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Amazing Feats

Meet Mark Leibovich’s Monster

image004As the clock struck 5:16 p.m. Wednesday, the email blast arrived. Or rather, Kurt Bardella, one of the star monsters in NYT‘s Mark Leibovich‘s summer blockbuster, This Town, had risen from the ashes or the lava (Hollywood will figure out the proper visual). Meet Washington’s latest entrepreneur. Meet the town’s former Washington insider, the headline blared. Bardella is starting his own strategic communications firm, strategic being the key word, in that he gets to chose his own “adventure.”

Within mere moments, Politico‘s Jake Sherman, whose own emails may have leaked their way to Leibovich’s inbox for the book via Bardella’s untrustworthy fingertips, tweeted the news. And there Bardella was: out there in the aftermath of a book that would make him both famous for Washington and as infamous as one of the book’s other main characters, Tammy Haddad.

Back in April, I was in the grips of yet another White House Correspondents Dinner pre-party, not Tammy’s to which I’d been pointedly not invited. This one, an unusual warehouse party in Georgetown thrown by National Journal. I didn’t notice a whole lot of White House correspondents outside of ABC’s Ann Compton. One of the more interesting details about the party was that the toilets on the main floor were malfunctioning, so attendants stood outside the restrooms telling guests that they’d have to wait. Or better yet, they’d have to fight their way upstairs to the V.I.P. floor to use the commode. Upstairs, the smell of urine wafted into the hallway.

image002Back downstairs, I ran into Bardella who had flopped into an easy chair on the far side of the room. I’d known Kurt since his days in Rep. Brian Bilbray‘s (R-Calif.) office and had always enjoyed our interactions and found him helpful. By this point, it was well known that Bardella would figure into Leibovich’s book. So I asked him about it. Was he nervous, worried? Would he be embarrassed? While he wouldn’t comment at all on the record, he indicated that he might at a later point and went into a myriad of thoughts I can’t repeat because of our off the record agreement. But one thing I was instantly struck by was Bardella’s ultra-relaxed manner about the whole thing. He knew this was coming. Everybody knew this was coming. And his body language screamed that he didn’t have a care in the world about it.

Fast forward seven months, here we are at Bardella 2.0. Or is it 3.0.? The “2″ might’ve been when his former boss, House Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), temporarily fired him in February, 2011, and he went to work for The Daily Caller while simultaneously writing op-eds for Politico, the publication that got him fired in the first place for leaking those emails to Leibovich for his book. It was Editor-in-Chief John Harris who spoke with Issa and pushed him on whether his own reporters’ emails or phone calls had been improperly shared.

At the time, in a Sunday letter to Issa, Harris wrote, “The practice of sharing reporter e-mails with another journalist on a clandestine basis would be egregiously unprofessional under any circumstances,” Harris wrote. “As the editor-in-chief of POLITICO, my concern is heightened by information suggesting that POLITICO journalists may have had their reporting compromised by this activity.”

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Journo Couple Gave Few Hints They’d Elope

images-3WaPo recently sent out a rather personal internal memo revealing that “The Reliable Source” writer Amy Argetsinger is not only leaving the gossip beat but she’s pregnant and engaged to former Bloomberg reporter and JDA VP of Public Affairs Bill McQuillen.

This week the couple made it official.

On Wednesday they both simultaneously took to their respective Facebook pages (because it’s the easiest place to make a big announcement, right?) to announce that they’d tied the knot. He said: “Bill McQuillen is married to Amy Argetsinger. And she said: “Amy Argetsinger is married to Bill McQuillen.”

Short and sweet. No details. And for some, no warning.

In fact, the news struck some as so strange that they thought it might be a prank?

However… Read more

Reporter Punched in Face for Tweets

nainanUnknownThis might be the most spectacular thing to happen to Washington journalism in modern times.

On Wednesday night Daily Beast foreign policy reporter Josh Rogin (above left) was socked in the face for trash tweeting comedian Dan Nainan at the D.C. Improv. The comedian (above right) was arrested in the incident.

The event was the semi-annual “Funniest Celebrity in Washington” contest. Not so funny, right? (Well, actually, it’s still a little funny.)

WaPo reported the news at 12:17 a.m. Thursday morning. U.S. News & World Report beat them to the punch [insert laughter track here] by at least an hour.

Will this stop the relatively mild-mannered Rogin from writing what he pleases in the future?

Rogin told FishbowlDC… Read more

Full Disclosure: WaPo’s Wemple Really F%@ked Up TBD

WaPo‘s opinionated media blogger Erik Wemple wrote a down and dirty piece Monday on Robert Allbritton‘s purchase of Capital NY. Nothing that remarkable in it except for his own disclosures of what a failure he believes he was at TBD. Actually who knows…maybe the story had juicy nuggets, but we were all tunnel vision on those full disclosures. And not one, but two. Come on, Erik Wemple Blog! Couldn’t have been all your fault. Stop being so hard on yourself!

A. “That same year, Allbritton launched Washington-area news site TBD.com, a generously funded project that fizzled in near-record time under the editorial guidance of the Erik Wemple Blog.”

Some 14 graphs later…

B. “By acquiring Capital, the Politico brain trust shows that it’s learned some things since the quick and spectacular failure of TBD.com under the editorial guidance of the Erik Wemple Blog.”

Wemple goes on to discuss the reasons TBD may have tanked, and funny, some seem to have little to do with him. Read more

Howard Kurtz Gets Clock Cleaned, But Who’s the Dirty Old Perv Now?

I’m getting tired of this. Yet I’m also fascinated. Another day, another round of punches for Fox News’ media correspondent Howard Kurtz.

“Howard Kurtz is a Cad, Part IV” screams a post published Sunday by “Ken” on the site All things Democrat. (Sunday tends to be a holy day in which people tend to avoid lying, cheating and being overall perverts, but maybe Ken has been taking a long nap.)

“Ken” recaps their interest with Kurtz, which he says began with the Boston Marathon bombing and Kurtz’ despicable coverage of praising CNN owning up to its mistakes but bashing Fox News for following CNN. They stroll through a number of Kurtz’ screw ups, including the Jason Collins debacle, in which Kurtz said the gay athlete hadn’t revealed his engagement to a woman when, in fact, he had.

Eventually “Ken” makes it around to Part IV of their exhaustive “series” of Kurtz bashing in which he says he wasn’t surprised Kurtz was hired by Fox News, as if it’s a bad thing to be fired by Daily Beast‘s Tina Brown and then snagged by the nation’s highest rated cable news network. “Some folks were surprised when Kurtz was picked up by Fox, but not me,” Ken wrote. “Fox, with their situational ethics and blatantly partisan outlook and Kurtz, being a cad, seem like a natural fit from my perspective.”

“Ken,” seems to have forgotten that he’s coming from nationally “blatantly partisan” perspective, in this case, Democratic. The site, founded in 2006 by progressive Wisconsin Dem Doug Marquartd, claims to have bloggers who provide (cough cough) “smart analysis and opinion on the latest political news, issues and hot topics of interest to Dems.”

Which leads them to Part IV of their series: “Ken” nails Kurtz for being a “dirty old man” and for “leering at at pictures of someone who is related to someone that is in his field of expertise.”

For the purposes of his story, he explains, he will use Kurtz’ own tactics to write about his family members.

Holy sh-t is this about to get good.

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FNC’s Perino Loses Miley Cyrus But Not Twitter

Here’s one way to get away from all things Miley Cyrus: Go to a cruise ship in the Congo. That’s what Fox News “The Five” Co-host Dana Perino did. The hospital ship, where she is, is called “Africa Mercy” and provides healthcare training for struggling communities in West Africa.

Freedom at last. But not from Twitter. Jasper alone wouldn’t survive that. Perino has been tweeting up a storm since she has been on the ship. Some of the tweets are pretty touching actually. See Twitchy for a more elaborate outpouring.

 

Journo Scratches Running With Bulls Off Bucket List

At this point we don’t question Yahoo! NewsChris Moody‘s nerve. But we do wonder about his sanity. Read more

Slate Writer Wants Life in Pajamas

Slate technology columnist Farhad Manjoo (he had us at his name) has a spectacularly funny first-person story out today about hiring a virtual personal assistant in India. He refers the first one as Mr. F and the second as Mr. P. We like Mr. P better because Mr. F is a wreck and takes too long to do simple tasks. Mr. P is still somewhat of a wreck.

As Manjoo explains it , he tried to outsource his life because he wanted to free himself of life’s annoying details. He says he’s always “teetering on the edge of work-life chaos.” At one point Manjoo has Mr. P transcribe one of his interviews — the result is disastrous.

“I had a dream,” Majoo writes in his piece. “Some people yearn for wealth, others fame. Me, I’ve always aimed for a life free of annoyance, of drudgery, of all of the little pointless things you’ve got to do to keep living and working—things like answering email and changing out of your pajamas and making sure you show up to appointments on time.”

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One Way to Get Into WaPo’s Good Graces

At 10 pounds, 12 ounces and 22 inches, Cian Joseph Mara, son of Pat Mara, is the obvious choice for President of WaPo‘s new fan club.

Mara (the adult) is the Ward I rep to the D.C. Board of Education.

Can he (the baby) live up to the title?

There’s a New Ezra in Town

In happy baby news, Rebecca Gale, who writes the Hill Navigator advice column for CQ Roll Call, gave birth to a boy Wednesday.

“We are thrilled to share with everyone that Ezra Alan Margolies joined the family at 10:28 this morning, weighing in at a lean and mean 6 pounds, 6 ounces,” wrote Gale’s husband, Warren Margolies in a group email. “Mom and baby are both doing great and resting up as we speak.”

Ahem. Did he say Ezra?

“We are totally in love with him,” Gale told FBDC by email. “So happy.”

Congrats to the parents. And welcome, Ezra Alan Margolies, to the Fishbowl! With a name like that you’re bound to go far and do great things. Just please don’t block us on Twitter someday. Read more

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