FRIDAY’S LINKS: Slow Earnings, Ignatius Says ‘Replace Rumsfeld’, AOL Labels Critics’ Email ‘Spam’

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s edition, the Internet provides a silver lining for newspaper companies with lower earnings, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius calls for the bush administration to oust Donald Rumsfeld, and AOL uses spam blockers to stop up critics of its new pay-for email plan.



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Ad Sales Drag Down Newspaper Earnings
Newspaper companies reported lower earnings yesterday, but companies said that their Internet activities were thriving. Those activities still account for only a small share of total revenue and are not big enough to offset the losses from traditional advertisers. But revenue from the Internet is clearly a growth area where the newspapers are shifting their focus.


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‘WaPo’ Columnist Ignatius Calls for Rumsfeld’s Dismissal
“With luck, Iraq will make a fresh start soon with the formation of a new government. The Bush administration should do the same thing by replacing Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary,” writes David Ignatius. “Rumsfeld has lost the support of the uniformed military officers who work for him. Make no mistake: The retired generals who are speaking out against Rumsfeld in interviews and op-ed pieces express the views of hundreds of other officers on active duty.”


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Will Stern/Burkle Saga Change Celebrity Journalism?
Should the saga of Jared Paul Stern, the New York Post’s Page Six contributing writer caught with his hand out for bribes, elicit cries of “Oh, how the mighty have fallen”? Not really. It’s more like the bottom feeders have briefly had to squint as a ray of sunlight passed over them.


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Judge in CIA Leak Case Threatens Gag Order
U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walston did not explain exactly what provoked his pique, but he wrote in his order that “on several occasions information has been distributed to the press by counsel, which has included not only public statements, but also the dissemination of material that had not been filed on the public docket.”


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Critics of AOL Have Their Emails Marked as ‘Spam’
A group of 600 organizations that includes the AFL-CIO and the Gun Owners of America has been circulating an online petition protesting AOL’s plans to begin charging extra to route e-mail around its spam filters. On Thursday, though, the world’s biggest Internet service provider blocked e-mails containing links to the petition against the “CertifiedEmail” plan at DearAOL.com. THe company called it a “technical glitch.”


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Transparency By Name Only?
Michael Miner notes several examples from recent pages of the New York Times, trailblazer in the movement to never use unnamed sources — except when you do:

“The independent legislator spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the political struggle over Mr. Jaafari.”

“The associate spoke on condition of anonymity because, he said, Mr. DeLay had insisted that friends not talk to reporters about his legal troubles.”

“They were guaranteed anonymity to encourage candor.”


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What Are Burkle’s Ulterior Motives in Stern Saga?
Michael Hiltzik: My main question is and always has been: What’s the over/under on how long it will take Burkle to use this purported extortion incident as fodder in his quest to have all the personal financial details filed in his divorce proceeding placed under seal?


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‘NYT’ Story Links Detective to Major Studio Execs
According to government evidence, Brad Grey, Paramount Pictures’ chairman, told the F.B.I. that he spoke with Anthony Pellicano about two lawsuits in which Mr. Pellicano, a private detective, was working on Mr. Grey’s behalf, and that he learned information about his legal opponents directly from Mr. Pellicano. A former employee of Mr. Pellicano, who was charged in February with wiretapping and conspiracy, separately told the F.B.I. that Mr. Grey had met with the detective at least five times.


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Science Blogs Heavy on Commentary
You normally wouldn’t think of satisfying your jones for political and cultural commentary by visiting a “science” blog. But a small network of writers at scienceblogs.com are trying to broaden scientific discourse by editorializing about everything from gay actors playing Christian characters to the embryo-worshipping antics of one Senator Fetus Fondler, more commonly known as Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania.


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Reformatted British Newspapers Show Gains
Sales of the Observer and the Independent on Sunday both fell last month, but the two reformatted papers still recorded healthy year-on-year rises, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The Observer, which relaunched in the Berliner format in early January, saw its sales fall 2.19% in March to 473,732 copies. But the paper sold nearly 30,000 more copies than in March 2005, a year-on-year rise of 6.65%.


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‘NYT’ Will Sell Stake in Discovery Times Channel
Yesterday the paper announced it will take the opportunity to cash out its $100-million investment in the Discovery Times channel. “[I]t has become clear that our investment dollar is better spent developing video for our own nytimes.com,” says the memo, reproduced below.


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Finding Revenue in the Classified Ads
The young, the hip and the Web-savvy are going online for their classifieds, and ad dollars are following. So if classified ad revenue, old media’s mainstay tributary, is drying up, one question remains: With what will we line the birdcages of the future? At least, so goes the conventional wisdom, writes Nicholas Carlson.



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Poll: More Say U.S. Focus Should Be Home
Americans, anxious about the costs of the Iraq war and the impact of a global economy, are increasingly wary of engagement in the world. In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, nearly half of those surveyed said the United States “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along as best they can on their own.” Three years ago, just one-third felt that way.


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‘NYT’ Boldface Column Closes With Humor
“In a stunning development that rattled the gossip world to its very foundations — foundations that in turn crumbled into a pebble-strewn field of broken dreams — MR. SEGUE MAN, a former part-time stringer for the wildly popular Boldface column and editor of the short-lived Boldface: The Magazine, was revealed yesterday to have been caught on a secret videotape allegedly offering to pay $35.60 to various celebrities if they would allow him to use their names in the column.”

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