The FishbowlDC Interview With Washington Free Beacon’s Bill McMorris


McMorris-300Say hello to Washington Free Beacon writer Bill McMorris, a writer covering the labor beat for the Washington Free Beacon. Brooklyn born Bill has contributed to the conservative-leaning McMorris is the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Robert Novak Fellowship. He’s been known to sport a mean bowtie, and tweets under the handle @FBillMcMorris (according to Bill, the F stands for “Fancy”).

Let’s begin.

How often do you Google yourself? I try not to do it too often because I’m William J. McMorris III. The first time I Googled myself I found out my dad got sued.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? “I’ll have it ready in five minutes.” It always takes longer, making it the cruelest thing you can say to an editor. I make sure to say this daily.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Politico’s Jon Allen is always interesting. I never miss anything from The Weekly Standard‘s Matt Labash, Andrew Ferguson, or Free Beacon‘s Biff Diddle. But the only must-read byline I know of is on the Washington Free Beacon Staff. That guy’s always got the scoops.

budweiserIf you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? The 30 percent of my body that’s not water is recycled Budweiser.

Do you have a favorite word? Karate.

What word or phrase do you overuse? I overuse semicolons in stories and the F word in conversation.

Who would you rather have dinner with – MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinksi, Meghan McCain or CBS’s Gayle King. Tell us why. McCain only because I haven’t heard of the other two and I haven’t been kicked out of a restaurant in a couple years.

What is the most interesting conversation you’ve had in the course of your journalism career? Basically every conversation I’ve had that hasn’t involved my journalism career.

Tell us a funny story from your time as a journalist. Can be long or short. I once approached Dennis Miller at some fundraiser in Santa Barbara and said “Excuse me Mr. Miller, I’m sorry to interrupt” and he said “Yes, you are. Go stand over there.” I stood in the corner and to my surprise he came over and gave me a great interview when he finished his conversation.

FE_DA_0124_Lewinsky-279x300The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Jodi Arias or Monica Lewinksy? Who will it be? (Neither is not an option.) Monica Lewinsky is too old to repopulate, isn’t she? My wife’s way more violent than Arias, so I think I could handle it. I’m the oldest of nine kids, so we’d have the earth back up and running in no time.

Who do you think will be the candidates in the next presidential election? Just one on each side, please. Sam Brownback and Dennis Kucinich.

It’s 3 a.m. and you get up to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Do you check your BlackBerry or iPhone Blackberry because it wouldn’t be the worst thing if I dropped it in the toilet.

What word do you routinely misspell? Misspell has two s’s?

If you weren’t a journalist what would you be? At the height of the Iraq War three Marine Corps recruiters rejected me for my spinal surgery and illicit substance intake. I’d like to think I could have lied my way in there eventually.

You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.) Andrew Kaczynski Andrew Kirell, Matt Boyle, and Tommy Christopher. It’d be the first Sunday show in which every panelist stares at his feet and gives two word answers.

If you could influence journalism in one way right now what would it be? One of my earliest editors worked for the New York Post in the 80s when there was “an ash tray and glass of whiskey on every desk and cocaine residue on every toilet seat.” I’d bring that back. Also, it’d be nice if one person covering the Vatican knew what Catholicism is.

When did you last cry and why? My little sister’s funeral when I was 12. I’ve welled up a few times since, but that was the last time I bawled.

What TV show is your guilty pleasure? Love It or List It, Too. Not only is it a home improvement show, it’s Canadian.

What should Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have named their child (aside from North, that is) Endofwesterncivilization West.

Unknown-1Have you ever had a near-death experience? Too many to count. I got hit by a taxi in New York City, but came away miraculously unscathed. In college I walked into a tree that was on some powerlines. I peed my pants.

Ever been arrested? Yes. New York State recently sent me a letter informing me that I’m considered a “scofflaw.”

Tell us a secret not many people know about you. I’m not as bad a husband or father as I make it seem.

What scares you? That the Lord is just.

Who is your mentor? Mentoring is a two way street and I don’t think they like me enough to consider me a mentee (I’m super aggravating), but Matt Continetti and Andrew Ferguson have given me a ton of guidance on both story ideas and writing style. I’m genuinely lucky that Matt took a chance on me at the Free Beacon and that Andrew told me to stop calling him “Mr. Ferguson.”

Who would you want to play you in a movie? Ben Affleck, only to generate some pre-release hype that he’s not qualified to play me.

Name jobs you’ve had outside of journalism. (Can start as young as teenage years)Construction worker, roofer, stock analyst, cashier, stock boy.

Who should just call it a day? Sonny Bunch.

UnknownWhat and where was your first job in journalism? I was the world’s worst intern for National Review.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? That entire National Review internship.

Have you ever been fired? I got fired from my convenience store job in college for showing up in the midst of a three-day bender. My boss rightly guessed that my girlfriend had broken up with me and out of pity made me the first cashier in history to get a severance package. I was entitled to free frozen yogurt for life, so I wasn’t single long.

When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes? My wife told my daughter to go to bed and she replied, “Momma, I don’t need to take a nap—I’m just a good guy.” She’s two.

When and why did you last lose your temper? When my daughter refused to go to bed.

Which movie title best describes your journalism career? Wreck It Ralph.

From TMZ Founder Harvey Levin: You are about to be served your last meal. What will it be? Human flesh. YOLO.

From Reason’s Peter Suderman:You’re given a choice between living a normal length life looking like you’re 28 and a thousand year life in which your age shows the whole time. Which would you pick and why?  Entire life looking like 28 because I’m pretty sure I’m not going to live to 28.

From National Journal’s Marin Cogan: What’s your favorite DC bar, and why? Shelly’s. For reasons I won’t disclose because I don’t want to lose my life insurance.

 Finally, please come up for a question for our next FishbowlDC interviewee. Make it good. It could live on infamy. If you could have happy hour with just one 14th Century Pope, who would it be and what would you order? No Googling.