Would it kill you, Time Inc., to get off your high horse and stop pretending that making donations to charity to secure exclusive celebrity pictures isn't the moral equivalent of paying sources? First, earlier this year, People cut a reported $400,000 check to one of Angelina Jolie's favorite charities to get a cover shot of her pregnant. Then, just over a week ago, in a deal brokered by Getty Images, the magazine reportedly donated more than 10 times that amount to other Jolie-endorsed charities to secure shots of the actual spawn. I'm sorry, but if there's a check being written that benefits a news figure or that news figure's designated beneficiary, it's checkbook journalism, pure and simple.
Would it kill you, NBC, to actually think through what you're doing in the viral-video space? Earlier this year, the network started demanding that sites like YouTube take down clips from its shows-even though YouTube's distribution of the Andy Samberg/Chris Parnell digital short "Lazy Sunday" is credited with single-handedly reviving buzz about "Saturday Night Live." Last week, NBC launched a $1.99-a-day Jay Leno monologue-and-sketch iTunes video service. Instead of nickel-and-diming hard-core fans of Leno and other NBC shows (fewer than 200,000 clips from various NBC shows are reportedly sold or given away through iTunes each month), the network could be offering a sampling opportunity to millions of potential viewers. It's pointless and shortsighted to try to put a short leash on viral video.
Would it kill you, Britney Spears, to not only stop taking your sweet ol' time dumping Kevin Federline (what's the hold up?), but to issue a blanket apology for inflicting him -- and his upcoming rap record -- on us?
Would it kill you, American retailers, to stop pretending that semi-stylish starlets are automatically design geniuses -- and would it kill you, fashion journalists, to stop aiding and abetting this phenomenon? Last week when the "stuff by hilary duff" (lower-case brand names are so adorable!) line of clothing for "tweens" was announced -- with retailers including Target and Sears lining up to stock it -- Women's Wear Daily conducted an extended interview with Duff so that she could explain "the trends behind each of the outfits and her vision for the line." For the love of God! She is 18 freaking years old! She sings songs with lyrics like "Why not / Take a crazy chance / Why not / Do a crazy dance." Words to live by.
Would it kill you, New York Times, to admit that your much-hyped "Market Gauges" pages -- the successor to the stock tables --are a failed experiment? Nice try, but a static collection of charts and graphs and stats rendered in gray-scale is useless. Just send everyone to your interactive, real-time, colorful, online market-data array at nytimes.com, and be done with it. You're wasting your time, our time and newsprint.
Would it kill you, Conde Nast, to cut the self-congratulatory blather surrounding your distant-future business magazine? Glad you finally settled on a name -- Portfolio. Yippee. But with the hype dial already cranked up to 11, you're straying dangerously close to Talk magazine overkill territory. And since when is underscoring how excruciatingly slooooowwwww you are a good idea? April 24, 2007? Hollywood blockbusters with casts of thousands get made quicker than Portfolio. Chill out on the drum-beating and focus your energy on making a brilliant magazine, please.
Would it kill you, "Lost" writers, to arc out a storyline for the next three seasons that feels like it's actually going somewhere before we all just write off your increasingly daft show as this decade's "X Files"? So each bizarre plot twist or cliffhanger or clue-crumb that gets dropped might actually pay off at some point?
Would it kill you, "Godless" author Ann Coulter, to do us all a favor and kill yourself? (Oh, well, yeah, I guess it would kill you.)
After her recent rabidly hateful, foaming-at-the-mouth, sub-human "Today" show appearance -- in which she reiterated her assertion that 9/11 widows are "enjoying their husband's deaths" -- even her former supporters began to fantasize about how much nicer the world would be if it were Coulterless.
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