Governor David Paterson turns 55 today. Cher is 63. Newsweek editor Jon Meacham is turning 40. NBC chief legal correspondent Dan Abrams is turning 43. Busta Rhymes is 37. The Food Network's Ted Allen is 44. Interior designer Stephen Sills turns 58. Joe Cocker is 65. Ron Reagan, the son of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, is 51. Former Yankee David Wells turns 46. And Cindy McCain is turning 55 today.
• Arthur Sulzberger Jr. says he has no plans to take the New York Times Co. private, despite "brutal conditions" that threaten his paper's survival. [NYT]
• Meanwhile, Moody's has downgraded the NYT Co.'s credit rating. [E&P]
• A few theories on why Peter Kaplan departed Jared Kushner's Observer, and what's in store for Kaplan—and the paper—in the future. [WWD]
• Former Facebook exec Owen Van Natta is the new CEO of MySpace. [WSJ]
• Is GE looking to sell NBC Universal to Time Warner? It's possible! [TDB]
• Ambushing the ambusher: Staking out the home of Jesse Watters, the Fox News producer who stalks liberals for Bill O'Reilly. [Gawker]
The rumors appear to be true: Newsweek will amputate up to one million copies from its 2.6 million circulation, according to Wall Street Journal sources, and no fewer than 500,000. There will be an unknown number of layoffs, announced Thursday, to be achieved through voluntary buyouts like the 111 from last spring. But the biggest change at the 73-year-old magazine: It's going to become a whole lot more like Washington Post Co. sibling Slate, with contrarian, gimmicky or otherwise grabby headlines that wouldn't be out of place on Digg.
Unreconstructed Liberals have their own reasons for disliking the Clintons, and movement conservatives obviously have even more, but what the hell explains the pathological antipathy the Washington Press Corps still feels for President Bill and Senator Hillary Clinton? The roots of it go back 16 years or so, but what's amazing is to see it still in such pristine condition, as if we haven't had eight terrible years to get over it. Now, as the Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State job offer becomes yet another press-driven telenovela, with the Clintons as, I dunno, the country's presumed dead ex-lover who just turned up on the day of our wedding to Barack Obama, or something, it's instructive to see how the press corps still sees the former first family. Christopher Hitchens comes at the Clinton issue as an old-timey Leftist (leftists hate liberals!) and also a drunken contrarian, but his comments and criticisms have been accepted by the resolute centrists of the DC press corps as a, bizarrely, an argument against Clinton with a great deal of popular support. The opinion of Chris Hitchens represents the views of precisely one person on this planet. He is representative of no one on the left, right, or in the center. You wouldn't know that from listening to Joe Scarborough:
In this week's cover story about Barack Obama, Newsweek distills the conventional political wisdom into a bitter tonic of condescending campaign advice. The Democratic presidential candidate is praised for having "wisely taken to often wearing and American-flag lapel" and advised "it would help to be seen venerating your white mother and grandparents as well as your black father" and that "whites resent being accused of racism for remarks they regard as innocent," in case the black politician hadn't learned that yet. To illustrate this cynical lesson in realpolitik, the magazine had originally planned to run the suitably stark cover above and on the left, according to the person who supplied us with a copy. But that cover was "killed" late Friday night, we are told, and replaced with the bright and sunny front at right — a bizarre choice given the gritty lead article and stark collection of supporting pieces on racial division. More outlandish still is the purported reason for the cover switch:
If you're running a media property with an aging audience, there is nothing as depressing as talking to a room full of students, as Newsweek's Jon Meacham discovered. On discovering none of his audience read the magazine, the news weekly's editor summed up his hopeless challenge: "How to get this past this image that we're just middlebrow, you know, a magazine that your grandparents get." (Try avoiding depressing covers like this.)