Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter and Advance Publications

By The Last Tear (Lou)

One of our goals on NonLocal Universe is to show how the tabloids, the half tabloids and the mainstream media and their owners who are usually rich and powerful people have targeted Michael Jackson during his life but also after his untimely death.

We have talked long about the Rolling Stone Magazine and The National Enquirer in this blog  Michael Jackson, Captain EO and the business of conquering the world – Part 4- RS

“The Mirror” were discussed in More about the “Mirror” tabloids

We also found out that the big company Goldman Sachs which owns among other things Channel Nine Australia – the channel that interviewed Conrad Murray once he was released from jail – pushed Jackson to sell his ATV catalog and gave him a very bad deal in 2002-03 (read here The”55 minutes thinking” – Part 3- Conrad Murray aka … ).

In another blog, we reviewed the tabloid film “Autopsy: Michael Jackson’s Last Hours” which was aired on Channel 5 UK in January 2014 (read here The”55 minutes …” – Part 4 – The scenario) The owner of Channel 5 UK, Richard Desmond owns also the publishing group Northern & Shell. He has competed fiercely with the News Corp and other media & publishing groups in the UK and the USA and now he wants to sell Channel 5:

 Richard Desmond appoints Barclays to explore sale of Channel 5

Mark Sweney

The Guardian, Thursday 2 January 2014 11.48 GMT

Richard Desmond has appointed Barclays to advise on a possible sale of Channel 5, after turning the loss making Big Brother broadcaster into a profitable operation.

The process is understood to be at a very early stage with Barclays, which was involved in evaluating the potential value of Desmond’s magazines including flagship title OK! in 2011, not yet thought to have approached potential buyers.

The most obvious buyer which would gain the biggest strategic synergy would be ITV. However, ITV, by some distance the UK’s biggest advertiser-funded broadcaster, would almost certainly run into competition issues. BSkyB could be another potential buyer, although Rupert Murdoch has in the past ruled out out bidding for the free-to-air broadcaster.

Channel 5 could be a target for a foreign buyer, such as NBC Universal or Time Warner subsidiary Turner Broadcasting, although its previous owner RTL, majority-owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, found it difficult to turn a profit from the UK’s smallest terrestrial broadcaster.

The move follows Desmond taking “soundings” among rivals, including ITV, about the potential appetite to buy Channel 5 last spring.

Desmond added Channel 5 to his Northern & Shell media empire, which includes the Express and Star national titles, in 2010 buying it from RTL for £103.5m.

Heavy cost-cutting, rejuvenating Channel 5’s TV ad sales operation, and securing Big Brother have moved the business from a £48m loss at the time of the acquisition to a £20.6m profit in the six months to the end of August last year [] [].

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In this blog, we will review Vanity Fair magazine, its editor Graydon Carter and the publishing group which owns the magazine, Advance Publications. We will also see that when it comes to Michael Jackson, some editors, TV channel’s owners, publishing groups’ owners and some “moguls” in different industries follow “a standard procedure”. This procedure consists of bashing the star, alive or dead, by using the false molestation accusations, mocking his physical appearances which were caused by vitiligo, lupus, and accidents and describing him as “an addict”.    

Advance Publications

It began with Condé Montrose Nast, an ambitious New Yorker who was a lawyer but did not want practice the law; he worked (1898-1907) as advertising manager for the magazine Collier’s Weekly which was owned by one of his classmates, Robert Collier. After a decade of successful work, Collier left but Nast stayed in the business and bought the men’s fashion magazine Dress in 1913 and renamed it Dress and Vanity Fair. Later he also bought Vogue and The New Yorker. He transformed them into America’s premier fashion and modern art magazines. Nast published books too. His publication group was born. But the Great Depression in 1930s almost ruined him.

Several years later, in 1981, the owners of Advance Publications, the Newhouse family who also owned Condé Nast publication, revived Vanity Fair and the other Nast’s magazines.

There is a page on Pop History about the Newhouse family and their publications businesses:

“Empire Newhouse”

If you read Wired magazine, The New Yorker, or Vanity Fair, you’re reading material produced by a company named Advance Publications.  And if you read Parade, the largest circulation Sunday supplement magazine in the U.S., or Golf Digest, or Glamour, these magazines are also published by Advance – as are Vogue, The Sporting News, Architectural Digest, and several others.  Advance owns newspapers as well, found in more than twenty-five American cities, including Newark, New Jersey; Cleveland, Ohio; Portland, Oregon; and Syracuse, New York.  Another 40 weekly titles are published by Advance through its American City Business Journals.  Cable television outlets owned by Advance serve 2.4 million customers in Florida, California, Michigan, Indiana and Alabama.  On the web, Advance Internet operates more than 100 websites, most of which serve and extend the company’s print and cable operations., the popular user-generated “social news” website, is one of Advance Internet’s properties.

Advance Publications was formed and is owned by the Newhouse family of Long Island, New York.  In recent years the Newhouse /Advance empire has ranked among the 50 largest private companies in the U.S.  The company dates to the early 1920s, and grew to fame in the heyday of the newspaper business when its founder, Samuel I. Newhouse – “Sam” – steadily went about acquiring all manner of America newspapers during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.  Today, as of September 2012, Advance Publications is run at the corporate level by Sam’s two sons — S.I. Newhouse, Jr. (84), known as “Si,” and brother Donald Newhouse (81).  Assorted other Newhouse family members assist in the management of various divisions and subsidiaries.  Si and Donald will soon turn over control of the company to the next generation of Newhouse executives.

Yet, some say the Newhouse empire is “yesterday’s media company,” and will succumb to the albatross and high-cost of print in a digital age.  Others believe the Newhouse empire will not only survive, but will thrive, continuing to be a dominant cultural force and contemporary story teller, setting trends in fashion, literature, and style as it goes. [] []

Hard Times at Newhouse


In June 2009, New York magazine published a cover story titled, “The Last Old-Media Tycoon,” alluding to changes then assaulting the Newhouse empire.  The piece, written by Steve Fishman, focused mostly on the trendy magazine side of the business, referring to it as “Si Newhouse’s Dream Factory,” further elaborating with a subtitle that explained: “Condé Nast’s own stars compare their glossy empire to the MGM of Old Hollywood. But no one would wish it the same fate.”

Yet hard times were taking a toll on the Newhouse publications and the family fortune.  In the first three months of 2009, The New Yorker’s ad pages were down 36 percent, and at Vogue and Vanity Fair, around 30 percent.  Wired’s  were down by almost 60 percent.  Between 2007 and 2009 Newhouse had closed nearly a dozen magazines, among them: Jane, House & Garden, Men’s Vogue, Golf for Women, Domino, Portfolio, Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, Gourmet, and Cookie.  Some of these, however, retained an on-line presence.  Fishman’s New York piece explained how Si Newhouse had grown up in the magazine business and loved magazines, and how it pained him personally to close them down.  But the nature of the Newhouse business was changing, as Fishman;s piece explained.  Some 40 percent of the family fortune now came from its stake in Discovery Communications, which ran cable and satellite TV networks with programs such as Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC.

SI Newhouse, the man in the background in the picture, was ranked the 47th richest American by Forbes in 2011. His net worth has been estimated $6.6 billion. He is also an art collector who owned one of the most valuable Jackson Pollock drip painting. According to New York Times, SI Newhouse sold this painting to David Geffen.

A Pollock Is Sold, Possibly for a Record Price


Published: November 2, 2006

The Hollywood entertainment magnate David Geffen has sold a classic drip painting by Jackson Pollock for about $140 million, art experts with knowledge of the transaction said yesterday.Skip to next paragraph

That price, if officially confirmed, would be the highest sum ever known to have been paid for a painting, exceeding the $135 million that the cosmetics heir Ronald S. Lauder paid in June for Gustav Klimt’s “Adele Bloch-Bauer I.”

The experts spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to be perceived as betraying the confidence of the seller or the buyer of the Pollock, “No. 5, 1948,” or jeopardize future business.

Reached by telephone, Mr. Geffen declined to comment on whether he sold the painting. Tobias Meyer of Sotheby’s is said to have brokered the deal.

The art-world experts identified the buyer as David Martinez, the Mexican financier who bought a two-floor apartment in the south building of the Time Warner Center for $54.7 million recently.

Mr. Martinez did not return calls seeking comment. Obsessively private, he has emerged as a megabuyer in modern and contemporary art in recent years, snapping up works by masters like de Kooning and Rothko both privately and at auction.

Just last month Mr. Geffen sold two other 20th-century paintings — a Jasper Johns and a Willem de Kooning — for a total of $143.5 million. Given that he is among many business figures who has expressed interest in buying The Los Angeles Times, media industry analysts speculated that he was trying to raise cash for a potential bid.

The Pollock, a densely tangled composition in browns and yellows, is unusually large, measuring about 4 by 8 feet, and was painted on fiberboard.

Like much else in Mr. Geffen’s collection, it comes with a pristine provenance. Previous owners include the painter Alfonso A. Ossorio, a major Pollock collector from East Hampton, N.Y., and S. I. Newhouse Jr., the publishing magnate, who sold it to Mr. Geffen. 

To be a “publishing magnate” means that you are a powerful person because you are capable of influencing and shaping the public opinion about any person and any subject. In the case of Newhouse family, this power went to its extreme because the family owns also a school of journalism and produces journalists and reporters. This is from the Wikipedia:

The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications is the communications school at Syracuse University. It has programs in print and broadcast journalism; advertising; public relations; and television and film.

The school was named for publishing magnate Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr., who provided the founding gift in 1964. The Newhouse family, now led by sons S.I. Newhouse Jr. and Donald, chairman and president, respectively, of Advance Publications, continues to support the school, most recently (in 2003) with a $15 million gift for the construction of Newhouse 3, the third building in the Newhouse School’s three-building complex [].

Wikipedia gives us a list of notable Newhouse alumni. I could not check every name on the list but two names looked familiar and both in relation to Michael Jackson! They are Jeanne Moos (CNN) and Contessa Brewer (MSNBC) who have slandered Jackson and his children in several occasions. I do not give links which will promote their pages but if you are curious, do a Google search and you will see it for yourself.

However, in the case of Contessa Brewer who “graduated magna cum laude (with high honors) from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism in 1996” I have to add the very stupid mistake she made in 2009. Even the NY Daily News laughed at her!

Contessa Brewer mixes up her reverends on MSNBC, introducing Jesse Jackson as Al Sharpton


Thursday, October 22, 2009, 11:10 AM

MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer needs to study up on her Civil Rights leaders after mistaking the Rev. Jesse Jackson for the Rev. Al Sharpton on live television.

Brewer made the slip up during a segment on homelessness that aired Wednesday, and even fired a question after the boneheaded introduction.

The unperturbed Jackson stared calmly into the Burbank, Calif. studio camera, and said “I’m Rev. Jesse Jackson.”    

Brewer immediately apologized after Jackson corrected her, blaming the teleprompter for supplying a misleading script, which said to introduce “the Rev. Al Sharpton.”

“We all know who you are, Rev. Jackson,” the anchor said. “I’m so sorry.” 

You do realize how easy the powerful people who did /do not like Michael Jackson and wished to destroy his name and reputation could gather an army of “journalists” and “reporters” doing the job! We remember the trio Diane Dimon, Maureen Orth and Victor Gutierrez in 93-96 and later the gang of Dimon, Bashir, Gutierrez, Orth, Grace, etc.

Graydon Carter and Vanity Fair

As we found out, Vanity Fair is an old magazine and has had several editors. In 1992, SI Newhouse asked Graydon Carter to take the editor job and he is still running the magazine.

A party-throwing, Bush-bashing dandy

28 Sep 2004

[] Born in 1949, in a middle-class suburb of Ottawa, Canada, Edward Graydon Carter always dreamt of becoming a big shot in New York City. Though he has described both his parents as rather “Barbara Pym-ish, the sort of people who wore tartan jackets for cocktails”, he paints a wonderfully anarchic portrait of his father, a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force, who died in 1991.

“There was this small movie theatre in Toronto, where they were courting back in the early Forties,” he says. “One night, the movie hadn’t quite started and, suddenly, my father farted. It was so loud – he was, like, the Toscanini of farting. So he stood up, turned to my mother and said, ‘Oh, Margaret, how could you?’ and started moving away from her. It was the cruellest, funniest thing. It was a miracle they ever got married.”

After a series of blue-collar jobs, including grave-digging, working as a lineman on the railroad and stock-checking at a local department store – and also a brief marriage to a pretty French-Canadian museum worker – 28-year-old Carter finally moved to New York in 1978.

With not one useful contact, save “an uncle in Buffalo”, he spent a month wandering around the streets of Manhattan, scrabbling for change for the subway and marveling at the skyscrapers. Eventually, he managed to get a job at Time magazine and got “invited to all these parties where nobody would talk to us, but where we could eat and drink for free”.

Four years later, he met Cynthia Williamson, a legal assistant at a law firm, and, within three weeks, had proposed. They separated in the summer of 2000 [].

His big break came in 1986 when he was invited to edit the hugely popular satirical magazine Spy. He remembers with fondness one of the magazine’s most popular stunts – mailing out 64-cent cheques to the wealthiest people in New York to find out who would actually cash them. “To the people who did cash them, we then sent out cheques for 32 cents. To the people who cashed those, we sent out cheques for 16 cents. Two of the people who cashed those cheques were Adnan Khashoggi and Donald Trump.”[] []

After his second divorce, Carter was briefly involved with Samantha Boardman and then in 2005 he married Anna Scott.

During his few years in Spy and at the beginning of his job in Vanity Fair, Carter met several people and forged many friendships; one of them was Jan Wenner the owner of the Rolling Stones Magazine and several “moguls” like Barry Diller, David Geffen, and Ron Perelman.

Taste Makers : E. Graydon Carter

December 25, 1988|BILL STEIGERWALD

[]  Along with the Spy map (a regular guide to such things as famous New York corruption sites or never-built public-works boondoggles), there are Big-Apple-o-centric features like the “The Times,” a column devoted solely to sniping at the personal foibles and purported journalistic indiscretions of the editors and owners of the New York Times. It’s Spy’s best idea, Carter said, even if it did come from his pal Jann Wenner.

[] Carter is one of the highest paid editors at Condé Nast; he’s rumored to make more than $2 million a year. (Of course the perks are impossible to quantify.) While Condé Nast pays for a car and driver for Carter, sadly the gig does not come with access to a private jet. Fortunately his mogul pals, like Barry Diller, David Geffen, and Ron Perelman, are more than happy to help out: During the Christmas holidays Perelman regularly gives Carter a lift down to St. Barts aboard one of his two Gulfstreams.

In 2011, Carter and Richard Desmond have been seen in the same parties.

Vanity Fair articles targeting Michael Jackson has begun in 1984 after the 93 case. Most of them have been written by Maureen Orth. Actually, they are the most hideous, illogical and absurd of all.

This is no surprise and no coincidence that the editor of Vanity Fair has always allowed the publication of anti Michael Jackson articles. Carter did /do not wish to displease and to disappoint people who are his friends and who despise Jackson!

Some people who do not like Carter, describe him as an opportunist and a hypocrite who forged a good name for himself while he was in Spy and then as soon as he became the editor of Vanity Fair, he sold his soul and pen to the same people he criticized harshly!

Two more points before ending this blog!

If you have read the blog carefully, you must have noticed that by 2013 Advance Publications hold 31% stake in the cable entertainment company Discovery Communications. As far as I know, Aphrodite Jones works for Discovery Communications. Could this be the reason behind Jones change of mind about Jackson? Did Aphrodite Jones want to please her new boss?

If you do not know what Jones has said, let us enlighten you; Aphrodite Jones had an interview on Jordan’s radio in November 2013; while she was still confident about Jackson’s innocence in 2005, she said that she did not know about the Chandlers case. She added that June Chandler’s testimony in 2005 was “persuasive” and that made her to believe that something was “wrong”; she needs to do her own research and until then she cannot know.  However in her book, Michael Jackson Conspiracy, she does not judge June Chandler’s testimony believable. We will get back to this topic later in other blogs.

And the last one; as we read above, the Newhouse Empire like many other publication houses and the media in general suffers crises. Several Newhouse magazines have disappeared and even Vogue and Vanity Fair has issues. The Internet has been identified as one of the reasons behind the crises; nevertheless it is also used as a survival tool by all the suffering media. Graydon Carter has his own “rescue plan”:

July 2009 Editor’s Letter

The Paper Chase

by Graydon Carter

Goodness knows, I’m not one to complain, and I’m sure you’re not the sort to, either, but aren’t you growing just a bit tired of reading about the demise of newspapers—in the papers themselves? It’s no wonder readership is down. Who has the patience to hear endless whining about someone else’s misfortune when your own fortunes are rickety? This is not to say that the health and vigor of the nation’s dailies are not vital to the intellectual health and vigor of the commonwealth as a whole, or that newspapers aren’t an essential force in keeping a watchful eye on corrupt politicians and venal corporate overlords—neither of which are in short supply these days. I would also hope you feel that the loss or even weakening of the nation’s principal daily, The New York Times, would mark an end to life as we know it. The Internet is partly to blame for all of this, and perhaps micro-pricing or gated content will be part of the solution. “Youthing” down a paper to attract 21-year-olds isn’t the answer: the only way you’re ever going to get the average 21-year-old to read a daily newspaper is to wait 9 years until he’s 30. My suggestion to newspapers everywhere is to give the public a reason to read them again. So here’s an idea: get on a big story with widespread public appeal, devote your best resources to it, say a quiet prayer, and swing for the fences [] []

Even though Carter tries hard to express his thought in an intellectual and clever way, bottom line he talks about scandals. It is enough to check out some of Vanity Fai’s moves to see that it uses the same old tricks as any tabloid: Michael Jackson “big stories”, Mike Myers case, Miley Cyrus story, Lindsy Lohan, Janet Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc. Vanity Fair’s article on B.J. Novak published on February 5, 2014, was knowingly written in a provocative way to enrage Jackson’s fans and to force them to visit VF’s site. All the traffic on the site and the comments for and against the article, were exactly what Carter was looking for. 

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