Across The Media Universe: Girls Gone Wild (and Free) Edition

(AP)
Marseilles? Oui. You-Know-Who? Non! (With a big juicy asterisk)

The only way that Us Magazine is going to feature the words "Paris Hilton" this week is if they're talking about a hotel in France.

Us Magazine – you may know them from their recent investigative pieces unveiling Jessica Simpson's weight loss and Nick Lachey's romantic life – has decided to take the journalistic high ground. They're not going to talk about the recent jailbird for the entire issue this week.

Okay, well except for that "100% Paris Free" on the cover.

And except for their Web site focusing a lot of attention on the celebutante.

And, yeah, except for their staffers on TV talking non-stop about her.

But, you know, those are the exceptions that prove the rule.

(In the interest of fairness, we should point out, as an Us Magazine spokesman made sure to note to us over the phone, that the magazine provided a justification online today.)

Circulation Creativity

As written in this space recently, the newspaper industry is having a tough time dealing with the fact that their circulation is going down at the same time that their reach -- via the web, for free – is expanding.
What gets entirely overlooked in the "Google Is Killing Newspapers!!" hoopla is the fact that newspapers are cannibalizing themselves on a daily basis by offering everything – or nearly all their content – free to anybody with an Internet connection. Hell, the very fact their circulations aren't nosediving while they give their product away online is – though a tad panglossian – reason to be reassured about the public's news appetite, not mourn the death of American curiosity.
So the Audit Bureau of Circulation is proposing something a little more comprehensive:
The industry-supported Audit Bureau of Circulations, a nonprofit organization that verifies newspaper circulation, is about to roll out a system for counting papers' total audience. The system will go beyond paid circulation and include measurements of "pass-along" print readership -- reflecting the copies that are shared among friends or members or a household -- and the paper's local Web site traffic.
In a conversation with Public Eye, ABC communications manager Kammi Altig said that the initial proposal was given the go-ahead back in March and the final decision of whether to trot out this new measuring tool for keeps will come up in the next few weeks. Whether or not this exact mechanism is adopted for measuring readership and reach for newspapers, it's clear that we're way overdue for a 21st century approach.

Coulter Caught Off Guard?

One of the more memorable live TV moments in recent memory happened during yesterday's episode of "Hardball" on MSNBC. Host Chris Matthews took the entire hour to speak with Ann Coulter, and along came Special Guest Star Elizabeth Edwards – wife of Democratic Presidential hopeful John Edwards. The transcript is extremely muddled, as Coulter interrupted Elizabeth Edwards many times, but here's an excerpt:

EDWARDS: You had a column a couple of years ago which—which made fun of the moment of Charlie Dean's death, and suggested that my husband had a bumper sticker on the back of his car that said, "Ask me about my dead son."

COULTER: That's now three years ago.

EDWARDS: This is not legitimate political dialogue. It debases political dialogue. It drives people away from the process. We can't have a debate about issues if you're using this kind of language.

COULTER: Yes, why isn't John Edwards making this call?

Here's the video, if you're willing to see for yourself. We predict that, like Chris Matthews, the clip will have you saying "Anne, please."
  • Matthew Felling

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