This may be the best argument for non-profit journalism ever. Seems the weenies at Conde Nast have gone to great lengths to bury a story from the September issue of GQ critical of Vladimir Putin, likely for financial reasons. And they might have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those pesky kids at NPR. David Folkenflik told the story of the cover-up on today’s Morning Edition, and in an online article:
Conde Nast owns Vanity Fair and GQ as well as other publications, including Russian versions of GQ, Glamour, Tatler and Vogue. On July 23, Jerry S. Birenz, one of the company’s top lawyers, sent an e-mail memo to more than a dozen corporate executives and GQ editors.
“Conde Nast management has decided that the September issue of U.S. GQ magazine containing Scott Anderson’s article ‘Vladimir Putin’s Dark Rise to Power’ should not be distributed in Russia,” Birenz wrote.
He ordered that the article could not be posted to the magazine’s Web site. No copies of the American edition of the magazine could be sent to Russia or shown in any country to Russian government officials, journalists or advertisers. Additionally, the piece could not be published in other Conde Nast magazines abroad, nor publicized in any way.
It wasn’t just that there was no reference to Anderson’s piece on the cover of this month’s GQ, which featured a picture of Michael Jackson, a reference to tennis star Andy Roddick’s wife and a ranking of obnoxious colleges and top drinking cities. At this writing, I cannot find any reference to Anderson’s piece on the Internet.
Gawker has posted a copy of the article, and is working on a Russian translation. They are asking for volunteers to help them translate the article.