If you're going to a big event, you've gotta arrive in style, right?
“We would like to thank the mayor [Vincent Gray] who is here tonight,” quipped the Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins last night, “for providing us transportation in a beautiful black Navigator. It’s really surprising how on such short notice he was able to comply with our requirement for a gray interior."
It's almost too bad that Mullins and his colleague T.W. Farnam didn't host the Academy Awards this year. The comedic duo owned the stage at the National Press Club Foundation's annual dinner. The pair dished up an unexpectedly lively acceptance speech when they received the Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress for their articles on congressional travel.
But exactly what would an article on congressional travel look like?
Take this one from Scotland, for example, penned by Mullins and Farnam for the Wall Street Journal in December 2009:
EDINBURGH -- The expenses racked up by U.S. lawmakers traveling here for a conference last month included one for the "control room."
Besides rooms for sleeping, the 12 members of the House of Representatives rented their hotel's fireplace-equipped presidential suite and two adjacent rooms. The hotel cleared out the beds and in their place set up a bar, a snack room and office space. The three extra rooms -- stocked with liquor, Coors beer, chips and salsa, sandwiches, Mrs. Fields cookies and York Peppermint Patties -- cost a total of about $1,500 a night. They were rented for five nights.
Nice. Although how Mrs. Fields cookies got the gig, we’re not sure.
Cissy Baker, granddaughter of Everett Dirksen, introduced them to the crowd at last night's event. “I salute them for the best reporting on Congress, which is what we try to make the Dirksen Award about. It is an esteemed award and always goes to someone that knows what they are doing.”
We also ran into Arianna Huffington. She was looking like a million bucks -- or should we say $315 million? So we asked her what she planned to do with all that money. “We are spreading the wealth around between tons of people who made The Huffington Post,” she said.
Other winners included Dana Bash, Al Hunt, Gilbert M. Grosvenor and Andrea Mitchell.
Today, everyone is anxiously checking their e-mail to see if they won an iPad for sending the best tweet on why journalism matters to hashtag #journalismmatters. Niteside is still waiting.