The Mirror

The Mirror Questionnaire with Mediaite’s head honcho Andrew Kirell

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Meet Andrew Kirell, the editor-in-chief of Mediaite for the past five months and at the publication for the last two years. Before that, he was a producer for John Stossel at ABC and then at Fox Business. Asked what are the things that make him roll his eyes when dealing with reporters, he replied, “Well, I am a little obsessive, so I tend to get really annoyed by grammatical errors and bad writing. I also despise passive-aggression.” Very quickly he added, “Even now I am sitting there noticing I wrote ‘passive-aggression’ with a hyphen when there shouldn’t be one.” What sort of passive aggressive behavior is he referring to? “I’ve seen it in every newsroom,” he said. “I probably use it as shorthand for people being unable to not take things personally. And they often express that resentment in other ways, like going around you to other people. Or just not listening to your criticism. Or making passive remarks in return. I think we’re all guilty of it at some level. The fear of confrontation runs high in the news business, despite it being our jobs to confront people.” Kirell concludes that passive-aggressive behavior in newsrooms is the product of big egos competing for space. He also admits he has been guilty of all of the above. 

Bona Fides

Hometown: South Huntington, NY

Now resides: Brooklyn, NY

Age: 27

Named for: “Andrew” after my paternal great-grandfather Abraham; “Jordan” after my maternal great-grandfather Jacob.

First job ever: I worked in the computer department at Staples.

Current employment: Editor-in-chief, Mediaite.


If someone wants to get on your good side, what candy or liquor should they ply you with? Pretty much any single-malt Scotch. Or tequila.

Most exotic place you’ve ever visited: Well, I worked in the Fox News offices for several years. But I guess I’ll say Glacier Bay.

Why do you think Washington is so polarized? And please consider your answer in terms of boring us. Too many people obsessed with hearing themselves speak, gain a Twitter following, become a cable news contributor, get a book deal, do consulting work.

Who is your celebrity crush? Scarlett Johansson. Oh, also Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

A thought that makes you want to cry: If cats didn’t exist.

Weirdest habit you’ve observed in a newsroom (workplace) setting? Oh, too many. At Mediaite, there was once a writer who would break tension by offering to buy people pizza. And from back in my Fox days: Bill O’Reilly brushes his teeth in the 17th floor bathroom at nearly the same exact time, every single day.

If you had to kiss a politician who would it be? Rick Santorum, just to watch him squirm.

What’s next for you? What would you do with your life if absolutely nothing could stop you? I’d be a musician.

Pick one: House of Cards, Scandal or Veep: Veep. It’s just perfect.

Pick one: CNN’s New Day, Morning Joe, GMA or the TODAY Show: God, do I have to? I’d go with GMA just because they aren’t: a drama-filled mess like Today, insufferably smug like Morning Joe, or mediocre like New Day. GMA’s just an inoffensive, largely successful network morning show. [Full disclosure: Abrams Media founder Dan Abrams (who founded Mediaite) works for GMA.]

If you had to have a U.S. senator or congressman as your father who would it be? Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), because he’s the only one I could actually be proud to call my father.

Since this is The Mirror Questionnaire, what would you change about yourself physically if you could? Would love to be able to grow a full beard, not some scraggly mess.

And your personality? I hate schmoozing, but apparently it’s useful in this business. So I’d make myself more of an extrovert.

Preferred beach anywhere in the world: Any Pacific Island. I’ll take anything besides the Long Island beaches I grew up with.

Guilty pleasure TV show: Shark Tank.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how self-obsessed are you? (10 being you can’t tear yourself away from your own daily Google search and 1 meaning you often spend time in the country away from your computer and don’t give a crap about your Klout score.) I’ll give myself a 5. Or does that look too faux-humble? I’ll go with 6.

Workout regimen: Eat food, drink, sleep. And occasionally swim laps.

Pick one – flabby thighs, cankles or love handles? Love handles, just for the sound of it.

Choose: Beautiful eyes, best personality or perfect legs? I’m a leg guy. There’s a reason I once worked at Fox, eh?

A thought that brings you great joy: My fiancée Jennifer. D’awww!

A regret (of any kind): I regret having been so emotionally detached in high school. Would’ve made those four years a lot more fun if I had at least tried to give a crap.

Any brushes with death? If so, please describe. Not really, but I once witnessed a man burn to death in a car. So there’s that.

Just a preference Q: Bo or Sunny? Neither. Give me Socks the Cat instead.

Most annoying thing your editor (boss) does: Abrams Media President Bridget Williams listens to The Shins. Come on!

Rank how hairy your butt is: 1 to 10? I’m not a very hairy guy, so let’s go with 3.

Go for a stroll in the park with one of the following and explain the reason for your choice. 1. Andrew Sullivan, of The Daily Dish. 2. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart. 3. The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald. I’m going to go with Glenn Greenwald because he’d have a lot to say and he’s definitely seen the most shit out of the three.

When was the last time you were, if ever, naked outside? Does the gym locker room count?

From The Sunday Times’ Toby Harnden: If you could tell one person to their face that they’re full of shit, with no consequences, who would it be? Bill Kristol.

From Al Jazeera’s David Shuster: If you had to watch or read a news report in a language you didn’t understand, what language would it be and why? Really? That’s supposed to be a good question? I’ll say Japanese because I imagine their newscasts are colorful and entertaining.

From lefty radio host Bill Press: Where’s the one place in Washington you’d love to have sex, but can’t? The Oval Office, I guess?

From former Rep. Weiner’s ex-phone sex partner Sydney Elaine Leathers: Who is the worst journalist on your favorite news channel? I can’t declare a favorite channel, so on Fox it’s obviously Todd Starnes; and on MSNBC it’s Joy Reid. CNN doesn’t really have any individual that horrible, sadly.

From Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay: Which universally acclaimed piece of literature, art, film, or music can you simply not stand? This past year it was Gravity. I love Cuarón, but what a steaming pile of dog feces.

From SiriusXM’s Julie Mason: What is the lie you always tell about yourself? “I don’t lie.”

From freelancer and journalism prof Steve Friess: If you were the opposite of your sexual orientation, name three people you’d sleep with. Ryan Gosling, Nick Cave, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

From Stateless Media’s Peter Savodnik: Why do you matter? I don’t. None of us do.

Please provide a question for the next lucky victim of The Mirror Questionnaire. Make it good. Which book would you bring to a book burning? [Don’t say you’re against book burning. We all are.]