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Wednesday, Oct 10

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ABC News Launches Preemptive Defense of Martha Raddatz (TVNewser)
The moderator for Thursday's vice presidential debate is ABC News chief foreign correspondent Martha Raddatz. According to Andrew Sullivan, conservative news site The Daily Caller is planning an article about Raddatz, in an apparent effort to discredit her before the debate. The site previously wrote a story about Raddatz back in August. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media "Barack Obama was a law school classmate of Raddatz's ex-husband Julius Genachowski at Harvard. At the time Barack Obama was a student and president of the Law Review. He attended their wedding over two decades ago along with nearly the entire Law Review, many of whom went on to successful careers including some in the Bush administration. Raddatz and Mr. Genachowski divorced in 1997 and both are now remarried," an ABC News representative wrote in a statement sent to Politico. HuffPost On Monday afternoon, ABC News' Martha Raddatz took a break from preparing to moderate this week's vice presidential debate to tweet a photo of herself recently aboard a fighter jet. That flight, she wrote, "was good warmup" for steering the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Mediaite Meanwhile, Raddatz herself has been trying to avoid seeing pre-debate criticisms on Twitter. The Washington Times / Ad Lib Coming on the heels of the smackdown of President Obama by Governor Mitt Romney last Wednesday, the vice presidential debate on Thursday, Oct. 11 has raised unprecedented interest. More than 67 million Americans tuned in to see the Obama-Romney face-off last week and there are expectations for higher numbers this week. Chicago Tribune / Reuters Biden and Ryan have shown a greater willingness to mix it up than their buttoned-down bosses, and both seem comfortable playing the traditional vice-presidential role of attack dog. "I'd be surprised if there weren't far more fireworks in this debate than there were in the first presidential debate," said University of Maine political science professor Mark Brewer.

Jack Welch Quits Contributing to Fortune and Reuters (FishbowlNY)
Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, has made his mind up: He will no longer contribute to Fortune or Reuters, which ran his and his wife's columns in the past. Welch, as you probably know, garnered plenty of criticism for his conspiracy theory tweet about the most recent jobs report. Fortune On Friday, Welch suggested that the Obama administration, calling them "these Chicago guys," had manipulated the monthly jobs report in order to make the economy look better than it actually is just weeks before the election. Welch has been battered by criticism since making the suggestion on Twitter. NYT / Media Decoder And in an op-ed column for The Wall Street Journal that went online Tuesday evening, he declared that the hostile reaction to his challenging "a piece of data released by central headquarters" was evocative of something out of "Soviet Russia." WSJ / Jack Welch Unfortunately for those who would like me to pipe down, the 7.8 percent unemployment figure released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last week is downright implausible. And that's why I made a stink about it. Bloomberg Businessweek Welch has contributed $5,000, the maximum, to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign and described him on CNBC as "the most qualified leader" to seek the office in his lifetime. His Oct. 5 Twitter message snowballed as commentators and politicians weighed in on social media websites and television to endorse or dispute his view.

Variety Purchased by Penske Media for $25 Million (FishbowlNY)
Variety has finally been purchased. According to the Los Angeles Times, Variety has been acquired by Penske Media, and its financial backer, Third Point, a hedge fund. The price? A cool $25 million. LA Times / Company Town Santa Monica-based Penske already owns, the website that has in just six years become a dominant news source for show business professionals and, together with online competitor The Wrap and a resurgent Hollywood Reporter, stolen much of the thunder that belonged to Variety for its 107-year history. THR The publication reached its heights in the 1990s under the editorial leadership of Peter Bart, a former executive of Paramount Pictures. NYT / Media Decoder, which operates behind a pay wall known for irritating log-in errors, has about 320,000 monthly unique visitors, according to comScore; Deadline, which is free, has about 2.4 million. Bloomberg "We plan to rapidly build upon Variety's foundation, while extending this invaluable brand's presence across Web, broadcast, mobile, and international markets," CEO Jay Penske said Tuesday.

ABC/Univision Cable News Channel Closing in on New Name (TVNewser)
The new cable news channel from ABC News and Univision is closing in on its new name, someone familiar with the process tells TVNewser. Currently there are a number of names under discussion, including "Accent," "VZTA," "UNA" and "U&A." UNA and U&A are a play on the names of the two parent companies, while Accent and VZTA (pronounced like "vista") are brand names that the joint venture could "own." CBS Miami Gov. Rick Scott and local officials will announce this week that a Univision-ABC joint venture for a new cable network will be based in Miami, likely bringing about 350 jobs to South Florida.

Twitter Acquires Video Service; Are Third-Party Video Developers in Danger Now Too? (AllTwitter)
Tuesday, we heard that Twitter was considering building its own video-hosting technology and now we've learned they just acquired a video clip company. Beware, third-party video developers. Beware. AllThingsD If Twitter ends up running its own video service, this should help: The messaging service has bought Vine, a video-sharing start-up. We don't have terms for the deal, but this looks a lot like an "acqhire": Vine is a three-man company, based in New York, which formed in June. VentureBeat Vine's service is focused on people capturing short video clips that can then be shared via their iPhone. The company's splash page also explains that videos don't require editing, rendering, or post-production, meaning it could offer camera filters or an easy way to pluck only the best portions from a clip. TechCrunch If true, this marks an important milestone for Twitter, which is in complete attack mode when it comes to turning into a media powerhouse.

Leon D. Black Acquires Phaidon Press (GalleyCat)
Leon D. Black, a well-known money manager, has acquired art book publisher Phaidon Press Limited from Richard Schlagman in a deal whose terms were not disclosed. Publishers Weekly With offices in New York and London, Phaidon is best known for its art books and does about 60 titles annually and has a 1,900-title backlist. NYT / DealBook Black is one of the country's foremost art collectors. Though he nor any of his representatives will confirm it, Black is said to have paid nearly $120 million for Edvard Munch's 1995 version of "The Scream" earlier this year. New York Daily News / Page Views His purchase of Phaidon comes at a time when art publishing is ailing much like publishing of any other kind, desperately looking for saviors, whoever they may be.

Microsoft CEO Sees Company Becoming More Like Apple (Yahoo! News / Reuters)
Microsoft Corp CEO Steve Ballmer has signaled a new direction for the world's largest software company, pointing to hardware and online services as its future, taking a page from long-time rival Apple Inc. Montreal Gazette Ballmer wrote a letter to shareholders on Tuesday, saying he wants the company to move away from just providing software, so that it can also start making hardware like phones, tablets and computers to sell its software products. GeekWire Among other things, the letter makes it clear that the Microsoft Surface and the Xbox will not be the company's last forays into hardware and device development. That moves the company closer to Apple's vertically integrated model. Gizmodo What Ballmer Is Really Saying: If you would just give us a chance, we promise you'll have a good time with Microsoft. Don't go to Google! Don't go to Apple!

Netflix CEO to Quit Microsoft Board (Yahoo! News / AP)
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is quitting Microsoft's board of directors after five and a half years. The departure, announced Tuesday, will become effective Nov. 28 when Microsoft Corp. is scheduled to hold its annual shareholders' meeting. TechCrunch Here's what Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, had to say about the noteworthy departure: Reed has been a terrific board member, and his insights and experience have really helped guide us through a critical period of transformation for both Microsoft and the industry. VentureBeat However, Microsoft has signaled its intentions to provide more media services, and it's possible a conflict of interest is driving Hastings away from the board. With Microsoft adding movie rentals to Windows 8, it may not want to give Hastings info on future plans.

Zimmerman Defense Seeking to Subpoena Trayvon Martin's Tweets (AllTwitter)
George Zimmerman's defense team tweeted a link announcing its Notice of Hearing where it will request the Court to consider its motion to subpoena Trayvon Martin's tweets. The fact that his team created a Twitter account demonstrates social media savvy. But its request to subpoena the dead teen's tweets seems... unnecessary, particularly considering that Martin's tweets are easily found online. HuffPost His lawyers have also requested Martin's cellphone information, saying that Martin's communications will help them prepare Zimmerman's defense. BET "This is outrageous," said Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for Martin's parents, in an interview with "Trayvon's parents maintain that his school records and Facebook page are completely irrelevant to George Zimmerman's decision to get out of his car to profile, pursue and shoot their son in the heart."

Former Teen Who Had Sex with Polanski Writing Book (Yahoo! News / AP)
The former teen whom Roman Polanski was convicted of having sex with -- leading to his flight from the US -- is writing a memoir. Samantha Geimer, now 47, has a deal with Atria Books for The Girl: Emerging from the Shadow of Roman Polanski. USA Today / Life Line Live According to Atria, Geimer will provide "insight into many dimensions of the story that have never previously been revealed." In a statement, Geimer, who is married with three kids and lives in Hawaii, said she was tired of being labeled.

NBC News Shakes Up Management Team, New EP at Rock Center (TVNewser)
NBC News has shaken up its leadership team, promoting D.C. bureau chief Antoine Sanfuentes to senior VP of NBC News, promoting David Verdi to senior VP of newsgathering, upping Ken Strickland to D.C. bureau chief and naming Alex Wallace EP of Rock Center. For Wallace, it's a return to overseeing a Brian Williams broadcast. Wallace was EP of Nightly News from 2007 to 2008.

Lemann to Step Down as Dean of Journalism School at Columbia (NYT / Media Decoder)
Nicholas Lemann, the dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, who led the program through a turbulent decade as digital media forced sweeping changes in the industry, is stepping down at the end of the academic year. The university is expected to announce his departure on Wednesday morning.

New York Times to Make 'Final Offer' to Guild on Thursday (
A message sent to New York Times guild members on Tuesday evening says management answered staffers' "demonstration of profound unhappiness" -- a brief Monday afternoon walkout -- "by throwing a tantrum and taking two provocative actions Tuesday."

On Social Media and the Power of Real-Life Serendipity (GigaOM)
The way that social media tools like Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram have changed our lives is often taken for granted, but the way that they can inject some much-needed serendipity into our lives is often overlooked -- even by those who use them a lot.

Obama Campaign Deploys Big Bird in New Ad (Yahoo! News / AP)
President Barack Obama deployed Big Bird in a new campaign ad Tuesday mocking Mitt Romney's vow to end federal funding for public broadcasting. Romney's campaign dismissed it as an example of Obama being small-minded while the foundation behind Big Bird's program, Sesame Street, asked that the ad be taken down.

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