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Archives: May 2005

May Media Miscellany, for the last time: 5.31.05

Do as I say, not as I do: CNBC chairman Pamela Thomas-Graham is the newest member of the board of Idenix Pharmaceuticals, and received 15,000 stock options as a result — despite a strict company policy precluding all CNBC employees (and their spouses) from owning individual stocks. “How can CNBC cover the drug industry when she’s a director at a drug company?” says an insider in Page Six (by simply declaring bias, which apparently special people at CNBC can get away with). Unspecial people, like the blind writer who asked for special dispensation and was refused, are apparently NOT happy. I’d guess Pamela Thomas-Graham is feeling all right though. [Page Six]

Methinks the lady doth protest too much: Today NBC released a press release crowing about their 494th consecutive week as the top-rated morning show. Very effective, it totally distracted all of us from the latest New York Magazine cover. I know, it’s getting old. But come on, 494 weeks! [TV Newser]

Something for everyone, a comedy tonight! (Er, except Village Voice readers) The Village Voice doesn’t have a comedy section and the folks at The Apiary think that’s a crying shame, and calls into question the Voice’s cred as the arbiter of all things hip and downtown. It’s a thin line between comedy and tragedy, isn’t it? Whatever, keeps life exciting. [The Apiary]

Okay, have a lovely night. See you in June!

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Deep Throat: Now really attached to face, because Woodward & Bernstein said so

It’s official: W. Mark Felt was Deep Throat. Woodward and Bernstein just confirmed it to the Washington Post, along with Benjamin Bradlee, their former top editor.

Earlier today Woodward and Bernstein declined to confirm the report, saying that they had sworn not to reveal Deep Throat’s identity until he died. But then they changed their minds.

We interrupt this blog to bring you a gratuitous self-referential post

bistr.jpgSeveral months ago, my friend Dana Vachon, in a studious effort to avoid doing anything that remotely resembled investment banking (his day job, pre-massive book deal), wrote me several brilliant Garrison Keillor-esque “Letters to the Editor” under the pseudonym “Reginald Butters.” The first one, in its entirety, with the relevant portion in bold:

Dear Elizabeth,

I live in Akron, Ohio and I came into town with my wife just last weekend. She is a gardener, and for years we have had the finest impatiens on the block. She spends all day on the flower beds, and buries a blueberry muffin beneath each patch. She thinks that this makes the flowers grow so big. What she doesn’t know is that I sneak out of bed at night and spray those things to the gills wtih my special mixture of miracle grow and ground up steroids that I got after I threw out my back last April. I do it because I love her, and because I feel guilty for a few things that happened years back.

She’s gotten it in her head that she wants to become a gardening columnist. I keep telling her it doesn’t make sense, but her flowers are really amazing and she’s been writing for our local newspaper. She logged onto your site a few weeks back and made me promise to take her to your bistro for dinner when we got to the city. I don’t like french food but I said I would because I feel guilty and what not. We bought a Zagat’s guide but could not find your establishment. You should do a better job of publicizing yourself. She was beside herself and when we came home she tore up half her own flower garden! Went ripshit! Now she’s lost her column in our local paper, and I’m running out of the steroids that made her flowers so pretty in the first place.

First question. Do you have any prescription meds perhaps left over from surgeries or what not that you could send me FedEx? Second question. Even though we didn’t buy a fancy dinner, can you give my wife some advice on how to get her gardening column carried in New York? I swear to God her tulips are bigger than anything in Central Park, which from what I understand is pretty much full of used condoms and rabid squirrels anyway. Finally, thanks for your help. It’s been pretty rough lately, and I just need to get right with my wife. These flannel nightgowns are killing me.


Reggie Butters

I responded with something along the lines of: HAHAHAHAHahahaha!

Then, secondarily: Hmmm… an actual media bistro…frightening. (We already have that. We call it “Michaels”.)

Apparently, it’s not so far-fetched. The guy who invented “Pong” is starting a restaurant called “Media Bistro” in West Hollywood:

…the servers will not be human waiters but powerful central computers that will record food orders and display video games that customers can play while they eat.

Our official response: HAHAHAHAHahahahaha! And it’s still frightening.

Waiter, there’s a laser cannon in my soup. [FishbowlLA]

CNN World Report Conference: Funnest liveblog EVER!

cnn 25.png
Our intrepid cohort at TV Newser is down in Atlanta hobnobbing at the CNN World Report Conference, timed to coincide with the network’s 25th anniversary (not to mention their loss of ratings share to FNC). Today and for the next few days, everyone loves CNN, from Iraqi president Jabal Talabani to Pakistani prez Pervez Musharraf, both of whom were piped in via teleconference. They love Ted Turner just as much though; according to TVNewser everyone is all a-flutter at his very presence (he speaks Wednesday).

This just in: they’re also all a-flutter about our Brian at TV Newser! He is at this very moment liveblogging from a panel called “Blogging: The Fifth Estate” where he just demonstrated to a crowd of dazzled onlookers how to actually blog, right then and there! How very meta-on-meta. Seriously, that’s pretty cool. Way to go, Brian!

Brian also has some exciting behind-the-scenes photos to share with y’all.* CNN news anchors: they’re just like us!

*That’s how they say “you all” in Atlanta.

Lords of Dumbtown

The NYT Sunday Styles section appears to have recovered from last week’s bout of LA-mania. Nonetheless, the ‘A Night Out‘ column features Emile Hirsch and Raphael Verela– a star of and bit player, respectively, in the skateboarding movie ‘Lords of Dogtown’– following them around Venice as they raise heck and shred pavement. (By the way, when I was a teen, we called skateboarding ‘skating.’ Now the kids call it ‘boarding.’ Some days I feel so old.)

Anyway, these guys appear to be on the low end of the A Night Out Insightful Banter Index:

“In Dogtown,” Mr. Hirsch said, “skateboards are like bikes to the Chinese.” Dinner arrived as Mr. Verela and Mr. Hirsch debated their favorite Nietzsche quotations, the dismal state of the environment and the number of spiders the average person inhales in his sleep. (Mr. Verela claimed 20 a month.)


Mr. Hirsch got his board from the trunk of the car and gazed down the slope. “It’s really steep when you’re on it,” he said, and proceeded to instruct everyone where to stand in order to get the best view of his descent. “Punk rock bro!” he shouted, and flung himself down the hill, crouched low on his board.

Deep Throat: Now attached to face!

shadow man.pngWow, this is an amazing revelation: W. Mark Felt, the former number two guy at the FBI in the 70′s says he is “Deep Throat,” the mother of anonymous sources who brought down the Nixon administration.

This hefty scoop comes courtesy of Vanity Fair, which is running an article on the subject by lawyer John D. O’Connor in the upcoming issue (available here). Nice wedding present, Graydon!

This is cool. I wonder how/if it will affect the anonymous sources debate. Look for an update soon featuring a sampling of the fascinating and insightful articles that are no doubt being furiously pounded out right now. Jack Shafer, bring it on.

Update: Cool stuff is already emerging – our cousin at FishbowlDC has a great round-up, including a link to a 1999 Salon story which details how the title of Bob Woodward’s “The Final Days” about the demise of the Nixon White House can be anagrammed to spell “Felt Had A Say In,” so when you add the two together you get “Felt had say in the final days.” Oooh, cool! Geeks everywhere are LOVING this. Other funny point from Salon: apparently Carl Bernstein’s son Jacob Bernstein spilled that nugget at summer camp at age nine. Too bad, what a scoop it would have been for Women’s Wear Daily!

Update to the update: Oops, in retrospect it probably wasn’t smart to look for a good accompanying graphic by entering “Deep Throat” into “Google Images.” I quickly switched to “shadow man“, innocence intact. Thank you, Shadow Man! You always save the day!

The Root of All Evil, Indexed by Region

I’m not just saying this because they pay me to, but the mediabistro salary survey is pretty fascinating browsing. And it’s broken down by region, so we can finally address that most existential of Los Angeles media questions: Does a managing editor of a large consumer/national magazine on the West Coast make more or less than one on the East? I’m not going to tell you. You’ll have to follow the links to the mediabistro site. ‘Cause that’s the business model ’round these parts.

Waiter, There’s a Laser Cannon in My Soup

The NYT reports that Nolan Bushnell, the inventor of the Pong video game and founder of Chuck E. Cheese, will be opening a video game-themed restaurant in West LA called, uh, Media Bistro:

In an interview last week, he described how the 300-seat restaurant and bar would combine food and drink with ubiquitous interactive media. Touch-screen monitors, installed at every table, booth and barstool, will allow diners to place food orders, play some 70 different video and trivia games, and even take instant pop culture polls.

The monitors at the tables will be two-sided, so that two people, or two couples, will be able to play video games against each other.

If the waiters dress like Master Chief from Halo, I am so there.chief.jpg

Don’t break my brain, my achy-breaky brain

meart ii.pngThe NYT explains why I’m psychotic in today’s MEL-topping article about how falling in love – and getting dumped – registers as highly active brain activity. Apparently there’s a specific region of the brain hardwired for falling spectacularly in love – the caudate nucleus – and while it causes the loopy euphoria and borderline addiction of new love, it’s equally responsible for 2am drunk dialing and desperate, pleading emails. Oh God, you and your double-edged swords. They even have a name for why your ex is at his/her most attractive right after kicking you to the curb: “frustration-attraction.” Chin up, though, plucky dumpees: your caudate nucleus will bounce back and survive to swoon another day. I have a name for what happens then: hope.

Watching New Love as It Sears the Brain [NYT]

I think I would like to work for cable news

Our benevolent parent at MB has released its annual Salary Survey, and the numbers clearly indicate that I’m in the wrong profession (though I knew that from the NYT two weeks ago). MB received over 15,000 responses, and they were meticulously reviewed by Timothy Noah. Just kidding, but who can’t learn from his methodology?
Hooray, you’re all rich! Or, at least you’re happy.