Did President Obama Call The Media Liars Last Night?

obamacare_175841gm-aOverlooked in much of the post-speech, “You Lie!” chatter last night was the fact that President Obama also used the word “lie” in his address and not just to describe (smackdown!) Sarah Palin and her death-panel assertions. He also, rather boldly, called out the “bogus claims” of “radio and cable talk show hosts.”

Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Now, such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

Had Rep. Joe Wilson not grabbed the “lie” meme so forcefully (he’s now the top trending topic on Twitter) one imagines we’d be hearing a lot more this morning about whether the President of the United States was accusing the media of being liars in front of a joint session of Congress. Or whether his promise (threat?) that “I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than to improve it” was a shot across the bows to a certain Glenn Beck, among others.

After the speech George Stephanopolous noted that, in addition to Wilson’s hecking, “I also can’t ever remember a President using the word ‘lie’ in a Joint Session or State of the Union speech.” It is strong language indeed — it is one thing for the President to complain about the press, it is another indeed for him to accuse them of reporting lies, in such a formal setting, no less. Considering the beating the Obama administration took this summer courtesy of much of the Town Hall coverage, and again this past week with the resignation of Van Jones at the hands of Beck, one wonders whether President Obama was also signaling to the cable newsers that he will no longer take this lying down.

Harper’s Bazaar Janet Jackson Cover Revealed

Earlier last month, Mediaite.com broke news that Harper’s Bazaar would be shooting Janet Jackson for their October Cover. An odd choice by Editor in Chief, Glenda Bailey, since it has been three years since her Ms. Jackson’s last fashion magazine cover.

Images of the newsstand and subscribers covers have been released and surprisingly, one of the two covers appears to be stunning: a perfect mix of glamour and class.

The Newsstand cover appears average: a close up of Janet, smiling, perfect skin, hair blowing. The subscriber cover, on the other hand, could bring Janet back onto the scene, for reasons other than the tragic death of her brother.

Newsstand Cover


Subscriber Cover


The Case of The Disappearing NYT.com Decoder Post

At 5:38pm today the New York Times Media Decoder blog posted an item ostensibly revealing the identity of the anonymous blogger behind the NYTPicker blog, which covers the Times to be David Blum (former editor of the Village Voice, New York Press, among others). Now it appears the post has since been removed. We’ve contacted the NYT to find out why.

The post mentions that Blum declined to comment for the story when contacted, and that the NYT source requested anonymity, was there some sort of confusion on this point? Was the NYT.com too quick to hit the publish button? In the meantime, here’s a screen grab of the post we managed to get before our browser crashed (instant karma?).

UPDATE: Did they peg the wrong guy? @nytpicker Twitters: “NYTPicker to NYT: Nice try, but Blum’s not one of us! Keep guessing.” If that is, in fact, the case, the NYT.com is going to have some explaining to do regarding their posting of the item without confirming the source. But perhaps even more explaining as to why, if there was a mistake, they decided to pull it instead of just adding a correction (which is obviously what would have happened were it a print story).

UPDATE 2: Media Decoder has posted a correction, sort of.

Earlier, we posted that David Blum, a veteran of New York media circles and a former editor of The Village Voice, The New York Press and an editor at New York magazine, was behind NYTPick.com, an anonymous commentary blog, according to a person with close ties to the site who also requested anonymity.

We also noted that Mr. Blum declined to comment. Mr. Blum contacted us shortly after the post went up to say that he hadn’t intended to decline comment and, furthermore, he denied he had any involvement with NYTPick.com. He added that he was flattered — he reads the blog — but that the source was incorrect

Um, yes, except how did the post get up there in the first place? And once it was up who okay’d its removal? These are not small questions — removing a post in its entirety, particularly if it’s because of faulty sourcing on the writer’s part, is shady business indeed. And the cutesy closer is even more off-putting: “What will NYTPick.com say about using anonymous sources to out anonymous bloggers? We may find out.” Not funny. Nor should the NYT.com be looking to anonymous bloggers (even those as good as the people behind NYTPicker) to play managing editor for them. Someone screwed up here, and at this stage of the game the NYT.com should know that transparency is as important as getting the facts straight.

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What To Expect When You’re Expected (To Sell Your Book)

what to expectHere comes the fall book season — which means here come the websites, blog posts, Twitter feeds and viral videos that have become necessary counterparts to the excerpts, readings, interviews and lectures that were once the only way of promoting a new book. These days, having a built-in audience is essential to making not only waves but sales — so authors better be able to tap into that.

Someone like Gary Vaynerchuk is a good example, whose book, Crush It, comes out next month. Vaynerchuk has been crushing it on promotion since day one, tweeting it out as a hashtag (#crushit) and making “crush it” part of the content he delivers to his extremely faithful online audience.

Another good example: The usually behind-the-scenes David Javerbaum’s recent video about his new book, What to Expect When You’re Expected: A Fetus’s Guide to the First Three Trimesters. You might know Javerbaum as a Tony-nominated Broadway lyricist, but it’s more likely that you know him from his comedy work: The Daily Show, where he has spent years as both head writer and then executive producer; America: The Book for which he was also of the three principal authors; and Stephen Colbert’s A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All, for which he was the lyricist.

Javerbaum is usually behind-the-scenes (did you even know that was him above? It is), but when a book hits the shelves it’s time to get out there. And so, here he is, starring in a new video on YouTube promoting the book. It’s already got a respectable 1,940 views — but probably not from people Googling “Daily Show Writer” and “baby book.” Here’s where the help of friends comes in — I found this via John Hodgman’s Twitter feed (at over 80K followers, that’ll get you nicely RT’d), and no doubt the video will start to make the comedy rounds soon.

Will it make that much difference to sales? Who knows? Either way, not doing it is no longer an option. Video below.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Latest Book Pirated Online…By The New Yorker!

malcolmgladwell2Best-selling pop psychologist/author Malcolm Gladwell has announced plans for his next book, What the Dog Saw, which will be published this fall. But not unlike an early album leak for a recording artist, Gladwell’s new book is already available online in its entirety, and The New Yorker, where Gladwell is a staff writer, is to blame.

As it turns out, it’s not exactly like an album leak, since the book is really just a collection of Gladwell’s best writing for the magazine, but a musician metaphor is still apt. Essentially, Gladwell’s publisher, Little, Brown and Company, is releasing what amounts to the writer’s equivalent of a Greatest Hits album, in a move that stinks a bit of desperation. In a time when book sales are declining — not unlike all printed matter — publishers are desperate for the next title from Dan Brown, Nora Roberts or, say, Malcolm Gladwell. That is, authors guaranteed to sell and sell big, with Gladwell’s three titles moving millions of copies internationally. And so less than a year after the release of Outliers, instead of turning around and paying Gladwell another fat advance to dive down into months of new research, writing, editing and post-production, his publisher has decided to merely repackage old work that’s all ready to go. Remember, The Eagles’ Greatest Hits is the biggest selling album of all-time in the United States. But it’s worth wondering how much longer newspapers, magazines, and now books will be able to charge for information readily available on the web, a question complicated by the ever-growing paywall debate.

Sure, it’s convenient to have all of Gladwell’s New Yorker pieces in one bound book — it’s insightful but quick reading perfect for travel or a day on the beach. And, of course, there’s nothing like the feeling of paper between your fingers as you feverishly turn the page because you’re about to find out just why the hell ketchup tastes so good. But $20 for a hardcover? Conveniently, Jason Kottke has already provided links to the entire book, along with annotations and the dates of the stories’ original pub date. Now surely, in this day and age, everyone has a printer.

Soundbite: The “Pomposity and Overweening Self-Satisfaction” of the NY Times


“As the visitor from Britain, I was asked to express my views on the US press, which amounted to an unrestrained mad-dog attack on The New York Times, its pomposity and overweening self-satisfaction, its complacency built over years of being a lofty monopoly, easily illustrated by its arrogance in asking readers to “now turn to page B21” or wherever, to continue reading most of their stories…”

Advertising mogul and art collector Charles Saatchi remembers a Hamptons dinner party in an interview with theTelegraph in response to the question “Which newspapers do you read?”

Full quotation here:

Which newspapers do you read?

All of them. Well, not the Daily Sport, and not all of them very thoroughly, but I enjoy the different characters of each of our newspapers, by far the most robust in the world, and the varied slant each gives to its reporting. I marvel at their expertise at winkling out proper news, despite the drastically reduced budgets nowadays for investigative long-term story building.

I was once in the New York Hamptons mansion of a publishing tycoon and it was one of those dinner parties where the host guides the conversation so that the table as a whole has to discuss a topic. As the visitor from Britain, I was asked to express my views on the US press, which amounted to an unrestrained mad-dog attack on The New York Times, its pomposity and overweening self-satisfaction, its complacency built over years of being a lofty monopoly, easily illustrated by its arrogance in asking readers to “now turn to page B21” or wherever, to continue reading most of their stories.

My fellow guests looked at me curiously, even pityingly. They turned out to be the editor, news editor, features editor and arts editor of The New York Times, and it didn’t take them long to show me how robust the US press can be.

When the Sensation/Giuliani controversy became a leading New York news story, I got given the steel-toe-cap kicking I obviously had coming.

Although we suspect alcohol might have been played a role in this moment of candor, Mediaite Props to Saatchi for keeping it real on the Hamptons salon circuit. Although now we’re worried that we’re going to feel like a chump every time we follow a jump to Section B.

Fashion Editors Forced to Diversify or Fall Off the Forbes List

WintourIn The September Issue, Vogue’s Anna Wintour is referred to as the Pope for her autonomy and infallibility. And though the film documents a time at Vogue before the peak of the recession and subsequent ad sales avalanche, Forbes concurs that Wintour’s power and influence may still be at an all-time high, ranking her first among “2009’s Most Powerful Fashion Magazine Editors.” But more interesting than the number one spot are the multimedia moves Wintour and her fellow editors made to retain relevance as print magazines continue their economic free-fall, not to mention Forbes‘ overlap with our own Power Grid rankings.

The Forbes list was compiled by comparing a variety of metrics each meant to measure popularity in different spheres, including web traffic, Google prominence and media mentions, as well as advertising revenue for 2009 and year-over-year circulation numbers. While weighed heavily, that of course is all added to the all-powerful Forbes editorial vision in determining their omnipresent “most powerful” lists. The Mediaite power grid measures similar metrics objectively, functioning entirely by algorithm. This year in Forbes, the highest slots went to fashion editors who have diversified their marketability and defined a personal brand outside of the ivory tower of magazine publishing.

For instance, Glamour’s Cindi Leive, #2 on the Forbes list, beefed up her magazine’s online presence, up 54% in unique users since last year. She also boasts the second highest amount of media mentions, a number that has only gone up thanks to the positive press Glamour received for using a normal-sized model in a September nude shot. As a result of the recent attention, Leive shot up 13 spots in our power rankings, landing at #4 among all magazine editors.

Television has also provided a demonstrable boon for fashion editors, as evidenced by Marie Claire’s Joanna Coles (#9 according to Forbes), who has welcomed The Style Network into the magazine’s offices to shoot the reality show Running in Heels, and is sponsoring the sixth season of the popular Lifetime show Project Runway. Meanwhile, Harper’s Bazaar’s Glenda Bailey (#6 on the Forbes list) is a judge on Bravo’s The Fashion Show, while #7 Ariel Foxman of In Style has deployed his fashion director Hal Rubenstein to judge on Lifetime’s Blush: The Search for the Next Great Make-up ArtistColes comes in at #45 among all magazine editors according to our own power metrics, while Bailey ranks #33 and Foxman breaks the top twenty.

The lesson is clear and media variety is key, especially for those editors seeking a younger audience who are increasingly turning to the internet. Ann Shoket of Seventeen is hanging on at #24 according to the Power Grid, but slipped one spot from last year’s Forbes list, with ad pages and web hits down 15.2% and 10.1% respectively. You know what that means: someone get Bravo on the phone.