FishbowlDC has obtained an 11-page internal handbook handed out to Politico reporters about a week ago. It’s called “The Right Thing to Do: Ethics at Politico.” Those who didn’t do the “right thing” in the past year and a half include Joe Williams, who was dismissed for racially tinged Twitter rantings and TV commentary, but allowed to stay until he found another job while finishing up probation for assaulting his ex-wife and Kendra Marr, who was fired for plagiarism. In an effort to share some of the more golden nuggets of wisdom with journalists in Washington and beyond, we’re turning it into an advice column for as long as it takes us to get through it. In short, we figure we’ll drag this harangue out as long as humanly possible. Enjoy!
Note to Readers: The questions will be the stupid and smart ones we concoct. The answers will be actual quotations from Politico‘s internal manual. And if any of you have questions you’d like answered, we’re sure the Politico ethics handbook addresses them, so send them our way at email@example.com or to Betsy@mediabistro.com.
Q: What do we do when confronted with a decision or problem relating to ethics? Does this ever happen to you Ms. Politico?Do you feel our pain?
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(A Sprinkling of Things we Think you Ought to Know…)
Is Tucker Carlson running a “hate group?”– A report by The Daily Caller‘s Vince Coglianese says the publication, edited by Tucker Carlson, was barred yesterday from a press conference held by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). “You’re not a news site, you’re an anti-Muslim hate site,” a DC reporter was told by CAIR’s Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper when he tried entering the event. When DC asked for examples to prove that it’s a “hate site,” Hooper emailed a link to a Media Matters post that cited columns published on DC‘s website. That post did not include any original reporting by DC. Both Reason and Raw Story picked up on the conflict and have their own write ups.
WaPo freelancer booted from rally– Diana Reese was freelancing for WaPo Tuesday when she was kicked out of an event hosted by Rep. Todd Akin‘s (R-Mo.) campaign. She writes in the “She the People” blog that she was holding a camera and taking notes when a security guard told her she had to leave. Reese insisted she was media but was nonetheless escorted from the premises. On her way to the parking lot, a guard and an intern approached and explained there had been a misunderstanding. “They thought we were ‘trackers’ for the opposition because we were taping the remarks,” Reese wrote.
What’s Kendra tweeting?– We haven’t seen a byline from Kendra Marr, formerly with Politico and fired for plagiarism, since a story she did for the BBC in April. But she’s still alive and tweeting. A sampling of what she’s been sharing of late:
A post on a blog called “Stuff Christians Like” that shows there is indeed a “50 Shades of Grace” book. Marr comments in her tweet, “Make it stop! #50ShadesOfOverIt.”
A New York magazine article about a for-profit private school called “Avenues.” Marr’s personal take: “For profit education, Suri Cruise & another ‘symptom of the teeming niche affluence of Bloomberg’s New York.’”
A story by FoodBeast.com featuring stackable, pre-filled and sealed wine glasses. “It’s finally come to this…,” Marr writes in a potentially autobiographical tweet.
Marr was fired from her job as a transportation reporter at Politico Pro following allegations of plagiarism in October. She virtually disappeared immediately after. But as of January, she came back with a WordPress blog under her name and started tweeting again. It also looks like she’s freelancing in the area. A story published in early April in the Travel section of BBC.com headlined “Baltimore’s beer flows again” is bylined Kendra Marr. Her blog says she’s “a writer, splitting [her] time between Baltimore and Washington, DC.”
The year 2011 was the year the 7-second TV delay failed miserably, that members of Congress behaved badly and Weiner headlines became something of an art form. Today we’ve pooled our wisdom into another annoying year-end list, although we hope ours will hold your interest. We’ve picked the moments that stood out most in our minds and the journalists who made them happen. Here’s to you CNN’s Wolf Blitzer for gracefully using the word “underwear” on television and to you, TIME‘s Mark Halperin, for being baited into calling the President “a dick” live on “Morning Joe.” Ed Schultz also gets points (at least for the purposes of this list) for calling conservative Laura Ingraham a “slut.” And to CBS’s Lara Logan, there are not adequate words to describe her courage.
In November, Fox News anchor Bret Baier sat down with GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. It was a hard-hitting interview that saw Romney bristle at several of the questions. When Baier brought up Romney’s penchant for flip-flopping, Romney scolds Baier like a mommy with a 5-year-old and says, “We’re going to have to be better informed about my views on issues.” To Baier’s credit, he continued pounding Romney who kept twisting and turning in his seat. The interview certainly didn’t help Romney. That marked the beginning of a surge for second-tier candidates to make runs at Romney’s frontrunner status. Baier went on The O’Reilly Factor the following day and boasted that after the interview, Romney approached him and called some of the questions “uncalled for” and “overly aggressive.” Calling Bret Baier, a “boy scout” according to Mike Allen, “overly aggressive” is like calling Andrew Breitbart a “serious journalist.” For Baier, let’s stop at fair and mostly balanced and call it a day. — Peter Ogburn
9. The Talented Mr. Nelson Lewis
Nobody is ever going to accuse Washington of being an honest place to work, but Nelson Lewis took things to a whole new level. For starters, Lewis, a former producer for Laura Ingraham‘s radio show, tried to pull off impersonating Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), an old family friend. Police arrested him for “illegal possession of a congressional lapel pin.” If that’s not humiliating enough, NYP‘s Page Six reported that Lewis claimed to be related to former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis. He even went as far as creating a fake email account from Lewis to vouch for him. It didn’t take long for the fake world to come tumbling down around him and he was left with no other option but to admit he had a lying problem. According to Page Six, Lewis checked himself into a treatment center at the beginning of this year to address his problem, which he blamed almost entirely on his former employer, Ingraham! He was led to all this lying because, according to Nelson, “she emasculated me.” Psst….there are whisperings that Lewis is working on a weekly TV program here in Washington. Stay tuned. – Peter Ogburn
8. Politico Reporter Kendra Marr Forced to Resign for Plagiarism
This year saw highs and lows for former Politico Pro transportation reporter Kendra Marr. On one hand, she got engaged in April. On the other, she was essentially fired for insufficiently attributing information to the NYT and other publications in her stories. FishbowlDC broke the story of Marr’s misdeeds in October. At the time, her colleagues said newsroom culture was in large part to blame for Marr’s sloppiness. Politico founders John Harris and Jim VandeHei referred to Marr as “a valued colleague and friend” in a memo explaining what happened. WaPo media reporter Erik Wempleempathized with Marr, writing, “When you combine Politico Pro’s pressure for originality with Politico Regular’s factory conditions, you get a force powerful enough to corrupt an otherwise good journalist.” In a recent follow-up, Wemple broke news of a new mentoring program at Politico meant to cultivate young reporters; a system that would have likely benefited Marr. Marr has essentially disappeared. Her Twitter account is still active, but she hasn’t tweeted to her 2,600 followers since the day the story of her indiscretions broke on Oct. 13. We couldn’t find a Facebook account under her name. Her LinkedIn page says she still works at Politico. Her former colleagues aren’t talking. And, perhaps most biting, the initial Google suggestion you get when searching her name is “Kendra Marr plagiarism.” — Eddie Scarry
7. Al Sharpton Lands His Own Show
If the “thrill” running up the leg of Chris Matthews ever had a child, it would be this. Never before in the history of the English language has the line, “Resist we much” been uttered, and we were all the better for it. But with that butchered line, the Reverend Al Sharpton became a television icon. “PoliticsNation,” as it is now called, was in its infancy on MSNBC, replacing the unnamed Cenk Uygur show in the 6 p.m. slot. Uygur never found an audience, it just wasn’t good, it was boring. Off he drifted into obscurity and in stepped the Reverend. Sharpton’s early shows were rough but spirited. It was as though he was allergic to words on the teleprompter. But no flub went viral, they were just laughed at by politicos. Until, that is, on August 9, 2011 when he uttered the now famous line “Resist we much.” The lines are worth reading, but it won’t help you understand what he was trying to say any more than watching the video. Here it is: “Tonight is the measure of whether the country begins in the state of Wisconsin, a national drive to push back or whether we have more to go to build a movement of resistance… BUT RESIST WE MUCH, WE MUST, AND WE WILL MUCH, ABOUT THAT, BE COMMITTED…” Sharpton, who has somehow escaped his incendiary and race-baiting past, eventually found his on-air footing…sort of. He still has a strange relationship with the teleprompter like someone from southern California has with walking on ice, but he’s getting there. His guests adore him in a deeply entertained way few other cable TV hosts can claim. He’s even scored better ratings than the unnamed Uygur show he replaced, but he has a ways to go. Sharpton, who dropped 100 pounds, has vowed never to criticizePresident Obama, isn’t exactly interested in conveying news as much as advancing an agenda. That makes his show more of a pep rally for progressives than a news program, but at least it has relegated the bloopers (mostly) to facts and not delivery. Still, Al’s attitude and activism fit nicely into MSNBC’s line-up. Take that for what it’s worth. — Piranhamous
6. Bad Boys: Ed Schultz, Mark Halperin, David Shuster all do Dumb Things
Among MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, TIME‘s Mark Halperin and Current TV’s David Shuster, it’s tough to proclaim who behaved like the biggest idiot this year. While Schultz called conservative radio personality Laura Ingraham “a slut” and got suspended for it, Halperin called the President “kind of a dick” on live TV and Shuster tried to crash an MSNBC party during White House Correspondents’ Assoc. Dinner weekend. Shuster might have once been invited to such a soirée, but the former MSNBCer was suspended and ultimately let go after saying then-Sen. Hillary Clinton had pimped out her daughter, Chelsea, during her presidential campaign. The network also frowned on his sending a demo tape to CNN for a potential job. Schultz had to perform a humbling and awkward on-air mea culpa. Halperin, it turns out, was goaded into saying the slight by Mika and Joe, who practically drowned viewers in mindless apologies after it happened. When you watch the footage, it’s clear that nerdy Halperin was dying to be part of the in crowd, which perhaps makes his the dumbest act of all. At least Schultz’s insult was as genuine as it was crass and inappropriate. Shuster? One can almost chuckle at his failed party crashing. He’s clearly no Salahi. But he swore up and down that he’d been invited. Somehow party organizers missed that detail such as the one overheard on her walkie talkie saying, “Make sure he doesn’t get in here.” – Betsy Rothstein
5. Wolf Grills a Weiner
This past summer, in the days before former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was forced to admit that he had carried on several online relationships of a sexual nature, D.C. journos were having a field day trying to make sense of the Weiner Caper. You’ll remember that Weiner accidentally tweeted a picture of (ahem) enlarged boxer shorts. But, who was it? Weiner initially claimed that it was nothing more than a “prank.” He then spent the next several days flailing wildly trying to explain away the offending picture. Which brings us to this exquisite moment from CNN Wolf Blitzer.
There it is. Blitzer flashing a money shot to a U.S. congressman asking him, “You would know if these were your underpants?” Worse than that, Weiner acted as though he didn’t KNOW if those were his undies. There is not a man alive that wouldn’t recognize his own member. It was only days later that Weiner admitted the picture was of him. (And yes, those were his underpants.) — Peter Ogburn
Luke Grills a Weiner of His Own
An Honorable Mention goes to NBC Congressional Reporter Luke Russert. In the haze of the Weiner scandal, Russert proved that he could pull his own weiner weight at the network. He also obtained a bizarre sit down with Rep. Weiner to chat about the picture of someone’s “below the waist area.” Russert appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to recap his interview and — oops — MSNBC played the wrong package about Weiner’s package and left out the actual interview portion. When they corrected the mistake, we were treated to the first moment that Weiner admitted that he “could not say with certitude” that the picture wasn’t of him.We were also treated to one of those rare relatively unscripted moments when Luke burst out laughing at the absurdity of it all. — Peter Ogburn
In early November, Politico canned its On Media blog and relaunched Ben Smith’s blog, refocusing it on the intersection of politics and media. A new reporter, Dylan Byers, was even hired to help with Ben Smith‘s new-ish project.One month later, Smith announced he’s leaving Politico to be the editor of BuzzFeed. The move caught everyone by surprise for sure. After all, Smith made his name the last seven years reporting on political news, not BuzzFeed material like dogs dressed as pigs and “Shit Girls Say.” But, as he wrote in the announcement on his blog, “…I won’t stop writing or thinking about politics. In fact I’ll continue to write once weekly for POLITICO…” And he told Howard Kurtz on CNN’s Reliable Sources, “In politics, as in other areas, we’re going to hire some great reporters and turn them loose.” We shot Smith several questions. He wouldn’t answer all of them (like whether anyone was pissed that he’s leaving Politico just after his blog was relaunched), but he did tell us his official start date at BuzzFeed is Jan. 1. He said it’ll be the first time he’s back to working in an actual office in a while (“I currently work in a shared office space in Brooklyn, which I love, but also always enjoyed working out of the newsroom when I was in Washington or, pre-Politico, in New York.”) And he’s thinking of switching out his current Twitter profile picture — the official Politico cartoon of him — for “one of those Ben from BuzzFeed memes.” We’ve picked one for him. See here. Congratulations to Smith — we wish him well in his transition. — Eddie Scarry
3. Andrew Breitbart’s “Balls of Steel”
Remember “Abs of Steel”? The workout tape most famous for setting the Guinness World Record for VHS tape with the most dust collected without ever having been played? Well forget it, we have a new “of steel” winner this year – Andrew Breitbart and his “Balls of Steel.” Breitbart shell-shocked the media by hijacking the Manhattan press conference at which now former Rep. Weiner was set to resign. Every news junkie waited patiently for Weiner to show up to the presser he called, but he was running late. Breitbart, who coincidentally was in the neighborhood, heard about it and went to the hotel. Reporters mobbed him, as he was the man who broke the original “sexting” story. When WCBS reporter Marcia Kramer told him he should go to the still unoccupied podium, what happened next was among the most surreal moments in politics of the year. The cherry on top was when Weiner eventually showed up and apologized to Breitbart for implying Andrew had “hacked” his Twitter account. It was something Salon’s Joan Walsh and too many TV personalities have yet to do for insinuating the same thing. In the end, Weiner was out, Breitbart was in and most of the media, who had ignored the story for as long as they could, had egg on their collective face. Breitbart “crashing” Weiner’s press conference was one of the ballsiest, unforgettable moments of the year. While the world probably could have lived without Opie & Anthony leaking the “money-shot” picture from Breitbart’s cell phone, more than those images were seared into our memories from that story. Bravo, Breitbart. — Piranhamous
2. Greta Goes Apesh&t on Tucker
When a longtime friendship goes sour online, it’s something to watch. When it happens on live TV, you’re on pins and needles. If you’ve ever spent time with Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson, you know he’s first to laugh, crack jokes and understand another person’s point of view even if he abhors it. After The Daily Caller published a story in the fall reporting lewd comments Mike Tyson had made on a radio show — he referred to a sex act with the former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as “a womb shifter” — FNC’s Greta Van Susterenwent ballistic and called Carlson “a pig.” Wait a second — wasn’t Tyson the pig? To be sure, Greta is nuts for Palin. The former Gov. attended the White House Correspondents’ Assoc. Dinner parties as her guest and has appeared on her show multiple times. On her Gretawire blog, the host blathered on about Carlson’s sexism. She put a dent in their friendship by attacking him personally. She questioned how he ran the story with a wife and daughters. She said his female employees must be upset. She insisted that his publication must be doing so poorly for him to publish the story. Ultimately she invited him on her program, and he accepted. This is when a seriously pissed off Carlson showed up and coolly put Greta in her place. But not without a showdown. There were no smiles. No jokes. The friendship is not in enemy territory, but it’s certainly not as warm as it once was. – Betsy Rothstein
1. Lara Logan Offers an Interview to 60 Minutes
Of all the moments of 2011, by far the bravest came when CBS’s Lara Logan gave an on-air interview to CBS’s Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes.” She boldly went on TV in early May and spoke of the attack and rape that happened to her in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. “It looks like a party,” she said, slowly describing the scene for Pelley. …”It was impossible to not get caught up in the moment.” But soon there was a savage mob scene and things spiraled out of control. “For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands,” she said. “Suddenly, before I even know what’s happening, I feel hands grabbing my breasts, grabbing my crotch, grabbing me from behind.” Logan didn’t think she’d survive it. Eventually she was saved by Egyptian women in the square who closed ranks around her until she reached safety. Watch a clip of the “60 Minutes” segment with Logan here. But get the tissues. You’re going to need them. — Betsy Rothstein
WaPo‘s Erik Wemple appropriately points out in a Monday post that the NYTfailed to give Politico proper credit for its Herman Cain sexual harassment story. We just think that if WaPo‘s media opinion writer is going to criticize the NYT for attribution problems, that he point out that this critique first began in early November.
As readers may recall, this was when NYT‘s Jim Rutenberg squabbled about the finer points of “newspapering” and how it’s perfectly acceptable for one version of a story to cite Politico and another to leave it out. The gist was, don’t we know anything about smoothing information into a story with each passing edition and shouldn’t we correct our “glaring error?” That was three days after the Politico story first broke. And Rutenberg was explaining to us that at some point a story evolves and “takes on a life of its own” and no longer necessarily requires attribution.
Here we are a month later and Wemple is right that the comprehensive NYT Cain story ought to have cited Politico. But then again, Wemple, too, is guilty of taking a story and not giving the outlet that broke it proper credit. Try this relatively recent story on Politico‘s firing/resignation of Kendra Marr, who was caught lifting passages from other publications such as the NYT. Wemple got around to analyzing the situation some 24 hours after the fact. No doubt someone aside from himself deserved credit for that one.
When we wrote about NYT nixing credit to Politico on the Cain story, we got mail about what a great guy Rutenberg is — one said pointedly, “Leave Rutenberg alone” — which is hardly the point when covering the media, as most people are not monsters.
The waters are getting muddied with the alleged sexual harassment story on Herman Cain. Since Monday, Politico has been getting loads of credit for breaking the news — on TV, online, and in print. The publication’s Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman broke the story and have been doing gobs of TV hits ever since.
But curiously on Tuesday night, Mother Jones’ Washington Bureau Chief David Corn pointed out a rather glaring omission from a NYT story by Jim Rutenberg, Jeff Zeleny and Mike McIntire on how much a Cain accuser was paid. Namely credit for the Politico reporters who broke the original story. Corn wrote to Zeleny on Twitter, “Good story re the Cain scandal. But why not one mention of Politico? Did I miss that?”
Weirdly, the NYT cites HLN and Fox News — so they do understand the concept of attribution.
Now we realize former Politico scribe Kendra Marr ripped off material from the NYT sans attribution. But tit for tat? Seems unusual for the NYT.
UPDATE: If you don’t watch yourselves you could find yourself on the receiving end of a condescending journalism lecture from NYT‘s Rutenberg, who is full of lame excuses. In a subsequent email he told me he doesn’t care that much but that he was explaining the “business of newspapering” for my benefit. Thank you very much, Jim — you’re a gem. So here it goes: “We wrote our story right up against our first print deadline,” he wrote to FBDC. “Credit to Politico was in our second (and it happens, last) edition story, as well as our online story as of some point last night, as we smoothed through the story between editions, which is how it works in newspaperland when news comes in late and close to the first deadline. I hardly think the newspaper has been stingy about credit on this story, which has taken on a life of its own now anyway.” Memo to Rutenberg: The fact remains, the credit was not in the first version of the story and should have been “smoothed” into that first version as a basic piece of information. Should you want to attend a really boring FBDC lecture on the matter, we can arrange it. My panel will be Ezra Klein and Lester Kinsolving. Jason Mattera will ambush but I can’t tell you when or it’ll ruin the ambush. It will be four hours.
Mark McKinnon, political communications strategist and columnist for The Daily Beast, chatted with Politico‘s Executive Editor Jim VandeHei over the weekend at the Shorenstein Center’s 25th celebration at Harvard Kennedy School. What emerged might surprise you.
Among the topics: Twitter. Watch out Politico scribes. “I don’t like reporters tweeting when they should be reporting,” said VandeHei. “If they are doing it right, they are reporting.”
In the Harvard interview, VandeHei noted that the problem with young recent grads he interviews today is they’re brilliant, but incapable of shifting through large quantities of information. He described many as very smart but “incapable of coherence.” He went on to talk about the importance of oversight, saying, “editors are essential.” The Politico co-founder also introduced uncommon journalism lingo into the conversation as he discussed “deeper dive” pieces. He calls them key to the future of journalism. He said Mike Allen has the most “readers” and “feeders.” He showered Allen with praise, saying he has a “special gift of getting people to talk. He’s nice, trusted.”
For those waiting fitfully for the day when VandeHei utters his first tweet he’s at @JimVandeHei. But don’t hold your breath.
Last week WaPo published two analysis stories on the forced resignation of Politico‘s Kendra Marr due to plagiarism. Neither credited the outlet that broke the story.
Wasn’t it Paul Farhi who roughly one year ago said citing the original news source didn’t matter? Here’s what he told us at the time: “Personally, I believe it’s a courtesy to credit the original news source of a story, but I don’t think it’s a requirement or even important. All news originates from somewhere (a neighbor, a whistleblower, a government official, a press release, a wire service, whatever) and it’s a reporter’s obligation to check and verify the original information (which in this case it certainly was). Unless one is taking someone else’s work without attribution (that is, plagiarizing it) any news story should stand on its own and speaks for itself as an original piece of work.”
Clearly that view still holds. His newish colleague Erik Wemple has followed his lead despite openly disagreeing with Farhi’s remarks at the time. Wemple was heading up TBD when he wrote this under the post: “When a news organization writes a news story that is already ‘out there’ without giving proper credit to the origin, then it’s creating the impression that it is breaking the news. If indeed another outlet already reported that news, that is a false impression. Or a lie, if you will. So if you’re a news organization that doesn’t credit outlets that break something and act as though you are writing the exclusive, you’re committing an offense that’s tantamount to misleading your readers. And that’s not something that news organizations should be doing. If you care about honesty and transparency, you over-credit.”
Does anyone else see the irony of Washington media falling all over themselves to cover a story on a woman being forced to resign for not properly citing other publications and then not attributing to the outlet that broke the news?
Tale of the Tape…Last Thursday night FBDC broke the story of Marr’s resignation. Some might argue that Politico themselves broke the news on the website but newsflash: a publication cannot formally break its own news. What they did was the equivalent of sending out a mass press release. At 8:34 p.m. editors posted an editorial note but not the internal memo. They offered no public accounts of the aftermath. Associated Press rolled in later. No time stamp. No attribution. HuffPost? Basic recap. Nothing new. No attribution. The following day WaPo turned around their typical half a day later analysis stories by Farhi and Wemple. Reuters ran a story by Lucas Shaw of The Wrap: Nothing new. No attribution. Poynter: No attribution, but at least they offered new news. NYT‘s Media decoder blog came in with an embarrassingly late story sans attribution Friday afternoon by Tanzina Vega. Pretty odd considering that a NYT scribe first discovered Marr’s plagiarism and brought it to the attention of Politico brass. Finally, Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan offered a ray of hope akin to kicking a horse when it’s down. “You messed up bad, Kendra. But it only takes five years to be forgiven for anything. Good luck in your next career.” Again, no attribution.
Those who offered citations on how the story first broke: Mediaite, Yahoo! News‘ Cutline Blog, The Weekly Standard. A note to The Weekly Standard’s “Scrapbook” from the latest issue: Why not hold the editors responsible for Marr accountable? I stand by what I wrote: Marr was a solid reporter who didn’t intend anything malicious. This was most prevalent in conversations with newsroom sources at varying levels of power within the publication. Marr’s plagiarism wasn’t an “aberration” as you said I intended with my post. She bears enormous responsibility here. But to say this began with Marr in a vacuum is shortsighted. It was a culture that prompted it, pushed it, even willed it to happen. You make a valuable point on her future and the 25-year-old landing on her feet sometime soon — many hope you’re right.
But all of this begs the question of whether you, Scrapbook, spoke to anyone within Politico’s ranks before writing “Plagiarism Watch.” My money’s on no.
(See what The Weekly Standard had to say after the jump…)
Quintessential fluffy cloud White House photograph by FNC’s Ed Henry who was spotted milling about the Meridien Ball Friday night with his wife, Shirley Hung Henry.
“Funereal.” — Word used over the weekend to describe the mood inside Politico‘s newsroom on Friday, the day after Kendra Marr was forced to resign for seven instances of plagiarism.
A Suggestion for FishbowlDC
“No need to be uncordial. Perhaps your bowl needs it’s water changed – oxygen helps one think more critically.” — A reader named @MouthWiredShut, whom we scolded after he wrote something unnecessarily crass about Politico‘s Marr. This was his response to the scolding, which involved telling him that he may want to revisit wiring his mouth shut.
Reporter encounters cranky cabbie
“Cab driver looked at me incredulously when I asked him to take me to #dedicatemlk. ‘I came out here so I could avoid traffic from that.’” — Roll Call‘s Jessica Estepa.
“Left the White House at 12:32, drove past the Washington Monument area of the Mall, where crowds are milling about for the Al Sharpton-endorsed March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, which is meant to show support for the president’s jobs bill, and the offshoot DC voting rights march. It’s a gorgeous fall day, temperature around 65 with light winds. Not unexpectedly, the president has decided to spend it playing golf at Joint Base Andrews.” — Politico White House Reporter Jennifer Epstein in a weekend Pool Report.
Ezzy is headed to Hong Kong
“Headed to Hanoi, Hong Kong, and Singapore in a week. Anyone have restaurant/restaurant guide suggestions?” — WaPo‘s liberal blogger and lead Boybander Ezra Klein. We will miss you Ez. Please, if you could dispatch restaurant reviews we’d love it. Hope you’re at least doing MSNBC hits from the Far East.
Convo Between Two Journos
Today’s conversation is between MSNBC “Morning Joe” Host Mika Brzezinksi and Politico’s Patrick Gavin. Gavin once interviewed Mika for a Game Changer video in which they ran up the Exorcist steps in Georgetown.
Mika: “Cmon patrick!!! lets do some steps…. you can bring your cat.”
Gavin: “@morningmika I don’t wanna brag, but I’ve made some serious fitness gains. You. Me. Stadium runs. Name it.”
Mika: “Oh please meeeow Patrick MEEEOW.” With that, she linked to this.
What does Levi think?
“I was a big Obama supporter and kinda, like, believed everything he said he was gonna do, they were all lies ! he’s just another puppet.” — Bristol Palin‘s ex Levi Johnston.
Journo spots a star
“Jon Bon Jovi is on my Acela. He is butterscotch-colored, including his hair. Nobody has asked him for an autograph.” — Slate‘s (soon to be NYT) Annie Lowrey.
Scribe regrets idea
“Trying to get to the DMV today in Georgetown is perhaps the worst idea I’ve ever had. #EmoSOSTweets.” — Roll Call‘s Meredith Shiner.
Spotted: Cain’s expanding entourage
“Herman Cain had an entourage of 6 or 7 guys today, as he entered NBC for Meet the Press this morning… staffing up?” — The Daily Caller‘s Alex Pappas.
Tragedy Strikes: Boybander sleeps through Hazy’s show
“Awww, crap. Slept thru Up with Chris Hayes!” — TPM‘s Brian Beutler. Thankfully second-tier Boybander Spencer Ackerman came through and BIG. “If you missed Up W @chrislhayes just now, you missed the most sophisticated discussion of MLK, Obama & institutional politics ever televised,” wrote the Wired reporter.
Unnecessary Tweet(s) of the Day
Ladies and gentleman, it’s a FishbowlDC first. We have a tie.
“Baking pie. Oh so much pie.” – Roll Call‘s Estepa.
“So I bought myself flowers to match my office.” — Metro Weekly Co-Publisher Sean Bugg.
A NYT reporter has brought information to Politico‘s Editor-in-Chief John Harris and Executive Editor Jim VandeHei that has led to a reporter’s forced resignation. Politico issued a lengthy and serious memo tonight to employees announcing that Kendra Marr, a national political reporter who recently moved to a transportation beat, has been let go after numerous examples of lifted passages from other publications surfaced in seven of her stories.
The news is weighing hard on Politico executives. Marr was a beloved reporter in the newsroom. Even in their Editor’s note they refer to her as a “friend.” She was conscientious, solid. She wasn’t known to be among Politico‘s rock stars, but as a former reporter for WaPo whose work has appeared in The Orange County Register, San Jose Mercury News and The Miami Herald, she had a bright future. Now, we’re told, her career in Washington journalism is effectively over.
“We have some difficult news to share,” begins the memo. “Kendra Marr, who has been a valued colleague and friend during her time here, has offered her resignation, and her editors have accepted.”
Those who know her well say there is no way Marr did this maliciously or even, necessarily, knowingly. Nor is anyone internally comparing this to a Jayson Blair (formerly with the NYT) type scenario. They reason pressure and sloppiness contributed to her fall.
The memo continues, “The background on this episode, which came to light late last night and today, is shared with readers in an editors’ note that we have included below. There were instances of language and ideas published in at least seven of her POLITICO stories that borrowed without attribution from work that had been published previously in other publications. As we say in the editors’ note, we have found no cases of invention of scenes and quotes. Even so, these examples represented a lapse of our standards that we could not defend or tolerate. It is a reminder to all of us to take care in our work, to err on the side of attribution and transparency, and to never forget that our trust with readers is something that has to be preserved and built upon every day, in every story. We will be following up on these lessons in newsroom conversations in coming days.”
Top brass isn’t taking the matter lightly. In an Editor’s note to readers, Politico does something it has rarely, if ever, done: They apologize to their journalistic colleagues, competitors and readers.
“Editors’ note: One of the inviolable principles of journalism, one we live by at POLITICO, is that the work we publish must be genuinely our own. Whenever we must rely on reporting or ideas that were first produced by others, our policy is to cite and/or link to these sources by name, and aim to be fully transparent with our audience. In all other instances, our readers deserve full confidence that the reporting and writing in POLITICO is original. We learned Thursday of a case where a reporter published work in POLITICO that fell short of this bright line. We are taking action in response, including this explanation of what happened to our readers.”
See Marr’s now corrected and properly attributed stories after the jump…