Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Media Roundup: Christopher Hitchens vs. Sarah Palin, Tribune, Kremlinology & More

Oh, the media is rich with fun lately:
  • The publishing carnage continues. The publisher of the Washington Blade and other gay newspapers has abruptly folded.
  • Hmm, Kremlinologists try to read something into this: Playboy Enterprises CFO Linda G. Harvard has stepped down (effective at the end of the year). Does this have anything to do with the possible sale of the company that's been bandied around late?
  • Meanwhile, Golden Gate Capital has issued a statement saying it is not going to be a part of any purchase of Playboy Enterprises. No reasons given in the brief Reuters report, so Kremlinologists are free to speculate again. Is this because the competing interest from Iconix is coming out on top? Or because they've looked at the books and don't like what they've seen? Or because they've got money issues unrelated to Playboy and more related to the general economic situation? Or something else?
  • The new Newsweek is out, featuring a take-down of Republican favorite Sarah Palin, who just may be the first major presidential candidate to have all the gravitas of a reality TV star. (Maybe Spencer Pratt could be her running mate.) Anyway, inside are two articles on Palin, one by Even Thomas (about the center-vs-rightwing struggle in the GOP and the nation as a whole) and the more important one by Christopher Hitchens, about her role as fuel for populist ire. "The difficulty with populism is that it exploits the very 'people' to whose grievances it claims to give vent." Palin, by the way, apparently has added to her list of grievances the use of a cover photo on that issue of Newsweek (see photo above) from a photo shoot for Runner's World. She said it was sexist and an example of how the media will use anything to get its way. Sound like a reality-TV-wannabe-candidate we know of?
  • Apparently, the Tribune Company reorganization plans aren't going well, and the company has asked for an extension of its timetable for exiting bankruptcy.
  • More on the media and Palin. Remember her embarrassing interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric when she didn't (or couldn't) name a single newspaper or magazine she claims to have read? Now, she tells Oprah how upset she was by that question, thinking (bizarrely) that it was an attack on Alaskan provincialism. You can watch the video excerpt below and make up your own mind. But I still can't help thinking: If she's still talking about it after all this time, don't you think she'd mention a few magazines or newspapers she's read? Does she not have any  advisers who would mention some easy ones to just drop in conversation? She could mention conservative magazines -- National Review, Commentary, whatever -- or should could mention some mass-market ones -- would it have taken a genius on Oprah's program to say with a twinkle in her eye that she does try to pick up O magazine from time to time? Like I said back when the first train-wreck of an interview took place, when you're asked a softball question, hit it. At least she does say in this interview that she loves magazines and newspapers. Of course she does; they help keep the house warm on those cold Alaskan nights.

>> My previous media roundup.

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