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Posts Tagged ‘Jack Shafer’

Gawker Takes Stock of Media Critics, Proclaims LAT‘s Rainey ‘Not Memorable’

In the wake of Wednesday’s news that Poynter’s Jim Romenesko is semi-retiring and Slate’s Jack Shafer has been laid off, Gawker has declared this the twilight of media critics. They’ve compiled a list of those critics of note still standing, and it’s a short one, with David Carr of the New York Times at the top. The LA Times‘ media writer James Rainey was also named, though without much enthusiasm:

Rainey’s not a particularly memorable writer, but he does a fair job. He also has the West Coast pretty much to himself now.

Rainey, for whom FishbowlLA has considerably more affection, tweets in response:

It’s the little things…

Slate’s Jack Shafer Discusses Being Laid Off, Future Plans

Last night two big stories broke. One was that Steve Jobs was stepping down as CEO of Apple. The other, and the one much more important to those of us in the media world, was that Jack Shafer was laid off by Slate. It caught everyone by surprise because Shafer and his Press Box column are phenomenal, it seemed crazy that Slate would let someone like him go. But such is the life of journalists.

Because we’re big fans of Shafer, we thought we’d pass along the interview he did with Adweek last night. In true Shafer fashion, he was blunt, sarcastic and enjoyable. Below, a few choice quotes.

On why he was let go:
I’m not the only one who has been let go by Slate. Slate has expanded ambitiously, and right now it’s responding to the industry-wide recession in a sensible fashion by cutting some costs—and I’m one of those costs.

On where he’ll write next (he will still contribute to Slate):
I haven’t phoned-up Rupert Murdoch and asked him if he wants another columnist at the Wall Street Journal.”

On his writing style:
Let’s start some fights and see who wins.”

Top Five Quotes from Jack Shafer’s Takedown of Rupert Murdoch over the Phone-Hacking Scandal

If you haven’t heard, News Corp. has been deeply mired in a phone-hacking scandal that came to a head earlier this week when Guardian‘s Nick Davies and Amelia Hill reported that News Corp.’s News of the World journalists may have hacked into the voicemail of a 13-year-old girl who went missing in March 2002. Jack Shafer at Slate pens an entertaining column that provides a big picture look at the scandal for those who want to catch up, and makes Shafer’s feelings toward Rupert Murdoch, the beleaguered head of News Corp., very, very clear.

If you’re no Murdoch fan yourself, here are our favorite of Shafer’s gleeful takedowns of the media mogul for your reading pleasure:

1. If Rupert Murdoch could be slain by a mere scandal, he would have been embalmed and entombed long ago.

2. We expect the worst from Murdoch, and he lives up to our expectations.

3. The genocidal tyrant has successfully swept away every scandal—major and minor—he has ever faced because of his special skill at normalizing his malefactions.

4. Murdoch’s instinct, of course, will be to sacrifice [Rebekah Brooks], but I doubt that the mob that is gathering will be satisfied with one body. They’ll want strong, tough, old meat, too. Something that’s fit for grilling on the barbie.

5. Send recipes for grilled Murdoch to slate.pressbox@gmail.com and monitor my Twitter feed for a prayer for Rupert’s soul.

The Best Angry Goodbye Notes from Fired Journalists

“Only when a journalist is fired or quits does the complete fury he feels for those quacking mallards who have made his life miserable begin to surface,” writes Jack Shafer at Slate. He’s collected a few of the best kiss-off notes from fired journalists on his blog, and some of them are truly amazing.

“Jesus spent three days in Hell. … I could only handle one,” —wrote Richard Morgan, who quit Gawker after one day in January 2008.

And another favorite: “Don’t worry about me; I’ll land on my feet. I don’t regret coming here, even though I’ve been laid off now. In fact, my only regret is that you haven’t come to visit the Beacon Journal. I would have loved to piss on your shoes,” wrote Mark Schlueb, in a letter to Knight Ridder CEO Tony Ridder, in April 2001

Unsurprisingly, Tina Brown gets a few mentions. Who knew she wasn’t popular?  “If some ditzy American editor went to London, took over the Spectator and turned it into, say, In Your Face: A Magazine of Mucus, there would be a big uproar, but here in America, we expect turnover,” wrote Garrison Keillor, after Brown replaced Robert Gottlieb as editor of The New Yorker in April 1995.

And after his Newsweek blog was canceled by incoming editor Brown in 2011, Mickey Kaus wrote, “The people at the Daily Beast seem to be having a desperate sort of faux-fun as they try to madly generate paying hits before Barry Diller‘s money runs out subsidizing Ms. Brown’s big bucks staff.”

The whole collection, well worth the read, is at Slate.

The Controversy over Harper’s Win for Best Reporting at the Ellie

On of the major upsets at the National Magazine Awards this week was the “Reporting” award, which went to Harper’s for Scott Horton‘s “The Guantanamo ‘Suicides’.” The piece had a mixed reception when it was published; moreover, it was up against two standout articles — not just of this year but of any year — the Rolling Stone article “The Runaway General” by Michael Hastings (that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal), and The New Yorker exposé of the Koch brothers by Jane Mayer.

Horton’s piece begins with the premise that not only has President Obama failed to close Guantanamo, he may be more implicated in horrors that have occurred there than has previously come to light. It begins:

[N]ew evidence…suggests the current administration failed to investigate seriously—and may even have continued—a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.

Joe Pompeo at The Cutline gathered up some of the reactions around the media. Slate’s media critic, Jack Shafer, had the most biting criticism over the win:

I am dumbfounded. The Harper’s piece is a souffle of conjecture. Did the judges actually read it? Do they really think the Obama administration is covering up murders committed during the Bush administration?

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Former LA Times Editor Off to Bloomberg

Michael Kinsley, who spent just more than a year as the LA Times‘ editorial-page editor back in 2004, has a new job–columnist at the soon-to-be-launched Bloomberg View. Kinsley was most recently at Politico, where he stayed for about 30 seconds or so. As Jack Shafer notes in Slate, Kinsley has a habit of leaving jobs almost as fast as he lands a new one.

Just last September, he took a columnist job with Politico. One year before that, he joined the Atlantic crew. For a brief moment in 2006, he worked for the Guardian, and before that he spent a year and some change as the editorial-page editor of the Los Angeles Times. And, from 1996 to 2002, he edited the website you just clicked on and was also its founding editor. I won’t delineate his prehistoric career path but will only mention that it included positions at CNN and Harper’s and several stints at the New Republic, not to mention his freelance positions.

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Slate’s Jack Shafer Dismantles The New York Times Public Editor

Over the weekend Arthur S. Brisbane, the Public Editor of The New York Times, wrote a piece lamenting the way the Times has attacked other media companies. The choice quote from Brisbane was this:

In recent months, The Times has slipped a shiv into others on several occasions. Some readers don’t like it when that happens, and I can understand why. It’s unseemly and makes The Times, which is viewed as journalism’s top dog, look like a bully.

FishbowlNY’s reaction to the article was that there’s no need for the Times to stop attacking others, in fact, we sort of enjoy it when the newspaper goes on the offensive. Jack Shafer at Slate echoes our thoughts in a post today, but he does it in a much better way:

What would Brisbane prefer? That the Times view the Murdoch papers’ conduct, the Gannett pay packages, and the frat-boy shenanigans at Tribune from the perspective of a guidance counselor? That the Times pussyfoot while composing its stories? Give me the bully treatment any day—even though I don’t think any of the pieces cited by Brisbane comes remotely close to bullying. Or would Brisbane prefer that the Times recuse itself from covering all critical stories about the press and publish only positive ones?

Click through to Shafer’s article and see if you don’t come away with a newfound respect for shivs.

Arianna Huffington Responds to Lawsuit

Arianna Huffington has issued a reply to the lawsuit that she and The Huffington Post are facing, and in true HuffPo style, gathers some of the best articles that condemn the case, then adds a little more herself.

Huffington brings up Jack Shafer saying “We’re becoming a nation of Winklevosses who file legal motion after legal motion every time a pot of money is spotted,” repeats a comment from a New York Times article that asks “So, does this mean when YouTube was sold to Google that all the people who posted videos on YouTube should have been compensated?” and she even cites a lawyer explaining that there was no contract broken.

She then sums up her feelings with this:

It seems that AOL’s purchase of HuffPost suddenly opened his eyes to the fact that we are a business. I guess he’d missed the ads that appeared on the same page as his blog posts the 216 times he decided, of his own free will, to post something on our site.

We certainly wish that all writers would get paid for their work, but the more we think about it, the more the lawsuit really doesn’t make any sense. Filing a lawsuit after you’ve already agreed to work for free isn’t going to get you anything other than angry replies like Huffington’s.

Great: Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe Have Both Returned to Media Darling Status

Looks like James O’Keefe‘s latest prank has not only gotten NPR‘s president to resign, it’s gotten Andrew Breitbart back in the national spotlight. Breitbart was on Piers Morgan‘s show last night talking about his protege’s capers, and the left wing bias that prevents them from being properly acknowledged. We thought the Shirley Sherrod incident would finally send Breitbart to the media glue factory, but now he’s back galloping around like nothing happened–saying calculated, counterintuitive things like “the best coverage on this incident has been NPR. It’s been impeccable…I respect NPR more than you would actually think.” And he’s actually right about the bias against this latest O’Keefe prank.

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Vanity Fair Probes Julian Assange

Sarah Ellison, former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, has a sprawling, in-depth look at Julian Assange and his relationship with The Guardian and other media entities in Vanity Fair, and it just went online. Naturally the Internet is buzzing with reviews of the piece, so instead of giving of our take (we could be bribed though – think king-size Snickers), below are a collection of views from places we like to read:

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