Revolution is inevitably followed by a period of chaos. Maybe that's why a highbrow New York Observer story about the evolution of Hollywood news media devolved into a glorious, shit-throwing media shitstorm.
John Koblin did his heroic best to explain What It All Means: The accelerating decline of Variety, the rise of celebrity Twitters; the enduring but increasingly preposterous hope of the Los Angeles Times, the swagger of self-made blog bigfoot Nikki Finke; the "clubby" world of pre-internet Tinseltown reporting, the ambitions of upstart blogger Sharon Waxm—
"I do think it's kind of surprising that Sharon Waxman even has a blog," [former LA/NY Times reporter Anita] Busch told us. "I think she's even one of the worst journalists I've ever encountered."
"Her site is getting no traffic and is inaccurate and boring..." Finke said.
OK, well, maybe we could get back to a constructive dialog about how the economic misfortunes of movie studios have maybe accelerated the decline of printed med...
[Variety's Brian] Lowry, in a blog post singling out [LA Times' Patrick] Goldstein, calls him lazy, petulant and a weak reporter. "Now you have this blog, ‘The Big Picture,' so I'm thrilled to see... you squeeze out more than 800 words a week," wrote Mr. Lowry.
Right. We'll skip right over the discussion of economic viability amid the decimation of advertising revenue in the print-to-online transition, then, and just ask if anyone else want to hurl some fecal m...
"The way [Finke] twists things and the way she always manages to bend the facts-and I put facts in quotes-is in a way that suits her..." Ms. Waxman... added. "People around Hollywood are terrified of her."
Alright, fine, bottom line: In case the example of New York wasn't clear enough, Los Angeles media also illustrate how technology and fragmentation are reviving the old tradition of feuding. As longtime Variety kingpin Peter Bart explains to Koblin, we're going back to the 1930s, when Louella Parsons competed ruthlessly with former friend Hedda Hopper to dominate Hollywood gossip. Everyone is at one another's throats.
No, the Waxman-Finke rivalry isn't exactly hot news, but the point is that more of these little squabbles are erupting all the time, if only because there are so many would-be media alpha dogs in this period of flux, before the inevitable consolidations and shakeouts that make life boring again.
Seeking a final bit of illumination on that, we excitedly emailed Koblin's piece to a media source who quickly replied, "I thought only Hollywood bloggers cared about feuds created entirely to bait traffic, but I totally forgot about the New York Observer!"
Then again, what did we expect? Welcome to the future. It's kinda bitchy!