Pellicano turns up on tapes cutting deals with tabloid reporters... there may be a Singleton in the future of Norcal newspapers...Jay Leno does the mea culpa...the blogger king of Santa Monica, plus a new editor and new look for the SM Mirror...Rob Reiner's tarnished star...winners of the Circle Awards...the LAT's goldfish story...why Paul Haggis can't work...and ever so much more after you turn the page.
Shameless self-promotion: Today's Politics of Culture on KCRW will be hosted by, well, me. I talk with author and NPR science reporter John Nielsen about Condor: To the Brink and Back, his book on the revival of the California condor. It airs locally at 2:30 pm on 89.9 FM, streams live on the Internet at www.kcrw.com, and is available as a podcast.
Photo: The Hollywood Reporter
♦ Bugging the bugger:
Today's Daily Journal (not available online)
reports that a tabloid reporter for the National Enquirer and the Globe recorded conversations with Anthony Pellicano that suggest lawyer Bert Fields didn't know about the private investigator's methods. The tapes made by the late James Mitteager found their way to former porn actor Paul Barresi—who was hired by Pellicano to dig up dirt on Arnold Schwarzenegger and others—then to the FBI, the paper's John Hanusz says.
The tapes reveal a shadowy trade in information and back-scratching between the sleuth and tabloid reporters relating to various celebrities, including Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Taylor and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Pellicano offered information about his clients and other celebrities....
In the same call, Pellicano offers Mitteager and another tabloid reporter, Cliff Dunn, money to shelve a story about Goldberg, whom Pellicano called "a very close friend."
"I'm willing to take money out of my pocket - not her pocket - to give to you," Pellicano said.
"Well, why would you not be able to bill it to a client or Whoopi Goldberg?" Dunn asked.
"Because I don't tell them these things," Pellicano said. "I have a cash slush fund that I use, and that's what you guys have been
getting. Every chance I get, I put money in your pocket."
♦ Also in the DJ: 24 Hour Fitness settled a class-action suit for $38 million after managers, personal trainers and other employees alleged the gym chain failed to pay overtime and broke other employment laws. Sports and Fitness Club of America, which owns the chain, denied wrongdoing and described the decision to settle as smart business.
♦ Thinking big:
Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group—owner of the Daily News, Press-Telegram, Star-News and other local papers—is at the center of speculation about who will buy
the San Jose Mercury from McClatchy after the Knight Ridder sale closes.
♦ Hello Wendy?:
Jay Leno apologizes
for a tasteless joke—by personal phone call—to Wendy Brogin of Sherman Oaks.
♦ Blogger envy:
Newsweek calls Jason Calacanis AOL's Blog King
and interviews the new Santa Monica millionaire about selling his empire for $25 million.
Last October, the question of whether blogging could be a business was pretty much decided when AOL paid a reported $25 million for Weblogs, Inc., a network of almost 100 blogs on topics like technology, travel and parenthood. The founder of Weblogs, who will still run the company, is 35-year-old Jason Calacanis. A Brooklyn kid with relentless hustle, Calacanis made a splash in the '90s with publications (like Silicon Alley Reporter) that tracked the dot-com boom, and when the bubble burst, heólike the companies he coveredódidn't get the expected giant payout. But in 2004, Calacanis got a second chance by setting up a company to generate dozens of ad-supported Weblogs, largely written by freelancers who split the loot with him. His most successful is Engadget, a real-time guide to gadgetry run by Peter Rojas, who jumped from rival blog concern Gawker Media.
♦ New look:
This week's Santa Monica Mirror
will land with a new compact design, publisher Michael Rosenthal also wearing the editor's hat and a new managing editor, Laurie Cohn Rosenthal.
The future of news is local and we are committed to producing a world class local community paper with a design that is elegant and reader friendly.
♦ Reiner bloodied:
Rob Reiner has been taking a beating in Sacramento, in the media and on blogs like New West Notes
. The LAT's Tina Daunt writes today
that "his reviews have never been worse"—though she could be talking about his new movie Rumor Has It
And if you think movie reviewers are ornery, meet the political press corps. News reporters and opinion writers alike have had plenty to say about the alleged conflict of interest as well as Reiner's plan to tax the rich to pay for preschool. A Wall Street Journal editorial: "Meathead Economics." A Sacramento Bee column: "Reiner latest in long list of those who misused public funds?" And a Marysville Appeal-Democrat editorial: "Time for Reiner to go back to school."
♦ Early call: Mayor Villaraigosa is interviewed live at 6:30 am on Telemundo KVEA Ch. 52 & 22 Morning News with Ruben Luengas & Azalea Iniguez.
♦ Plays of the year:
Faux Broadway musical "The Drowsy Chaperone" led the winners
at the 37th annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards ceremony.
♦ Goldfish journalism:
City Hall reporter Steve Hymon is raising a pair of goldfish
, Little Ed and Little Antonio, in the L.A. Times press room to see if they survive in L.A. River water.
♦ Life's a bitch:
Now that he has won, you know, the Oscar, Paul Haggis finds it hard to work unmolested in the Coral Tree Cafe. Last item
♦ Crossing over:
I'm told that Friday was former White House correspondent Ed Chen's last day at the L.A. Times. He's going to be Washington communications director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Here was his email
to colleagues last month (at Fishbowl DC) and some nice words
from fellow D.C. correspondents back in January.
♦ Incredible shrinking newspaper:
Today's paper is the first one in which the L.A. Times condenses its stock tables
onto one page.
♦ Baseball in March:
As a couple of readers have pointed out, no one is blogging
the World Baseball Championship down in Anaheim like the local Bob Timmermann.
♦ New blogs: California Urban History Compendium
is what it sounds like, from native Angeleno Scott Shepard...No More King George
(dot com) is a fledgling on-line journal base din Santa Monica and "dedicated to reporting on the growing political dispute about the appropriate limits of Presidential power." Mark Heckendorn is the founding editor.
♦ Bidness is bidness:
Liberal Inland Empire talk radio host (and former SAG president) Barry Gordon is getting help promoting his new blog
from RSC Partners, the PR consulting practice here with a pair of Republican co-founders
♦ Front pages:
Eleven newspapers that Angelenos like to know about, all day every day right here