The FishbowlDC Interview With Media Matters’ Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert

Say hello to Media Matters’ Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert, a huge fan of BigGovernment’s Andrew Breitbart. Born in Utica, NY, he spent his youth in Utica and Gilford, Conn. just outside of New Haven. “Small town suburban America, middle class, jock, lots of sports,” Boehlert told me in a phone interview.  He went to University of Massachusetts where he studied Middle Eastern Studies. “Intensive Arabic for two years,” he said. “It was mandatory. I could not quite get the hang of it.” So he abandoned the Middle Eastern Arabic phase and entered the music chapter of his life. Billboard Magazine: three years. Rolling Stone staff reporter: four years. Salon: five years. He momentarily contemplated joining HuffPost, but instead opted for Media Matters where he has worked for five years.

Feuding with Brietbart: The fighting began a year ago when Media Matters helped debunk the Acorn pimp hoax. “He’s got a pretty thin skin for someone in his line of work,” Boehlert said of Breitbart. “That’s when the crazy incoherent tweets started.” Last summer the pair came face to face on the set of ABC’s “GMA” where George Stephanopoulos was interviewing them. The interaction was “civil,” said Boehlert. Not overly, but they shook hands. These days they engage in daily sharp mocking on Twitter. “I think he’s sort of a chronic liar, so it’s not like I grudglingly admire what he does,” he says. “I continue to be in bewilderment and shock with the stuff he does. It’s not like I can’t sleep at night because I hate the guy or am plotting his demise. It’s not like it’s an all-consuming rivalry.” In reality, Boehlert said, he’d be thrilled if Breitbart closed up shop and built model airplanes. In summation, “I think he is a source of pollution.”

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? San Pellegrino Aranciata

How often do you Google yourself? I have a Google alert for my name. It pops up around 11 p.m., so before I go to bed I get to read  all nasty things conservatives wrote about me online that day. It’s quite cathartic.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? “We’re holding  your story.” Rolling Stone editors used to say that all the time when they’d lose an ad or two for the issue, last-minute. That’s what was so liberating about moving online to Salon; stories never got held due to shrinking issues.

Who is your favorite working journalist? Word-for-word, probably James Wolcott at Vanity Fair and Anthony Lane at The New Yorker.

Do you have a favorite word? Penultimate

Find out more about Boehlert…Learn what recently made him cry.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? The First Lady

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Factory installed (Nobody really calls me on my cell phone)

When did you last cry and why? Watching John Boehner on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

What word do you routinely misspell? Too many to count.

What swear word do you use most often? Fuck

What word or phrase do you overuse? “Chronicle”  “incessant”

What TV show do you have to watch? ESPN’s “30 for 30.” Also, “Mecum Auto Auctions”

Where do you shop most often for your clothes? Brooks Brothers/J Crew

Whom do you prefer for daytime talk, Dr. Phil, Ellen, Oprah, Tyra or the women of The View? Ellen

Pick one: Leno, Letterman or Conan? Letterman. (I blame the loyalty on my Hoosier youth.)

Who is your mentor? Billboard editor Timothy White (Was; Tim died in 2002.)

What’s the best advice you ever received in the course of your career? Spell people’s names correctly.

What and where was your first job in journalism? High Fidelity magazine, NYC

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? Oh, probably at Salon when I was interviewing an academic for a Q&A around the time of the Iraq invasion and what had been a recurring nightmare of mine finally came true: After the interview I realized I had forgotten to hit the record button. I called him back and he graciously agreed to another interview, but it was humiliating.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy most? Don Henley. He spoke in complete, fully formed paragraphs for an over an hour.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy least? See above: Forgetting to record interview.  Also, getting Jeff Tweedy to talk can be a real bear.

What’s the biggest scoop you’ve ever had? The year-long series I did for Salon on how corrupt Clear Channel radio was, as well as the out-of-control payola game that was being played at FM radio at the time. Also, helping debunk the ACORN pimp hoax last year was fun.

When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes? First episode of “Bob’s Burger,” when 9-yr-old daughter Louise tells the health inspector that her parents are in the basement grinding the meat and that no, that’s not a euphemism. They’re really down in the basement grinding up the hamburger meat.  (Hulu it.)

When and why did you last lose your temper? The last time I missed a 1-2 spare. (Go Condors!)

Which movie title best describes your journalism career? Burn After Reading

Who would you want to play you in a movie? Paul Giamatti, because I also love Islander hockey fantasy camp and civil war re-enactments.

Name some jobs you’ve had outside of journalism. (Can start as young as teenage years): Toll collector on I-95. (I win the prize, right?)

Finally, please come up for a question for our next Fishbowl interviewee. Make it good. What song do you want played at your funeral?

Who should just call it a day? Los Angeles Times’ Andrew Malcolm. Oh, and Brent Bozell. Definitely Brent Bozell.