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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Bradlee’

Snow Day Sighting

Bob Woodward having lunch with Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn at Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown. Talk about a power lunch! (h/t to reader Deep Throat for the tip!)

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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.

Read more

In Defense of Howard Kurtz (Not Really)

When I see so much self-righteous dumping on Fox News media correspondent Howard Kurtz it makes me feel all uppity. Sure, we’ve written a ton on his self-pimping and hypocritical ways over the years. So we’re not immune to knocking him. Still, this week I want to find something, anything, to say about him that would be favorable or show some other side to the journalist once hailed as the nation’s premier media writer.

This week he wrote about WaPo Ben Bradlee‘s daughter-in-law Pari Bradley for wearing a “Swiss cheese” bra. “Do the pictures go too far?” he asked. But all sense of irony is lost on him. Has Howie gone blind? Has he seen the anchors at his own network? You can’t watch Fox News and not notice that many of the female anchors tend to don skimpy, tight clothing that shows off their legs or breasts. And you must realize that they are instructed to do so.

His former newspaper of 29 years, WaPo, reduced his work to a “hallowed middle ground he has spent his entire career clinging to.” Gawker castrated him, said he was having a mid-life crisis and wondered intensely about his relationship to The Daily Download‘s  and now Fox News colleague Lauren Ashburn, who appears to trail him wherever he goes. And others dumped, dumped and dumped. Strangers called him things like “sourpuss pervert” and “old pervert” and said he had a face like “old oatmeal.” WaPo‘s Sally Quinn, also mother-in-law to Pari, told Media Matters that he’s an “old geezer.” Even NPR‘s reasoned David Folkenflik remarked on Twitter, “Howie’s going to do just fine at Fox.” Who says America doesn’t have a big heart?

Pari has since taken her pictures down: “This content is currently unavailable.”

I asked a colleague, don’t you think people are being a little self-righteous here? The response I got: “I think they’re spot on.” Which only fueled my fury. Why can’t people leave Howie (and Miley) alone? Like WaPo‘s Clinton Yates argued, why can’t Miley be herself? And why can’t Howie?

Then I came to from my fugue state and took to his Twitter feed to find out if there was any possible way to defend Howie. (I’m really pulling for you here, man. Come on, help a media reporting sister out, will you?) Read more

Redford Revisits ‘All The President’s Men’

It’s been 37 years since the Watergate scandal was captured in the movie “All the President’s Men.” The anniversary was marked Thursday at the Newseum with a screening of “All The President’s Men: Revisited,” a documentary about the movie. The White House Correspondents’ Association and Discovery hosted the event.

Prior to the screening, actor Robert Redford, documentary producers Andrew Lack and Laura Michalchyshyn and famed Watergate journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein walked a red carpet.

Woodward was at the center of a minor media scandal earlier this year when he suggested that he had been threatened by a White House official. Once a thorn in the side of Republicans, Woodward’s claim won him fans on the right and several appearances on FNC’s “Hannity.”

Asked what he makes of Woodward’s tendency to stir trouble on both the left and the right, Redford told FBDC, “it means he’s doing a good job.”

“We don’t live in a world where everybody’s one way or the other,” he added. “There’s a lot of gray there. I think if somebody’s doing their job, they’re going to provoke people who don’t want to see the job well done.”

In remarks before the film, WHCA President and FNC Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry said this year’s WHCA dinner is trying to focus on the scholarship that WHCA offers aspiring journalists rather than the celebrities who will be attending. He said Redford agreed to attend the screening in that same spirit.

Fun fact: The documentary contains a scene wherein TV commentator Ben Stein starts crying at the memory of President Richard Nixon‘s final speech as president.

Following the film was a panel discussion with Redford, Bernstein, Woodward, Henry and Newsweek‘s Eleanor Clift.

When asked about the state of journalism today Redford said… Read more

WaPo‘s Rubin Under Fire

The Nation‘s Eric Alterman, author of What Liberal Media?, has taken a blowtorch to WaPo‘s conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin. In an article published Wednesday meant to criticize WaPo as a paper lacking integrity, Alterman hones in on Rubin, who he calls an “attack dog” and accuses her of…a lot of things. None of them positive.

Here’s a dog-bites-man story if there ever was one. Alterman, who once blogged for Media Matters for America, takes issue with a conservative writer with a prominent platform.

First Alterman criticizes some of Rubin’s pre-WaPo work that caused a stir, including a piece she wrote for Commentary Magazine titled “Why Jews Hate Palin.” In the story Rubin wrote that “American Jews” firmly believe that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is “uncouth, unschooled, a hick, anti-science and anti-intellectual.”

“[Rubin] developed a specialty in venomous attacks on liberal American Jews” at Commentary, Alterman says (side note: Rubin herself is Jewish).

Other razor-sharp bits Alterman throws at Rubin:

  • “Barely a day goes by without a Rubin post filled with nasty name-calling attacks on a group or individual…”
  • “[Rubin is] a writer who cares nothing for the truth, but rather dedicates herself to spewing childish insults at the president of the United States as well as the millions of people who reject her ideological obsessions…”
  • “[W]hile the talk of Nazis and Obama’s alleged love for Islam have been tamed a bit, Rubin’s penchant for hate-filled fantasy has not.”

And so it goes, graph after hate-filled graph.

Predictably, Alterman speaks highly of WaPo‘s liberal blogger Greg Sargent, whom he hails as “a hard-working professional journalist who advances news stories regardless of whether they critique or flatter his own side.” (This part is somewhat inconsistent with Alterman’s criticism of Rubin, given that later in the story, he cites Rubin as tearing into former GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. He called Rubin’s writing on them “abusive invective.”)

Also predictably, Alterman has favorable things to say about other liberal writers such as Slate‘s Dave Weigel, whom Rubin replaced at WaPo after Weigel resigned in 2010 amid the “journolist” controversy.

Weigel told us he’s “a huge Rubin fan” and his sole criticism of her blog is that interviews she conducts aren’t transcribed in Q&A format. He said he didn’t believe her work at WaPo has hurt the paper’s reputation.

Back to Rubin. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a law degree. She worked as a labor lawyer for 20 years. She’s done countless TV hits, written for Politico, and has been featured by Washingtonian magazine. She has no fears about publicly going after her liberal colleagues like Sargent and Ezra Klein. Alterman identifies her as “a former Hollywood lawyer” who worked “briefly as an editor for the right-wing Pajamas Media and as a blogger for Commentary.”

Once you get past this and the 14 rabidly anti-Rubin graphs, Alterman redirects his venom back to WaPo at large. “It is true that the Washington Post has bigger problems than the serial inaccuracy and incivility of its right-wing blogger,” he writes. “But the question for the house that Ben Bradlee and Katharine Graham built is not merely whether it will survive, but how.”

Though criticism of Rubin makes up the bulk of Alterman’s piece, he told us she’s not his “main concern with the paper. She’s just the one about which [he] chose to focus in this particular article.” As for his own nasty tone toward her, he said he had no personal reasons to attack her and even admitted that he has never met her. “This is my job and I try to do it as well as I can,” he said.

FBDC reached out to Rubin for comment.

A Message for Today’s Journos From Michelle Fields

Over the holiday weekend, C-SPAN brought us a gift that we will always cherish: An interview with “Video Journalist” Michelle Fields from The Daily Caller. It’s an hour long, but really worth the time to sit down with the ones you love to see one of the rising stars of journalism showing people how it’s done.

C-SPAN‘s founder, Brian Lamb, interviewed her. Lamb begins with a softball and asks her to describe what she does for a living. Michelle admits, ”What we’re doing is almost like citizen journalism. Which is basically when an individual who doesn’t have that much training in journalism has the tools of modern technology to capture a live event, but doesn’t’ have a background in journalism.” Hear that kids? Screw school and hard work. Get an iPhone and go capture yourself a job in journalism. Really, Michelle. You’re off to a super start. There’s 58 and a half more minutes to go. At this point I should make a stiff drink for this compelling next hour on the state of journalism. C-SPAN had the audacity smart sense to bill this as a discussion that would contrast today’s journalism versus the days of WaPo‘s Ben Bradlee and Bob Woodward (yes, that Woodward, the one who handled Watergate). Who better to enlighten us than Fields? She met them at a recent book party for MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

Michelle continues her line of thinking on what makes her so different. When talking about her reporting on the Occupy movement, she says, “We’re not doing what a typical journalist does. Which is they go..  They have their mic, they do their standup, maybe interview two or three people, put together B-Roll.” Hear that, Martha Raddatz? All those trips to Iraq PALE in comparison to the time that Michelle braved the front lines of Wall Street. Later in the interview, she opines on the differences between the today’s reportage and yesterday and tells us that “people want biased journalism.  They want people to tell them what their opinion is.” Lamb follows up and asks her what she thinks of that mentality. She says, ”It’s impossible to not be biased.  I don’t think there’s a need to try and not be biased.  Because it’s impossible.  I don’t see the problem with biased reporting.” I must have been asleep during that portion of my journalism classes. The part where they tell aspiring journos to give people their opinions and put as much bias in your reporting as you want.

As the interview winds down, Lamb asks where Michelle would like to see her career go. She says she would like to be “in the media. As a journalist. Maybe an anchor.” Let’s not get carried away, Michelle. Reality can be a dear friend sometimes. Lamb asks if America is ready for an anchor who gives opinions and Michelle doubles down on her journalistic philosophy. “I think people want opinions.  People want someone to tell them what to think.”

And who better to tell me what I think than Michelle Fields? She graduated from college in May. She boasts to Lamb about the millions of page views her clips attract and says fans write her and tell her she’s the only journalist they trust. The whole interview is so unintentionally hilarious. Please invest an hour and watch below. You might even learn something.

Washington Fetes Whitaker’s Family Memoir

Whitaker with wife Alexis Gelber

Looking for a way to pass the time while you wait out this weekend’s wintry weather?  If so, you’re in luck because Mark Whitaker‘s “My Long Trip Home” just  hit bookshelves.  Earlier this week, the EVP and  managing editor of CNN Worldwide returned to Washington to celebrate the release of his family memoir at an intimate affair hosted in the Georgetown residence of Mandy Grunwald.

No shortage of star power, the event boasted big name guests like  Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), CBS News Bureau Chief Chris Isham, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and hubby Alan Greenspan, NYT’s Mark Leibovich, NBC’s Luke Russert, Alexis Gelber, Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn, Huff Post’s Howard Fineman, CNN’s Jessica Yellin, Dana Bash, Wolf Blitzer, and Kate Bolduan.

If you weren’t lucky enough to pick up a signed copy of “My Long Trip Home” on Tuesday night, stop by your local bookstore.  FishbowlDC pre-ordered our copy and we guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.  For more on Whitaker’s new work, check out our earlier post here.

Pols, Press Toast Schieffer’s 20 Years of “Face the Nation”

Had you walked through the doors of the St. Regis Hotel at this time last night, there’s a good chance you would have bumped into Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) making a quick exit from the fete for Bob Schieffer’s 20th anniversary with “Face the Nation.”  But a brush with the House Minority Leader was only an appetizer for the smorgasbord of the bipartisan political power that partied inside the hotel’s Astor Ballroom.  Raising a glass to the legendary newsman were current and former Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Donald Rumsfeld, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who has appeared on Face the Nation more than any other guest.  Representing the White House were Dag Vega and Jen Psaki.

In his remarks, a flattered Schieffer joked that when he first got to Washington, Republicans and Democrats always attended parties together.  “But now it’s a big deal,” he told the crowded room.

The Washington press corps were also out in full force for Bob’s big night.  Spotted in the crowd were Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward, FNC’s Ed Henry, NBC’s David Gregory and Betsy Fischer, Politico’s Jonathan Martin, Keach Hagey, Mike Allen and Patrick Gavin, Newshour’s Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson, NYT’s David Sanger, WaPo’s Roxanne Roberts, and Steve Chaggaris. Rounding out the room were a slew of CBS talent and staff such as former “Face the Nation” EP Carin Pratt and current EP Mary Hager, Rob HendinKaylee Hartung, Chris Licht, Lara Logan, Jan Crawford, Nancy Cordes, Chip Reid, Bob Orr, Wyatt Andrews, John Dickerson, Christine Delargy, Walt Cronkite (Walter Cronkite’s grandson who now works in the DC bureau), Chris Isham and of course, the evening’s hosts and top network brass Jeff Fager and David Rhodes. Noticeably absent was new CBS News White House correspondent Norah O’Donnell who was in New York City covering the president and UN.

Throughout the evening a video highlighting Bob’s career played in the background – you can check it out here.  And if you missed our must-read interview with Schieffer last week, click here.

HuffPost’s Ultimate Media Couples List

HuffPost readers have spoken. And when HuffPost readers speak, the world listens. This time, they have chosen the “Ultimate Media Duo.” (Important to note: unlike most HuffPost lists, this has nothing to do with hotness.)

The title of most ultimate of all ultimate media duos goes to ABC “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer and her husband, director Mike Nichols. In second place, Bloomberg News‘ Washington executive editor Al Hunt and PBS’ “Newshour” anchor Judy Woodruff. And, in third, host of ABC’s “This Week” Christiane Amanpour and Bloomberg‘s Jamie Rubin.

Among the couples not chosen: WaPo‘s Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn, CNN contributors James Carville and Mary Matalin, CNN’s John King and Dana Bash, and Daily Beast‘s Tina Brown and her husband, former Sunday Times (London) editor Sir Harry Evans.

Posties ‘Going Nuts’ Over Woodward iPad App

Trending on Twitter in D.C. right now: WaPo‘s V.P. At-Large Ben Bradlee and veteran reporter Bob Woodward.

How come? Set to jazzy music, Woodward, in a new nifty video, learns the ins and outs of the WaPo‘s new iPad app as he taps away on an electric typewriter. As he walks through the newsroom, a woman wonders, “Was that Robert Redford?”

“Posties are going nuts over it. Very self-congratulatory right now,” said a WaPo newsroom source. “On top of being awesome, it’s really effective.”

And WaPo Book World writer Ron Charles tweets about it, saying, “Weeeeee. Wash Post iPad app is No. 1 free app in the Apple Store. I’m thinking it must be the #baconhat.”

The Fix’s Chris Cillizza has a cameo talking about Facebook and Twitter. In another scene, WaPo‘s Dana Milbank asks a female colleague, “Have you read my column yet? It’s generating a lot of Facebook chatter.” He appears to be annoyed when she says she’ll read it later.

The video was linked by Romanesko.

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