Media News

Tuesday, Feb 22

The Morning Newsfeed: 02.22.05

Hunter S. Thompson Dead (NYT)
The writer who authored Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and whose savage chronicling of the underbelly of American life and politics embodied a new kind of nonfiction writing he called "gonzo journalism," apparently committed suicide. thompson2.jpgWaPo: Thompson's style was wildly and vividly his own and brought him cult-like status and widespread recognition. LAT: Thompson remembered as "larger than life." NYDN: More Thompson books still on the way. USAT: In Thompson's literary legacy, his work competes with his antics. Salon: Thompson blasted through the world like a big-finned rocket of defiance and revulsion. He leaves a big burned hole and a safer, duller world. Salon: Sonny Barger, Rosalynn Carter, Ben Fong-Torres and others remember the wild life and times of Hunter S. Newsday: Thompson requested that his ashes be shot out of a cannon. AJR: A longtime Thompson admirer ventures into his Colorado redoubt in 1996 with a six-pack of beer. LAT: Thompson was new journalism's dark prince. SFC: Thompson's career was more than just a party. His gonzo legacy began with writing and transcended persona, writes Michael Taylor.

Post-Weinsteins Makeover for Miramax (LAT)
After co-founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein depart, the studio will operate "lean and mean," a source says. NYT: Harvey Weinstein will meet this week with executives for the Walt Disney Company for a final round of negotiations.

Novak Mum as Reporters Face Jail (USAT)
Peter Johnson: Syndicated columnist Robert Novak does not appear to face any jail time, and he will not discuss the matter, refusing to take calls from reporters or when asked about it by colleagues on CNN. [Second item.]


Gannongate More Fizzle Than Sizzle? (New Yorker)
Hendrik Hertzberg: A better name for it would be "Nothinggate," because nothing is what is likely to come of it. What all the memorable scandals of the past thirty years have had in common is that the opposition party controlled at least one house of Congress. E&P: Gannon/Guckert got GOPUSA press pass. NYT: Website owner knew of Gannon/Guckert's false identity.

Keller: Press Under Attack (Columbia Spectator)
New York Times executive editor Bill Keller spoke about the struggle of print journalism to maintain its relevance in the face of constant cable news updates, increased blogging, and failures in credibility.

Talk Suit (Page Six)
Talk magazine is long gone, but a former staffer is ensuring it lives on in infamy with a long-simmering $25 million lawsuit that is finally headed for trial.

Nets' Newsmags Drag (Variety)
After years of occupying sacred ground on network schedules, primetime newsmagazine shows have suddenly morphed into mere mortals.

Anchor Steam (NYT)
Tyler Brule: There are days when I wonder whether the people in TV news ever read fashion magazines, venture into stores, travel to exotic lands or even walk down city streets. Judging by the state of what's happening behind news desks, on sofas and out in the field, my hunch is a firm no.

Not Naming Names (Slate)
Jack Shafer: Why doesn't journalist/publisher James Atlas name names when he writes about being fired by David Remnick at the New Yorker?

Another Notch on Blog Squad's Belt (LAT)
David Shaw: Bloggers did a good job, for example, in bringing the Rather/CBS screw-up to public attention. But some bloggers are just self-important ranters who seem to wake up every morning convinced that the entire Free World awaits their opinions. WaPo: Forecast is increasingly bloggy, writes Howard Kurtz.

SEC Probes Stern's Sirius Deal (CNN)
A New Jersey-based gossip columnist and frequent guest on Stern's radio show has been subpoenaed by the SEC concerning insider trading in shares of Sirius Satellite Radio.

He is Tom Wolfe (Yale Daily News)
The New Journalism father talks about writing I am Charlotte Simmons and hints that he's always wanted to do a book on the Berlin Wall.

Times Co. Hypocrisy? (WaPo)
Allan Sloan: The New York Times editorial page is unsparing when it comes to flogging tax-dodging corporations, yet the Times Co.'s $410 million cash purchase of Primedia's About.com subsidiary is set up to maximize tax benefits.

Remembering Eleanor Gould (New Yorker)
David Remnick: Miss Gould worked for fifty-four years at the New Yorker, most of them as its Grammarian, shaping the language of the magazine, always striving for a kind of Euclidean clarity—transparent, precise, muscular. It was an ideal that seemed to have not only syntactical but moral dimensions.

Bloomberg News Mess (NYP)
Bloomberg LP Chief Executive Officer Lex Fenwick, who has had the top job ever since Mayor Mike Bloomberg stepped away from the company to run for office four years ago, has apparently been stripped of some responsibilities in a major restructuring at the media giant.

Bill Burkett Fights Back (Salon)
A key player in the Dan Rather Memogate saga sends a letter to CBS, charging that its independent investigation destroyed his reputation and ignored the network's own culpability.

When to Put a Mag under the Knife (MediaWeek U.K.)
James Livesley: To redesign or relaunch, that is the question facing editors and publishers. Do they go ahead when a title is on top of its game or when it's facing terminal decline?

Simpsons Jump Into Gay Marriage Scrum (Guardian)
Some groups, including the Parents' Television Council, have condemned the storyline but most critics praised the Simpsons for its willingness to satirize potentially controversial issues. NYT: At least one program runs toward controversy, writes Alessandra Stanley.

—David S. Hirschman

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