May 19, 2005

Cue "Those Were The Days"

Felix calling bullshit on the Gawker/Radar slapfest got me thinking about an earlier media feud that played out with vastly more cleverness than a pie in the face. I originally wrote that it also played out quietly without any judicious leaks to the gossip columns, but Nexis disabused me of that romantic nostalgia. Here's the item from Newsday, April, 13, 1989.

Oh, those puckish fellows down at Spy magazine! When the satirical monthly's co-editor Graydon Carter appeared on the cover of New York magazine this week and was dissected inside in a piece entitled "Spying on Spy," observers of the media scene said to themselves: how will the Spy guys wreak retributive havoc? Well, it would appear that they have done so in high style, complete with limo and driver. According to inside sources, David Blum, author of the article, received a call from what he presumed was WWOR-TV's "People Are Talking," inviting him to appear on yesterday's show, taped at the station's studios in Secaucus, N.J. A driver and limo were sent to transport Blum across the Hudson, but when Blum arrived at WWOR-TV, his presence was unexpected, to say the least. David Sittenfeld, one of the show's producers said "No one knew why he was there. We thought he had us mixed up with Channel 11. He said 'I'm here for the show.' We said 'What topic?' " Yesterday's program focused on a variety of topics, including the Stony Brook rape, income taxes, and "Body Love - Improving a Woman's Self Image." Sittenfeld added, "We checked and it wasn't our car service, and, really, no one knew anything about it. He didn't have a name of anyone here, not that I could find, so the car took him back. It was a very sick joke. I mean, the poor guy." Neither Carter nor co-editor Kurt Anderson would discuss the incident nor confirm that they were involved. The magazine released this statement: "Sounds like a juvenile vindictive prank to us." As for Blum, he was reluctant to chat about his trip to nowhere - whoops, make that New Jersey. Said Blum: "Graydon Carter is a terrific prankster and I think he should add this to his resume."

Posted by Daniel Radosh

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