12:05 pm Jul. 2, 2012
The Lineup collects the media stories, big and small, that are on our radar each day.
Anderson Cooper is gay, according to Anderson Cooper.
The CNN anchor's not-so-secret sexual orientation has long been a punchline for gossip blogs. But Cooper had never confirmed publicly that he is gay until he wrote the following on-the-record email, published this morning, to fellow gay media personality Andrew Sullivan of Newsweek and The Daily Beast:
The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.
I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don't think it's anyone else's business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don't give that up by being a journalist.
The full email includes a lengthier explanation of why Cooper had for so long opted to keep his love life out of the headlines. (For example: "I've also wanted to retain some privacy for professional reasons. ... I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist.")
Of course there are those who think the particular kind of personal-touch, emotive journalism Cooper often practices, especially in his new talk show, has been hurt rather than helped by his reserve. In The New York Times last September, Alessandra Stanley said it in a roundabout way, since the Times generally doesn't "out" people who haven't stated for the record they are gay, no matter how well known the fact may be:
The one thing [Cooper] hasn’t done yet—and the lacuna grows more obvious and awkward with each show—is talk about his love life. It’s hard to see how he can continue to leave that out selectively and preserve one particular zone of privacy while building a confessional talk show wrapped around his good looks, high spirits and glamorous adventures.
Cooper's sudden coming-out triggered an instant wave of reactions on Twitter and blogs, including the following proclamation from The Awl's Choire Sicha: "God bless, let's all slide down the firepole in our converted firehouses together."
Why did Rupert Murdoch suddenly relent last week and agree to break off his beloved newspapers from News Corp's more lucrative film and entertainment properties?
David Carr has the answer in today's Media Equation column:
He was pushed by a decline in the fortunes of print that was more rapid than anyone had anticipated. He was worn down by his most senior executives, a board that was suddenly listening to them as well as him, and his own instinct for self-preservation.
Even at 81, Mr. Murdoch remains firmly in command of the company he built into a behemoth, so you can’t exactly say they took away his keys to the family cars. But his long-running romance with print will no longer be indulged just because he’s the boss.
Meanwhile, fellow New York Times media scribe Christine Haughney writes today about how the planned split is putting pressure on the soon-to-be-spun-off newspaper business:
As part of a smaller company, News Corporation’s newspaper profits and losses will be scrutinized more closely. But the newspapers will be part of a structure that is difficult to compare with other newspaper and publishing companies, said Michael Nathanson, a media analyst with Nomura Securities.
He said, for example, that it will be difficult to compare this new company with the Gannett Company, which owns television stations in addition to newspapers.
“There’s not going to be a lot of peers out there that you can instantly benchmark this to,” Mr. Nathanson said.
But with the new company’s structure, investors will be able to see more easily how much money some of the newspapers are losing. Brett Harriss, an analyst with Gabelli & Company, told Bloomberg that he thought The New York Post had lost as much as $110 million a year.
Not everybody is buying the Murdoch family line that the publishing business will still be central to their global ambitions (or that it's so different from Gannett). Neil Chenoweth at the Australian Financial Review has a harsher take:
[When] the News Publishing spin-off hits the market in a year’s time, it promises to be the short from hell. Each shareholder in News will be given the same numbers of voting and non-voting stock in News Publishing.
However, the investors who piled in to buy News Corp shares this week did not push the stock up $US5 billion in two days because they were thrilled at the chance to own shares in a pure newspaper company.
They were in the market with their ears back, clamouring for shares in the pure entertainment company that will emerge.
Regardless of what sort of solid return the newspapers may offer, investors chasing the entertainment assets won’t want them. In fact, the 2.39 billion shares issued in News Publishing will be distributed to the investor class that wants them least.
How long will they hold on to those newspaper shares? Imagine the definition of a microsecond.
And who does that who wants to ensure the future of its publishing concerns? Perhaps this is the answer:
News Publishing will have $5 billion in print assets – and a $4 billion pay TV investment. Did we not mention that?
They smuggled Foxtel into the publishing arm almost by sleight of hand. You can almost see them asking each other afterwards if they thought anyone had noticed.
Foxtel is the biggest asset in the publishing division, and the News announcement referred to it airily as “its other assets in Australia."
And here's what that means for Murdoch's "publishing" C.E.O.:
Whoever ends up as CEO of News Publishing, unless it is Williams, seems destined to end up fretting under continual interventions from Murdoch and his determination to protect his loss-makers, while being frozen out of running the bulk of the assets in Australia – and then having to sign off on the impenetrable Australian accounts.
Chenoweth's closing assessment:
All his life he has been leaving people and companies and ideas behind. The call goes, “Man overboard.” There may be survivors in the water, but the boat never turns back.
In other news...
Rupert Murdoch's anti-Scientology tweets. [Yahoo/The Cutline]
Tensions between Mark Whitaker and Ken Jautz at CNN? [NYP/Page Six]
A promising 22-year-old Associated Press intern was found dead in Mexico City. [A.P.]
A.G. Sulzberger has a new Brooklyn pad. [The New York Observer]
Chris Christie to reporter: "Are you stupid?" [CNN.com]
The Daily Beast is launching a new fashion blog. [W.W.D.]
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