Wolcott recaps a print-only article from Los Angeles magazine about the PJMedia fiasco-in-progress, the author of which has apparently been keeping an eye on things from the start. (Which means he’s well situated to write the inevitable history-of-a-clusterfuck book after the whole sorry enterprise inevitably implodes. If anyone cares enough to publish it, that is.)
Smith ends his report with an account of the starry PeePee media launch in Manhattan’s Rainbow Room to get the buzz snowballing. In attendance were such totemic Play-Doh figures as Lucianne Goldberg, John Podhoretz, and keynoter Judith Miller, who had just had a bitter kissoff from The New York Times. At the end of her keynote speech, Miller, flanked by a couple of bodyguards (possibly to keep some excitable, gin-crazed blogger from pawing her), is ready to face the music.
“…it’s time for questions, and none in the crowd asks Miller a single stinging inquiry. Not even anything especially critical, though this is one of the few times she’s fielded questions in the days after announcing she would leave The New York Times. Maybe those bodyguards were just too intimidating.
“All day long, bloggers had celebrated themselves as ‘the Tom Paines of the 21st century.’ I could be wrong, but Tom Paine probably would have had his notebook out when Miller took questions. Bloggers across the board want to be considered the equal of journalists, but the way they froze in the lights of the old media shows the field has a distance to go. So does Pajamas Media.”
The author also brings up something I’ve wondered about — do advertisers like, say, Victoria’s Secret or AT&T (both of whom have, in fact, purchased ads from PJM) really want to be prominently associated with a rightwing hate site like LGF? Maybe it’s just me, but somehow it doesn’t seem like quite the image either company is probably looking for.
And then there’s this tidbit (again, as recapped by Wolcott):
Nor can Smith get a reply when he inquires into the investment backing for PeePee, its main moneyman a former software designer named Aubrey Chernick whose company NC4 is “deeply involved in preparing for potential terrorist attacks on Los Angeles and New York City.” Chernick was also listed in 2000 as a trustee for the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC, which has the been the tense scene of some interesting drama during the last year.
Be interesting to find out what Chernick expects and wants from his investment in PeePee, what he hopes the financial and ideological payoff to be. But, quelle surprise, “Chernick declined requests for an interview.”
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Speaking of the jammies crowd, I just want to say — you know that painfully self-aware shtick where a writer pretends to have a real-time editor commenting on what they’re writing? Man, that really just makes my teeth hurt when they do that.
(You mean like this? –ed.)
Yeah, I mean like that. As authorial tics go, it’s right up there with inappropriate exclamation marks!
Of which I am also not a big fan.