Tina Brown Explains How the Narrative Cake Is Baked
In the New York Times, Tina Brown, who quit as editor of the New Yorker in the late 1990s to edit a start-up glossy magazine backed by Harvey Weinstein called Talk, explains a little about how The Narrative cake is baked:
Harvey spent most of the hours of his working day ensuring that all the bad stories went away, killed, evaporated, spun into something diametrically its opposite. It was a common sight outside a Harvey opening party to see one of his publicists trapped in a car on the phone, spinning — spinning the dross of some new outrage into gold.
When I founded Talk magazine in 1998 with Miramax, the movie company Harvey founded with his brother Bob, I also took over the running of their fledgling book company with Jonathan Burnham as editor in chief. Strange contracts pre-dating us would suddenly surface, book deals with no deadline attached authored by attractive or nearly famous women, one I recall was by the stewardess on a private plane. It was startling — and professionally mortifying — to discover how many hacks writing gossip columns or entertainment coverage were on the Miramax payroll with a “consultancy” or a “development deal” (one even at The New York Times).
Harvey engaged sexual harassment’s legal bulldog, Lisa Bloom, she who brought down Bill O’Reilly and recently appeared on the stage of Women in the World’s Canada Summit as thrilling feminist avenger. Then, it emerged The Weinstein Company bought Bloom’s book on Trayvon Martin for a movie — classic Harvey M.O…
It’s interesting to speculate what percentage of tendentious liberal media projects exist mainly to pay off insiders who know too much. On top of that, what percentage of the projects that never come fully to fruition but for which somebody got are, basically, bribes/rewards for staying on Team Liberal despite learning about your teammates?
An occupational hazard of editing Talk was aborting the pieces Harvey assigned on his nightly trolling from reporters who had tried to get a bad rumor confirmed. Another of his co-opting tactics was to offer a juicy negative nugget about one of the movie stars in his films or people in his media circle (fairly often, me) in a trade to quash a dangerous piece about himself.
Talk, itself, was part of an attempt to achieve corporate vertically integrated control over the entire Narrative cake-baking process from articles to books to movies to publicity to reviews.
Access journalism is a key concept: journalists who know more than they tell are rewarded with carrots like interviews w9ith stars, book deals, and film options, while those who tell the public too much are cut off from their access to the oxygen of stars to appear on their magazine covers.
This article by Brown is framed in Get Trump terms:
What Harvey and Trump have in common
… But it’s a different era now. Cosby. Ailes. O‘Reilly, Weinstein. It’s over, except for one — the serial sexual harasser in the White House.
But of course Trump is the opposite in the sense that the vast media Narrative-baking machine that protected Weinstein for decades has been out to smear Trump nonstop for the last 28 months, with strikingly little success.
That’s why you have all these lunatic conspiracy theories such as that Putin hacked Pokemon Go to elect Trump, because Trump obviously has so little control over the media … except in his ideas.
This isn’t even Berlusconi’s Italy where the politician at least controlled the football broadcasts. Heck, Trump takes on televised football and seems to be winning through the sheer appeal of his views.
And that explains a lot of the sheer outrage at Trump: how can somebody dare communicate with the public without insider access to the elaborate, interlocking Narrative cake-baking process?