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Archives: July 2005

TONY and Bob Woodward: Better late than never

TONY.jpgThis week, Time Out New York’s got Bob Woodward on the back page, talking about “The Secret Man” which came out on July 6th, though the big news that spurred its publication happened well over a month ago. It’s always interesting to see what Woodward has to say, especially in light of the ever-thickening plot of Plamegate/the Rove-Libby-Russert-Whoever-It-Is-This-Week affair. Still, it might have behooved interviewer Howard Halle to cast his eye about a little prior to the interview as there are some real clunkers in there: “How do you feel about the Plame affair? Interestingly, nobody seems to have affixed a -gate to it yet.” Er, Howard? You might have given that one a whirl on Google. A few people have thought of it (like, oh, CBS News, WaPo, Wonkette, NPR, the NRO, and our esteemed cousin at FishbowlDC, to name but a few). Another eyebrow raise: “After the story came out, there were all these Watergate actors – G. Gordon Liddy, Chuck Colson – going on the cable news shows, saying that Mark Felt was dishonorable, and no one was saying, “Hello! You guys are the criminals here.” Once again, that point was made, although it’s true, those exact words in that exact order were scarce to be found. Halle also asked if Woodward thought the Watergate story could break today “with the GOP controlling all three branches of government.” May we humbly suggest that Halle catch the Daily Show every so often, or even better, keep his eye peeled to FishbowlNY – Woodward and former cohort Bernstein addressed that one last week.

Halle did get some cool stuff out of Bernstein: no one ever tried to get the Deep Throat secret out of Woodward with booze or drugs (though Slate‘s Timothy Noah is now kicking himself for never trying it);he doesn’t read any political blogs; and he’d happily serve Judith Miller’s sentence for her, even if she was keeping mum to protect her own complicity (as has been alleged). Says Bernstein: “You don’t reveal confidential sources, period. Not under any kind of pressure.” We’ve heard him say that before, too, but you know, that one doesn’t get old. Norm?

Sorry to be tough on you Howard; it’s only because we care. We loved your FOB column on Harry Potter and the Uncanny Relevance to Current Events, even though we didn’t finish it because there was a spoiler. Anyone who loves Harry is all right with us. But seriously, you didn’t make up “Plamegate.”

Dov Charney: lecher, hero, neither, or both?

dovc.jpgThe Jewish Journal takes a look at American Apparel founder Dov Charney, who famously shared more than usual of himself with Jane Magazine and who’s being sued by various ex-employees for sexual harassment. No air-hugging for him! The Journal also casts some doubt on American Apparel’s much-ballyhooed reputation for treating its workers fairly:

The litigation discomforts anti-sweatshop activists who have supported American Apparel. They’d already had to accept Charney’s staunchly anti-union position. And for some time, a small chorus has never quite accepted Charney’s pro-labor bona fides, especially because he never submitted to voluntary inspections.

“Based on anecdotal evidence we’ve heard, he’s a cut above other manufacturers in Los Angeles, but I don’t know if he really lives up to the extravagant claims he makes,” said Richard Applebaum, author of “Behind the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry” (UC Press, 2000). “He claims to pay higher wages, a living wage, but there’s no independent evidence of it. He made insurance available to his employees, but they had to pay for it. It’s like saying something is kosher, without having a rabbi look at it.”

Will all this lead to a hipster backlash? Stay tuned…

Air-hug Me Deadly

ah.jpgIn the LAT Calendar, Meghan Daum takes a critical look at air-hugging, which, she argues, exists uncomfortably with that other social phenomenon, air kissing:

The air hugging phenomenon would be perilous enough if it had outright replaced air kissing. But more often than not the air hug is combined with the air kiss, resulting in a botched job on both scores. We’ll see our friend or acquaintance, move in for the air kiss, and abort at the last second in favor of an upper body embrace that involves as little physical contact as possible. Just as a well-executed air kiss suggests lip-to-cheek contact without actually making it, the air hug is kind of a limp version of that “hug a tree” posture best known to yoga classes and gyrokinesis exercises.

Daum (who, full disclosure, is a fishbowlLA acquaintance– in fact, I’m pretty sure we air-hugged once, but frankly I was pretty drunk that night and it’s all kind of blurry) advocates an air-hug roll-back along with an air-kiss educational program in elementary schools to ensure proper etiquette and safety. As for me, I’m honing my air-footsie technique.

Suspect in Daniel Pearl murder arrested in Pakistan

A suspected militant wanted in connection with the slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was captured yesterday in Gujranwala, Pakistan. Suspect Hashim Qadeer is suspected of having arranged the meeting between Pearl and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the ringmaster in the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Pearl in Karachi in 2002. Sheikh was subsequently sentenced to death, three others involved were given life sentences, and two were killed by Pakistani security forces last year. Four others are still at large.

It feels very strange for me to be bolding these names like so many lunchers at Michael’s. What happened to Daniel Pearl was absolutely horrendous, and unfortunately that kind of danger is still very much present for journalists working overseas in embattled regions. To all of our colleagues overseas or getting ready to go, we really hope you stay safe and protected and pray that you will return home unharmed.

Pearl killing suspect arrested [Guardian]

Angelina’s Baby: She’s just like us, insofar as she wants to know what the hell is up with Karl Rove

Zahara's just like us.jpgUs Weekly ran this picture of Angelina Jolie and brand-new baby Zahara with the question, “What’s Zahara wearing?” Not that infant togs aren’t very important, but we thought the question “What’s Zahara reading?” was far more germane to a discerning media audience. The answer? Scott McClellan’s favorite magazine, Newsweek! We think this is a good first step in developing Zahara’s cognitive skills. Adorably enlarged version after the jump.

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Huffington Print- thar she blows!

A while back, I wondered why we hadn’t seen the much-ballyhooed syndicated print version of The Huffington Post. Editor & Publisher now reports that HuPo print syndication will begin the week of September 12, and will be offered to papers twice-weekly instead of daily, as originally planned:

Tribune Media Services gave the feature a beta test, from early June into July, with approximately 10 newspapers. TMS was not surprised to find that papers didn’t feel they could use “The Huffington Post” on a daily basis. “It was a question of available space,” said John Twohey, TMS vice president for editorial and operations, when contacted today by E&P Online.

The feature will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with each package including two Op-Ed-length blog entries and one selection of blog excerpts from The Huffington Post site. Each of the three components is expected to run 700 to 800 words.

If I’m doing my math right, three components of 7-800 words each is about sixty percent of a typical newspaper’s typical Op-Ed page. Is any major paper really going to allow itself to be colonized like that? My guess is the Huffington Print, like ol’ Nessie, will remain elusive.

WSJ update: If you don’t come in on Saturday…

…don’t bother coming in on Sunday. People working in the ever-expanding hallways of the Journal empire tell Fishbowl that until recently, journos there have been griping about being leaned on to crank out that vaunted new Weekend Edition, a.k.a. That Damn Extra Day A Week We Lose With The Kids, which pops on Sept. 17. Solution: WSJ acquired both CBS MarketWatch and, more recently, hip Brit financial column – the latter of which is editored by Winston Churchill’s great-grandson Hugo Dixon and will appear in the new weekend paper.

Now WSJ journos are tweaked that the new tenants are stealing their thunder and that they should be cut in on the new action. Hey, guys, which is it? Are you in an overworked Gulag, or are you jealous of your new fellow inmates? Can’t have both.

Dear Walter: Sorry We Haven’t Written in a While

Questions for Novak [FishbowlDC]

Lunch at Michael’s: a meta media molloy day

Just as everyone was sitting down to their respective tuna tartares, there was a big hullaboo in reception. George Rush (of the Daily News’ Rush & Molloy) entered, film crew trailing. But the real stars were Dennis Hoff, pimp of the HBO Bunny Ranch and Bunny Triple X Becca Brat (sp?). More below…

[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: Former Governor Ann Richards, Johnny Roberts and Martha Stewart’s Charles Koppelman.

7: Ashley Schiff, of Howard Rubenstein, with Sharon Peterson in pink, hair pulled back.

8: (his regular table by the door): David Patrick Columbia, New York Social Diary, two socialites, a Ms. Finkle in a leopard-patterned top and jacket and a Ms. Richter, who seemed decidedly unsure as to whether or not to take our hand.

2: Peter Brown of Brown Lloyd James, with colleague Michael Holtzman (sp?).

B: Sally Sussman (Susman?) with a woman in a red twin set and a gigantic white bead necklace.

4: Jim Taylor, Town & Country, with Joan Parker (sp?), of DeBeers.

D (Now known as Table 6, our table): We were with Joanna Jordan, CEO of Central Talent Booking (her 22-person company books guests for major TV shows as well as wrangles celebs for major mags). She’s English, naughty and we like her very very much. Also at the table: Vivian Schiller, a Senior VP at the Times (she’s also, incidentally, and not that we or anyone else would care, one of the privileged few on the published New York Times masthead. Yes, a name we can see!). She works on the joint venture between the Times and Discovery Channel. It’s called Discovery/Times and you may check it out on Channel 111.

5: Jim Griffith (sp?) of William Morris, with Gil Schwartz, PR at Viacom.

11: Children’s clothes designer Carolina Zapf (sp?), Baby CZ, in a gorgeous robin’s egg blue top that she designed, with someone we don’t know in an indian-baticky-patterned outfit.

20: Cyndi Leive, editor-in-chief of Glamour, looking rather sleek in black, her cool, studded purse at her feet like a lapdog. She was dining with a charmingly freckled and raven-haired woman in hot pink. Keith Kelly, who went over to say hello, reported back that the pink-clad woman was a gynecologist. A new column in Glamour?

F: The Post’s Keith Kelly earns an A at Table F today for helping us spot people and increase the general drama of the room. He was with Martin Walker, of Walker Media and another gent, Peter Lauria, of the Post’s Sunday Business Page. At one point during the meal, the peripatetic Posty ambled over to Rush (they are natural enemies). The Bravo team of one got the whole exchange on tape, however, we doubt it will ever be shown anywhere but here…

Kelly: “So, anyone fired at your shop?”
Rush: “I don’t know. The day is young…”
Kelly: “What happened to [name mangled].”
Rush: “I don’t know… Certain people have been there a long time… Half of it, I read in your column.” [uncomfortable chuckle]

At that moment, the Pimp of the Bunny Ranch chimes in: “Hi, I’m Dennis Hof. We put the ‘ho’ in HBO,” he says by way of introduction.

G: Alice Mayhew, editor at Simon & Schuster, was with two female guests and one fellow wearing a fat blue/gold striped tie. As she was leaving, Mayhew discreetly pointed out Ann Richards to one impressed guest.

17: Patty Sellers, of Fortune with someone we don’t know. After 1:15, the table turned over to Sarah Medford, the architecture and design director at Town & Country, who was joined by Adrian Kahan of Ralph Lauren Home.

16: George Rush, of the Daily News with: a Bravo Network camera woman (they’re doing a reality show on the Daily News); the pimp of the HBO Bunny Ranch, wearing a red Cat House handler shirt; and one presumed cat, Triple X Becca Brat, looking very blonde and busty in a brown halter top and dark (very dark for daytime, we might add) grey eye shadow.

H: Xana Antunes, Executive Editor of Fortune magazine (former editor of the NY Post), with Charlie Schueler, of Cablevision.

21: Nina Link, head of MPA, with Tim Davis, of the Ad Council. Makes sense.

26: NY Post media writer Tim Arango, with merchant banker Diane Warshaw.

19: Patricia Burke, Paramount Books, with chic-looking woman in dark glasses.

15: Stanley Schuman, head of the media practice at Allen & Co, with Scott Flanders, retiring Chairman/CEO of Columbia.

27: Faye Wattleton, Center for Gender Equality (and former president of Planned Parenthood), with Ralph Destino, VP (formerly? presently?) Van Cleef & Arpels.

22: Harper Collins’ Brenda Segal with someone we couldn’t identify.

23: Evan Greenberg, CEO of Ace (husband of Fox Anchorwoman Linda Vester) with someone we couldn’t identify.

J: Anna ??, publicist, of CBS.

28: L’Oreal Model Dayle Hadan with someone we couldn’t identify.

25: KPMG’s Terri Santisi with someone we couldn’t identify.

K: David Poltrack, head of research at CBS, with Lauren and Chuck? Please fill us in.

Back Room:
Paul Tharp, self-described reporter who “covers moguls” at the Post, with foxy Chris Taylor (she has beautiful blue eyes), Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, MacAndrews & Forbes (better known as Ronald Perelman’s holding company).

Stuart Zakim Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications at American Media Inc., with Men’s Fitness Editor in Chief Neal Boulton and Publisher, Jay Goldberg. Mid-way through lunch, they were elevated to Peter Brown’s table. Zakim and Boulton promptly bolted over the Bunny table to make small talk.

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!)

MAP of room


How to pick up a celebrity, even especially if you’re a journalist

bspears.jpgIn the new Esquire, former NYT rock critic / current Angeleno-about-town Neil Strauss, who’s about to publish a book (A ReganBook, no less) about his experiences in those how-to-pick-up-women seminars one gets lots of spam about, describes how he almost picked up Britney Spears in the course of interviewing her. Strauss uses the various tricks he’s learned from these dating gurus– reading her eye movements, using a conversational construct called a ‘yes ladder’ (“capturing her attention by asking questions that require an obvious answer”), and so forth. By the end of the interview, she’s putty in his hands:

“You know,” Britney said. “Everything happens for a reason.”
“I truly believe that,” I told her.
“I do, too.” She touched my shoulder and a broad smile spread across her face. “I’d like to exchange numbers.”

Strauss never calls her because he feels it would be a violation of journalistic ethics. I think he should use those digits. I’m sure the Great Ombudsman In The Sky would understand.