Introducing a weekly meta-roundup of our favorite (mostly) New York media pundits, what they’re saying, why they’re saying it, and an all-important grade, subjective and arbitrary just like their columns!
We had stopped reading Jon Friedman awhile ago our silent protest over Friedman’s takedown of a fellow New York media blog. Well, we’ve started reading Friedman again, if only for the sheer excitement we get from seeing his headshot. Friedman’s latest is part of his “Of The Year” series a surefire December lemon-squeezing tactic any columnist can relate to. (Hey, we’re not above lists, either.) Today, Friedman takes a backhanded route to defending Katie Couric in annointing her “woes” the media story of the year: “America wasn’t truly ready for the first solo woman evening-news anchor, let alone someone smart and attractive with pretensions to sounding puckish and hip.” Friedman assumes, of course, that “Peace out, homies” passes for hip. Still, Friedman’s assertion that “Couric dominated the media world in 2006 like no other individual” is bit overstated. Surely, the YouTube dudes or Rupert Murdoch or Stephen Colbert would have something to say about that “domination.” GRADE: B-
Last week, our favorite guitarist-slash-BusinessWeek media columnist tried his hand at speechwriting for New York Times Co. publisher Janet Robinson. (Note: This is when media executives should send media critics cookies it’s like free consulting, albeit against the backdrop of public mockery.) Fine doesn’t go for the jugular as much as offers a better monologue for Ms. Robinson the next time she steps up in front of investors. We would’ve added arena rock stage cues like windmilling, but in all likelihood this would’ve been mainly a conference call. GRADE: B
Slate‘s Shafer takes a break from his Times critiques to shine a spotlight on novelist but not-quite-accused-plagiarist Ian McEwan. Shafer highlights the outpouring of support for McEwan from the memoirist community, noting that not even Julia Langdon the journalist who publicized the parallels between McEwan’s 2001 Atonement and Lucille Andrews‘ 1977 No Time for Romance uses the P-word against McEwan. Shafer would fire McEwan, if he was employed in Shafer’s newsroom: “To protest, as he does, that her memoir served as ‘research’ is a lie. McEwan rewrote Andrews’ vivid copy and called it his own.” He doth protest too much, Jack. Agreed. GRADE: B+