Say hello to USA Today‘s David Jackson and the guy responsible for this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. He’s the president. He’s the one who had to field all the irate phone calls from media organizations that didn’t get the number of tables they wanted. There were 100 more requests for tables than were possible to accommodate. He said he wasn’t cussed at, but assured us it wasn’t pleasant. “We did what we could,” he told me. This year’s entertainment, SNL’s Seth Meyers, was his first choice. (So if Meyers bombs be sure to email, call and tweet.) Jackson, a pleasant curmudgeon of an interview, wouldn’t bother telling me who was on the short list in case Meyers declined. He claimed not to have watched Lifetime’s “William and Kate” movie of the week, though suspiciously he knew exactly what I was talking about. He was also tight-lipped about saying who those angry callers were. Read on.
If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Classic Coke.
How often do you Google yourself? Never (I sometimes Yahoo myself to retrieve a story I have written).
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? Both answers are unprintable.
Who is your favorite working journalist? I have one, but naming that person would annoy the dozens who finished in a tie for second place.
Do you have a favorite word? Not one, no.
Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? Both at the same time.
What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Vibrate. Vibrate
When did you last cry and why? When David Broder passed away.
What word do you routinely misspell? Judgement.
What swear word do you use most often? The f one, I’m afraid.
What word or phrase do you overuse? I’ll be interested to see …
What TV show do you have to watch? Mad Men
Where do you shop most often for your clothes? Joseph A. Bank
Whom do you prefer for daytime talk, Dr. Phil, Ellen, Oprah, Tyra or the women of The View? With all due respect: None.
Pick one: Leno, Letterman or Conan? Letterman.
Who is your mentor? Carl Leubsdorf
What’s the best advice you ever received in the course of your career? “Just work your ass off” — Dick Schaap told me that when I was in grad school; I don’t want to reveal the year.
Find out why Jackson last lost his temper? It involves FishbowlDC…
What and where was your first job in journalism? Rock Hill (S.C.) Evening Herald, covering high school sports.
What’s your most embarrassing career moment? Too many to count.
Which one interview of your career did you enjoy most? A certain president — I won’t say which one.
Which one interview of your career did you enjoy least? A certain president — I won’t say which one.
What’s the biggest scoop you’ve ever had? Some details on the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.
When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes? I can’t remember — been too busy filling dinner tables.
When and why did you last lose your temper? Filling out this questionnaire.
Which movie title best describes your journalism career? It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World
Who would you want to play you in a movie? Gene Hackman, circa 1970s.
Name some jobs you’ve had outside of journalism. (Can start as young as teenage years): Dishwasher in a restaurant, that’s it.
Who should just call it a day? Charlie Sheen, a once-talented actor.
Our bonus question comes from our last FishbowlDC interviewee, NJ‘s Jim O’Sullivan, who asked, “What is the industries best book about reporters. There are wrong answers.” Jackson says, Boys on the Bus holds up very well.”
Finally, please come up for a question for our next FishbowlDC interviewee. Make it good. What’s your favorite book and why?