Fishbowl5 With NJ’s Josh Kraushaar

Last Tuesday GOP Presidential hopeful’s Herman Cain‘s Chief of Staff Mark Block went on Fox News and declared that Josh Kraushaar was the son of Cain accuser Karen Kraushaar and a reporter for Politico. Karen Kraushaar is a communications specialist at the Treasury Dept. Politico is the pub that broke the Cain sexual harassment story. Block’s point was plain — Politico is corrupt and employs the offspring of Cain’s accusers, right? As we all quickly learned, Block was apparently smoking something when he made those comments. Kraushaar works for NJ. He’s a former reporter at Politico who covered Congressional politics from its inception in 2007 to June 2010. He bears no relation to Kraushaar. We caught up with him to find out how his newfound fame has impacted his life.

1. First off, how do you pronounce Kraushaar? Krauss-haar, the syllable is between the ‘s’ and the ‘h’. It’s apparently Yiddish (and German) for curly hair – of which I have none.

2. Just for shits and giggles, how have people or companies butchered your name in the past? Any way you can imagine.  Kraush-aar is the most common mispronunciation, but it’s pretty much an accepted fact that anyone unfamiliar with my last name will mispronounce it. I was also once called “John Kraushaar” on NPR once.  One of the hosts pronounced my last name impeccably, but somehow misread my first name.  Very awkward.

3. How and when did you first realize you were being accused of being the son of a Herman Cain accuser? I was swarmed with e-mails almost instantaneously when Mark Block made the accusation on Sean Hannity’s show — mostly from friends, colleagues and other reporters inquiring about the connection and wondering my reaction after hearing what Block had said.  And, there were a handful of rants from random people, but those were few and far between. Fortunately, I had anticipated that there might be some confusion when Cain’s accusers’ name came out, so I preemptively Tweeted that there was no family connection at all.  And I happened to be at a computer at the time, so was able to effectively do “damage control.”

4. Come on, admit it. Did any part of you think, wow this is cool, instant celebrity? Nope. Was relieved that I was around to rebut the allegations, but I had absolutely no interested in being brought into the Cain scandal.  I’ve never sought celebrity for the sake of celebrity – rather would have my work get the attention. I guess the one benefit is that cable TV viewers are learning to pronounce “Kraushaar,” but truth be told – different network reporters have pronounced it differently.

5. What do you think of Mark Block. You think he’s an idiot? As I told the Poynter Institute, it was profoundly irresponsible of him to go on national television and make an accusation which was outrageously false – and without even doing basic fact-checking beforehand.   I e-mailed him immediately after he went on air, telling him he got his facts wrong.  He never responded with an apology or even a mea culpa – a simple common courtesy, given his mistake.  Still haven’t heard back.