'CIA John' Story on Bin Laden Killer Pits New York Observer Against Government, Journalism

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On July 5, the Associated Press reported about "John," a "career CIA analyst" who helped track down Osama Bin Laden. "In the hunt for the world's most-wanted terrorist," the AP wrote, "there may have been no one more important." They didn't use his name, for fear of "retribution," but the AP noted that he's in the famous Situation Room photograph taken during the Bin Laden raid. John Young of Cryptome.org found pictures of the CIA agent in question a few days later and then John Cook at Gawker showed them to a larger audience (thereby pissing off Fox News and many more). What no one knew yet (or had decided not to make public) was the man's name. Until now! Almost. In their cover story tomorrow, the New York Observer lets everyone know they have the name, but spends 3,640 words describing why they chose not to publish it.

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Princess Diana Covers Newsweek Because Tina Brown Said So; David Carr Pisses Off America

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The newish editor-in-chief of Newsweek is the very famous and talented Tina Brown, who took over when her floundering web project The Daily Beast partnered with the floundering newsweekly. During her editorship, Brown famously made both Vanity Fair and the New Yorker sharper and flashier, and even more famously she wrote a big book about Princess Diana, and so as Newsweek continues to clamor for relevance, Brown made a big sandwich of all her interests and expertise, sticking Diana (strong woman, check!) on the cover with Kate Middleton (topical celebrity, check! British, double check!) for a story that imagines Diana "If She Were Here Now" (kind of controversial, check!). The art is felonious and the writing is... not news. More inside Press Clips, our daily media column.

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Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari, Kidnapped Gay Syrian Blogger, Might Be Made Up

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Not her?!
The defiant lesbian blogger Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari (a/k/a Amina Arraf or Amina Abdallah), who was reported kidnapped on her blog "A Gay Girl in Damascus" by a cousin this week, may not exist at all or otherwise has a lot of explaining to do. Her story circulated everywhere from Fox News to MSNBC, the Guardian, Huffington Post and beyond on Tuesday, but just 24 hours later, we're left with way more questions than answers. In the widely-circulated blog post, Amina was said to have been snatched on the street by armed men. "I have been on the telephone with both her parents and all that we can say right now is that she is missing," read a follow-up two days ago. (There's been no activity on the blog since.) "Her father is desperately trying to find out where she is and who has taken her." But did anyone? We'll explore in Press Clips, our daily media column.

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Glenn Beck Moving to the Internet; Arianna Huffington Pissing Off New AOL Team

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After some unsuccessful press jockeying on both sides, negotiations between Fox News and their cash-cow-turned-credibility-sucker Glenn Beck pretty much disintegrated and so they worked together on his exit from the channel. Now it's time for him to ride his intensely angry, loyal, and crazy mob of fans straight to the bank, so he's moving where the money is: online. But Beck's not counting on The Blaze, his conservative blog, to sustain him because websites alone tend not to pay the bills. Instead, Beck will launch a subscription-based online network called GBTV (guess what it stands for) with both scripted and unscripted content. The New York Times has the details, which we'll run down in our daily media column Press Clips, as well as Arianna's AOL woes and a redesign for the New York Observer.

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn Rape Case Has French Press Obsessed With...the American Press

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The most persevering story of the week, judging by the tabloid covers at least, was that of ex-IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was accused last Sunday of attempting to rape a hotel maid near Times Square. Since, members of the press have descended on downtown Manhattan like locusts, but far from just the locals, in part because Strauss-Kahn was widely favored to become the next president of France. Right away, the differences in coverage were apparent, with most local journalists abiding by understood U.S. standards like not printing the victim's name, while some across the ocean immediately cried conspiracy, pursued and printed information about the accuser, and couldn't believe that we would photograph Strauss-Kahn detained by police. As the week comes to an end, and the Strauss-Kahn news has slowed some, a portion of the French press has decided to make U.S. media their story. One New York Times reporter told his story about the story (about the story) today, and we'll look it over inside a Friday edition of Press Clips, our daily media column.

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David Mamet Stopped Being a 'Brain-Dead Liberal' Back in 2008

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In 2008, when President Barack Obama was just a surging senator, the famed (and rich!) writer David Mamet penned a political essay for the Village Voice that was titled "David Mamet: Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal.'" It was hugely successful -- basically the biggest story in this website's history, seen by over 2 million people -- and it's full of personal and ideological conflict, digression and flashes of frustrating genius. It sure was controversial -- again, you can still read it here. The new issue of The Weekly Standard, meanwhile, has a story called "Converting Mamet," over three years later, which refers to the playwright's political beliefs as "newly discovered," as if he didn't lay it all out way back when. What the fuck, as Mamet might ask. More in Press Clips, our daily media column.

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New York Times Journalists Free From Libya, Paywall Gets Internal Investigation

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Two of the missing NYT journalists
On Friday, the New York Times was told that four of its reporters being held by government forces in Libya would be freed. Meanwhile, bombing commenced from allied forces and Gaddafi's troops struck back against their own people in the embattled African nation. As Times executive editor Bill Keller put it in a memo this morning, he and his colleagues held their "enthusiasm and comments in check until [the journalists] were out of the country," but the paper has indeed confirmed that Lynsey Addario, Tyler Hicks, Anthony Shadid and Stephen Farrell have arrived safely in Tunisia. Still, at least 13 journalists covering the conflict remained detained in Libya. More on the Times group's release, plus more media news inside Press Clips, our daily round-up.

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Huffington Post: Our Bloggers Like Doing It For Free

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On Thursday, the Newspaper Guild made a public plea to all unpaid writers for the Huffington Post to withdraw their services as a part of a strike against using unpaid labor in the wake of HuffPo's $315 million sale to AOL. "Just as we would ask writers to stand fast and not cross a physical picket line, we ask that they honor this electronic picket line," said the Guild in an announcement. Today, HuffPo spokesperson Mario Ruiz responded that most of the companies are "not professional writers" anyway, so they probably don't even want money. More on the battle of the press releases inside a Friday evening edition of Press Clips, our daily media round-up. Plus: the Observer's new tech site has a hit already, while the company that owns The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, AdWeek, MediaWeek and Brandweek may have put them all up for sale. Or maybe not!

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Why Did Gawker Refuse to Run John Cook's New York Observer Article on Scientology?

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On Tuesday afternoon, the New York Observer, now under the editorship of founding Gawker editor Elizabeth Spiers, published a juicy feature about Scientology by current Gawker editor and investigative journalist John Cook. Atop the article is a purposefully placed Observer editor's note in italics that reads, "Gawker.com, where the author is employed as a staff writer, declined to publish this story." Right away, the note sparked the discussion it was likely meant to: Why didn't Gawker want a big, exclusive and original story, especially in light of its admitted struggles with a new redesign and stated thirst for unique and scandalous features? "I'm not quite certain," Cook told Runnin' Scared. There's more inside Press Clips, our daily media column.

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The Daily Ditching iPad-Only for Android App ASAP; TBD.com Dismantled, Doomed

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After three weeks of publication as the world's first-ever iPad newspaper, reports are trickling out that News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch's pet project, The Daily, will be migrating to a second platform, the Android tablet, in the second quarter of 2011. The news comes barely 20 issues since Murdoch, along with Apple's VP of Internet Services Eddy Cue, announced the launch of the product onstage at the Guggenheim Museum, seemingly wedding the two mega-companies in an innovative space. What does the expansion mean? More info inside our daily media round-up, Press Clips, along with sad news for TBD.com and the Washington, D.C. hyper-local scene, plus, illuminating updates from the AOL-owned Huffington Post and long-struggling Harper's from reporters at the New York Observer.

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