No. 18: Tina Brown

Newsweek's new editor just ran into someone impossibly fabulous at a dinner last month ...

Published November 23, 2010 3:01PM (EST)

Tina Brown
Tina Brown

While it's obviously fun to focus on Tina Brown the larger-than-life media character -- launcher of overhyped money-losing media properties, employer of close friends, big-spending fleecer of publishers, clueless throwback with no clue how the Internet works -- her output as an author and pundit is bad enough without getting into her plans to cannibalize Newsweek, her latest editorial toy.

Because Tina the columnist is the one who writes things like "Why America Needed Chelsea's Wedding" (it was "a happy throwback to the carefree 1990s," natch). A paragraph begins: "When I saw Bill Clinton at a dinner a month or two ago ..." While her comically shallow columns on actual current events resemble real editorials, they tend to lack a point, besides reassuring the reader that Tina's been keeping up with the news out of Wall Street and Washington.

Her book on Princess Di was really a book about Tina. Her never-to-be-finished book on Hillary was probably shaping up the same way. (It really killed that book's dramatic arc when Hillary didn't actually become president.)

And she's the one who publishes Meghan McCain's self-absorbed ramblings, which is enough reason to make the list.

Repeat offenses: Inability to escape the '90s, conviction that people care about the royals, name-dropping, self-parody.
Representative quote:

Excoriating Fergie has been a British national sport for years. But I've always found her a sympathetic figure, with her mad bulging blue eyes and appalling taste in men, business partners, and just about everything. She's generous and instinctively friendly, and you had to admire the way she ate the indignity of having to become an "ambassador" for Weight Watchers to pay the bills. When she comes to town, we usually meet in a fancy hotel suite where she tells me with absolute self-confidence about some preposterous new plan for a TV talk show or a "franchise deal" or a "soon to be announced" Hollywood contract.

By Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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