LA Observed Notes: Baron, Baquet, Scaramucci, Parker and more

baron-baquet-vf.jpgMarty Baron of the Washington and Dean Baquet of the New York Times, both former LA Times executives, in the new Vanity Fair.

Our occasional roundup of news and notes from media sources and our in-box. Between posts, keep up with LA Observed on Twitter — along with the feed's 24,437 followers.

At the top

From the right: An editorial from the Murdochs' Wall Street Journal says the White House problem is Trump not Preibus: "Mr. Trump has a chaotic mess because he seems to like it...infighting and competing leaks have created a dysfunctional White House...his Presidency is careening toward a historic reputation where names like Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon reside."

Keeping the story alive: The LA Times has a new revelation on the USC dean with the secret drug life, reporting that university president Max Nikias reappointed Dr. Carmen Puliafito five years ago despite multiple complaints about his work and possible drinking problem. Nikias was forced to admit in a new letter to the campus that there had been troubling signs about the then-dean of the medical school. LAT

Fun moment: New Dodger Kyle Farmer's first hit in his first major league game was a walk-off double to win Sunday night on national TV. Aftermath

Media notes

Ex-CNN host Greta Van Susteren was named a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy, "on issues tied to social media, broadcast news and coverage of politics and government." Dean Willow Bay: “I enjoyed working alongside Greta at CNN years ago, and I’m delighted to be reunited with her as we continue our work here to guide the next generation of journalists."

James Warren in the September Vanity Fair on the "last great newspaper war: Breaking story after story, two great American newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post, are resurgent, with record readerships. One has greater global reach and fifth-generation family ownership; the other has Jeff Bezos as its deep-pocketed proprietor and a technological advantage. Both, however, still face an existential foe." The top editors of both papers are LA Times alumni.

The death of Vladimir Putin’s former media czar in a Washington hotel room on the eve of a 2015 meeting with the U.S. Justice department was a Russian hit, numerous law enforcement and intelligence sources tell BuzzFeed. Mikhail Lesin was beaten to death, the story says. LA-based reporters Jason Leopold and Ken Bensinger lead the bylines.

Louise Steinman, creator and curator of the venerable Aloud series of events at the Los Angeles Public Library, was profiled in the Los Angeles Times. "She is at the forefront of the city’s intellectual ambitions," writes Jeffrey Fleishman. Nice story but it carries an ominous warning buried within: She is "one of a number of artists, poets and others The Times will profile in coming months whose personal bonds to the city feed its diffuse soul." Note to all newspapers: Don't commit to predictable set pieces anymore. Surprise us.

New York Times buyout takers include the longtime book critic Michiko Kakutani and national security writer James Risen, who battled the Obama Administration over his protection of his sources. Risen and departing business columnist Charles Duhigg were LA Times reporters at one time.

International subscriptions to the New York Times website are growing faster than domestic — but all are way up.

Anthony Scaramucci's insane, profanity filled rant to a New Yorker writer has been traffic gold for the magazine: the story's 4.4 million unique visitors make it's most-read piece of 2017. The magazine says there were "more than 100,000 concurrent visitors in the hours following publication, a record for" And magazine subscriptions are way up.

Heidi N. Moore, a longtime financial industry reporter, details the lengths that the industry goes to kill stories and kneecap journalists — and says Anthony Scaramucci wants to bring that model to the White House: "It will not worry about the accuracy of what is published, only whether the tone is Trump-friendly."

The conservative National Review has a new piece that rips Trump and Scaramucci: "Trump is the political version of a pickup artist, and Republicans — and America — went to bed with him convinced that he was something other than what he is." And also: "If you’re wondering where Anthony Scaramucci learned to talk and behave like such a Scaramuccia, ask him how many times he’s seen "Glengarry Glen Ross."

Longtime Republican adviser Peggy Noonan in the WSJ: "Trump Is Woody Allen Without the Humor...Half his tweets show utter weakness. They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn."

USA Today: Secret donations are helping to boost President Trump's agenda, fights with investigators

Washington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan says the BuzzFeed piece on girls victimized around R. Kelly was rejected multiple places because of the ghost of Gawker's lost lawsuit to Hulk Hogan. Good quote for these times by BuzzFeed's flack: "When we pursue a story, our primary concern is whether it’s accurate and newsworthy — not whether the subject is too rich or powerful, be it Russian oligarchs, R. Kelly or the Trump White House."

A new report on the media industry, The delayed promise of newsroom diversity, cites positive and negative trends about the Los Angeles Times.

The LAT's early deadlines bit readers again last week. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times print papers delivered in Southern California had the Senate rejecting the comprehensive repeal of the Affordable Care Act, while the print LA Times — the West Coast paper — had only the earlier vote to proceed.

ICYMI: Emerson Collective, the organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, has acquired a majority stake in The Atlantic magazine.

Random notes: Asian Americans and Race: It’s Complicated, by Richard Prince... Felix Salmon warns about media outlets embracing video too much... Struggling Time Inc. is exploring a sale of Sunset magazine, plus Coastal Living and Golf... IndieWire is looking for an eager and ambitious film reporter for its Los Angeles office... The Rise and Fall of Liz Smith, Celebrity Accomplice. She is 94. NYT... A Doctor Gives Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop a Pelvic Exam. NYT

Travel with a reporter!

Shortly after the New York Times announced a new money-making gambit — travel around the world with a delegation that will include NYT reporters
— the LA Times came out with travel packages of its own. It's one of the ways that newspapers are trying to find some income anywhere they can, and the LAT needs it with advertising in the print paper visibly on a terminal spiral down the drain. The LAT has mothballed its print Travel section this summer, but it's offering trips with architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne (Chicago for $3,995 or Dubai for $4,995) and food writer Jonathan Gold (to Tuscany, details to come.) There are also trips to Mexico with Mexico City bureau chief Kate Linthicum and culture writer Carolina Miranda, to New Orleans with music writer Randy Lewis, to Italy with Image editor Marques Harper, and other trips to South Africa, Cuba, Vienna, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and elsewhere. The most innovative might be six-night staycations for $4,195 in Los Angeles area with the chance to explore the city with staffers such as film critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang, food editor Amy Scattergood, travel writer Chris Reynolds and others. A PR person's dream junket?

A site in New Orleans has asked why anyone in LA would pay someone from LA to guide them through the local music scene, and in an LA Weekly story on the new travel offerings, former LAT managing editor Leo Wolinsky wonders if the small amount of money to be made is worth taking so many journalists away from their actual work.

"It’s typical of the L.A. Times," Wolinsky says. "They don’t pioneer much. They’re always a bit late in copying someone else. But I guess you can expect them to do anything to make a little money. This is another revenue stream. But you wonder if it’s worth it."

Media people doing stuff

arndt-parker-heisenberg.jpgMary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt (above) are having some fun in "Heisenberg" on the Mark Taper Forum stage, through August 6. They are the only two actors in the play that came here from New York and the stage is out among the audience, so there is no place to hide. They talk about the play's intensity on The Frame with KPCC's John Horn, and Steve Appleford in the LA Times writes about Arndt as an overnight sensation after 45 years in the biz.

Deputy district attorney Patrick Frey, the conservative blogger in Los Angeles under the name Patterico, won a summary judgment in federal court against a serial harasser who may have been responsible for a dangerous "swatting" episode at Frey's home. Patterico, TechDirt

Chris Cillizza, CNN's new political analyst and editor at large, "might be the only person in America who can have goofy fun talking about Trumpcare, Russian election interference, and the emoluments clause." CJR profile.

Former anchor Karla Amezola won an LA Area Emmy to cap a year that saw her file a sexual harassment complaint, get fired by Estrella TV and be forced to drive for Uber and Lyft to get by.

Random notes: Good story by the LAT's Thomas Curwen with photos and video by Gina Ferazzi on the new gold rush in Sierra streams as the winter's heavy snow pack melts... Steve Lopez columnizes on "the mystery homeless woman of Pacific Palisades and the village that helped her home."... Giselle Töngi-Walters is self-producing the Filipino-American talk show "Kababayan Today" in the wake of Channel 18's demise as an ethnic media outlet... We told you earlier this month about David Perlman, retiring as science editor of the San Francisco Chronicle at age 98. Here's Poynter's catch up interview... What It's Like Inside the All-Women Inmate Firefighter Camp in Malibu, by Hayley Fox for LA Weekly... Susannah Breslin likes looking at Charlize Theron but argues in her Forbes column that Maybe 'Atomic Blonde' Would Have Been Better If A Woman Had Written It.

Hollywood legend obits: Disney Imagineer Marty Sklar and voice artist June Foray, the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, the Chatty Cathy doll and the "Twilight Zone's" Talky Tina, plus many other familiar characters.

Ballet in LA: Whole lot of positive coverage of Tiler Peck's three-day BalletNow series at the Music Center this weekend. Pure joy in toe shoes, writes Laura Bleiberg in the LA Times. Also Los Angeles Magazine, the Register and Peck with John Horn on The Frame. Sunday's print New York Times had a full page on the New York City Ballet principal dancer from Bakersfield, and here's some of our previous posts on Peck.

News and politics

Without Priebus, Trump Is a Man Without a Party: By ousting Reince Priebus, the president is severing one of his few remaining ties to the GOP, says Politico.

Rep. Adam Schiff is the lucky beneficiary of attempted sliming by President Trump. Mark Z. Barabak column in the LA Times

Councilman Mike Bonin apologized and capitulated to driver complaints about the narrowing of Vista Del Mar in Playa Del Rey to one lane each way. Restriping will begin shortly to undo the "road diet" forced on residents by the city. Bonin so far is defending the narrowing of Venice Boulevard through Mar Vista. Daily News

Meanwhile, the LA Times editorial board sides with bicycle activists that it's all a problem of selfish motorists.

Councilman Jose Huizar said in a statement he deplores attacks on Weird Wave Coffee by Boyle Heights anti-gentrification activists, while still concerned about gentrification.

Political newbies are stepping up to run for Congress, and many say it's because of Trump. LAT

Politicon, a Pasadena gathering in its third year, is decidedly not yet the Comic-Con of politics but it is starting to attract some paying customers. Variety

A Media reel from LA political consultants Jacobson & Zilber.


One of the last remaining gas stations on the 16 miles of Wilshire Boulevard — a Shell station at Vermont — is going to be replaced by a CVS pharmacy - Urbanize LA

Why late flights are threatening Long Beach’s ‘lovely small airport’ - Press-Telegram

Bar Mitzvah lessons cost too much in Los Angeles - LA Times op-ed

Sardo’s Grill & Lounge on Pass Avenue in Burbank has hosted its final Porn Star Karaoke night - Daily News

Hal Bastian, the DTLA real estate consultant and creator of the web video series “What’s Up, Downtown?," interviewed - Downtown News

Former Dodger Adrian Beltre, now on the Texas Rangers, on Sunday became the first Dominican Republic-born player to collect 3,000 hits - ESPN

Selected tweets



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