Press Clips, Early Lunch Edition, Day 4: The Mediaite Street Fight


Smell that? Media beefs, cooking everywhere this week. Also, blogging on drugs, suing the small guy, shady lobbyists, good hiring sprees, bad hiring sprees, and someone taking issue with Gawker’s ethical standpoints. Happy Friday, Part 1, folks:

The Mediate/AOL Fair Content Fight: Enjoyable: Jeff Bercovici drilling Mediaite on their fair use issues and their embeddable players, which some thought might help explain some of the weirdo traffic spikes many people have been seeing with the site that they’ve been struggling to explain (because “maybe people are reading it” just hasn’t sufficed, unfairly or otherwise). More enjoyable: Business Insider and the NY Observer calling Mediaite out on replacing the clips Bercovici called cranky cable execs about in order to get their take on said clips being stolen. Most Enjoyable: Colby Hall of Mediaite’s retort, which he posted last night. He argues that AOL’s full of shit, because their embeddable players play AOL’s own ads over what Naughty By Nature once referred to as O.P.P. (Other People’s Property), while Mediaite just decorates other people’s content with their logo and lets the respective property-holders’ ads play in their embeddable skinned. Who’s in the right? Who cares. Some people might care. I don’t. People don’t like Mediaite because Dan Abrams is the son of a loaded Manhattan lawyer — Nepotism, shmepotism — and a cantankerous fellow who loves being in the spotlight with bad, celelbushlocky restaurants and also because he’s a flack who got his site off on the wrong foot by not dignifying questions about owning a media consulting firm (Abrams Research) and a media outlet or four at the same time. Oh, and also, the Power Grid, a media-person ranking system built strictly to generate attention and feed egos on both sides of it. People don’t like AOL because they deleted their members pages which was everyone’s first website and also, because they’re massive corporation employing guys like Bercovici who’re taking shots at companies smaller than them (like Mediaite). That isn’t to say both are without their merits! But now they both got egg on each other’s faces and the true beneficiaries are, well, people like me. That said, AOL has yet to come back to Mediaite with quote.

Wait, Wait, Okay Gimme More: Zeke Turner notes a great quote on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me host admitting to have blogged on painkillers. True story: One time I messed up my back and did two straight weekends of Gawker on Vicodin, including this post. For the record, it’s actually less fun and more difficult than it sounds. Drinking’s the way to go.

No Hometown Pride: The Las Vegas Review-Journal is going after bloggers who scrape content from them, or blockquote them, or…just generally use their words. They’ll struggle with winning an “intellectual property” lawsuit, though, because the leadership at that newspaper is some of the dumbest in the country. Maybe if they stopped lying about low circulation and started working on making a better product instead of going after broke bloggers, it’d help. Not likely.

Gatesmasher: Has anybody been reading the new Gatecrasher column at the NY Daily News starring former Observer and Vanity Fair editor Frank DiGiacomo and Gatecrashette Carson Griffith? No? That’s because it’s nearly impossible to find on the Daily News‘ shit website. If you had, however, you’d realize what a great job they’re doing with it lately, like yesterday’s piece on Republican spin doc Alex Castellanos and CNN. CNN used Castellanos on their network to speak out on politics, and disclosed all of his associations as a lobbyist — yes, networks are still doing this, even after the Richard Wolffe mess — except for one: BP. Yeah, that BP. Castellanos didn’t get back to me for quote, neither did CNN president Jonathan Klein, but a CNN flack did, noting: “We will continue to disclose Alex Castellanos’ relevant business interests, including his association with BP.” Continue to? Or start to? Cable networks could just avoid this kind of mess if they just stopped using lobbyists to talk on TV. It’s that simple. Meanwhile, Gatecrasher and a great media-politics story? Solid. Please get that website working now.

Newsday’s New Push: Keith Kelly at the Post had a great story yesterday about Newsday reporters who’re feeling shafted after it was announced that the Long Island paper’s making a hyperlocal push and hiring a bunch of young plucky turks. If you’re surprised Newsday even knows what hyperlocal means — given the, uh, success of their current web strategy — you can’t be blamed. But yeah, turns out staffers there are pissed at the hiring binge, though, because they took a pay cut and assumed the paper was broke. Nope: The only thing that paper’s leadership is short on looks to continue to be is integrity, which continues to be a sad shame for all the great reporters who’ve worked there over the years pre-ownership change.

Casting Couch: Jobs are out there! PaidContent is hiring media reporters, and yes, Rafat Ali left, but that doesn’t mean they’re not still producing solid stuff under Ernie Sander. Free Williamsburg is hiring bloggers: a great gig with solid street cred that probably doesn’t pay much, but again, it’s a great blog, so there’s that.

Chatty Cathy No More: Cathy, the cartoon strip, is leaving readers and being retired by its creator. Kinda sad, kinda relieving. Cathy always stressed me out. Some people are celebrating this occasion, but come on. The Family Circus still lives on somehow. I fucking hate The Family Circus.

Super Savers of the WSJ!: Putting coupons in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal is just funny. If you’re the conspiratorial type, it also may serve as a premonition to exacerbate fears that one day Murdoch’s just gonna trash the New York Post and all the eggs for an NYC daily read into the Journal. But really, it’s just funny. Also, so is the fact that Newsweek buyer Sidney Harmon not being a billionaire is something that’s being reported. it’s like people just kind of have it out for Newsweek or something!

Demand-ing Answers: Demand Media thinks it’s misunderstood. Isn’t that something narcissists and psychopaths say? I just want to be understood. I think it’s understood pretty clearly that Demand Media Is The Devil, but if you want to understand them more, you can read this.

Deadspin Cycle: Our sister paper in the Twin Cities is beefing with Deadspin. Kevin Hoffman at CityPages, keep fighting the good fight, even though I can tell you as a past employee of Gawker that nobody there gives a shit — Nick Denton has even said that certain philosophical/ethical issues are “above his pay grade” — and you’re feeding into their news cycle. I do, and it’s really quite fun to watch. But if you need any dirt on A.J.’s penis, I know a bunch of people you can call.

Sorry for missing yesterday’s Press Clips, we’ll be running another one today at 4:30PM to make up for it, and, uh, you’re not gonna wanna miss it. In the mean time, here’s this jam, to everyone who’s pissed off this week, at me, or this column, or anyone else! Just know that if we could, we’d hold your hand and understand….