Mediaite’s editor-in-chief Andrew Kirell joined me in the first hour of Friday’s program, talking about Mediaite, himself, and President Obama’s interview with GloZell.
HH: Every single day, I’ve got show prep to do, and I’m usually watching Jake Tapper on The Lead. Then I run over to Mediaite and take a look at what Mediaite’s got up there. For example, this afternoon, Glozell is at the very top of Mediaite, and you can take a look at NBC’s Richard Engel has made a very important, very important point about whether or not the president of the United States ought to be saying anything good about the king of Saudi Arabia who just died, because the king of Saudi Arabia, according to Richard Engel, could not stand him. So Mediaite has become sort of show prep, and I think not just for me, and I’m going to talk to its editor-in-chief now, Andrew Kirell. How are you, Andrew, welcome to the program.
AK: Good. How are you? Thanks for having me.
HH: Well you know, I read that very odd interview you did with the Mirror, and I thought to myself, this will be interesting. That’s just unlike every other profile I’ve ever seen done. How much grief did you get for that?
HH: The Mirror interview in which, I just have never seen that format.
AK: Oh, yeah, no, with Betsy Rothstein?
HH: Yeah, she’s hilarious.
AK: So she’s a real riot. Those are fun. You know, not much grief. I tried to answer the questions as goofily as possible so as to not cause any controversy, but also get some laughs.
HH: Yeah, I’m curious about that. Was that in real time? Or was that by email over a period of time?
AK: By email.
HH: Yeah, that’s, okay…
AK: One set sheet,yeah.
HH: That gives you a little bit better opportunity to do it. Betsy has been a guest of mind over here at the Heritage Foundation studios. Now let’s go over to Mediaite. And I want to get your take as to why Glozell is at the top of Mediaite tonight when there’s so much news in the world. Is it because it gets the most clicks?
AK: Yeah, right now, that’s the story that’s doing really well. The other one that was doing well before that, also, you know, sort of the business of digital journalism is that you have to change up the lead story, otherwise people don’t think there’s any new news. You have to constantly change it up every couple of hours. Before that, though, the biggest story of the day, I would say, is Richard Engel. That sort of like rocked people’s world a little bit.
HH: Well, it’s interesting because the combination of them, Glozell cannot be that big of a deal, even though it’s a big deal in the world of media. And I actually don’t…
AK: Yeah, exactly, yeah.
HH: I don’t blast the President for meeting with her when you’ve got five million subscribers, or three million subscribers. You’d better talk to Glozell. By the way, did anyone give the President grief for talking to any other comedian at any other time?
AK: From the YouTube feeds? Yeah, I’m interested to see whether or not they thought there was anybody else that was outrageous. Well, in the past, if you remember, maybe two years ago or last year, what’s his name who hosts…
DP: Zach Galifianakis.
HH: Yeah, Galifianikis?
AK: Family Fued…oh, the Galifianakis one, too, but also, I’m forgetting his name, I can’t believe I’m drawing a blank on him right now, but the host of Family Feud, the comedian, Steve Harvey.
AK: Steve Harvey interviewed him, and that was sort of controversial, like why is Steve Harvey interviewing him.
HH: Well, I don’t know, if you talk to Colbert, and you talk to Jon Stewart, and you go on the Tonight Show, or you appear on Letterman, I don’t know why Glozell with three million subscribers is controversial. And you know what? I want to play so the audience understands why I think she did a good job. I can’t play her whole question. I’ll be fined by the FCC if I play her whole question. But here’s the start, Andrew Kirell, of one of her questions, which is actually pretty doggone tough. Go ahead, play it, Duane.
Glozell: I grew up in Florida.
Glozell: And I have a lot of friends, close friends, who are Cuban-Americans.
Glozell: And I’ve heard the stories of their families escaping…
Glozell: …and some of them didn’t even make it to come to the United States for a better life…
Glozell: …to get away from the Castros.
Glozell: Okay, I mean, the guy puts (male body part) in dictatorship. So I am trying to understand…
Glozell: …how do you justify dealing with the Castros?
HH: So Andrew Kirell, isn’t that the toughest question the President’s gotten in a year?
AK: (laughing) That’s a lot of the, the joke that people are making is like despite all the mockery that she’s interviewing, well, being interviewed by these three YouTube celebrities, they actually asked about things that nobody in the White House Press Corps has asked about. There was that, there was actually a question about Boko Haram, there was, I’m trying to remember what the other one was. It was something like some bizarre question he hasn’t been asked. They’re not bizarre. They’re only bizarre in the sense that he never gets asked them. That’s the problem. There was also a good question about drones, too.
AK: You know, about how Obama might be hypocritical on drones.
HH: I think maybe there’s a mirror here, because this week, I had on Mike Huckabee, and I asked him about gay marriage and the Supreme Court, and he gave sort of a neo-nullification answer that was newsworthy. I asked Rick Santorum about the Pope, and he kind of put distance with the Pope. I asked John Kasich about Medicaid expansion yesterday. I asked Bobby Jindal about no-go zones. You know, the MSM is kind of lazy in this city. They don’t actually ask hard questions in a polite way. So she’s polite, but it was a hard question.
AK: Yeah, and you know what is, it’s this sort of coziness. And she doesn’t have the coziness of the political, you know, sort of press environment may have, the White House Press Corps. Even though they like to paint themselves, and there are a lot of great reporters in the White House Press Corps, and one of them, former one, Chuck Todd. But they have a cozy relationship whether or not they admit it, in a sense where if they are too rough on the President and too rough on Josh Earnest, for instance, you know, they’re not going to have as great an access. They’re not going to be called on. They’re going to be sort of ostracized. Whereas with her, I think her inhibitions are lower, because you know, she’s just a YouTube celebrity. She’s never experienced this sort of, the politics within being part of political journalism. She’s not privy to that. She had no idea of that. Oh, to her, it was just having a real conversation with the President. Cool.
HH: And it was authentic. You know, I’ll bring that up to Chuck to start off the next hour. I’m in town to do Meet the Press on Sunday anyway, so I’ll ask him about that. But I just, I don’t get the blowback at Glozell, and I actually wouldn’t have known about it except Mediaite. So tell the audience. What is your job every day? What do you want to do when you start looking for stories for Mediaite?
AK: Well, we all sort of come to it with a different angle of what we particularly like to look in for the media. But for me, when I came to this, I used to, I came from cable news before this. For me, what I love to look for and what I try to steer us to look for is keeping an eye out for, well, two things. One, I call it like chronicling the blowhards, you know, when people like Ed Schultz or somebody on Fox or a commentator on either network, or CNN, too, either of the three networks, when they say something that is outlandish, something that is you know, not really good discourse, or something that is interesting, it doesn’t even have to be something outrageous, it could be something interesting that you’ve never heard before, a take that is sort of putting a new spin on it, things that make you go huh, that’s interesting, I never thought of it that way, sort of, you know, the libertarian in me like constantly looks for contrarian angles on everything.
HH: So you worked for John Stossel, didn’t you? You worked for Stossel for a while?
AK: Yeah, I used to be a producer for John Stossel, yeah.
HH: And is that where you picked up the libertarian stuff?
AK: No, it’s sort of a weird, full circle, kind of a fun story that in college, in high school, sorry, in high school, my economics teacher my junior year at a high school on Long Island, the very, you know, not exactly a very libertarian or anywhere near conservative area, that my high school economics teacher showed us Stossel in the Classroom DVD’s, and that sort of shook my worldview a little bit. And then I read his book, and I discovered the economist, Walter Williams, who then I discovered about George Mason University, and I went there for economics. And from there, I interned at a program that set me up with John Stossel. And so John was my first job. I worked for him at ABC and then moved to Fox with him. And then here I am now.
HH: So you’re a real disrupter. Now are you a Rand Paul guy?
AK: I tend to be, I consider myself a very nihilistic libertarian in the sense that I don’t, I tend to not support politicians. I think my mistrust of, it’s sort of Friedrich Hayek, the old economists that most libertarians worship, he wrote that the worst always get on top. And generally speaking, I would say that’s true for politics, especially, actually, I think that that’s what he was specifically talking about, was talking about in politics, the worst get on top. That was infrastructures are made for. So generally speaking, I feel like when I support a politician running for president, I think most people who have the sort of audacity to run for president tend to be people who are not always the best people.
HH: We’re out of time, but I’ve got to tell you, to the libertarian in you, you’ve got to go look at the John Hickenlooper story today out of Colorado. He regrets that they legalized dope. The libertarians should be studying that. Andrew Kirell from Mediaite, great to talk to you on my DC edition of the Hugh Hewitt Show.
End of interview.