Puckfellas

USA Today is the first--and to date only--national mainstream publication to air the accusations of GM's racial discrimination against its own dealers. (In addition to the Voice and the Gannett Westchester papers, the left-wing newsletter CounterPunch, the Philadelphia weekly Tribune, and Detroit's weekly Metro Times have also published articles about them.) Two knowledgeable sources say that Nightline correspondent Dave Marash is now working on a broadcast on this topic, designed to air this spring.

Why, though, did it take USA Today--the flagship Gannett paper--until mid-April to publish a story that the Gannett Westchester paper had run, with far more intricate detail, six months earlier?

USA Today editor David Mazzarella says only: "I'm not going to get into a discussion of why we run or do not run stories that other Gannett newspapers run. All I can say is we had a story, we felt we had an angle for it, and we ran it on Friday."

How ingrained--and how petty--is the rivalry between television and the so-called prestige print media? Last Friday, CBS News reporter Scott Pelley went on the air discussing a 24-page motion he'd seen, filed by special prosecutor Ken Starr, requesting permission to interview two Secret Service agents and a Secret Service attorney. Starr seeks to determine what they knew about the president "having sexual relations with someone other than Hillary Rodham Clinton." The Associated Press recognized this as a scoop, and ran a version crediting CBS. But as of Monday, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times had not even mentioned CBS's story....

Even without having finished all the articles, I already think this year's special Europe issue of The New Yorker is far superior to last year's. Yeah, his views may be skewed enough to provoke long letters to the New York Review of Books, but I'll take Fintan O'Toole on the subject of Northern Ireland over every regular New Yorker political writer, any week you please....

In one of those self-consciously whimsical pieces, Sunday's Times published an account of the auditions for a new MTV VJ slot. Tryouts endured "hours of hot-seat questioning about music," the paper said. "'What is the real name of Ice-T?' asked the morning radio personalities Dr. Dre and Ed Lover. 'O'Shea Jackson,' answered one particularly astute contestant, Ducci." Not that astute--O'Shea Jackson is the real name of Ice Cube....

Nothing gets the tabloids going at each other with more pit-bull bile than a good scrap over George Steinbrenner. The falling 500-pound Yankee Stadium joint unleashed more newspaper words and debate about the Stadium last week than any single event in the '97 mayoral race. On Thursday, the News's Jim Dwyer seethed at his rival tab: "Pages 1 through 7 of the New York Post were turned over yesterday to the joint propaganda department of Mayor Giuliani and George Steinbrenner." On Sunday, the Post fought back, quoting City Hall ripping into a News report as "flat wrong." On Monday, though, both papers seemed to warm to City Council Speaker Peter Vallone's plan to take the question of municipal stadium-financing to a citywide referendum--and you've got to give the edge as the week began to the Post's Jack Newfield, for nailing the exclusive interview, just before Vallone left for Israel. The late editions of all the other papers--including the Times--had to quote from a Vallone publicist.

Research: Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

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