Worst birthday ever: Embattled Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit turns 52 today, although we're going to assume that whatever big party Swati Pandi had been planning is not going ahead as scheduled. Others celebrating: 60 Minutes' Andy Rooney is turning 90. Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is 45. The New York Times' Maureen Dowd is 57. Models Karen Elson and Angela Lindvall are both turning 30. Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh is 46. Cranky liberal Eric Alterman is 49. Venture capitalist (and babe magnet) Adam Dell is turning 39. Jason Bateman is 40. Dave Grohl is celebrating his 40th. LL Cool J is 41. Faye Dunaway is turning 68. And Ms. Kristin Cavallari is turning 22 today.
There's no news in Denver. At least, no news that couldn't be reported by watching it on C-Span from the comfort of home. So what to do? Report on what all your fellow journalists are doing! So far, the single greatest example of this is HuffPo's constant reportage from their own "HuffPost Oasis" in Denver. At left, an unretouched screengrab from their front page today. The Oasis is remarkably popular with journalists, considering that we have no idea what goes on there but we don't think it involves free booze. Wait, maybe we do know what's going on there! "'I feel relaxed!' said a particularly refreshed Eric Alterman as he stepped away from a complimentary facial for a minute. 'I'll tell you this—everyone should add facials to their lives.'" Oh, wow. That quote is from John Koblin's piece in today's Observer. It's got more gems: Adam Nagourney couldn't find a seat at his own paper's workspace, then bitched about having to cover the convention with so many other, lesser reporters. Fox's Greta Van Susteren, though, was more than happy to be there.
Arianna Huffington came to this internet with little more than a URL, a dream and a whole lot of connections. Now, according to Nielsen online, the Huffington Post has surpassed the Drudge Report in traffic. What perfect timing for a New Yorker essay on the state of online journalism and how she's changing the rules.
AOL will try to follow its $850 million Bebo acquistion with another, the purchase of white-label social widgets maker KickApps. BoomTown reports AOL exec Ira Parker and KickApps chairman and founder Eric Alterman remained in negotiations as late as this week. They're haggling over a $90 million price tag. That AOL's willing to pay so much for an also-ran social-network tools startup suggests AOL's position isn't so much "leading" as "over a barrel."
Every once in a while, we like to get a tour of a real sewer—and the drama surrounding the publication of 'Washington Post' media critic Howard Kurtz's latest book offered an opportunity too filthy to miss. Central to this particular mess's question is: Does a reporter's fondness or contempt for another reporter disqualify them from criticizing their work in print? (And if so, are we fired?) So let's go deep into the morass and play our favorite game: Who Hates Whom?
An actual radio listener says that this morning on WNYC, Wonkette founder and current Washington editor for Time.com Ana Marie Cox hinted that she might be one of the hosts of MySpace's Presidential Town Halls, those attempts to "engage" young people in the political process. (Good luck with that!) Anyway, they'll be visiting college campuses this fall. The kids can even submit questions via MySpace instant messenger! And watch the MySpace webcast! Fancy! Cox, we hear, will most likely be hosting along with the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, who writes the politics blog The Fix for WP's website. He's not quite as pretty as Ana, and probably doesn't hate Eric Alterman as much, but we suppose he'll do. Calls to MySpace were not returned.
Nation screeder Eric Alterman, generally acknowledged (by us!) to be the biggest putz on the left or the right, has taken to the internets to explain away his recent arrest for refusing to leave the Spin Room during Sunday's Democratic presidential debate after attempting to cadge a few drinks at the open bar. (One can only imagine how many party hosts suddenly wish they had similar constabulary powers.)
An operative from deep inside the bowels (sorry) of 1775 Broadway, aka 251 West 57th St., recently received the following email from HR:
Time has just hired former ABC News political director Mark Halperin. So that whole thing where we made fun of Eric Alterman for being all, "Time magazine is a right-wing talking point rag that only hires Republicans?" Maybe he was right! Halperin, while not a Republican, is the next best thing: Someone so cowed by accusations of "liberal media bias" that he will bend over backwards and fold himself into some kind of geometrically-improbable shape to give the G.O.P. the right to define the story. So keep shouting about this, Alterman, you may yet get that job at Time you so obviously covet.
As you surely know, Time columnist and ex-Wonkette Ana (pronounced AH-na, by the way) Marie Cox exchanged choice words with "contributor to virtually every significant national publication in the US and many in Europe" Eric Alterman on the weekend of the White House Correspondents' dinner. Present and accounted for were two Observer reporters, one of whom actually reported on the conversation. Bitchiness ensued. Soon, Cox's husband, CQ editor Chris Lehmann, stepped in to defend his woman's honor; along the way, a new term, GawkerGate was coined. Now enjoy this video version of the transcript and its accompanying blog ephemera, starring Julia Allison as Eric Alterman, Catie Lazarus as Ana Marie Cox, and our own Joshua David Stein as Chris Lehmann. Shot and edited by the indefatigable Richard Blakeley.
Big news regarding the Most Important Intellectual Catfight Of Our Time Of This Week! Earlier, a glorious victory was declared by liberal punditron Eric Alterman in his dispute against Time's Ana Marie Cox, Gawker and the generals in charge of Guantanamo. Or something. We lost track of what he's pissed at a while ago. (Background! There was a party in D.C.—words were exchanged, various muddy accounts were published from each side, then a transcript emerged from the trusty New York Observer.) At one point yesterday Alterman used the phrase "GawkerGate," which was utterly hilarious. OMG, someone questioned our newspaperlikeness! We're weeping. Now Chris Lehmann, not at all incidentally a spouse of Ms. Cox, has chimed in with a really vicious unpacking of Alterman's speech acts, revisions, and various blusterings. It's a really sweet read for those who love supremely bitchy and over-the-top eviscerations. Which is all of us! Frenemies no more!
Earlier we received the following note from one Grant Hickey about recent reports of an argument between Time.com blogette Ana Marie Cox and adorable liberal blowhard Eric Alterman: "Just want to say that it's good to know a site which should never be read or taken seriously, given that the writing is apparently made up (I've read much of Mr. Alterman's work, and I'm going to have to side w/him on this one). I'll be sure to let all my friends know to dismiss gawker.com as the same level as the rumor mags in the grocery checkout stands." Yes! Do let all your friends know that. We feel the same way about ourselves! And please enjoy reading this truly priceless (without price!) transcript of their "conversation." Not only does it have a brilliant Pinteresque middle section involving parties and proper names, it's sure got a great ending.
Apparently it wasn't all moist eggs and cherry blossoms (or Julia Allison having sex with Henry Kissinger) at John McLaughlin's post-White House Correspondent's Dinner brunch. There was also a heated discussion between Time.com Political Editor (and, yes, Wonkette editor emeritus) Ana Marie Cox, and Nation columnist Eric Alterman, who is best known for being the living embodiment of the kind of smug liberal condescension that has won the Democratic party a whopping two out of the last seven elections. Cox confronted Alterman about recent comments he had made concerning Time's recent hirings, specifically, the hiring of Cox.
• All those stories today on Si considering a TV deal with Comcast? They're about SI — i.e., Sports Illustrated — not about Conde Nast. It took us a while to figure that out. [NYP]
• Oh, except that there is a TV deal at Conde, in which MTV is shooting a reality show in Teen Vogue's West Coast office. [WWD]
• The Times loves it some red staters, says Eric Alterman. [Nation]
• Myrna Blyth comes to bury celebrity editors. Again. Virtually word for word. [FishbowlNY]
• Remembering magazines' sexy, sultry summer of Scientology. [Folio:]
• There's a new national editor at the Times, which, come to think of it, doesn't change anything for nearly any of us. [NYT]