Senator Schumer Coaches Colleagues on Press Call; The Guardian To Expand Stateside

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Chuck Schumer, media adviser
On Tuesday morning, a telling little bit of the relationship between high-ranking politicians and the press was exposed when New York Senator Chuck Schumer was caught chatting prematurely on a conference call about the budget process with his fellow lawmakers. Schumer coached his people openly on talking points, unaware that reporters were already listening to the call giving us all a peek into the process of political negotiations played out in the media and just how predetermined it all is anyway. People can now pretend to be shocked, which people love to do! More on Sen. Schumer's snafu inside our daily media column Press Clips. Plus, a big acquisition for The Daily (sort of), news of the Guardian's American ideas and how the New York Times paywall could possibly cost $40 million.

What the Chuck: Schumer started his pre-press pep talk by thanking Barbara Boxer of California, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Tom Carper of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut for their leadership against Republicans on the budget issue, according to the City Room blog, and then got to the (talking) point: "I always use the word extreme," Schumer said of referring to Republican opponent John Boehner. "That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week."

He went on for about two minutes when someone presumably told him that reporters were already on the line. But like a good Dem, Barbara Boxer stuck to it. "We are urging Mr. Boehner to abandon the extreme right wing," she told the reporters, who already knew what she was going to say.

To recap: Senator tells Senators how to talk to reporters, who are listening, and can then report on being told what to report on, while also reporting on what they were going to report on anyway. The free press, ladies and gentlemen.

Guardian Coming Again: Via The Cutline comes the news that Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian's editor-in-chief, will hire an American editor soon, giving a go again to failed projects like GuardianAmerica.com. Details are vague, but The Cutline positions the move as perhaps a reaction to the manifest destiny Arianna Huffington is pushing with her new HuffPo/AOL partnership, which includes plans of expansion to the United Kingdom.

"She's expanding in all directions," Rusbridger said. "She wants to cover the whole waterfront in terms of every kind of subject. That's admirable, but it's going to be quite fraught in terms of retaining any kind of focus or distinctiveness." Maybe that comes across more defensive than it was meant to, or maybe Arianna has a second squabble on her hands.

Moving On Up: Jesse Angelo, the editor-in-chief of everyone's favorite iPad newspaper, Rupert Murdoch's The Daily, is moving into the "Muppet Mansion," a huge townhouse once owned by Jim Henson. As the buyer, Angelo attempted to hide behind an LLC called Statler, a reference to a Muppet, but the deed lists News Corp. headquarters as an address and was signed by none other than Angelo, the Observer reports.

Though Angelo's last house was a respectable $1.9 million condo, he's upgraded now, dropping $23 million on the Muppet Mansion. Maybe most of Murdoch's $30 million Daily dollars went to the top spot? Or maybe the richest man in South Dakota has some competition.

Paywall Pricey: The New York Times paywall, the top paywall in the game right now buzz-wise, reportedly cost between $40-$50 million to set up, which no one can believe:

I built a pay wall back in 1995 for the MIT Press... I can't remember exactly what I charged the Press, but it was only a few days of work and I think the invoice worked out to approximately $40 million less than $40 million.

Google pocketed about $25 million, maybe partly for a big "database server," but that leaves at least $15 million, which hopefully did not go to coding because if you get the paywall block after your allotted articles, you can just delete the "?gwh=numbers" from the URL and it will work again. Add that one to the list.

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]



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