Tag Archives: The New York Times

The David Letterman Sextortion Scandal And Confession Has Damaged The CBS Network !

From Murrow To Mediocrity…

The Fall From Grace At CBS

The Ed Sullivan Theater (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, home of the Late Show, where David Letterman delivered his mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, admitting to sexual indiscressions with staff members (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Legendary CBS broadcasting giants, including Edward R. MurrowWalter Cronkite and Ed Sullivan must be turning over in their graves as a result of their “Tiffany Network”, the Columbia Broadcasting System, having its image tarnished by scandal in recent years.  The latest (sex) scandal to hit CBS involves David Letterman, his staff, and a CBS Producer named Robert Halderman.

Executives at CBS must regret the day they lured David Letterman away from NBC.  And the venerable Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, where CBS tapes the Letterman show, has been forever sullied by the scandal that hit the news Thursday.  CBS began broadcasting from CBS-TV “Studio 50” in 1936, and renamed it the Ed Sullivan Theater in 1967.  The Ed Sullivan show was broadcast from there during it’s 23-year run, from 1948 thru 1971.

In the 1970’s, about the time that David Letterman was a weatherman on an Indianapolis, Indiana television station, we were working for a company in New York City that sold equipment to broadcasters.  They did business with CBS, and on one occasion our work took us to the Ed Sullivan Theater.  We entered that building in awe.  We felt extremely privileged to be in that space, where some of the most historic broadcasts in the history of television originated from.  Today however, we would be embarrassed to be seen entering  the studio where the Beatles made their U.S. debut, and where virtually every notable performer or group from that era appeared,  many of them multiple times.

Ed Sullivan would cringe if he heard what David Letterman admitted to this past Thursday, while standing on the same stage that Sullivan’s shows were broadcast from.  Ed Sullivan was so squeaky clean that it was commonplace for him to ask performers to change objectionable lyrics in the songs they performed on the Ed Sullivan show.  Performers that refused to clean up their lyrics would not be broadcast, and those that reneged on their promise to sanitize their lyrics (remember that this was live television), were never invited back to the Ed Sullivan show again.

This past Thursday, in what can only be described as one of the most bizarre broadcasts of the Letterman show (or any television show, for that matter), Letterman delivered his mea culpa, admitting to his sexual indiscretions, to an audience of people who were laughing like hyenas.  Apparently, the audience didn’t know what to make of the confession, and assumed it was part of his comedy routine.  Here’s an article published by the New York Daily News on Friday, which identifies a woman who worked for David Letterman, who they believe is involved in the scandal.  In any case, Letterman’s broadcast confession certainly gives a whole new meaning to the term “Worldwide Pants”.  You can probably find the confession on YouTube and elsewhere, but we aren’t going to link to it, since it seems that CBS has been asking YouTube to pull any excerpts people have been posting from the show, due to copyright infringement, and, no doubt, severe embarrassment.  Ya know, maybe CBS should have never broadcast it in the first place.

In the 1970’s Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon had his infamous 18- minute gap on the White House tapes.  Similarly, in the Letterman scandal, CBS has redacted the ten-minute mea culpa segment of David Letterman’s monologue from the official copy that CBS posted on YouTube (read this NY Times article about the missing Letterman segment).

As an aside, we think it’s worth noting that technology like cellphones, digital cameras, the VCR, DVDs, computers, the Internet and websites like YouTube have a way of  changing the status quo, and making existing law moot in many cases.  As many individuals and corporations have learned over the last few years, it is largely an exercise in futility to try and have something that has been posted on the Web taken down.  The harder you try to quash something, whether a photo, a video, an MP3 file or a point of view, the faster it propagates.  Remove it from one website, and it springs up in 100 other places.  The battle to protect intellectual property (IP) has been made infinitely more difficult as technology has made it a trivial matter to make high quality copies of materials such as music, movies, photos, etc.  Two events in particular stick out in our mind;  The introduction of VCRs in the late 1970’s, which had the entertainment industry scared to death about illegal recording of television shows, and the advent of music sharing websites such as Napster.  Blogs, personal websites, and the fact that virtually everyone can now have a “printing press” in their home has changed the publishing and newspaper businesses forever.  Organizations have learned that a different mindset is necessary to survive.  If you can’t beat them, join them.  As an example of this consider the fact that every major U.S. daily newspaper that has managed to survive also has a website.  Newspapers have even begun scrapping their paper editions, becoming Internet-only news outlets, a la The Huffington Post (see this NYTimes article about The Seattle Post-Intelligencer going Internet-only).  But we digress.

If we were running CBS, the Letterman show would be pulled faster than you can say “Top Ten List”, but for financial reasons, we doubt CBS will pull the show.  Moral and ethical standards are simply not what they were when William S. Paley was running CBS.  Certainly not at CBS, and not anywhere else in broadcasting, or society in general.  If Letterman can continue to do well in the ratings, his job is probably secure.  But we expect to see CBS getting hit with lawsuits from Letterman staffers, who will say that his conduct created a hostile work environment.

And of course, the “Top Ten” lists have begun to appear on the Web, in response to the Letterman scandal.  A fellow WordPress blogger posted “The Top Ten Reasons Why David Letterman Should Be Fired”, while this conservative Christian website posted their own Top Ten list.

– Routing By Rumor

P.S. – According to this article at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, “From Murrow To Mediocrity” was the title of a scathing 1987 New York Times op-ed piece written by CBS newsman Dan Rather.

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The Death Spiral At The New York Times

Extra, Extra… Read All About It !

The New York Times hikes its cover price yet again.

Another New York Times price increase.

Get ready to shell out more for your copy of The New York Times.

Extra, Extra !

Executives at The New York Times must be taking business strategy lessons from the same experts that have guided the once mighty General Motors to the brink of bankruptcy and needing to take federal bailout money to stay alive.  Shares of GM, once considered a “blue chip” stock that was among the most highly regarded of all investments, and which were trading at close to  $90 a share ten years ago, are now virtually worthless.

The New York Times has announced yet another round of price increases, the third in less than two years , that will hike the newsstand price of their Sunday edition to $5.00 or $6.00, depending on the geographic edition.  The weekday New York Times increases to $2.00 !  And you still don’t get any comics.  The price increases are effective June 1st.

$6.00 for a newspaper?  Are they joking ?  Perhaps New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. hasn’t yet taken notice of the new kid on the block.   Mr. Sulzberger, we would like to introduce you to Mr. Internet.  He’s big, he’s getting bigger all the time, and he’s eating your lunch.

The Internet is eating everybody’s lunch.  This Time Magazine article names the ten most endangered newspapers in America.  And according to this CNN article, at least 120 U.S. newspapers have folded since January, 2008.

Faced with a sharp drop in advertising revenue and falling circulation, the price increases at The Times are likely to just exacerbate the problems facing the newspaper.  Price increases will inevitably produce a further errosion in circulation, which is sure to further weaken advertising income.  A decision to increase prices at a time like this, for many businesses, is tantamount to committing suicide.  We believe that the New York Times has made the worst possible decision at the worst possible time.

Our readers will note that we have not raised the cover price here at Routing By Rumor;  reading our blog is still free!

Understandably, the bean counters at The Times are desperate.  They’re being squeezed from all directions.  But you have to wonder who made the strategic decision that may very well seal their fate.  Perhaps a price decrease, coupled with an agressive advertising campaign would have been the right course to follow.  We believe that with the increasing competition for readers that the Internet has created, along with belt tightening by consumers in the depths of this economic recession, and the drastically shrinking size (the number of pages) of newspapers over the last few years, including the Times, newspapers are increasingly becoming  irrelevant to more and more readers.  It’s not unlike a phone company that keeps increasing it’s rates, in an attempt to offset the loss of revenue from customers who are dropping their traditional phone service, and using cellphones exclusively.  Price increases will only serve to accelerate the trend.

Will the New York Times disappear completely? We fully expect to see a copy of the New York Times on the newsstand in the near future, with a headline of “THE END”.  The fact that you are reading this blog, when you could be reading The New York Times instead, isn’t helping the Gray Lady one bit.  We believe that their print editions are in mortal danger,with The Times becoming an online-only newspaper.

Better buy your Amazon Kindle now !

– Routing By Rumor

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More Proof That The Gray Lady Is Hurting !

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Street level view of the new New York Times building (photo credit: pentagram.com)

Five months ago, we wrote about job cuts at the New York Times (a.k.a. “The Gray Lady“). This week, the New York Times announced their latest price increase. Once again, Times readers will pay more, but get less (that is, those readers who remain readers despite the price increase). And New York Times readers don’t even get their favorite comics. To our knowledge, the New York Times has never had a comics section.

The weekday editions will go from $1.25 to $1.50, a 20% increase. This increase comes just twelve months since the Times raised their cover price 25% for weekday editions, and about 15% for the Sunday edition. Prior to the last price increase, the Times was able to do without a price increase for eight years. Viewed another way, these two price increases in one year’s time equal a 50% increase in the cover price of the New York Times weekday editions. Our salary hasn’t increased 50% in the past year …has yours? Sadly, the New York Times print editions may just be a luxury we can no longer afford.

More frequent price increases for many consumer products is the norm these days, We believe it is further evidence of an economy in deep trouble. Newspapers are getting it from all sides… Advertising revenue is drying up, readership is down, and production costs are way up, particularly paper, electricity and fuel. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Internet and “new media” have turned out to be the newspaper industry’s worst nightmare. Newspapers are trying to embrace the brave new digital world, but it looks like they may be waging a loosing battle.

The squeeze has been evident to readers of the Times for quite a while now. The paper is shrinking. Their flagship product, the Sunday New York Times, is a shadow of it’s former self. Help wanted display advertising in the Sunday business section, once perhaps 75 or 100 pages every Sunday, has completely disappeared. Complete Sunday sections have disappeared. What’s left is an anemic Sunday edition that sells for an incredible $4.00 !

The voracious technology hounds at Routing By Rumor like to read the New York Times on Tuesdays, for the Science section, which has been contracting as well. We used to enjoy the Circuits section on Thursdays, but that section has disappeared, replaced by one to two pages of articles buried towards the back of the Thursday Business section. We suspect the Science section will go A.W.O.L shortly, as well.

All this bad news at the New York Times just happens to come at a time when people seeking their 15 minutes of fame have been flocking to the new building the Times has built, one block from New York City’s Times Square (named for the site of a previous building the New York Times’ occupied at One Times Square,  during the early 1900’s). It seems people have an irresistible urge to climb up the outside of the their brand spanking new skyscraper, like so many spidermen.  The fact that their new building sports what amounts to ladders on it’s exterior walls is too much for some adventure or publicity seekers to ignore.

Hu Totya/Wikipedia)

The New York Times building under construction, 9/16/2006 (credit: Hu Totya/Wikipedia)

We propose a solution that could only happen in New York City, home to Coney Island’s famed Parachute Jump, the Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium, and the site of the deadliest attack in our nation’s history.

Why not sell permits to climbers who want to scale the New York Times building, sell tickets to the spectators, sell the television rights to one of the networks, and use all the money they earn to subsidize the print editions of the New York Times. They could even place corporate logos on each floor, similar to how ball parks plaster sponsor’s ads on every nook and cranny at the ball parks. This plan may be so successful, they will be able to give away the Times for free. Remember, you heard it hear first.

Of course, safety will be an important part of this plan. Climbers will need to have the proper climbing equipment, safety nets will need to be installed, and spotters will have to supervise the climbing. Perhaps some bleachers can be built along Eighth Avenue. A giant LCD screen in Times Square (like there aren’t enough of those already) could let people follow the climbers.

David Scull/New York Times)

Alain Robert climbs the New York Times building on June 5, 2008 (photo credit: David Scull/New York Times)

Think this plan is crazy? Then you probably won’t think much of the latest attraction a few blocks away in New York’s Central Park. For the incredible price of $25, you can ride a helium balloon 300 feet above Central Park. Really! …And you thought the helium balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade were cool.

Only in New York.

– Routing By Rumor

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Introducing Ms. Ashley Alexandra Dupré, a/k/a “Kristen”, a/k/a Ashley Youmans, a/k/a Ashley Rae Maika DiPietro, a/k/a Nina Venetta

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Ashley  Alexandra Dupre (from her myspace.com page)

We are a firm believer in the one-name-per-person rule. Two, tops.

Ashley Youmans (birth name)

Ashley Rae Maika DiPietro (legal name change)

Ashley Alexandra Dupre (stage name?)

Nina Venetta (myspace page name)

“Kristen” (Spitzer scandal original identity)

… and that’s just the ones we know about.

In her song, “What We Want”, posted on her myspace page, she asks “Can you handle me, boy?”. For Eliot Spitzer, we believe the answer to her interrogatory is a most definite “NO”.

Almost prophetically, the “tag” she has posted on her myspace page is “what destroys me, strengthens me“. If history is any gauge, this will certainly be true for her.

You would think a powerful man like Eliot Spitzer could do much better than a 22-year-old self-described sometimes homeless, penniless, drug infested, high school dropout prostitute from a broken home, with a penchant for passing out (probably from alcohol or drugs or both). The following photo, caption and self-description are taken directly from the myspace page of “Ashley Alexandra Dupre”. She has been identified in this New York Times article as Ashley Youmans, the 22-year-old call girl at the center of the Spitzer scandal. See our previous posts on the Spitzer scandal, “Dead Man Walking” and “New York Governor Eliot Spitzer Involved With A Prostitution Ring“.

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me pas​sed​ out​…​i do tha​t oft​en.​ 200​7
(photo and caption from Ms. “Dupre’s” myspace.com page)

 

 

About Ashley Alexandra Dupré

I am all about my music, and my music is all about me… It flows from what I’ve been through, what I’ve seen and how I feel. I live in New York and am on top of the world. Been here since 2004 and I love this city, I love my life here. But, my path has not been easy. When I was 17, I left home. It was my decision and I’ve never looked back. Left my hometown. Left a broken family. Left abuse. Left an older brother who had already split. Left and learned what it was like to have everything, and lose it, again and again. Learned what it was like to wake up one day and have the people you care about most gone. I have been alone. I have abused drugs. I have been broke and homeless. But, I survived, on my own. I am here, in NY because of my music. It started when I moved in with a musician during my odyssey to New York. One day, I was in the shower singing “respect.” He and his lead guitarist burst in, had me repeat it and it started. We wrote, rehearsed and toured. After recording a bit with them, I decided to move to Manhattan to pursue my music career. I spent the first two years getting to know the music scene, networking in clubs and connecting with the industry. Now, it’s all about my music. It’s all about expressing me. I can sit here now, and knowingly tell you that life’s hard sometimes. But, I made it. I’m still here and I love who I am. If I never went through the hard times, I would not be able to appreciate the good ones. Cliché, yes, but I know it’s true. I have experienced just how hard it can be. I can honestly tell you to never dwell on the past, but build from it and keep moving forward. Don’t let anyone hold you back or tell you that you can’t…because you can. I didn’t and here I am, just listen to it…. What we Want is my latest track. It’s really about trust, something my past has made very difficult for me to feel. This one was inspired by a guy, who taught me not to confuse my dreams with the sounds of the city…I hope you like it.

Monica Lewinsky, move over. There’s a new girl in town.

According to counters on her myspace page, over 1 million visitors listened to her song, “What We Want” today alone, and over 2.5 million visitors have viewed the page, most of them, presumably, in the last few hours. When I checked back a few hours later, she had almost 5 million hits. We wonder if that’s a one-day record for a myspace page.

I smell a record deal coming real soon. Girl, you need a manager.

We predict that you’ll be able to buy “Ms. Dupre’s” latest album on Apple’s iTunes store before you know it, and if you have a video iPod, her latest music video.

No, Ashley, you won’t have any trouble paying the rent from now on.

Perhaps Ashley should hire Eliot Spitzer as her lawyer/manager. We hear he’s looking for a job, and with his law background, he would certainly know how to write a recording or movie contract . Besides, he already knows her. It’s the least she could do for him, considering all that he’s done for her career.

Talk about the power of the Web.

When I just checked on the top Google searches (www.google.com/trends/hottrends), searches on “Ashley Youmans”, or one of her other names, hold five of the top 10 spots for the most-searched-for terms today. This is the type of ranking that SEO experts can only dream about.

Talk about your 15 minutes of fame.

Incredible.

…Now how do I get a million people to read my blog?

– Routing By Rumor

P.S. – When we checked Ashley’s myspace page at noon on 3/13/2008, it had been taken down, apparently by myspace administrators. We’re guessing that the amount of traffic it was generating was causing problems for myspace.com. Either that, or it was hacked.

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New York Governor Eliot Spitzer Involved With A Prostitution Ring

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above image is from this Harvard Political Review Article
(looks like Brooke Masters might have to update that title !)

As first reported by the New York Times, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has informed the most senior officials in his administration that he has been involved in a prostitution ring, a Spitzer administration official said this morning. See New York Times Coverage.Read Eliot Spitzer’s biography at Wikipedia.

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Silda Wall-Spitzer and Eliot Spitzer at today’s news conference (AP Photo)

In a scene reminiscent of New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey‘s 2004 fall from grace, Mr. Spitzer apologized to his family and the public in a terse statement to reporters this afternoon in New York City. He did not say what he was apologizing for. In fact, despite the fact that his lips were moving, he really didn’t say anything. Some things speak for themselves. Some things are better left unsaid.

In any case, apologies that come only after you get caught are pretty worthless. Mr. Spitzer was reportedly caught on tape by a federal wiretap. Let’s say he did not get exposed by the federal investigation. Could you ever imagine him holding a news conference, admitting his transgressions, and asking for forgiveness, just because his conscience was bothering him? We can’t.

What we find most interesting about this case is that it supposedly started as a money laundering investigation by the IRS. Early in the investigation, it has been reported, political corruption or blackmail seemed to be the likely reason for cash payments that Governor Spitzer was making to shell companies. But you have to wonder whether the IRS stumbled across this on their own, or if somebody “dropped a dime” on him. People in Mr. Spitzer’s former line of work tend to make a lot of enemies. As we all know, friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.

You would think a former prosecutor and attorney general would have been smarter and have impeccable morals. Failing that, you would think they would be more cautious about leaving a money trail. Certainly makes you wonder.

Former New York City mayor Ed Koch, who has never minced words, gave this interview about Eliot Spitzer to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.  It is classic Ed Koch, who we have always liked, particularly for his unvarnished opinions on things.

It is widely expected that Governor Spitzer will resign his position as Governor of New York State. We suggest he consider applying for a job here. New Yorkers deserve a governor whose moral compass is in working order and points to True North.

We wonder… Since he is still the Governor as of this writing, can he pardon himself before he resigns? In any case, Mr. Spitzer seems to be thinking about life after politics. See our post about his just anounced movie deal.

And so, another brilliant political career implodes. As Queen elequently put it, Another One Bites The Dust (watch the youtube video)

– RoutingByRumor

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