The Washington Post

Media news derivatives: July 25

In case you missed it---Yes, Brian Ross made a big, bad mistake on ABC News last Friday morning. But was it evidence of political bias?


*Missed this yesterday (sorry), but Reuters reports that the Harman family will be ceasing its investment in Newsweek Daily Beast, leaving co-owner IAC/InterActive Corp. (of Barry Diller fame) to deal with the funding.

“The Harman family remains supportive partners in the business of Newsweek Daily Beast, including service on the Board by Jane Harman and family participation in various informal roles. However, given the death of Sidney Harman, who was actively involved in the Newsweek Daily Beast business, the Harman trust has indicated that it does not intend to make further capital contributions to the venture.”

*And Reuters media critic Jack Shafer has a look at the life and work of the late Alexander Cockburn:

“He is a talented, despicable writer who enjoys vicious teasing as a kind of journalistic blood sport,” film critic David Denby wrote in 1983, which I think shrinks the Cockburn method to its essence. Cockburn delighted in extracting pain from his adversaries, in searching the horizon for new enemies to attack, and in routinely converting friends into foes. But when I interviewed him in 1995, he disavowed the presence of bile in his work.

“Bile is something eating at you all the time,” Cockburn said. “Bilious people hate. I don’t hate.”

“I think I’m funnier than I am billier, if that’s a word,” he added. “After column after column of careful analytic work, you take a few swings and all that people remember are the vivid slaggings, and all the careful theory goes for naught.”

*Obits for Sally Ride decline to highlight the fact that she was gay, as highlighted by’s Kelly McBride:

Most obituaries, including those in The New York Times and The Washington Post, placed the revelation in the traditional place for survivors — the penultimate paragraph. The Post did not have a pre-written obit for Ride; the paper found out about her death at 5:09 p.m. Monday evening and then pulled the entire obit together, T. Rees Shapiro told me in an email.

“When I spoke with her assistant, I learned that she was survived by her female partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy,” said Shapiro, who wrote Ride’s obit. “It is standard practice at The Post for the survivors graph to appear toward the end of the obituary.”

*Salon continues “soldiering on,” according to this account by Josh Sternberg:

A decade later, Salon is still trying to find its footing. While still respected for its commentary –Alex Pareene’s Hack List has become an industry must-read – it isn’t exactly a juggernaut. ComScore pegs its monthly traffic at 2.7 million uniques in June 2012, down 10 percent from a year earlier. At that size, with its focus on culture and lefty politics, Salon isn’t going to warrant much attention from ad buyers. In fact, ad revenue for its last fiscal year came in at $3 million, down $500,000 from the previous year. Despite its early embrace of subscriptions, Salon is more ad dependent than ever, with 79 percent of its revenue from advertising. It recently shuttered online community site, which charged $150 per year.

*Bill O’Reilly shows some nuance in his gun-control position in a chat with Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz:

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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