Charlie Hebdo's Editors Illustrate the Importance of Being Uncomfortable

The editorial cartoons that incited the January 7 attack by Islamist extremists on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo portrayed the prophet Muhammad in an extremely unflattering light — the faithful would call it blasphemy, though for a lot of American writers, "offensive" is the key word. When PEN announced its decision to honor Charlie Hebdo with the Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award at tonight's annual gala, six writers who had previously agreed to host tables at the event noisily withdrew.More »

'They Had Done Their Homework': Meet Victor Kovner, Attorney for The Jinx Filmmakers

Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office
Sometimes life imitates art. Other times art intimidates life. That seemed to be the case with the HBO documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, which, over the course of a decade, tracked the shady past of the New York City real estate scion, in particular the trail of deaths that seemed to follow him. The final episode of The Jinx contained a shocking revelation: Durst, after an on-camera interview with filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, wandered into a hotel bathroom still wearing his microphone and made what sounded like a full confession. The shock was compounded by real-life events. The day before the finale was set to air, the FBI arrested Durst in New Orleans for the murder of Susan Berman, a friend of his who was killed in Los Angeles in 2000.

In a media landscape transfixed by artfully told true-crime stories (The Jinx comes on the heels of NPR's wildly popular Serial podcast), the show's presentation of its case against Durst — not to mention the timing of Durst's arrest — raised a host of questions regarding the lines between entertainment and jurisprudence, chain of custody, and the legal responsibilities of documentary journalists. The Jinx navigated this thicket with the help of Victor A. Kovner, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine with a long history of providing pre-print or pre-broadcast review to media outlets (including, from the mid-1960s until the mid-2000s, the Village Voice).

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The Word Those 'Wimps' at the New York Post Won't Publish

Categories: Media, Tab Libs

The lead story on the New York Post's website a little before 9 a.m. on Tuesday was headlined "Osama bin Laden 'died like a pussy.' " After 9 a.m., the headline became "Osama bin Laden 'died like a wimp.' "

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Serial List-Maker WalletHub to Newark: You're Unhappy, Bad for Business, and You Hate Vets

Categories: Media

Photo credit: Underpuppy via Compfight cc
Newark is catching flak from some flack's sorta flimsy ranking.
WalletHub, some kind of financial-social-media-maker-of-surveys thingy*, has dropped a bit of a shitstorm onto our downtrodden neighbors to the west.

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Power Rankings: The Worst Catcall Parody Videos

With more than 35 million views, the video of Shoshana Roberts walking through Manhattan and being subjected to dozens and dozens of catcalls from men about her appearance and figure pulled back the curtain on an uglier part of our culture. It also spawned several cringe-inducing parodies by enterprising dudes (mostly dudes, anyway) who wanna hop on the pageview train by offering comparisons between getting catcalled as as a woman alone in New York to, oh, trash-talk you might hear as an unshaven Jets bro walking through Union Square on a Sunday. Here are the worst, from worst to least-worst.

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How Diverse Are New York City's Newsrooms?

Categories: Media

nycmayorsoffice via Flickr
Chirlane McCray
On Sunday, the New York Post published an anonymously sourced piece detailing first lady Chirlane McCray's fury after hearing that Chief of Department Philip Banks (her pick, the paper says, for commissioner) was leaving the force after a disagreement with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

"I told you we can't trust him!" the paper says she "railed" at her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio. After that, the report goes on, the mayor "summoned Bratton to City Hall, blasting him face to face for not catering to Banks."

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Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee's One Big Mistake Was Our Gain

Categories: Media

The Post's 1981 Pulitzer, lost to fraud, ultimately went to the Voice.
In 1980, a Washington Post writer named Janet Cooke wrote a heart-wrenching story about an eight-year-old heroin addict in Washington, D.C. "Jimmy's World" was a heroic piece of journalism, shedding light on an often unseen world of addiction and poverty and misery.

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Texas Monthly Wants $1 Million From the New York Times for Poaching Editor Jake Silverstein

Texas Monthly editor Jake Silverstein had several reasons to celebrate on March 28. The last installment of an exhaustive five-part, 25,000-word series on a botched triple homicide investigation was live online; the day before, a big Texas Monthly-branded barbecue event had gone off without a hitch in Brooklyn... and, after an extensive search, the New York Times was finally ready to announce it would be naming Silverstein the new editor of its Sunday magazine.

The news, announced on the Times' website that Friday came as a surprise -- Silverstein's name had not been mentioned in speculative articles leading up to the announcement -- and a nasty one for Ian Arnold, vice president of Emmis Publishing, the owner of Texas Monthly.

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The Observer's Embarrassing Eric Schneiderman Takedown Attempt, by the Numbers

On Wednesday the New York Observer published a profile of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The piece is long, and utterly embarrassing in its exasperated defense of Donald Trump, Observer publisher Jared Kushner's father-in-law and the target of an ongoing lawsuit by the Attorney General's office. Worse, it's an insult to the Observer's readers, who are way too media savvy for the shenanigans.

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Alec Baldwin Takes Ball, Goes Home

Also cancelled: Baldwin's popular cooking tips show.
Alec Baldwin is done with all you tiny, pathetic ingrates. New York has just gotten too mean. A man can't live peacefully in this town anymore. The days when you were free to call people "queens" and "faggots" and "cocksucking fags" as you saw fit are over. Alec Baldwin bids you to say goodbye to these.

That was the news last night from New York magazine, whose cover story this week features a first-person from Baldwin, declaring, "I Give Up." (On Vulture, New York's culture blog, the piece is billed as ""Goodbye, Public Life.")

It's Baldwin's passionate denunciation of the media, as well as New York City and pretty much everybody in it (Shia LeBeouf, Rachel Maddow, Joe Scarborough, er, Bill de Blasio). He declares that he's done trying "to communicate with an audience playfully like we're friends, beyond the work you are actually paid for." His withdrawal, he adds, is because he's been labeled "a homophobic bigot by Andrew Sullivan, Anderson Cooper, and others in the Gay Department of Justice." And barely 100 words into the piece, he uses an anti-transgender slur. Good God, Lemon.

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