Afternoon Reading List 07.02.13

Small newspaper, big stories — Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian have been at the edge of breaking news about the NSA’s secret surveillance programs since originally publishing documents leaked by defense contractor Edward Snowden. But, as WaPo’s Paul Farhi reports, the Guardian isn’t some massive news organization in the ranks of the NYT, USA Today or Britain’s The Sun. Instead, the liberal newspaper which started in 1821, boasts a print circulation similar to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette with fewer than 160,000 copies distributed each day. Online, however,  it’s a different story,  as the website is one of the most frequently visited in the world, with a high of 41 million monthly unique visitors. Greenwald’s video interview with Snowden last month brought nearly 7 million unique views in just one day. The Guardian is struggling financially, but subsidized by other ventures owned by the same trust, the Scott Trust Limited, including the highly-profitable British car-sales site Auto Trader. The news organization continues to break international news, and if it ever does go under, as Farhi reports, the next big story may be broken by “a secondhand car magazine.”

Why you should read it: The NSA, then Snowden, and now Greenwald have made headlines around the world. It’s time to give the Guardian its 15 seconds.

NYC mayoral candidate wants Weiner’s exes to speak up — In an unsurprising move, Anthony Weiner’s GOP rival in the New York City mayoral race has called on Weiner’s ex-girlfriends to “talk about what it was like to be with him and date him and things like that.” As ex-Washington Examiner scribe Tara Palmeri of the New York Post reports, Joe Lhota issued the call to Weiner’s ex-girlfriends on Talk Radio Network’s “The Andrea Tantaros Show” after a little push from Tantaros. The radio host called Weiner’s treatment of Fox News’ Megan Kelly in past interviews “arrogant” and “disrespectful.” If he lies to his wife, Tantaros questioned Lhota, “how do voters in New York City believe he’s somehow going to respect their wishes and not act like some bizarro pervy freak?” Weiner did get support from one ex-girlfriend after the 2011 sexting scandal deflated his career, who said he’s “very sweet, very funny, very charming.” But some women on Capitol Hill know a different version of Weiner, who they is a bully. As some readers may recall, TWT’s Emily Miller said Weiner made dirty jokes about the scandal while she interviewed him about it, using the words “firm” and “stiff.” A representative of Weiner said he would not respond to “Mr. Lhota’s mud throwing.”

Why you should read it: Everyone loves reading about Weiner, whether you’re hoping for him to make a triumphant return to political stardom or just hear more details about his sex life. Also, the writer refers to him once as “the penis tweeter.”

Who’s in Playboy?

James Rosen in Playboy — In a lengthy article for Playboy, James Rosen gives an entertaining behind-the-scenes account of Sec. of State John Kerry’s first overseas trip in his new position. Visiting 10 European and Middle Eastern countries in 11 days, the trip proved to be exhausting and revealing about what Kerry would be like. In Germany, Kerry spoke at a hipster coffee bar in Berlin called Base Camp, with the theme of “#YouthConnect.” As Rosen writes, the 69-year-old was being branded as “an avatar of the digital age.” His tour also included discussions with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Rosen also detailed personal interactions with Kerry, who is apparently “a toucher,” often scrunching shoulders “like a kindly uncle” or giving Rosen bear hugs. He even got CBS News’ Margaret Brennan a cake on her birthday. The story equally details Kerry’s often difficult meetings and speaking sessions on the trip as well the atmosphere behind the scenes. Rosen writes that “as John Kerry and I were to learn together, it’s just not a fun time to be Secretary of State.”

Why you should read it: It may be long, but Rosen’s use of detail and humor, along with insight into complicated international relations, make it a very interesting read. We asked Playboy if Rosen would be appearing naked in print. A publicist who’s getting used to our sense of humor said no.