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Archives: June 2005

Alessandra Stanley on the clickety-clack of Tucker Carlson’s stiletto heels

June 05 136.jpgAlessandra Stanley is back, this time to eviscerate “talk show washout” Tucker Carlson and his still-new show “The Situation.” But, this time she happens to be mostly right: discussion on “The Situation” is “hurried and abrupt” and Tucker really does tend to dismiss debates with curt one-liners that often amount to cheap potshots. Rachel Maddow seriously has the patience of a saint. Stanley also says that MSNBC is where shows like this go to die, calling it “the River Styx of television talk shows” (where audiences tend to drink from the River Lethe after watching them).* She summary-judges that it’s “is all cross and no fire” and calls for MSNBC to “end the misery.” Ouch, but this is Alessandra Stanley.

This criticism is not new; “The Situation” – and Tucker – have taken their lumps – but come on, people, it’s been two weeks. Let the damn show find its voice. The format is new, and definitely needs to be tinkered with but there’s no reason why it can’t work. Excise the goofy references to the world’s biggest omelette (and the gratuitous pot-shots about which fat celebrity ordered it for breakfast) and focus on making good points about real stories, and teasing out the angles that everyone else has missed (case in point: Matt & Judy. TONS to talk about there, and last night’s segment on that was very good, with Rachel Maddow reminding us that the whole thing began with a specific and retributory leak from high up in the Bush administration and I even appreciated Jay Severin pointing out that Grand Jury inquiries have a purpose, too). It can be done; you and Rick Kaplan just have to figure out how (btw bloggers do it all the time; pith is their bread and butter). So no one’s watching; who cares, that gives you even more freedom to tinker. Make it good, then people will come back. But yeah, Tucker, it’s not only the show that needs to change. You really do need to stop being such a weenie. And that “if my bowtie’s casually untied around my neck it must mean it’s the end of the show” is pretentious and grating. Lose it.

*If this were Slate I’d helpfully include a link so you all could learn from my arcane allusion. But, not only do I assume that you’re all quite smart, I also figure you’re at least smart enough to Google. I just don’t presume that you need to.

Fox and Friends: “Women tend to be a little nutty”

bridezilla 1.jpgFox News has a segment right now on “How not to be a Bridezilla,” with some helpful tips from a rep like “remember that this is a happy thing” and “use the internet.” While these helpful tips are being dispensed, brides in full regalia are being taught a lesson, dammit, by dunking each other in a dunk tank on 6th Avenue. Except that the dunk tank has a see-through panel on the front so they have inadvertently created a peep-show on Sixth Avenue, and also, are those dresses see through? Doozy wants to know. And by the way these aren’t actual brides, they’re WeddingChannel interns. So really, the lesson they’re being taught is that when working for WeddingChannnel you need to be prepared to flash a little leg for the national audience.

Doozy really seems excited about the fact that the dresses are see through. Then he asks if the interns are free on Friday. Eeeewww, like two seconds ago he just interviewed his teenage daughter. Doozy, step away from the dunk tank.

Anyhow, I’m learning with Fox this morning, so when the time comes I won’t be a bridezilla, as long as the bridesmaids do what they’re fucking told. I said periwinkle, dammit! Bitch, you look fat in that dress.

Salacious semi-see-through photos after the jump.

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Matt and Judy: A Reprieve

From FishbowlDC:

Results of today’s hearing: Matt & Judy have until Friday to prepare their last-round defense. Final hearing July 6th.

Matt Cooper says he would “rather not” turn over source-revealing documents after coming so far, but at this point it was Time Inc.’s decision.

In other news, also from FishbowlDC, Robert Novak finally speaks! So what if it’s in circles and he does so reluctantly, we’ll take what we can get. An edited excerpt from “Inside Politics,” Novak interviewed by guest host Ed Henry:

HENRY: …Why is it that there are two reporters out there who may go to jail, Bob, but it doesn’t appear that you are going to go to jail?

NOVAK: Well, that’s what I can’t reveal until this case is finished. I hope it is finished soon. And when it does, I agree with Mr. Safire, I will reveal all in a column and on the air.

HENRY: Do you understand why in general there’s frustration among fellow journalist after 41 years of distinguished work, where you’ve always pushed and been a fierce advocate of the public’s right to know, you’re not letting the public know about such a critical case, and two people may go to jail.

NOVAK: Well, they are not going to jail because of me. Whether I answer your questions or not, it has nothing to do with that. That’s very ridiculous to think that I am the cause of their going to jail. I don’t think they should be going to jail…

HENRY: No, but some people feel if you would come forward with the information that you have, that maybe they would not go to jail.

NOVAK: But you don’t know — Ed, you don’t know anything about the case. And those people who say that don’t know anything about the case. And unfortunately, as somebody who likes to write, I’d like to say a lot about the case, but because of my attorney’s advice I can’t. But I will. And there might be some surprising things.

Is it just me, or does that last paragraph remind you of anyone? “Ed, Ed, Ed, you’re glib. You don’t know anything about journalistic privilege. I do…”

Asian American Journalists Association to Norman Mailer: No ears and tails for you!

I don't even know 'er ii.jpgThe Asian American Journalists Association have sent an angry letter to Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone “calling out Norman Mailer as a racist” but more importantly calling him out for dissing on “the accomplishments of all women and journalists of color” by calling Michiko Kakutani a “two-fer”: the “token” “Asiatic, feminist” at the Times. To paraphrase: Yo, Norm, she’s from fucking Connecticut, and you, America’s Greatest Living Novelist, are a bigot. For shame.

Actual text of the letter after the jump.

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Lunch at Michael’s: a sleepy day, except for Mel

It was pretty dry at our favorite watering hole today. Everyone must be off cranking up their barbeque pits. There was one headliner at Michael’s: Mel Brooks, in his darkest blackout shades and a shock of white gray hair.

[For expediency, this post is going up unedited and unfact-checked, so excuse any mistakes. Or, email me and I'll correct them later today].

Table 1: Mel(could he have been celebrating his birthday?) with a bunch of guys, including Tom Meany.

Table 7: Andre Leon Talley, Vogue’s larger-than-life editor-at-large with tall blonde woman.

Table 8 (his usual table by the front door): David Patrick Columbia, New York Social Diaries, with two smartly-dressed women.

A (we need table numbers!): Sally Susman, Estee Lauder, and Cindy Lewis, VP/Publisher, Shop Etc.

B: Joe Armstrong with politica Maureen Ratner (wife of Steve Ratner) and attorney Cynthia Brill (wife of Steve Brill).

C: Variety’s Army Archerd in dark blue plaid shirt with his wife in a striped shirt.

Table 5: Designer Arnold Scaasi in dark blue striped shirt and tan jacket, with two guys.

D: Famed flack Bobby Zarem with woman who looked like an actress.

Table 17: Jack Myers, author of The Jack Myers report and founder of, was with Joanna Jordan, Central Talent Booking.

F: Someone who looked very much like Ahmet Ertegun (we think) with United Radio Stations’ Nick Verbitsky.

E: Not sure if it was her, but it looked like Director Joan Gellman with a woman in a peach jacket.

G or H (couldn’t see very well): The Daily News’ Lloyd Grove with CBS News Anchor Bob Schiefer. He reads TVNewser!!

Table 15: Attorney Lewis Korman(NYU Law ’69) with his sister, Shelley (sp?).

Nightclub entrepreneur Amy Sacco was there eating with someone.

Table 21: Charlie Schueler, of Cablevision, with Andrew Sorkin, a Times Business Reporter.

Table 23: Jordan Ringel, an attorney at Pavia & Harcourt with some other fellow.

Table 26: Guy with orange tie drinking (!) white wine with woman in yellow jacket.

Table 22: This was our table. I was with our e-i-c Elizabeth Spiers and Aileen Gallagher, our new Associate Editor (you read it here first!).

J: Heather Vincent (former producer for Tina Brown’s Topic A; now at BET’s Nightly News, we believe), with an unknown guy.

K: Seated nearby, NBC Senior Producer Aretha Marshall (she and Heather greeted each other warmly) with a man and a woman.

I: Ralph Destino, VP (formerly? presently?) Van Cleef & Arpels with an HBO exec.

Table 25: Larry Burstein, publisher of New York magazine, with Bob Chavez, President of Hermes.

Self’s Lucy Danziger.

Amy Bonawitz, a reporter at People, with Tracey Spector, in PR at Lifetime, and Maggie Gallant, of Spotlight Communications (which does PR for Lifetime, Animal Planet, PBS and more).

Larry Hackett, deputy managing editor of People was lunching with Albert Kim, assistant managing editor there.

IF you were at Michael’s today (or any day) and would like to report in, or correct the record, please email LaurelT AT (also, please send us table numbers!)


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Matt and Judy: And now it really matters

Matt and Judy.jpgSo. As we all know by now, the Supreme Court will not be hearing an appeal in the case of Matthew Cooper and Judith Miller on the question of journalistic privilege and whether it can be invoked to safeguard the anonymity of sources.

Today, Cooper and Miller will stand before a judge in a DC courtroom and find out if they’re going to jail.

A recap: Former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson wrote an op-ed piece contradicting the Bush administration’s assertion that Saddam had sought uranium in Africa. In retaliation, a “senior administration official” leaked to a few reporters that Wilson’s wife was CIA agent Valerie Plame. A grand jury was convened to find the leaker, who broke the law by outing a CIA agent. When called to testify, Cooper and Miller refused to reveal who their source was.

A clarification: The original lawbreaker sought in the Grand Jury probe? Neither Cooper nor Miller.

Another clarification: Neither Cooper nor Miller were the first to publish the leak. That was Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak.

A mystery: No one knows whether Novak testified. Eight pages in the appeal court decision were blank. Meanwhile, Novak is mum on the matter. But, he’s not the one going to jail.

There are plenty of reasons why the Supreme Court sucks for not hearing this appeal, chief among them because the state of the law regarding anonymous sources is totally murky and inconsistent across the states and at a national level (the attorneys general of 34 states and the District of Columbia submitted an amicus brief urging the court to address this inconsistency).

But for now, the biggest reason is because two people might seriously be going to jail in a matter where no one has even been charged with a crime.

So the time has come; everyone has to do something.

Patrick Fitzgerald, it’s no longer about who blinks first. Stop with the Javert routine and let Judge Hogan know that you do not think these people should go to jail. It wouldn’t hurt to remind him that your big fancy grand jury has yet to result in any indictments.

Justice Hogan, perhaps you could cast your mind back to those eight blank pages and recall how the founding fathers felt about the deprivation of liberty. Constitution and all that.

Robert Novak, maybe it’s time for you to come clean. Fellow conservative William Safire thinks so (not to mention Wonkette, and the Daily News, and us, and pretty much everybody). Per Safire: “Mr. Novak should finally write the column he owes readers and colleagues perhaps explaining how his two sources – who may have truthfully revealed themselves to investigators – managed to get the prosecutor off his back.” (NB we emailed Novak at his Sun-Times-linked email address requesting an interview but shockingly haven’t heard back.)

Meanwhile, according to E&P, Time is considering handing over documents incriminating the source (Cooper didn’t comment). Miller and the Times are holding fast, meanwhile. (Recall Miller didn’t even publish anything. But, that’s so no longer the point.) And, there’s the matter of Time’s comment Monday about Fitzgerald’s “substantially changed investigation” and new facts. So who knows.

Who knows, indeed – precious few of us. We’ll know more at 4:30 pm when Matt & Judy go to court, and hopefully they’ll walk out free and victorious, having taken a stand for something important to them and hopefully to us all.

But if they don’t? Well, let’s not make predictions. But Novak, I’d start writing.

If MS and NBC split, who gets Dan Abrams’ hair?

June 05 150.jpgTVNewser reports that MSNBC may well cleave into two in as short as 3 – 6 months. Apparently a “source with inside knowledge” says that the 99-year deal between NBC and Microsoft is “likely to end” based on the parties’ mutual desire to be released from the otherwise-pretty-ironclad contract.

Welcome Back Mark Fuhrman!

fuhrman.jpgLA Voice notes that perjurous OJ footnote Mark Fuhrman has written a book about the Schiavo case. ‘Silent Witness: The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo’s Death, in which Fuhrman doesn’t quite accuse Michael Schiavo of causing his wife’s accident, but “spends a great deal of time offering scenarios in which Michael Schiavo could have accidentally or intentionally contributed to his wife’s collapse in 1990.” Read about it, if you must, here.

A Farewell to Certain News Cycles

It’s a weird media week, particularly in Los Angeles. Lots of media-interest stories drawing to a close, or at least a transition this week. Hahn says ‘goodbye’; Villaraigosa says ‘hello.’ The urgent matter of the ‘War of the Worlds’ opening weekend take will be partially settled today. And over on the east coast, Cooper and Miller are due in court in about four minutes to find out if they’re going to prison. And nobody’s even talking about Michael Jackson anymore, although the new issue of Los Angeles does have a poignant-in-retrospect series of photos of his courthouse-watching fans.

We’ll miss each and every one of these media stories. What’s next? Stay tuned…

Media Miscellany: 06.29.2005

It’s all abort having a classy headline: Come on, Page Six, you had “Paris to Pelvis” for God’s sake. Couldn’t you come up with something a little less bald than “ABORT-HAPPY FOLKS” for your item on Scientology spawn? You’re the Post. It falls to you to find the pun in everything. How about “Take my fetus, please!” That one always slays ‘em. See – pun. [NYT - Page Six]

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity: Despite breaking the Deep Throat story and plastering the oft-Googled, much-downloaded Paris Hilton on its September cover, Keith Kelly says that Vanity Fair is slippin’ at the newsstand. Well, that’s what you get for promising juicy Nicole-on-Tom gossip and then delivering zilch. More importantly, I have to remember to bastardize this headline the next time I write about Hannity & Colmes. Or, maybe I could just write “Abort-Happy Hannity & Colmes!” [NYP - Media Ink]

Kerry gets the popular vote…on MEL: John Kerry’s op-ed on the speech Bush shoulda given last night has windsurfed its way to Mel #4. My favorite thing about these op-eds from super-duper big names are the wonderfully understated taglines at the bottom: “John F. Kerry is a Democratic senator from Massachusetts.” “William Jefferson Clinton was the 42nd U.S. president.” “Abort-Happpy Folks.” [NYT]