Morning Media Newsfeed: Gov’t Defends AP Snoop | Apple Denies Collusion | Sambolin Has Cancer

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Justice Dept. Defends Seizure of AP Phone Records (NYT)
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday defended the Justice Department’s sweeping seizure of telephone records of Associated Press journalists, describing the article by the AP that prompted a criminal investigation as among “the top two or three most serious leaks that I’ve ever seen” in a 35-year career. “It put the American people at risk, and that is not hyperbole,” he said in an apparent reference to an article on May 7, 2012, that disclosed the foiling of a terrorist plot by Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen to bomb an airliner. The Washington Post / Opinions The usual reason for keeping a subpoena secret is that the target would otherwise try to destroy documents. In this case, the AP could not have done so even if it wanted to, since the relevant records were in the possession of its phone service providers. Without even giving AP a chance to weigh in, we don’t see how the department could intelligently weigh its prosecutorial needs against this broad subpoena’s chilling effect on reporters and their sources. HuffPost / The Backstory Associated Press Washington bureau chief Sally Buzbee was among the journalists targeted in the Justice Department’s sweeping seizure of phone records that has drawn widespread condemnation from members of the media and free speech advocates, an AP spokeswoman confirmed to The Huffington Post. FishbowlNY The Department of Justice is trying to brush off the secret accessing of AP editors’ and reporters’ phone records. The agency already sent one bland letter to the AP about the incident, and Tuesday, it sent another. According to AP CEO and president Gary Pruitt, both letters from the DOJ basically said “Meh,” and not much else about the scary over-extension of the government. B&C Society of Professional Journalists president Sonny Albarado has condemned the Justice Department’s alleged secret collection of AP reporter and editor phone records and said it highlights the need for a federal shield law. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The Associated Press Media Editors Association has joined other journalists in condemning the Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press phone records, calling it part of the Obama administration’s “continuing witch hunt for leaks and whistleblowers.” TVNewser Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said this may be the least of President Obama’s worries. “I don’t think that’s going to amount to much,” O’Reilly said of the phone taps. “It looks like they went through the warrant process and they had authorization to look at these records — the Justice Department did. But President Obama, he’s got some problems now. He better start to get control of the situation because there’s a lot of stuff going on.”

Apple Tells U.S. of Tough Talks, Not Collusion, With Publishers (Reuters)
Apple Inc responded to Justice Department accusations it conspired with publishers to push up electronic book prices, saying it negotiated with a number of publishing companies separately and crafted different agreements with each. U.S. authorities have termed Apple a go-between among several publishing houses who had long wanted to break Inc’s grip on the low-cost digital book market, which had kept publishers’ prices low. NYT The email, from Steve Jobs of Apple to James Murdoch of News Corporation, reads as if one old sport were trying to cajole another into joining a caper: “Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream eBooks market at $12.99 and $14.99.”

After News of Angelina Jolie’s Double Mastectomy, CNN Anchor Reveals She Will Undergo Procedure (TVNewser)
CNN’s anchor Zoraida Sambolin delivered some very personal news on CNN’s Early Start Tuesday morning. Following Angelina Jolie‘s op-ed in The New York Times about her decision to have a double mastectomy, Sambolin announced she will undergo the same procedure later this month. FishbowlDC The overnight story of Jolie having a double mastectomy has resurrected similar stories of national newswomen who relate only too well to the actress. “Thank God she did it and thank God she talked about it and thank God she got it out there,” said Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin. “She is a great role model!” Griffin revealed on Fox News radio that some nine weeks ago she had her ovaries and uterus taken out because of the link between breast cancer and other types of cancers.

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eBook Sales A Boon to Publishers in 2012 (NYT)
eBook sales, especially in the thriving romance genre, gave the book business a lift in 2012, according to a survey of publishers released Wednesday. In a year that was monopolized by the Fifty Shades erotic novels and their various knockoffs, eBook sales in fiction rose 42 percent over the year before, to $1.8 billion. Growth in nonfiction eBook sales was smaller, a 22 percent increase, to $484.2 million. eBook sales in the children’s and young-adult categories increased 117 percent, to $469.2 million. AppNewser eBook sales accounted for 12.4 percent of revenue for Hachette Livre’s publishing division in the first quarter of 2013, up from 9.5 percent in Q1 2012.

The Stranger‘s Obsession With The Seattle Times (The Seattle Times / Opinion Northwest)
Since the beginning of the year, the folks at The Stranger have written about The Seattle Times 22 times (and by “written about,” I mean, with few exceptions, “spewing on”). The Stranger of the last few months seems obsessed with the Times, producing a narrow, predictable repertoire of criticism. For a paper founded on money from The Onion, an unlikely word comes to mind: boring.

Atlantic Media to Launch Another Digital-First Brand, for Defense Community (Adweek)
Six months after launching digital business site Quartz, Atlantic Media is preparing to roll out its fifth brand and second “digital-first” property. Defense One, a news and information site for the national security community, will be the latest output of the company strategy to launch verticals aimed at influentials in the digital form in which they’ve grown accustomed to getting their news. FishbowlDC The operation will start out small, says Atlantic Media spokeswoman Linda Douglass, but they ultimately plan to build a team of 18-20 staffers. Also “unprecedented” in the defense media market, they say, Defense One will launch an iPhone and Android app in the fall and a special eBook series by the end of the year.

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NY Times Co. Is ‘Pleased’ With The Progress of Its Efforts to Sell The Boston Globe (Boston Globe / Business Updates)
New York Times Co. chief executive Mark Thompson, speaking at an investor conference in Boston Tuesday morning, said he was “very pleased with the interest, and the progress, that’s been expressed so far” in the company’s effort to sell The Boston Globe. FishbowlNY OK, that’s about as vague as it gets. One nugget we did find though: Evercore Group, which is responsible for fetching bids for the Globe, has already conducted meetings with six different interested parties. Who were they? No one knows! But apparently they were very pleasing. So please be pleased.

Google Readies Its Spotify Competitor With Universal And Sony Now On Board (The Verge)
Google will unveil new subscription music services Wednesday at the Google I/O conference, sources close to the company said. Google has now signed separate licensing deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment for both YouTube and Google Play, setting the stage for such an announcement, music industry sources told The Verge.

Meredith Corp. Buys, Closes Parenting, Babytalk; Acquires Titles From Bonnier (Adweek)
Meredith Corp.’s merger talks with Time Inc. fell apart just two months ago, but now Meredith CEO Stephen Lacy can partly save face. Tuesday, the publisher announced it would buy Bonnier’s Parenting and Babytalk magazines and their related digital assets. FishbowlNY If you’re a Parenting or Babytalk subscriber, get ready for Parents and American Baby to replace them, beginning with September issues. Parenting’s site — — will continue to exist, however.