[Marxism] A New York Observer Article Brings a Spat in Trump’s Orbit
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Feb 27 06:32:04 MST 2014
The NY Times reports on how a rich asshole named Jared Kushner bought a
liberal newspaper from Arthur Carter, the former publisher of the Nation
Magazine and much better than vanden Heuvel, to turn it into something
analogous to Murdoch's NY Post--an outlet for his personal agenda. Now
maybe anti-Chavista NYT reporter William Neuman will now stop ranting
about how pro-Chavez businessmen bought up newspapers or television
stations. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
NY Times, Feb. 27 2014
A New York Observer Article Brings a Spat in Trump’s Orbit
By RAVI SOMAIYA
Bill Gifford was managing an ice cream shop in Maplewood, N.J., last
summer when a customer, Ken Kurson, the editor of The New York Observer,
came in with an unorthodox request. He wanted Mr. Gifford, a 28-year-old
political science major who was seeking a new job but had almost no
journalistic experience, to write an article about the New York attorney
general, Eric T. Schneiderman.
Mr. Kurson described Mr. Schneiderman as a “bad guy” and a “phony,” and
hired Mr. Gifford for the writing assignment, Mr. Gifford said. But
after several weeks, and after being sent negative articles about Mr.
Schneiderman, Mr. Gifford said on Wednesday, he became convinced that
the article “was supposed to be basically a smear piece” and he quit the
The Observer was not deterred. It hired another freelance reporter to
keep working on the piece, and on Tuesday it published the finished
product — a searing, 7,000-word indictment of Mr. Schneiderman,
portraying him as vindictive and politically opportunistic. The article
also included a robust defense of Donald J. Trump, whose education
business was being sued by Mr. Schneiderman’s office, seeking $40
million in restitution. More materially to the critics, Mr. Trump is the
father-in-law of The Observer’s owner, Jared Kushner, and an
acquaintance of Mr. Kurson.
In an interview, Mr. Kurson disputed the idea that he tried to use Mr.
Gifford to smear Mr. Schneiderman, and did not recall being negative
about the attorney general. An Observer spokesman said, “This is just an
obvious attempt to distract attention from a substantive, well-written
article whose facts have not been materially disputed.”
But the tangle of personal connections and the dueling accusations of
impropriety have prompted a high-level spat involving politics, the law,
the media and the ubiquitous Mr. Trump.
Mr. Schneiderman’s office said in a statement Wednesday, “It’s a shame
that a once-great newspaper chose to use its front page to regurgitate a
discredited complaint filed by the father-in-law of the paper’s publisher.”
Mr. Trump fired back. “Schneiderman is a crook who uses the system
dishonestly to his own advantage,” he said in an email.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gifford said he had a good idea of his role in the arc of
the story since his role was first revealed by BuzzFeed. He criticized
Mr. Kurson reluctantly.
“He does come to my shop, he did want to give me this opportunity,” he
said, “but I do feel like he might have been using me. To even call me a
journalist is a reach, and to write such an important piece on an
important person,” he said, tailing off.
The Observer, bought by Mr. Kushner in 2006 when he was just 25, has
long traded on its coverage of New York’s boldface names, or those who
aspired to be among them. It gazed at the rich while skewering them on
its distinctive pink pages, and nurtured a generation of writers,
including Candace Bushnell, the author of the Sex and the City column,
who went on to bigger things.
The paper’s previous editors include Graydon Carter, now the editor of
Vanity Fair, and Susan Morrison, an editor at The New Yorker. The editor
perhaps most associated with the paper, Peter W. Kaplan, died of cancer
last year. He was appointed in 1994 and left the Observer in 2009, as
Mr. Kushner transformed the paper and cut staff. It has now had six
editors in eight years.
With the article about Mr. Schneiderman, the paper is caught up in just
the kind of high-society contretemps it usually relishes. Mr. Trump, a
real estate developer, is a reality TV star. Mr. Kushner is the son of a
wealthy New Jersey property developer, Charles Kushner, and is seeking
to make his mark in the New York media world. He is married to Mr.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka, an entrepreneur and socialite.
Continue reading the main story
Mr. Kurson is a Kushner family friend and former political consultant
who has worked closely with Rudolph W. Giuliani. He donated $1,900 to
the campaign of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey in late 2012, before
he became the editor of The Observer, according to State of New Jersey
Mr. Schneiderman’s office said that Mr. Gifford began emailing the
office and requesting information last summer, as a lengthy
investigation of Mr. Trump’s for-profit investment school was drawing to
a close and litigation seemed imminent. Days after Mr. Schneiderman’s
office announced a lawsuit, accusing Mr. Trump and others involved with
the school of running it as an unlicensed educational institution and
making false claims about its classes, the volume of inquiries
increased, Mr. Schneiderman’s office said.
Suspicions that the article was ordered up as retribution on Mr.
Schneiderman were fueled in part by a message Mr. Trump had posted on
Twitter in December, after Vanity Fair published a long article on the
investigation. He mentioned that there was another publication
“currently doing a story on me to get even, that I’ll soon discuss!”
Asked about that Twitter comment, Mr. Kurson, who took over as editor
just over a year ago, said by telephone, “I can’t control what Mr. Trump
says any more than he can control what goes in The Observer.” He said in
a later email that he could not recall sending negative stories to Mr.
Gifford, as Mr. Gifford claimed, or being negative about Mr.
Schneiderman and “was not trying to get Bill to report anything to suit
a particular agenda.” Mr. Gifford, he said, had worked for Democratic
officials in the past.
“The idea that I ‘used Bill’s inexperience’ is an ugly thing to say and
it’s also wrong,” Mr. Kurson said. “I take seriously The Observer’s long
history of molding young people into great writers and giving them their
David Granger, the editor in chief of Esquire, where Mr. Kurson had long
written, spoke warmly of him. “Anybody would have been surprised that
Ken was named editor of The Observer,” he said, “but he tends to
engender trust in the people he both works for and is friends with.”
Mr. Kurson is, he said, “one of the most loyal and straightforward
people I’ve ever met.”
Mr. Kurson denied that Mr. Kushner has any editorial influence. Mr.
Kushner did not respond to an email seeking comment, and other efforts
to reach him were unsuccessful.
Through a spokesman, Mr. Trump denied any influence over the story about
Mr. Schneiderman, and any prior knowledge of its contents beyond being
interviewed for it.
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