Matters for America, a group that monitors the country’s conservative media for distortions and inaccuracies, fell in for criticism Wednesday over the Justice Department’s secret subpoena of the Associated Press’s phone records. Evidence of this Media Matters-Obama administration mindmeld? This piece here, which says: “If the press compromised active counter-terror operations for a story that only tipped off the terrorists, that sounds like it should be investigated.” The Daily Beast / Politics Beast David Brock explained all in a statement. “Media Matters for America monitors, analyzes, and corrects conservative misinformation in the media and was not involved with the production of the document focusing on the DOJs investigation,” he said. “That document was issued by ‘Message Matters,’ a project of the Media Matters Action Network, which posts, through a different editorial process and to a different website, a wide range of potential messaging products for progressive talkers to win public debates with conservatives.”

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Redford, Woodward and Bernstein Set for DC, Discovery Preems

There’s a special advance screening tonight of All The President’s Men Revisited at Washington D.C.’s Newseum, co-presented by the White House Correspondents’ Association. To be followed Sunday night at 9 p.m. by the feature documentary’s Discovery channel debut.

FishbowlLA’s favorite portion of this fascinating, highly recommended retelling of the intertwined stories of the real and Hollywood versions of Woodward & Bernstein comes around the half-hour mark. That’s when Redford himself notes the irony of the media’s efforts to expose the identity of Deep Throat leading, belatedly, to a street in the Bay Area called Redford Place.

Rachel Maddow shares some great comments in the Deep Throat segment, alongside Redford, Woodward, Bernstein, Jon Stewart and Tom Brokaw. Bernstein has the funniest line, noting that the only reason the secret of the Hal Holbrook-portrayed source’s identity lasted so long is because neither he or Woodward told their ex-wives. From there, the documentary moves to Marc Felt‘s daughter Joan, who recalls what it was like for her dad’s courageous “follow the money” efforts to finally be confirmed.

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LAT Screening Series Adds the Impressive Company of Robert Redford

Long before Watergate and a starring role in All The President’s Men, Robert Redford knew there was something off about Richard Nixon.

Chatting last night with LA Times “Indie Focus” reporter Mark Olsen at his new Sundance Cinemas on Sunset Blvd. after a newspaper subscriber screening of The Company We Keep, the actor-director remembered the time he was presented at age 13 in Santa Monica with a high school athletic award. “I didn’t know who he was,” Redford said of the 1949-50 school year encounter. “He was just a guy in a suit. But it was Earl Warren, the governor, and Nixon, then a senator. When Nixon handed me the award and shook my hand, it was just a vibe. I thought, ‘I don’t like this guy.’”

There was also some great reminiscing during the Q&A about how Redford gradually became interested in the investigative efforts of Bob Woodward and  Carl Bernstein. ”When I read an article about them, I realized one was a Jew and one was a WASP,” Redford recalled. “One guy was a Republican, the other was a radical; one guy was a very good writer, the other wasn’t so good. They didn’t like each other, but they had to work together. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s fascinating, that’s a great story.’”

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