The Best Media Feuds of 2013

The Most Annoying, Entertaining, Cringeworthy Media Feuds, That Is

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Kanye West attempts an uneasy detente on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' in October
Kanye West attempts an uneasy detente on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' in October

In February, a New York Times reporter published a negative review of Tesla Motors' Model S electric car. Tesla founder Tony Stark -- er, I mean, Elon Musk -- promptly tweeted, "NYTimes article about Tesla [driving] range in cold is fake. Vehicle logs tell true story that he didn't actually charge to max & took a long detour." Tesla's logs were actually a little less conclusive than Musk insisted, but the internet chatterati decided that Tesla won this feud hands-down. Why? Because, duh, obviously the Times is in the pocket of Big Oil, thus its harsh review of a vehicle that I'm pretty sure we might all technically be legally required to worship as the Infallible Miracle Car of the Future.

In May, according to the Times, Gwyneth Paltrow emailed friends, "If you are asked for quotes or comments" from Vanity Fair, "please decline. Also, I recommend you all never do this magazine again." Us Weekly then reported that VF was planning an "epic takedown" of the actress, while Radar said that Paltrow was out to "destroy" the mag's rep before it destroyed hers. Everybody sort of lost track of what happened next, but given that Paltrow was hounded out of Hollywood and forced to enter the Witness Protection Program, and Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter was deported back to his native Canada, well, obviously it was a win-win for everyone!

In August, gossip blogger Perez Hilton issued a statement saying, "After a day of innocent house-hunting, I am devastated and my heart hurts that my former very good friend, a person I used to call my 'wifey'… is making very public and very untrue allegations about me on Twitter." Ex-"wifey" is Lady Gaga, who, upon hearing that Perez had looked at an apartment in her New York City building, decided he was being a little stalkery. In November, Gaga slammed Perez to USA Today, saying, "If you hate somebody and you want to move next door to me, the only thing I can think of is that you're moving in because you want to blow yourself up." Perez then tweeted to Gaga's dad, "If your daughter ends up dead, it's from a drug overdose. Not cuz I blew us up!" For the record, if I end up dead, it'll be from a celebrity-feud OD.

In August, after the New York Times ran a piece about Tina Brown's troubled tenure as editor of Newsweek, Howard Kurtz, the magazine's former Washington bureau chief, linked to it, tweeting, "Tina tried hard to save Newsweek, which was probably impossible, but this captures the chaos, waste and dysfunction." Tina shot back, "Hey @HowardKurtz am I forgetting something or didn't I fire you for serial inaccuracy? Shurely shome mishtake as British hacks like to say." Yessh, shurely!

Jimmy Kimmel makes fun of people for a living. But Kanye West isn't people -- he's a god (according to Kanye). So, in September, when "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" aired a sketch in which child actors reenacted portions of a recent (typically over-the-top) Kanye BBC interview, this did not sit well with Our Lord "Yeezus" West, who proceeded to go ballistic on Jimmy on Twitter. Naturally, this led to an awkward Kanye appearance on Jimmy's show in which the god and the mortal attempted to achieve an uneasy détente -- which was perhaps derailed slightly by Jimmy telling Kanye (blasphemously, if accurately), "A lot of people think you're a jerk."

In October, after Miley Cyrus compared the video for her notorious "Wrecking Ball" video to that of Sinéad O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U," Sinéad was none too happy, and proceeded to write a series of angry-mom-ish open letters calling out the youngster for, among other things, "behaving like a prostitute and calling it feminism." This feud dragged on for weeks, but frankly, for my money, anything after "behaving like a prostitute and calling it feminism" was gravy.

Showbiz blogger Nikki Finke is notoriously angry -- at just about everybody, all the time (probably even you, right now) -- but in June, when's Sharon Waxman wrote that owner Jay Penske had fired Finke, that made her extra rage-y. Of course, as the year dragged on, it became clear that there was, in fact, bad blood between Finke and Penske, and by November Finke was out the door. Waxman is arguably entitled to say "TOLDJA" (despite having jumped the gun by five or so months), but of course that's Nikki's signature catchphrase -- except it turns out that "Penske trademarked 'TOLDJA,'" as Finke told The Los Angeles Times. "I'm going to see if I can get it back." Here's hoping a sage California judge gives Finke and Penske joint custody, with Finke getting to say "TOLDJA" on alternate weekends -- but only under court-ordered supervision.

Did I overlook your favorite media feud of 2013? Let me know. Leave a comment below.

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Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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