New York Times Goes Sexist On Sienna Miller

sienna_miller1It would have been easy to confuse the New York Times for a celebrity gossip rag last week when they lead a story about the actress Sienna Miller by recounting her sexual exploits and all but calling her floozy. As reported by Gossip Cop, the paper goes so far to develop Miller’s femme fatale image that they referred to her three year partnership and engagement to Jude Law as a “fling.”

A few weeks prior, in a piece about Law, it was referred to as a “relationship,” but in an effort to paint Ms. Miller in a certain light, the Times interpreted her sexual past in another direction entirely. The article is ostensibly about Miller’s new turn in the Broadway show After Miss Julie, but the angle stinks of sexism and the all too typical “he’s a stud, she’s a slut” shaming tactic. The full first paragraph reads:

“SERIAL MILLER” is what the London tabloids like to call the 27-year-old actress Sienna Miller, in honor of her long and well-documented romantic history. Her flings have included Jude Law, Daniel Craig, James Franco and most recently the married oil heir Balthazar Getty, with whom she was photographed topless and in a sailor hat. She is also famous for her retro-hippie fashion sense, for enthusiastic partygoing and for occasional miscalculations like a same-sex toe-sucking incident after the 2006 Oscars.

The article also overestimated her sexual reach, claiming she had “flings” with two men with whom she has not. A rather embarrassing correction now appears below the online version of the story:

“An article on Page 4 this weekend about Sienna Miller misstates the nature of the relationships that she had with Heath Ledger and Sean Combs. She was friends with both of them; she did not have romantic flings with either of them.”


“Held By the Taliban” — Times and Rohdes Ready to Share Details of Kidnapping

Picture 8

Almost a year ago, while reporting on the Taliban in Afghanistan for the New York Times, journalist David Rohde was taken captive. Rohde returned home in June, and now he’s telling the action-packed and emotional story of his kidnapping and captivity in Afghanistan and Pakistan on the front page of the Times.

From Part 1 of Held By The Taliban:

While one guard pointed his Kalashnikov at me, the other took my glasses, notebook, pen and camera. I was blindfolded, my hands tied behind my back. My heart raced. Sweat poured from my skin.

“Habarnigar,” I said, using a Dari word for journalist. “Salaam,” I said, using an Arabic expression for peace.

I waited for the sound of gunfire. I knew I might die but remained strangely calm.

Moments later, I felt a hand push me back toward the car, and I was forced to lie down on the back seat. Two gunmen got in and slammed the doors shut. The car lurched forward. Tahir and Asad were gone and, I thought, probably dead.

The Times and others news outlets, including Wikipedia, took flak earlier this summer for keeping news of Rohde’s kidnapping quiet in order to protect him and his family. News might have been scarce before, but it looks like over the course of five installments penned by the man himself, there will be no shortage of detail.

Related:
Freed NYT Reporter Reminds Us of Dangers of Real Journalism [Mediaite]
Nameless in Tehran – Empty Bylines in Sunday’s New York Times Articles [Mediaite]


Why Does The New York Times TV Critic Suddenly Dislike Tina Fey?

tina fey-thumb-492x371The New York Times is rarely a bastion of backlash, but for Tina Fey — whose NBC comedy 30 Rock had its fourth season premiere last night — TV critic Alessandra Stanley will make an exception. In her review yesterday, Stanley was especially pointed with detailed (if contradictory) jabs at the much-loved comedienne, who almost achieved invincibility with her unassailable Sarah Palin impression.

For the Times critic, though, the charm has worn thin, at least on 30 Rock. Stanley sounds conflicted when she writes:

But the other striking thing about the new season … is the acting limitations of its star and creator, Tina Fey. Ms. Fey is one of the funniest comedy writers on television and a gifted mimic (Sarah Palin), and she is at her worst playing a comic version of herself.

Stanley doesn’t buy Fey as Liz Lemon — the “hapless single head writer of a late-night sketch comedy show” — noting that the comic distortion of Fey “doesn’t track.” She prefers the feisty version of Fey (”fearless about mocking politics, the entertainment business and NBC”) to the pathetic side of Lemon who “dresses badly, is a junk-food glutton, can’t get a date.” To hear Stanley tell it, those afflictions are unnatural and implausible for a “thin, beautiful” actress.

Though it’s perfectly reasonable to prefer a biting Fey to a bumbling one, it is curious logic to cite the impossibility of her awkwardness given the constant self-deprecating and autobiographical nature of her comedy. And just last year, Stanley was praising the dissonance in Fey’s character: “Fey cultivates a “sexy librarian” look on 30 Rock, with foxy glasses and décolletage that slyly defies the show’s premise that her character, Liz Lemon, is a homely nebbish,” she wrote in Vanity Fair.

Is 30 Rock hitting a slump or is Stanley just falling out of love?


How Long Before The NY Times Turns Into Gawker?

gawker-logoPerhaps the most interesting observation to come out of yesterday’s Magazine Innovation Summit was not Gawker head Nick Denton’s revelation that “At meetings at Gawker, we quite shamelessly rip off things that magazines do well…We don’t sit around dissecting the New York Times.” Or that Gawker’s habit of posting headlines first and filling in the story later is all part of “stumbling toward the truth…We aim to be accurate over the long term.” Nope! Regular readers of the site are probably all familiar with these habits/editorial mandates. More interesting was Slate.com chairman Jacob Weisberg’s keen remark that Gawker “is now faced with the challenge of not morphing into the sort of journalism it often likes to ridicule.” Which is true, sort of.

We’ve noted before that Gawker has become a force in the main stream media, and that Denton is an increasingly wanted man on the high end panel circuit. So is it just a matter of time before Gawker morphs into the The New York Times? Doubtful (though they apparently are trying some Bill O’Reilly on for size). Certainly as Gawker expands it is increasingly its formalizing its work habits and contending with the responsibilities of being big time player. However I think the more likely scenario is that the Times et al. are going to increasingly look (if not necessarily sound) like Gawker.

Crazy? Not really. Denton is quietly becoming the defacto voice of experience on New Media, probably in part because he is so calm about the future (a rarity these days!) but mostly because his business is such a raging success. Moreover, he’s not afraid to try new things and cross the old sacred lines of journalism standards. Publishing headlines first and fact-checked content second? EEE GADS! Print would never stand for it (and rightly so, back in the day), but the elasticity and speed of the Internet easily allows for it. Demands it, one might argue. Just wait, I hazard a guess that most newspaper sites will consider it common practice in under five years. Probably less time for someone to experiment with this new hashtag system they have just introduced.

Denton also “argued that print magazines already have a sensibility that works online, but haven’t figured out how to translate it.” So, perhaps Conde should consider putting him in charge over there before the entire ships sinks.


Panel Nerds: Gloria Steinem And Farai Chideya On Generations Of Feminism

gsteinem306x306Who: Gloria Steinem and Farai Chideya, moderated by Gail Collins (New York Times)
What: TimesTalks’ “Changes in Women’s Lives”
Where: The Times Center
When: October 13, 2009
Thumbs: Up

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem suggested that women get together regularly to discuss their communal and individual roles. This gathering, it seemed, served that purpose for many in attendance. It provided a place for them to express their anger, frustration, doubt and confusion over modern-day feminism.

The audience was comprised of mostly women. They shared in the discussion, actively engaging through the night, nodding along with panelists’ points, clapping, and voicing audible agreement to express their approval. In certain ways, Steinem and the other panelists were tasked with setting the agenda and the discussion for the hundreds of assembled women to consider, reflect on and debate.

Farai Chideya represented a younger generation of feminism than Steinem and Gail Collins. Chideya said that the expectations thrust on her and her peers have led to disappointment and disillusionment among women. Steinem suspected that current female unhappiness could be tied into this reality. Steinem’s movement bred pride, pleasure and strength that today’s women don’t experience as prominently.

There’s new ground to be broken, they agreed. While Steinem didn’t think Hillary Clinton stood a chance of winning last year, she said it did allow Americans to imagine the possibility of a female President. She suspected, though, that that candidate will come on the conservative side where she’d be able to “sell out” instead of “represent.”

As they looked to the future, they considered both the benefits and drawbacks of technology. Steinem pointed to the power of mommy bloggers to get their voice out. Chideya worried about how social media will inhibit teenage girls from forming their identities since every picture and comment is stored.

And then they turned the microphones over to the audience who solicited advice and shared their thoughts and impressions. The Q&A was only the start, as conversation continued afterwards when people headed out the doors. We suspect the discussion is continuing on today as last night’s crowd assembles friends and colleagues for their own audiences.

What They Said
“I think that as women we spend so much time trying to change ourselves, and that’s exhausting.”
– Farai Chideya urges women to develop the confidence to compete and succeed

“The times I’m happiest don’t have to do with accomplishment but they have to do with feeling connected.”
– Gloria Steinem says that first and foremost you have to be secure with yourself within a community

“I think if you go to the Rayburn Building (link to http://www.aoc.gov/cc/cobs/rhob.cfm) you encounter more sexism than at strip clubs.”
– Farai Chideya believes that the government hasn’t done enough to promote equal rights and fair treatment for women

“I used to work at New York Magazine where they said ‘You write like a man’ and I was like ‘Thank you.’”
– Gloria Steinem reflects on how much she’s learned and changed since her twenties

“Good sex is feminist. Bad sex is just bad sex.”
– Farai Chideya recruited a lot of new feminists

What We Thought

  • Collins added some relevant stories from her years of interviewing women of all ages and backgrounds. She didn’t just lead the talk with questions, she contributed to it with cogent points based on real examples.
  • Steinem put a cheerful twist on the storm over today’s teens’ revealing clothing. She said that only in equal societies can women uncover like that and still feel safe.
  • We enjoyed the panel’s discussion about how women rely heavily on persuasion to dictate their effectiveness in the workplace. Steinem says that she regrets being so nice and cordial. It’s what led women to rely on what they knew already instead of going after something different.

PANEL RULES!
Some audience behavior seems to repeat itself panel after panel. We’ll be updating a running list of “PANEL RULES!” that will help ensure that you are not the dweeb of the Panel Nerds.

Panel Nerds don’t like…Maling It In
Gloria Steinem is famous for her efforts in the 1960s and 1970s in making progress for equal rights. At that same time, Abbie Hoffman was leading the Yippies. Just because the two may have crossed paths at the 1968 Chicago democratic convention doesn’t mean that Steinem has feelings about Hoffman or his movement today. There’s no need to ask about him, especially at an event focused on women’s issues. You were the lone man to ask a question at the panel and your question was way off-base. What’s that say about men and feminism today?

Who: Gloria Steinem (link to: http://www.clubcultura.com/clubcine/clubcineastas/almodovar/eng/homeeng.htm) and Farai Chideya (link to http://www.faraichideya.com/), moderated by Gail Collins (link to: http://www.nytimes.com/ref/opinion/collins-bio.html) (New York Times)

What: TimesTalks (link to: http://www.nytimes.whsites.net/talk/) “Changes in Women’s Lives”

Where: The Times Center

When October 13, 2009

Thumbs: Up

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem suggested that women get together regularly to discuss their communal and individual roles. This gathering, it seemed, served that purpose for many in attendance. It provided a place for them to express their anger, frustration, doubt and confusion over modern-day feminism.

The audience was comprised of mostly women. They shared in the discussion, actively engaging through the night, nodding along with panelists’ points, clapping, and voicing audible agreement to express their approval. In certain ways, Steinem and the other panelists were tasked with setting the agenda and the discussion for the hundreds of assembled women to consider, reflect on and debate.

Farai Chideya represented a younger generation of feminism than Steinem and Gail Collins. Chideya said that the expectations thrust on her and her peers have led to disappointment and disillusionment among women. Steinem suspected that current female unhappiness could be tied into this reality. Steinem’s movement bred pride, pleasure and strength that today’s women don’t experience as prominently.

There’s new ground to be broken, they agreed. While Steinem didn’t think Hillary Clinton stood a chance of winning last year, she said it did allow Americans to imagine the possibility of a female President. She suspected, though, that that candidate will come on the conservative side where she’d be able to “sell out” instead of “represent.”

As they looked to the future, they considered both the benefits and drawbacks of technology. Steinem pointed to the power of mommy bloggers to get their voice out. Chideya worried about how social media will inhibit teenage girls from forming their identities since every picture and comment is stored.

And then they turned the microphones over to the audience who solicited advice and shared their thoughts and impressions. The Q&A was only the start, as conversation continued afterwards when people headed out the doors. We suspect the discussion is continuing on today as last night’s crowd assembles friends and colleagues for their own audiences.

What They Said

“I think that as women we spend so much time trying to change ourselves, and that’s exhausting.”

- Farai Chideya urges women to develop the confidence to compete and succeed

“The times I’m happiest don’t have to do with accomplishment but they have to do with feeling connected.”

- Gloria Steinem says that first and foremost you have to be secure with yourself within a community

“I think if you go to the Rayburn Building (link to http://www.aoc.gov/cc/cobs/rhob.cfm) you encounter more sexism than at strip clubs.”

- Farai Chideya believes that the government hasn’t done enough to promote equal rights and fair treatment for women

“I used to work at New York Magazine where they said ‘You write like a man’ and I was like ‘Thank you.’”

- Gloria Steinem reflects on how much she’s learned and changed since her twenties

“Good sex is feminist. Bad sex is just bad sex.”

- Farai Chideya recruited a lot of new feminists

What We Thought

· Collins added some relevant stories from her years of interviewing women of all ages and backgrounds. She didn’t just lead the talk with questions, she contributed to it with cogent points based on real examples.

· Steinem put a cheerful twist on the storm over today’s teens’ revealing clothing. She said that only in equal societies can women uncover like that and still feel safe.

· We enjoyed the panel’s discussion about how women rely heavily on persuasion to dictate their effectiveness in the workplace. Steinem says that she regrets being so nice and cordial. It’s what led women to rely on what they knew already instead of going after something different.

PANEL RULES!

Some audience behavior seems to repeat itself panel after panel. We’ll be updating a running list of “PANEL RULES!” that will help ensure that you are not the dweeb of the Panel Nerds.

Panel Nerds don’t like…Maling It In

Gloria Steinem is famous for her efforts in the 1960s and 1970s in making progress for equal rights. At that same time, Abbie Hoffman was leading the Yippies. Just because the two may have crossed paths at the 1968 Chicago democratic convention doesn’t mean that Steinem has feelings about Hoffman or his movement today. There’s no need to ask about him, especially at an event focused on women’s issues. You were the lone man to ask a question at the panel and your question was way off-base. What’s that say about men and feminism today?