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Archives: September 2007

Susie Bright On Kurt Eichenwald

0928eichenwald.jpgWith no news developing in the sordid Kurt Eichenwald/webcams/whatever saga, we’re glad we have Susie Bright. The ‘sexpert’ talked to Counterpunch reporter Debbie Nathan, who is covering the Eichenwald beat… and it’s worth reading for a variety of reasons.

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Gawker Clubs Baby Seals, Neal Pollack’s Son

27_1348a14761_p.jpgGawker hit a new low, posting a hit piece about a 4-year-old this week. They called said 4-year-old “the worst,” declared they “hate” him and justified it all by explaining that he’s not a 4-year-old; he’s Neal Pollack’s 4-year-old.

Now, we’re no fans of Pollack, but this is out of line. And since 4 seems to be the median age of our readership, we feel the moral obligation to defend Elijah Pollack and the precocious spawn of self-absorbed writers everywhere.

Gawker, you either say sorry for hitting children right now, or you’re getting a time out.

The Eye Gets EyeLab| It’s All About the Depositions| Spielberg Psyches Out Sumner| Manhattan Media Myopia | Wintour’s Mouth|

Revolving Door: Phelps To L.A. Times

The Los Angeles Times just picked up Newsday‘s D.C. bureau chief Timothy M. Phelps as their new Washington investigative editor. Memo from Times bureau chief Doyle McManus after the jump.

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Times Mag College Issue Tackles The Ethics Of Adderall

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The New York Times loves the sweet, sweet advertising money that only colleges and universities can offer… So let’s give a big capitalistic shout-out to the first ever college-themed issue of the New York Times Magazine. We’ve got articles on the travail of Princeton-applying teens in upper-middle class towns. We’ve got the olibgatory war-related article. A style spread with the students of Wesleyan. A video feature on suicide on campus. Even an academia-themed edition of The Ethicist that gives us this gem:

A friend and I will soon take the L.S.A.T. His father, a psychiatrist, gave him Adderall to help him take the test. I asked if he could share some with me, and he said that would be unethical. Is it? Isn’t his dad’s giving him the Adderall unethical? – Name Withheld, Austin, Tex.

The answer might surprise you.

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Bill Keller’s CIA Connection

0928keller.jpgYesterday, we reported the NSA was holding workshops at their Maryland HQ to both wine and dine reporters and to encourage them to self-censor… y’know, on stories that the public has a right to hear about.

It turns out that there’s a long tradition of the intelligence community reaching out to influential journalists (obviously). But rather than dig up old copies of lefty magazines or spend hours googling everything we could find on the Copley News Service-CIA connection, we decided to go straight for the good stuff. Like how as a young turk, Bill Keller attended a CIA workshop. Here’s the good word from ex-Baltimore Sun DC correspondent Nancy Schwerzler:

It is hardly surprising that the NSA has conducted “seminars” for reporters in an attempt to influence how they reported on national security issues. Going back 30 years (ugh, I betray my senility) I was a “guest” at a CIA briefing for then-young journalists who were fellows at the Ford Foundation sponsored Washington Journalism Center, then run by former Washington Post reporter and Nixon enemies list member Julius Duscha. It was at the height of the Watergate investigations and then CIA director William Colby invited our small fellows group (including Bill Keller, then of the Oregonian and now NYT editor) out to Langley for a luncheon and briefing. It was an interesting, and at the time ground-breaking, effort by the CIA to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of young reporters, to explain what the CIA did and did not do and to try to undo some of the Watergate damage. Polite but irreverent as we were, we agreed to refrain from asking where they hid E. Howard Hunt‘s wig collection. For lunch, they paired us up with the youngest, most bearded “analysts” in the building to re-inforce the non-covert side of the agency.

Over the years the CIA has done ‘background’ briefings for reporters about to be sent on overseas assignments, and has tried to extract information from reporters upon their return from overseas assignments. Of course, with the dimininuation of overseas news coverage, there will be fewer reporters for intelligence agencies even to bother inviting to lunch.

So this explains why Perez Hilton reported that whole dead Fidel Castro thing. Dude’s totally an intelligence agency plant among the bloggers.

GQ Editor Jim Nelson: “Hillary Didn’t Kill the Piece; I Killed the Piece”

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Howard Kurtz takes a look at Ben Smith’s story for Politico that hinted that the Clinton campaign killed an account on their infighting for GQ that would have been perceived as unfavorable to the candidate. Joshua Green, the ”well-regarded” author of the article in question, said that GQ praised him for the quality of the article but didn’t want to jeopardize their access to former President Bill Clinton, who is slated to be the cover subject of their December issue. GQ, as you can imagine, had a slightly different interpretation. Kurtz writes:

”GQ Editor Jim Nelson insisted in an interview that the two events were not directly linked. ‘Hillary didn’t kill the piece; I killed the piece,’ he said. While the author, Joshua Green, is a ‘terrific reporter,’ he said, ‘the story didn’t end up fully satisfying. . . . I guarantee and promise you, if I’d have had a great Hillary piece, I would have run it.”’

Clinton campaign spokesperson Jay Carson attempted to kill the article by telling Green’s editor, Jim Lovell, that he would have his work cut out for him getting the Bill Clinton to cooperate if they ran the piece. Kurtz describes the aftermath of that call as causing ”considerable hand-wringing at the New York-based magazine, where editors did not want to be viewed as caving in to Clinton pressure.” In the end, though, GQ went with the Clintons.

David Keeps Hosts Art & the City for Ovation TV

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Ovation TV premieres Art & the City, a cultural tourism series hosted by Los Angeles Times staffer David Keeps, best described as

a delirious cross between your favorite college professor and a wired Sister Wendy.

The series, produced by Jane Fitzgerald at World of Wonder, leads cultural tourists on discoveries of arts, architecture and design in the galleries, hotels, museums and artistic hot-spots of destinations throughout the US and Europe.

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Steve Bartelstein: “I Have Cancer”

0928bartelstein.jpgLongtime WABC reporter Steve Bartelstein just disclosed that he has testicular cancer to Cindy Adams. The unfortunate news helps to explain numerous incidents where the morning anchorman showed up late for work, which culiminated in him getting fired after falling asleep on air. But CBS has shown interest in picking him up after he recovers:

Yesterday, the first day his WABC contract allowed him to speak out, he told me I might speak out about his whereabouts. He’s been between doctors’ offices, Cabrini’s operating room and bed rest. The diagnosis? Testicular cancer. He faces chemo, radiation, more surgery. Says Steve: “Doctors say this had long been in my system. I’m not one to complain nor say anything disparaging. But it’s possible my weariness at work was the result of this illness. I’d been showing extreme fatigue for a period of time. Even while I was still on-air, my mother said, ‘I notice you’re lethargic these days.’ “So what happens now? “I recoup a little, have more tests, and then they decide on the second operation. It’ll be within the next few weeks.” He plans on being back on the air somehow somewhere sometime. “I wasn’t allowed to say it then, but the very day I was fired, CBS offered me a job.”

We wish Bartelstein a swift and speedy recovery and that he’ll have the good sense to avoid ugly lawsuits in the future.

Sean Combs’ Scent Ad Cleared in UK, Too Hot for US

The FCC has decided that this ad–for Unforgivable Woman–is too sexy for us, and in the UK, the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre gave it the OK to air–but only after 9 p.m.

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