New York Times media reporters have takes this weekend on two L.A.-based fixtures on the current media scene. First, David Carr on TMZ, the Time Warner-owned gossip operation founded and led by Harvey Levin:
Unlike Access Hollywood or Entertainment Tonight, TMZ lets viewers in on the joke. Five days a week, its reporters show up at work and the television lights come on above them and five cameras roam overhead as they discuss the “news” of the day. The newsroom is alive and buzzing about — well, let’s face it, nothing very important.
No one pretends that they are covering the war in Afghanistan or the federal debt ceiling. They are covering show business, with an emphasis on the “show.”
And after the jump, Jeremy W. Peters on Andrew Breitbart, America's favorite Westside right-winger.
Part performance artist, part polemicist, Mr. Breitbart, 42, has used his network of Web sites and their legions of followers to bring conservative media red meat. Some of his reader-generated scoops have reverberated all the way to the halls of the United States Capitol, like the Weiner photos and undercover video he released of Acorn workers offering advice on how to evade taxes and conceal child prostitution. After the videos went viral Congress ended grants to Acorn, and federal agencies severed ties with the group.
The stories and videos Mr. Breitbart plays up on his Web sites — which include Big Government, Big Journalism and Big Hollywood — tend to act as political Rorschach tests. If you agree with him, you think what he does is citizen journalism. If you don’t, his work is little more than crowd-sourced political sabotage that freely distorts the facts.
“On the right, he is seen as an investigative journalist along the lines of Woodward and Bernstein,” said James B. McPherson, author of “The Conservative Resurgence and the Press.”