What the-? National Enquirer Runs Full-Page Ad in New York Times!

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Wednesday’s New York Times, when I came across this.

 

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So, wait a second: The National Enquirer has set up a foundation because they got a story wrong? Don’t they get all their stories wrong?

Whiskey tango foxtrot, yeah Doc?

– Elvis

Dear Elvis,

Hard to believe, isn’t it?

First off, let’s highlight the text for the tiny-type impaired.

 

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Now the back story, compliments of Reuters media critic Jack Shafer.

Supermarket tabloid gets hoodwinked by imposter!!!

The National Enquirer got its nosey-parker proboscis bloodied this month after its big Philip Seymour Hoffman “scoop” was enquirer13-260x300promptly revealed to be a hoax.

Only three days after Hoffman died, the tabloid reported that playwright David Bar Katz — the friend who discovered Hoffman’s dead body — and Hoffman were lovers. It also alleged that Katz watched Hoffman freebase cocaine the evening before his death and had repeatedly witnessed his friend’s use of heroin.

The source for the Enquirer‘s piece? Katz himself, according to the tabloid. But when Katz immediately stepped forward, denied any such interview took place, denied being Hoffman’s lover, denied having watched him do cocaine or heroin, and sued the Enquirer for $50 million, the newspaper retracted the story and apologized. It has now settled with Katz and will fund a foundation that will make annual grants of $45,000 to unproduced playwrights to honor Hoffman. The Enquirer also took out a full-page ad in today’s New York Times to state that it had been fooled by an imposter who “falsely and convincingly claimed to be Mr. Katz.”

But that’s not all.

The Times not only ran the ad on Wednesday, it also ran this front-page piece:

Truth and a Prize Emerge From Lies About Hoffman

Herding his three younger sons out the door to school on Feb. 5, David Bar Katz was stopped for a moment by his eldest, who was browsing the Internet.26about-alt-tmagSF-v2

“My 14-year-old said, ‘Dad, there’s something online about you and Phil being lovers,’ ” Mr. Katz said. “I said, ‘Phil would get a kick out of that.’ ”

Phil was Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor and Mr. Katz’s good friend, who had been found dead three days earlier, apparently from an overdose of heroin. Mr. Katz, a playwright, was one of two people who had gone to his apartment and discovered his body.

“Things had already achieved the maximum level of surreality, and I thought this thing online was a big nothing,” Mr. Katz said.

In fact, the article, published by The National Enquirer, was the first pebble of a landslide of malignant fiction that sprawled across the web.

And came to rest in a full-page Times ad.

Yo.

 

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What’s Up with the News Corpse – Er, News Corp – Ad?

Well the Doc opened the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

Rupert Murdoch has just split his News Corp empire in two: 21st Century Fox, the entertainment division, and the new News Corp print/publishing division. Wall Street sort of loves it, the New York Post really hates it, but most important – what do you think?

– Pieface

Dear Pieface:

Well you’ve certainly come to the right place to find out what I think. But before we get to that, let’s take your other points in order.

First, the News Corp empire is indeed split, as was officially announced in a two-page newspaper ad this week. Here it is from Monday’s New York Times (must’ve killed Murdoch to fork over major six figures to his arch-nemesis, eh?):

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So there you have it – print and publishing on the left, complete with a new News Corp logo; entertainment on the right, complete with the updated 21st Century Fox name.

(Also new: Murdoch’s beleaguered News International has been rebranded as News UK. As Mark Borkowski wrote in The Guardian, “[a]t News Corp we are now witnessing a methodical detoxification of the brand, to allow it to function at its best once again.”)

As for Wall Street . . . well, this Reuters headline says it all:

A sign is seen outside News Corporation building in New YorkFree of newspapers, 21st Century Fox shines

(Reuters) – Wall Street rewarded Rupert Murdoch’s move to create a separate entertainment company, giving 21st Century Fox one of the richest valuations in the media sector on its first day of trading.

Investors had waited for Murdoch to split News Corp, giving its cable, movie and equity stakes in pay-TV assets their own spotlight away from the publishing division.

In the first day of trading as separate entities, “[s]hares in the new 21st Century Fox entertainment operation gained over 2 percent on Monday, or $1.1 billion dollars in market value, from its opening price.”

Shares of News Corp, meanwhile, fell 3 percent.

That’s reason number one the New York Post hates the split.  Reason number two is that the tabloid will have to survive on its own without the entertainment division floating its clockwork annual losses, variously estimated at anywhere between $15 million and $110 million.

Finally, what does the old Doc think about all this?

Well, it’s possible the Murdoch just fell out of love with the print side of his medialith (just jettisoned wife #3 Wendi Deng knows the feeling).

It’s also possible that family and financial advisers finally prevailed upon Murdoch to kick the papers out of the nest to see which ones fly.

That sound you hear is the Post, flapping its arms frantically.

Yo.