The Fix

Ron Burkle warns the world about "tabloidism," Ewan McGregor boards the baby adoption express and Dennis Hopper stands by Bush.


Salon Staff
April 13, 2006 5:30PM (UTC)

Morning Briefing:
The scandal that launched a thousand Web sites: Not only has the Page Six scandal been the stuff of New York Times spreads and blog posts, it has inspired the launch of new Web sites. Two worth mentioning: Free Jared Paul Stern, an anonymous blog with an obvious aim, which includes shots of "Free Jared Paul Stern" fliers taped to the offices of the Times, Condé Nast and the New York Daily News; and Burkle Watch, which posts the 10 latest news stories about Burkle under the motto: "The site that stays up until someone pays us to take it down!" (Free JPS, Burkle Watch)

Burkle shakes his finger at the media: In a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed published Wednesday -- under the tabloid-baiting headline "Yellow Peril: Why I Refused to Play Page Six's Game" -- Burkle doesn't just repeat his claims against Stern (the meetings, the e-mails, the request for hundreds of thousands of dollars) but builds from there to a pitch of anti-tabloid sentiment that seems to pin the decline of democracy on the rise of gossip: "I was asked repeatedly to pass on secrets about my friends to gain protection against negative stories about myself. I refused to play this game, so I was punished," Burkle writes. "But this source game is not only played on Page Six. It is also played for high stakes on Wall Street and in Washington. We've all read how well-known and respected journalists have readily protected top-ranked officials leaking classified information. It makes one wonder: Where does the political reporter end and the political operative begin?" (Wall Street Journal)

Advertisement:

Ewan adopts: The trend of celebrities adopting babies from third-world countries -- if it's actually a trend -- continues now with Ewan McGregor: He and his wife, Eve Mavrakis, have apparently adopted a baby girl from Mongolia. A spokesperson told People: "I can confirm Ewan McGregor and his wife Eve Mavrakis have adopted the girl but cannot comment further." McGregor, 35, and Mavrakis, 39, have been married since 1995 and have two biological daughters. (People)

America indifferent to Couric, as it turns out: A new Gallup poll on Katie Couric's move from morning talk show host to evening news anchor seems to show that most Americans, despite what the media may have you believe, don't care one way or the other. Eighty-one percent of those polled said Couric's move will make them no more or less likely to watch "The CBS Evening News," while those who said they'd be more likely to watch (10 percent) were balanced by those who said they'd be less likely (9 percent). On the "Today" front, it's the same thing -- 6 percent say they're less likely to watch when Couric leaves, 7 percent say more likely, and a huge chunk in between doesn't really care. (Editor & Publisher)

Also:
Whether America cares or not, gossip columnist Lloyd Grove was on hand yesterday to cover Couric's lunch at Michael's in New York with the man she'll replace at CBS, Bob Schieffer, on Wednesday. The lovefest vibe is almost sickening: "She's the best thing that ever happened to CBS News," Schieffer told Grove, while Couric just grinned and said, "After all, it is our first date." (Lowdown) ... Country crossover sensation Rascal Flatts have the No. 1 album in the country right now, "Me and My Gang," which sold 722,000 copies its first week out, more than doubling the record in this week's No. 2 slot in the Billboard charts. (Hollywood Reporter) ... Dennis Hopper wants you to know he's not about to start second-guessing the commander in chief: "I voted for Bush, and I don't have anything to disapprove of. I think the results of what is happening [in Iraq] is disappointing, but it doesn't have to do with the President." (Rush & Molloy) ... Michael Douglas recently let slip some of the tricks he uses on wife and Welsh native Catherine Zeta-Jones in bed: "You close your eyes and put on a Richard Burton accent, maybe, something from the home country ... it gives a little variety, the spice of life." (3 a.m. Girls) ... June Pointer, the youngest member of the Pointer Sisters, who was expelled from the group in 2003 after years of battling drug abuse, died of cancer on Tuesday in Los Angeles. She was 52. (E! Online)

Money Quotes:
Dave Chappelle on his reasons for walking away from his Comedy Central show last May: "The bottom line was, white people own everything, and where can a black person go and be himself or say something that's familiar to him and not have to explain or apologize?" (Esquire via Associated Press)

The very married actor Josh Holloway, who plays Sawyer on "Lost," on what he'd do if he were suddenly single now that he's famous: "Damn, I'd have one girl doing my laundry, one shaving me, one bringing me a cocktail and another one coming out of my tent all hung over." (Men's Journal via Page Six)

-- Scott Lamb

Advertisement:

Turn On:
Fox's new sitcom "The Loop" (8:30 p.m. EDT) has its first-season finale, while ABC's "Commander-in-Chief" (10 p.m. EDT) returns from hiatus in a new time slot, and the History Channel's "Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America" continues, with "Freedom Summer" (9 p.m. EDT), followed by "Shays' Rebellion: America's First Civil War" (10 p.m. EDT).

-- Joe DiMento

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