When is it socially acceptable to talk about all the problems surrounding your backside? During late night infomercials of course! So if you're having ass-ues stay tuned for this once-in-a-life-time offer!
• More on the decision by Condé Nast to shut down Portfolio. [NYO, Gawker]
• Newspaper circulation figures for the past six months show steep declines at most major papers, including the Times, Post, and Daily News. One bright spot: the Wall Street Journal, which experienced a tiny, 0.6% gain. [E&P]
• Phil Falcone's Harbinger, the hedge fund that battled for a piece of the New York Times Co. last year, may now be looking to unload its stake. [WSJ]
• CNN has fallen behind MSNBC and Fox News, as you may have heard. [NYT]
• PRWeek is going monthly. But it'll still be called PRWeek, so you know. [NYT]
• Obsessed starring Beyonce was No. 1 at the box office this weekend. [THR]
Have you noticed lately on your television that there are a stunning number of crappy infomercial-quality ads running during prime time? That is because the fancy advertisers are broke. We live in Snuggie's world now.
First African-American President Elect Barack Obama's confident smile and kind eyes are an inspiration to us all, so why not commemorate his historic achievement on a "priceless work of art," in the form of a collectible plate? Not just any plate; a fine porcelain Historic Victory Plate featuring our dear leader surrounded by American flags and fireworks, inscribed in 22k gold trim. Only two per customer please; demand is high. This awesome infomercial includes a happy white family gathered about their Obama plate sighing, "I never thought this day would come." It's really very American. Click to watch. And another thing that should not exist:
Tonight, Barack Obama will appear on your television screen for 30 minutes in order to convince you to vote for him next week. He'll be on CBS, NBC, Univision, Fox, MSNBC, and BET. (But not ABC! Tune in for Pushing Daisies!) Obama's half-hour TV buy tonight has some historical precedent, of course; Ross Perot did it, and look where it got him! But for a good look at how far the Democrats have come, let's all go back to 1983, when the Democratic National Committee hosted, yes, a telethon. It, uh, it didn't go so well. In fact it went unbelievably, comically awry. As the 1980s began, the Republicans introduced and perfected their massive, modern fundraising apparatus, utilizing direct mail and donor targeting to build a database of party supporters willing to shell out cash whenever and wherever it was needed. In 1980, the GOP raised millions more from hundreds of thousands more than the Dems could manage. And they kicked the Democrats' asses. So, heading into the 1984 elections, the Democrats knew they needed a lot of cash to compete. The GOP had more than a million active donors, the Dems had almost 300,000. So the Democratic National Committee somehow decided that a star-studded telethon on NBC would solve the problem. They spent $5 million on the program, hoping to raise an initial $10 million over 18 hours on Memorial Day weekend. And it was a star-studded affair! As the AP reported:
The Times got to watch a very special one-minute trailer for Barack Obama's half-hour informercial, set to air tonight on NBC, CBS, Fox and various other networks. And it sounds like a total dork-fest. No flying saucers, fashion makeovers, musical guests, or variety show gimmicks, as the media elite has helpfully suggested. No, it looks like we're getting tons of "strings, flags, presidential imagery and... Americana," plus a whole lot of white people:
Is there a word for that movement that fake rich guy Donald Trump makes when he kind of sneers a little bit and jerks his head spasmodically to the side, in an evil remix version of the "what can I say?" shrug? Let's call it a Derk (Donald Jerk). It's on full display in this infomercial clip, which may be the most perfect distillation I've ever seen of both the humiliation of appearing in an infomercial, and Donald Trump's fundamental asshole nature. This actress actually gets choked up simply by being in his regal, sneering presence. What can he do except pull a Derk? It sends the message, "You know, I'm the biggest prick in the whole world." But she likes it baby, yea:
Who's on TV more than anybody else? Oprah? Jay Leno? Ha, you fools. The Washington Post estimates that Billy Mays, the bearded, dangerously hyper Oxi Clean pitchman, "could already be the single most ubiquitous figure on television today, measured purely in face time." Despite that, he's getting a reality show this fall, about making ads. Disturbing? Yes. Is there any stopping him? There is not. [WP]
Have you been searching for just the right way to commemorate the 9/11 disaster? Are kitschy figurines and patriotic truck decals and screaming eagle t-shirts just not doing it for you? The solution has arrived: genuine non-circulated Liberian currency in the shape of a $20 bill—but made out of .999 pure silver, and picturing the once-mighty Twin Towers, and bearing a "9" and and "11" on one side which cleverly add up to $20, which is also the price of this unique and patriotic (USA) item. Here is an ad for this treasure that will simply make you say "wtf." Click to watch right now.
Yahoos needn't worry about layoffs after a merger with Microsoft. Yes, they're likely. But there's a world of opportunity beyond 701 First Avenue. Just ask Ben Padnos, featured in this clip from his new site. Once one of Yahoo's top salespeople worldwide, Padnos now runs his own company — CashFlowFromCreditCards.com. As seen on TV, it's "a proven business opportunity that instantly puts you into business with some of the LARGEST Financial Service firms IN THE WORLD."