Mark Salter Wrote O, the Obama Novel; The Daily Launching For Real This Time


O: A Presidential Novel is the fictitious telling of the 2012 presidential campaign from an anonymous insider — or at least “someone who has been in the room with Barack Obama” — which has been met with a pretty collective “meh” from the media, both when it comes to its mysterious creator and the actual writing. (Kakutani called it “trite, implausible and decidedly unfunny” in the first paragraph of her New York Times review.) Now everyone is pretty sure that the author is former John McCain consigliere and ghostwriter Mark Salter, which is appropriately boring considering how dull this brief semi-saga has been. Still, check out the damning evidence, plus the real release date of The Daily, inside Press Clips, our once-a-day media round-up. And don’t forget to tell us what you know!

Old O News: Despite the assertion of Mark Salter’s authorship ringing through the blogosphere today, he was actually outed last week by the New York Post‘s Page Six:

But we’re hearing buzz that Mark Salter, John McCain’s closest aide and speechwriter on the 2008 campaign, is the ghostwriter. Salter co-authored McCain’s biography, “Faith of My Fathers,” and continues to work as a speechwriter. His adjective-filled style is similar to the “O” author’s.

When asked if Salter was the author, one former McCain aide told us, “I wouldn’t put it past him.” But Salter coyly responded, “I’ve been asked by the publisher, as apparently many other people have, not to comment. So, no comment.”

The occasion for the item was the weak plea from Jonathan Karp of Simon & Shuster, who published O, asking that members of the press not try to find out who the author was, “in solidarity with the principle that a book should be judged on its content and not on the perceived ideology of its author.”

“Good luck with that, Jonathan Karp,” Tom Scoca wrote at Slate. “Journalists don’t take orders from publishers who have a book to market.” And the very next day the damage was done.

Today’s corroborating evidence is spelled out by Mark Halperin’s Time blog The Page, including:

–Simon and Schuster topper Jonathan Karp was Salter’s editor on books he did with Senator McCain.

–Salter has been holed up in Maine since leaving his job in the Senate.

–The descriptions that Karp has given of the author matched Salter.

So, that was fast. Karp: you, sir, are no Joe Klein. (Take that as you will.)

The Daily Sets Another Date: Release of the first iPad newspaper, a pet project of News Corp.’s dark lord Rupert Murdoch, was pushed back reportedly due to a subscription model that needed perfecting, though the delay also coincided with Apple’s Steve Jobs taking medical leave. Jobs was all set to debut the tablet periodical with Murdoch on stage in San Francisco.

Today, news comes via an online invite emailed to reporters (Press Clips‘ must have been lost in the mail) announcing that The Daily‘s launch has switched to our coast and will take place on February 2 at the Guggenheim Museum. The ceremony, set for 11 a.m., will see Murdoch joined by by Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet services.

The product will reportedly be available to customers the same day, though isn’t 11 a.m. a little late to deliver a daily?

New York Times in Demand: Yesterday we told you that the vapid “content farm” Demand Media went public, with stock prices putting the company equal to the Times in value. Horrified real journalists cowered in fear of the future, but Search Engine Land made a funny, transforming the Times homepage into a “Demandified” version of itself, complete with headlines like “Why Is There So Much Damn Snow Again in the Northeast?” and “Why Is the Corporate Tax Code Hard to Change?” See the whole thing here.

A New Fibber-in-Chief: CNN’s Ed Henry reports, via Twitter, that Jay Carney, Joe Biden’s communications director, will be named the new White House Press Secretary “late this afternoon or more likely Fri,” replacing the outgoing Robert Gibbs. As for Gibbs, he’ll need a new Twitter handle.

Archive Highlights