The Fix

Boxers/briefs confusion in Jackson case. Durst files sex-tape suit. Rather pile-on continues.

By Salon Staff
Published March 8, 2005 12:13PM (EST)

Turn On:
Two new series premiere on Tuesday night: "Lie Detector" (PAX at 9 p.m. EST) on which people take polygraphs to prove their stories, and the Steven Bochco-created "Blind Justice" (ABC at 10 p.m. EST), about a detective who lost his sight in a shootout but who stays on the force to solve crimes aided by a helpful partner and guide dog.

Morning Briefing:
Case against Jackson, shakier still? After reviewing 1,903 pages of grand jury testimony, along with various other materials, the Smoking Gun has hopped on the bandwagon to point out various "troubling inconsistencies and contradictions" in the child molestation case against Michael Jackson. For instance, the younger brother of Jackson's accuser changed his testimony several times about just what he claims to have seen Jackson do to his brother, as well as the audibility of an alarm he tripped off on his approach to Jackson's room, where he says he saw the molestation take place in two instances. What's more, there seems to be some vagueness as to whether his brother was wearing boxers, briefs, pajama bottoms or shorts at the time of the molestation. And, well, a few other discrepancies, too. (The Smoking Gun)

Here's your hat, what's your hurry? Walter Cronkite is continuing to pile on Dan Rather on the eve of Rather's "CBS Evening News" departure. "Although Dan did a fine job, I would have liked to have seen [his temporary replacement, Bob Schieffer] there a long time ago. He would have given the others a real run for their money," Cronkite told CNN. "It surprised quite a few people at CBS and elsewhere that, without being able to pull up the ratings beyond third in a three-man field, that they tolerated his being there for so long." Rather seems to have found kinder company in his former rivals, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings, who held a private dinner in his honor -- at Brokaw's home and also attended by Ted Koppel -- earlier this week. (CNN via Associated Press, N.Y. Times)

Local news: It's a New York scandal, sure, but the scuffle over a recent New York Press cover story "52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope," written by Matt Taibbi, has stirred up a major tempest in the media teapot. The latest? After the story was condemned by senators (Chuck Schumer said it was the most disgusting thing I've seen in 30 years of public life"), the mayor (Michael Bloomberg commented, "As disgusting as this is, it's sadly par for the course for this publication") and other politicians, the paper's publisher tried to suspend N.Y. Press editor Jeff Koyen for two weeks without pay, though he claimed the suspension was for "insubordination" in a move tangentially related to the story's publication. Koyen not only quit, but fired off a letter to, defending the article and calling his bosses "weenies" and "little spineless turds." (Editor and Publisher, Page Six)

Bizkit, not so limp: Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst has filed copyright-infringement suits against several of the Web sites that posted footage of a homemade sex tape featuring him, which he says was stolen from his hard drive. Named in the suits, in which Durst seeks $80 million in damages, are also sites that linked to sites featuring the tape -- or excerpts -- for download or ran images from it. "In filing these lawsuits, it is not our goal to make any money, but to make sure no one sells these tapes or implies that it was ever Fred's intention to sell them himself," said Durst's managers. The Secret Service is investigating the pilfering of the video, which it suspects may be connected to the Paris Hilton cellphone hacking. (MTV News)

Also: Playgirl editor in chief Michele Zipp reveals in the magazine's April issue that she is a Republican, explaining, "Those on the right are presumed to be all about power and greed -- two really sexy traits in the bedroom. They want it, they want it now, and they'll do anything to get it." (Playgirl via Drudge) ... Sarah Jessica Parker has signed a two-year deal to continue to develop and produce new shows for HBO. (Associated Press) ... Ed McMahon is recovering in a Los Angeles hospital after a fall in his home Friday resulted in a mild concussion and a forehead gash that required stitches. His publicist says McMahon, who turned 82 on Sunday, "is expected to be released from the hospital in the next few days." (Associated Press) ... Prince William is said to be obsessed with the TV show "Desperate Housewives." (London Telegraph via Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... 50 Cent said in an interview last night that he'd like to settle amicably his dispute with fellow rapper the Game. (Hot 97 via N.Y. Daily News) ... Brigitte Nielsen has married her Italian boyfriend, Mattia Dessi. According to her manager, that whole "Strange Love" Flavor Fav thing was "strictly people working together." (Rush and Molloy) ... The body of photographer Simon Atlee, who was vacationing in Thailand with his girlfriend, supermodel Petra Nemcova, when the tsunami hit, has been recovered and returned to his family in England. (N.Y. Daily News) ... It's not clear why Martha Stewart wasn't wearing an electronic ankle bracelet yesterday that would allow authorities to keep track of her whereabouts during her period of house arrest -- or whether she'll be fitted with one at all. (N.Y. Post) ... Quentin Tarantino is said to be in early talks to write and direct a new installment in the "Friday the 13th" film series. (Reuters/Hollywood Reporter) ... Nick Carter was arrested on DUI charges in Southern California on Saturday night. "Nick Carter deeply regrets the current situation," said a publicist for the singer. "He is on doctor-prescribed medication and was unaware of its interaction possibilities." (MTV News)

Money Quote:
Matt Dillon on the all-consuming Martha Stewart coverage over the weekend, in a conversation with Fisher Stevens overheard in an airport on Sunday night: "Send the b-- back to jail! I am sick of this!" (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

-- Amy Reiter

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