July 23, 2015

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch apparently wants Fox News to stop sucking up to Donald Trump, but can’t get his CEO Roger Ailes in line. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire suggests everyone go for the one approach to Trump they haven’t yet tried: take him seriously.

The New York Times doesn’t like Nick Denton’s accusation that it moves journalists off certain beats to appease advertisers with less “toothy” coverage. Denton made the comments in a long scandal-postmortem editorial meeting early this week, in which he explained to his staff that the “Gawker tax”—essentially, the ad revenue they lose by showing those teeth too much—was getting too high. Reinforcing suspicions that he wants to declaw and “Vox-ify” Gawker, Denton calculated the “tax” as roughly “the gap between the revenues of Gawker Media and the revenues of Vox Media, the gap is around $20 million a year and the gap is increasing.” Denton’s staff seemingly didn’t like what he said any more than the Times did: “Make this into an advertising company then!” features editor Leah Finnegan said. “Say what it really is! It’s not a place for journalism!”

A good day for documentarians: The Associated Press and the British newsreel company Movietone are putting a huge stash of archival news footage—more than a million minutes—on YouTube.

This week in lost masterpieces: If Harper Lee’s latest was a disappointment, you can turn to the newly discovered Dr. Seuss. And a tip for any would-be discoverers going through a writer’s belongings—look in the folder marked “Noble Failures.”

And, seemingly in honor of the David Foster Wallace movie, some thoughts about book tours from writers including Nell Zink (”reading to a crowd resembles something I actually know how to do — sing Schubert in a clear mezzo-soprano — minus all the hard parts. Whee!”), Gary Shteyngart, and Junot Diaz.