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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Brandus’

West Wing Reports Offers Sidewalk Tours

The sequester may have shut down White House tours for the time being, but West Wing Reports‘ founder Paul Brandus is here to fill the void.

For $15 bucks a person, Brandus will give you an inside look at the White House from outside its gates.

“Meet me in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:30 for a 30-minute chat (and Q & A) about the world’s most famous home, its history, legends and lore,” he says on the tour page at Vayable.com.

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Morning Chatter

Anonymous Rant: “When will you note the obvious: that there is nothing remotely new or surprising in ‘This Town?’ Everything is exactly as it appears, and on closer inspection, no more interesting. Tammy Haddad aided a charity to advance her own interests — like everyone else. Andrea Mitchell is married to someone famous and hasn’t broken news in years; Bardella pathetic; The White House passes along Issa gossip but no oppo research; speculation and no reporting on why Jarrett gets security detail; Reid is blunt; Hillary once used the F word while stating the obvious — that the WHCD doesn’t matter; Most of this well-reported years ago, and the rest of no interest to anyone, even inside Washington. (You might be right, Anonymous. NYT‘s Mark Leibovich‘s This Town may not be the book for you. But I didn’t know all those details on Kurt Bardella or Rep. Darrell Issa, the purported car thief. And I never tire of hearing more about how D.C. publicity/mob boss Tammy Haddad operates, insider details on NBC “MTP” Executive Producer Betsy Fischer‘s ever important birthday party (that we were surprisingly invited to), a politician cussing out the WHCD or how this town sometimes runs on the fuel of dripping self-importance.)

Um, seriously Howie: “Buncha?”

“Twitter needs a way to tell you that you have direct messages. How hard can that be? Just discovered buncha old ones.” — Fox News and Daily Download‘s Howard Kurtz. Best response: “Do you not speak to anyone ever?” — HyperVocal and Sirius XM’s Slade Sohmer.

Journo backs Spitzer (well, sort of)

“Love Eliot Spitzer. Bought a flat screen with the page view bonus I got from posting pix of his hookers. Would vote him for anything.” — Guardian‘s Jim Newell.

Scolded.

“I hardly ever respond to trolls, but there’s an amazing comment on my instagram saying I need to ‘start acting like a senators daughter.’” — Daily Beast columnist Meghan McCain. Funniest response: “Wait, did I miss a nip slip or something?” — Christopher Ortiz, co-founder of Newscastic and editor of StuffJournalistsLike.com.

WCP editor wants Leno to vanish

“Wish there was a way to program TV to immediately change channel away from NBC as soon as news ended so Jay Leno just vanished.” — Washington City Paper Editor-in-Chief Mike Madden.

Heartwarming thought of the morning

“Chatted with two young journalists today. Smart, passionate, curious. That they could do anything – and chose journalism – is wonderful” — Paul Brandus, West Wing Reports.

Editor is crazy for cranberries

“Why doesn’t @OceanSprayInc make their own line of yogurt? I would buy all the cran-orange yogurt. Or cran-raspberry or cran-grape or just plain cranberry yogurt! Seriously @OceanSprayInc, you are missing out on a huge opportunity here.” — Atlantic Cities Sommer Mathis.

Anonymous email to FishbowlDC this morning: “Evidently TWT never tires of doing the same things with the same people and expecting a different result.”

Politico Playbook Publish Time: 9:10 a.m.

 

 

Separated at Birth: WWR’s Brandus and NJ’s Roarty

It’s not often that we find journalists that could pass for brothers. But today we discovered major similarities in the facial bone structures of The Week‘s and West Wing ReportsPaul Brandus (at right) and National Journal political writer Alex Roarty.

Morning Reading List 06.06.13.

Brandus gives life advice to grads — In his column for The Week, Paul Brandus offers his advice to high school graduates. When he was was 18, he says, he made a list of everything he wanted to do with his life. One might call it a bucket list. As he got older he added some things to the list and dropped others. “You might think some of these are cliches — but they’re also true, and will help you lead a truly fulfilling life,” he says. It’s a pretty extensive list, and has cliches, as Brandus warned. But much of the list seemed like advice that wasn’t dished by out old, successful people at every commencement speech or given by every aunt, uncle and grandparent at graduation parties. The first piece of advice: “Zig when others zag.” Brandus goes on to encourage traveling, and taking only carry-ons whenever possible. He also gives a lot of advice about baseball — where to sit to catch a foul ball, which parks are the best, whether to watch games on TV or listen to them on the radio. Thanks for the advice, Paul. We’ll be sure not to visit the salad bar after 3 p.m.

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FishbowlDC Interview With Paul Brandus

Say hello to Paul Brandus who writes West Wing Reports and a column for The Week. He’s an independent White House Correspondent who writes a blog and has a Twitter account in which he doesn’t use his name. How come he goes nameless? “Here’s a question for you,” begins his standard refrain about it. “Name the CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN & Fox reporters at the White House 10 years ago. How about five years ago? This may come as a disappointment to many folks in this egocentric town, but most people can’t remember the names. And that’s at the most visible beat in Washington. Names fade quickly. But brand names have enduring market value. People have no idea who I am personally. I’d prefer they know my brands, one of which is West Wing Reports. Brands can be licensed, flipped, monetized in more enduring ways.” Even so, let’s get to know the man behind the brand, shall we? Brandus was a foreign correspondent in Moscow for five years. He worked for the U.S. Embassy, eventually NBC and NPR and did some magazine work. While in Moscow, he bought the broadcast rights to the Super Bowl from the NFL. He later worked at MSNBC and Fox — he says the concept of this makes people’s heads explode. “I helped launch MSNBC back in 1996,” Brandus explains. “Worked for Steve Capus, who went on to become President of NBC News. Good man. I was a writer, but apparently too good of a writer because they put me in charge of editing all the other writers. That’s where I learned the 80/20 rule: 20 percent of your people will cause 80 percent of your problems. At Fox News, I was a senior prime time producer in New York, working on news cut ins every half hour. If the you-know-what hit the fan, we had to run into the control room across the hall and break into Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity & Alan Colmes. Great fun.” Brandus worked on Wall Street for several years, cashed out and started another media company, his own. In 2011 he became a columnist for The Week. He moderates conferences for them on energy and cybersecurity. He also works with a Northern Virginia venture capital firm. Brandus won’t be found on the Washington cocktail circuit. Instead, he spends his weekends with his 18-month-old daughter or family horses in Fairfax County.

Now let’s proceed to the really important stuff.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Cherry Coke Zero

How often do you Google yourself? Once or twice a year.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? My old boss, Jim Farley, who hired me twice – first at NBC years ago and later at WTOP – taught me WGAS: “Who gives a shit?” It has universal applications today and I’ve used it to great effect in various times and places. WGAS is also text-friendly.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Anyone who understands it’s not about them. Anyone who eschews the limelight and simply focuses on finding things out, communicating about it well and not pretending to be an expert or feeling compelled to have an opinion on everything.

Who is your favorite White House reporter and why? The wire service folks are usually the best. Not flashy, just solid, nose-to-the-grindstone types day in and day out. I really admire them.

Do you have a favorite word? “Dada.” Uttered by a certain 17-month old little girl.

What word or phrase do you overuse? “Dumb ass.” Use it a lot.

Who would you rather have dinner with – CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s John King or CNN’s Piers Morgan. Tell us why. I think John King is an honest, hard-working, straight shooter guy. You know what I like about him? He made a mistake during the Boston coverage and dealt with it in a transparent, humble and honest way. People err – and it’s how they deal with it – for better or worse – that I remember. I tend to get along well with people like that.

What is the most interesting conversation you’ve had in awhile in the course of your work and who was it with? If I hadn’t hung up on Ronald Reagan in 1990, it might have been the time when, on a dare, I called him at home in 1990. This was a year after he left the White House. The Reagans were living in Bel Air and I never thought he would answer the phone himself. But I heard that famous voice: “Hello?” on the other end, freaked out and hung up. To use my favorite word, I was such a dumb ass. So I guess the answer would be the time I downed vodka shots with Boris Yeltsin at a Fourth of July party at Spaso House, the home of the U.S. Ambassador to Russia. I was lurking by the bar when he came over and we wound up downing a few and chatting. That’s what you do in Russia. Drink. Talk. Drink some more.

Tell us a funny story from the White House Briefing Room. Can be long or short. There used to be a guy named Lester Kinsolving, who used to show up in the briefing every day. Haven’t seen him in many months. He used to ask the most bizarre, completely out of left field questions imaginable on completely obscure, irrelevant matters. Bush’s flacks and now Obama’s used to call on him as a diversion. And, in this digital age, he used to carry a giant cassette recorder around with him like it was 1983 or something. Not picking on Lester, he is a nice guy. Hope he’s OK.

Without naming names, tell us some shitty thing that happened in the course of you covering the White House… Read more

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY: Mother’s Day at Nats Park w @LukeRsmom beer & dogs 1 price fixed brunch 0.

“Is this Fox News or National Inquirer?” — Rep.-elect Mark Sanford on Fox News Sunday.

Gayle King in leopard panties

“At dc gym w\ fav daughter kirby says your panties are showing I say so she says mom nobody wants to see that & they’re leopard! love kirby!” — CBS’ Gayle King.

The Observer

“Sitting at the bar. Watching a girl tweeze her eyebrows #saturdaynighthustle” — Roll Call HOH’s Neda Semnani.

Fish out of water

“At a party in Virginia with people who aren’t on the internet all week and haven’t seen all the important gifs. It’s weird. I mean a few of these people don’t even have smart phones.” — Adam Smith, communications director at Public Campaign and PC Action Fund.

Did someone say “fishbowl?

“Those who think we have to stay in the conservative fishbowl and swap ideas with only each other are KILLING this movement. #BlogCon13″ — Conservative radio host Dana Loesch.

Spotted at the 22nd St. Ritz on Saturday night….WaPo and MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart with three undisclosed male companions headed to the bar.

A Mother’s Day warning

“Don’t burn down the house gentlemen.” — Chef Geoff Tracy, i.e. Mr. Norah O’Donnell.

And a more emotional reaction to Mother’s Day…

“Thinking about everything my mother has done for her children. yup, about to cry.” — National Journal‘s Elahe Izadi.

A question an editor asks himself: “Have I really reached a point in my life where *I’m* the (only) one who thinks playing baseball inside the house is a bad idea?” — U.S. News & World Report‘s Robert Schlesinger.

Gossip and rumors

Stephanie Cutter was rumored to be heading to #CNN but got a better job: at Bank of America helping it dodge bank regulations.” — Paul Brandus of West Wing Reports and The Week.

TV journo gets cussed out

“VMAIL of the day: ‘Hey, jerk off. I don’t appreciate what you said about Ted Cruz. F—ing loser.’ I wonder what prompted that? Hmmm” — Capehart.

In Praise of White House Correspondents

Today’s White House Correspondents are not lapdogs, but in the past, that’s exactly what they were. So says White House Correspondent Paul Brandus in a column for The Week published this morning.

An excerpt:

Conservatives often like to say that White House reporters (who often work for big, conservative companies like News Corp., Time Warner, and Disney) are liberals who just pass along whatever they are spoonfed by Team Obama. In this view, it’s all a big love fest between journalists and the president down the hall.

They ask why the “liberal media” ignored the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Somehow these critics missed the 800+ articles that The Washington Post and New York Times alone have run on the story.

The past tells a different story. Read more

Authors Enter ‘Deep State’ of Government Secrecy

The Week is hosting a book party tomorrow night for Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady for their new book, Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry. Ambinder is editor-at-large for The Week, and a contributing editor for GQ and The Atlantic; Grady is a correspondent for The Atlantic.

The event includes cocktails and conversation with the authors at the National Press Club that includes a talk moderated by The Week‘s Paul Brandus, who writes West Wing Reports.

An excerpt of the book’s description on Amazon reads like an episode of ABC’s “Scandal.”

“The government secrecy industry speaks in a private language of codes and acronyms, and follows an arcane set of rules and customs designed to perpetuate itself, repel penetration, and deflect oversight. It justifies itself with the assertion that the American values worth preserving are often best sustained by subterfuge and deception. There are indications that this deep state is crumbling. Necessary secrets are often impossible to keep, while frivolous secrets are kept forever. The entire system has fallen prey to political manipulation, with leaks carefully timed to advance agendas, and over-classification given to indefensible government activities.”

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

Hookerpalooza: So many hookers, so little time 

Monday at 11:36 p.m.: “The Washington Post piece today on Menendez and the Dominican hookers was completely, utterly wrong. Our story coming soon.” — The Daily Caller‘s Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson. 11:40 p.m.: “WaPo might have saved itself the embarrassment if they’d bothered to call us before running their stupid piece.” 12:46 a.m.: “Turns out the Washington Post got the wrong hooker: [Read here].” After going mute for 48 hours after WaPo ran a story saying one of the hookers was paid off, Breitbart‘s Matthew Boyle, who likes to brag that he broke the original hooker-Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) story for his former employer, The Daily Caller, finally piped up this morning at 12:49 a.m.: “Washington Post mixes up prostitutes. You got the wrong girl, guys.” Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston sums the whole thing up well: “Seriously, folks, what could go wrong if an “escort” was your main source?”

A journo’s dinner: “Just one of those days where 6pm Cheetos from White House vending machine is first meal of the day.” — AP‘s Josh Lederman.

Gossip columnist or therapist?

“I’m starting to think that people are using the HOH tip line to save time and money on therapy and journals.” — Roll Call HOH writer Neda Semnani.

WANTED: Fact checker: “WWR seeks to hire a researcher/fact checker for a six-month project. Work remotely from anywhere. Send resumes to westwingrpt@gmail.com” — Paul Brandus of West Wing Reports.

Oversharing Sherri

“Leaving house late again – does it ever feel like you try 2B organized but sometimes all goes awry? Where the heck is his backpack & my wig!” — ABC “The View’s” Sherri Shepherd.

Pundit urges cold beer

“The city of New Orleans Is under a boil water advisory. Another excuse to drink cold beer.” — Democratic pundit on CNN and ABC Donna Brazile.

Important news nugget of the day…“Brodie Jenner is joining the Kardashians next season. (Remember his reality show “Bromance?”)” — FBDC and TheBlaze‘s Eddie Scarry.

And now a word from BuzzFeed D.C. Bureau Chief John Stanton: “NO WASHINGTON POST IT CAN’T BE CALLED SNOWQUESTER”

Politico Playbook Publish Time: 8:25 a.m.

Convo Between a Reporter and a Researcher

Politico‘s Steve Friess: “Entertaining twitter debate betw [WaPo's Greg Sargent] & [NJ's Ron Fournier] right now. Summary: GOP bad. No, everyone is. No, just GOP.”

Logan Dobson, research analyst for The Tarrance Group, a GOP Polling firm: “Steve Friess, it’s possible we have different definitions of entertaining.”

Writing tip, important Q and more…

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Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day — the Oscar edition

Oscar coverage, attendance

“I just used a port-a-potty while wearing a tux. #glamour#oscars” — WaPo‘s Dan Zak.

“I love that my ticket for the Oscars tonight specifies ‘formal’ attire.” — Garance Franke-Ruta, senior editor, The Atlantic, whose work in ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, was made into an Oscar-nominated documentary, “How to Survive a Plague.”

Editor dreads need for reading glasses

“Getting gray hair didn’t bother me. Hitting 40 was no big deal. But new realization that reading glasses are necessary isn’t sitting well.” — The Hill‘s Managing Editor Bob Cusack.

Sighting: rapper at DCA

“SPOTTED – @2chainz at DCA Washington Reagan National Airport this morning #DMV” — Marky Mark, a.k.a. Mark Wilkins, DC Celebrity. 2 Chainz’ real name is Tauheed Epps. His previous nickname was Tity Boi.

Dana Perino: a slave to travel size products

“Very glad to have found @3floz - products to save a woman traveler’s life. Take THAT airport security lines!” — FNC’s Dana Perino.

“On our way to the Oscars.” – Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, with wife, Elizabeth.

D.C. Oscar Observers

  • “Reese Witherspoon says she let her 13-year-old pick out her dress. It shows.” — Roll Call’s Meredith Shiner.
  • “Seacrest, you really don’t need to stoop down to talk to Little Q.” — Conservative freelancer Lisa De Pasquale.
  • “I know everyone loves her… but every time Kerry Washington opens her mouth and I’m watching, I swear I lose brain cells.” — D.C. socialite Katherine Kennedy.
  • “It is now time for me to turn off and stow electronic devices. BUT HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SEE WHAT ANNE HATHAWAY IS WEARING? Ugh.” — The Daily Caller‘s Taylor Bigler.
  • “Somebody get a box for Ryan Seacrest to stand on.” — Paul Brandus, of West Wing Reports and a columnist for The Week.
  • “Whoever is pregnant lady in the black lace cap sleeve dress, it suits you vvery nicely. you are w/channiing tatum who suits well too. #Oscar.” — NPR’s Kitty Eisele.
  • “OMG, Beasts of the Southern Wild won’t win because it’s too good to win, too good for this world!” — NYT‘s Jonathan Weisman.
  • “John Travolta introducing the muscials tribute is pretty gay.” — BuzzFeed‘s Chris Geidner.

Splish Splash…“Just gave the one-week-old a bath. To thank me, she drenched me with urine.” — BuzzFeed Political Editor McKay Coppins.

Um, use the rear entrance

“TONIGHT: Fashion Industry Sunday Party in DC at Huxley w/sexy deep house and live sax. Open bar 8-9pm! Use rear entrance, knock twice!” — Real Housewives of D.C.’s favorite stylist Paul Wharton.

D.C. journo finds a new pet peeve and more D.C. scribes offer Oscar observations, some are even worth reading… Read more

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