Martha and the Media
Is the media being fair or unfair to Martha Stewart?

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Page 10

Recipe of the Day: French Lentil and Swiss Chard Risotto
News, Rumors, Gossip
Whistleblowers named Time Person of the Year

Enron. Worldcom. The FBI and 911 . These are the stories that we've been saying really matter, and Time Magazine reminds us all that these are the people who helped uncover them--not CNBC, or CNN, or the NY Post. While Martha Stewart's tempest in a cuisinart took front page headlines, and government attention away from the things that affect us all, accountability for everything from homeland security to peoples life savings slipped through the cracks. Without these three women, you might not have heard anything close to the truth at all.

That may be a scary thought, but it is not hyperbole.

Everyone thought Enron and Worldcom were good investments. That's what people like Jack Grubman would have had you believe--until a day before they went bankrupt. But then Cynthia Cooper and Sherron Watkins uncovered the dirty secrects of corporate America. Only then did we know the truth. The FBI had no idea 911 could happen--that's what FBI director Mueller told Congress after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks...and the Colleen Rowley stepped forward to tell us he truth. What Time doesn't say is that not one of the people who these women blew the whistle on has been fired, fined, indicted or punished for their actions.

Truth matters, and sometimes it even sells magazines. Kudos to Time for getting the right story back on the front page.

Update: Martha Stewart on Peoples Most Intriguing list for 2002

The Best of 2002 list parade keeps rolling in, and Martha's on People's list again, this time it's the People 25 Most Intriguing People of 2002:

"Tastemaker in a Jam: At the beginning of the year Martha Stewart was the smiling face of an $800 million brand that includes her TV show, her magazines and her product line for Kmart. But in June questions arose about the timing of her sale of nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone in December 2001, just one day before its value dropped precipitously. Did she know something other investors didn't?"

Based on all the available evidence and six months of investigation? Resoundingly NO. Just remember, there were over 7 million shares of ImClone traded that day, and Martha sold fewer than 4,000 of them. Where's the investigation into the other 99.9%?

Martha Makes Most Intriguing Moments list for 2002--People Magazine
Martha also makes the list of People Magazines most intriguing moments for the month for June, 2002. Add August, September amd October and People almost has it right. It's been All Martha, All The Time. But it's the kind of publicity she never wanted or asked for. During the salad interview with Jill Clayson on CBS, Martha said, "When I was a model, you always wanted to be on the cover of a magazine. That's how your success was judged, the more covers, the better. Well, I am a CEO of a New York Stock Exchange-listed company, and I don't want to be on any covers of any newspapers for a long, long time." Save Martha!

And who will it be in 2003? Martha! CBS News
CBS News predicts Martha will again be making headlines in 2003. But she will need all of our help as she rebuilds her media empire: "If you could believe the tealeaves, the worst has passed for the embattled Stewart and she'll continue to manage her media and homemaking retail empire. But the bad news is that she'll still have to find a way to restore investor confidence in her company. This task could be as big a challenge as baking a soufflé that won't fall."

Next year belongs to Martha
Martha Stewart easily the food world's biggest newsmaker this year--Toronto Star
"I have news for those who call you the nabob of nesting, the doyenne of domesticity. You're back. And God knows we need you. You're still the food world's biggest star. "

Pathetic PR stunt du Jour:
The Grinch arrives early in BuyCostumes.com's Executive Evil poll
In yet another pathetic attempt to use Martha Stewart's misfortune for crass commercial benefit (recall Anne McKevitt's Dirty Tricks) Internet merchant BuyCostumes.com is running a poll ranking which public figures are most evil. According to their own press release, Martha Stewart beat Satan. Expect a holiday call from Martha's attorneys shortly . From their press release, with commentary:

"Recently Released BuyCostumes.com 'Executive Evil' Poll Ranks the Baddest Of The Bad; Martha Stewart More Evil Than Satan! (No, actually that would be BuyCostumes.com's Marketing and PR departments). Internet Poll Reflects the Opinions of the Country on 'Corporate-types' With Humor. (Misogyny is not funny)

"Keeping pace with current events, BuyCostumes.com opened a new poll this week asking shoppers to vote on which public figures they consider most evil, including Satan.
(We didn't realize Satan was a public figure. Thanks for clearing that up.) Poll findings show that Americans have animosity towards corporate heads that have been involved in corporate scandals recently. (And we the public feel better that you are selling us these overpriced costumes--the deluxe Santa is $379!)

"Executive nominations range from the likes of Martha Stewart, Kenneth Lay, Jeffrey Fastow, Bernie Ebbers, John Rigas and Scott Sullivan. And the costume choice? Executives are dressed in items featured on the website, including The Full Monty, Saturday Night Dancer, Frank-N-Furter, and Martha Stewart as the Beer Hall Fraulein.

"Each exec was pictured "in costume" to lighten the mood of the poll.
(Ho friggin' Ho. Actually, they were dressed up to sell the $79 rubber masks). When you go to the site, you'll find a link to the poll where you'll see the various "celebrity" heads on uncharacteristic costumes. Once you've cast your vote, you'll see the current standings in the "Executive Evil" rankings. Poll results continue to change, but Martha Stewart has continually held the lead. (Which means that their customers are either not very smart or not very nice....Martha didn't turn their 401ks into 201ks, while all the others did. But why let the facts confuse a press release?)

Quiz--from The New Yorker

What did Michael Ovitz, Martha Stewart, and Madonna have in common this year?

(a) They each went public with their fondness for Eminem.
(b) They each provided the entertainment community with a blast of Schadenfreude.
(c) They each attended the David Gest-Liza Minnelli wedding.
(d) They each admitted subscribing to PursuitAlert, a paging service that notifies them when there's a televised police chase.

The answer of course is our word of the day, Schadenfreude, which is the masochistic glee experienced by witnessing the misfortune of others. Madonna has had an amazing musical career, one of the few performers who has achieved a level of art while remaining commercially viable, she has survived both the death of disco and the rise of rap...yet Drudge plastered his patented huge headline on his site when Swept Away failed to draw any crowds. Michael Ovitz has been the envy of Hollywood talent agents, yet the downfall of his new agency received more barrels of ink than any he had received before. And when Martha stumbled, the bad little children on the playground pounced. We like to pretend that success is a straight line up, without any bumps in the road. What these critics forget is that success is just failure in disguise...

If you can't take the heat, don't use this hot sauce...

Cashing in on the troubles of celebrities, Celebrity Hot Sauces has introduced Martha's Private Stock. On the label is Martha pictured serving a pie chart (ha...) and a caption that reads: "Don't sell this sauce short. Tastes great on bear and bull."

This company also sells a product for which Tonya Harding recently issued a lawsuit. Called Tonya Hot Sauce, the label sports a caricature of Tonya standing outside a dumpy trailer, cigarette in mouth, ice skates in one hand and a hubcap in the other. "This hot sauce just knocks out the competition! Not for the weak-kneed. Guaranteed to assault your taste buds. It's a lead-pipe cinch. You'll love it." The maker says he's just doing what editorial cartoons do all the time. The problem is products are not covered by the First Amendment. Tonya is asking to get paid, but she should probably demand that the inventor to be marinated in his own sauce.

Also available in (un)limited quantities:

  • Jacko Juice. "You'll fall for this sauce! Shake well over a 5th story balcony, and refrigerate after opening. Caution: May turn skin white."
  • Winona's Too Hot To Handle Hot Sauce: "As seen on closed-circuit TV! This sauce is a steal at any price and best of all, contains no beetle juice. :-) "
  • And coming soon: (Bill) Gates of Hell Hot Sauce Ver. 666 C"rash your system with this wicked tasting sauce!"

We hope the sauces are as juicy as the lawsuits yet to come....

Take the MSNBC Biz Quiz:
Why does Martha Stewart say she sold ImClone shares a day before the firm issued bad news, which sent the price plunging?
A. Her broker told her that ImClone CEO Sam Waksal was trying to sell thousands of shares. (Nope)
B. She got a tip from Waksal that bad news was in the works. (Nice try, however ...)
C. She had earlier told her broker to sell if shares fell below $60.
D. Years of cooking experience told her that ImClone was “done.” (ho ho ho) 
Got the right answer? Take the quiz

Kmart holiday blitz a success. Martha's holiday line a hit--The Olympian

Kmart has seen a bright spot in the popularity of its special brands. The company's exclusive Martha Stewart Everyday holiday line has done extremely well, despite bad publicity that has dogged the doyenne maven. Stores are open round the clock until Christmas eve. Go shopping and Save Martha!

Arianna Huffington's Christmas gift to Martha:

"I've got a hunch she'd appreciate something hand-made rather than store bought. So I've whipped up a paper trail proving incontrovertibly that she didn't sell her shares of ImClone because of insider information but because she had a standing stop-loss order with her broker." Thank Arianna!

A home bar for all seasons
By MARTHA STEWART
A home bar can be both fun and convenient, but setting up one poses something of a problem: Not everyone has the room to accommodate a fully accessorized wet bar, and modern styles of entertaining, for the most part, don't require it.

Investor relations heating up: Sam Waksal getting some on the "inside?"--Page Six
Sam Waksal has a clandestine girlfriend. The former head of ImClone - who is under indictment for insider trading - has been "secretly dating" the head of investor relations for the biochem company, Andrea Rabney, sources say. The two dated briefly last year before Waksal's dalliance with Patricia Duff. The Rabney romance rekindled when Waksal hit "tough times." A rep for Waksal denied the relationship. Public records indicate Rabney owns 42,000 shares of ImClone, which is about 42,000 more shares than Sam would have owned had Merrill Lynch allowed all of his stock sales to be processed last December.

Sightings
Sam Waksal
working with an organization in Tribeca to help the homeless...Peter Bacanovic hanging out with friends in L.A.... (For a great profile on Peter, see David Patrick Columbia's New York Social Diary)...Martha Stewart entering Jimmys Uptown restaurant to applause, as patrons clapped and chanted "Save Martha! Save Martha!"

Read Andrew Ritchie's insightful new installment of Deconstructing Byron
Vol. 8 –Making the Best-Seller List
In the process of publishing her first best selling book Entertaining, and building a media empire, Martha's marriage to Andy Stewart was sacrificed, which is not surprising given the strain such success would place on any union. But what she did to fill the void left by a troubled marriage was reinvent the homemaker to give thousands of women fresh hope while also rediscovering the industries and businesses which facilitated the workings of the home. She made the homemaker cool again – an oversight that far too many of Martha's detractors are guilty of. (Read More)

Unrelated Media Driven Tragedy Du Jour
Gary Condit Strikes Back with $11 Million suit against author Dominick Dunne

In a prelude of things to come after Martha Stewart is cleared of all charges by the SEC, Rep.Gary Condit is suing Dominick Dunne for $11 million for slander. You may recall Dunne's many appearances on Larry King Live and other shows, voicing incredible speculations about Gary Condit's role in the Chandra Levy's case

Lets review: Chandra Levy disappeared on May 1, 2001. Her body was found in Rock Creek Park on May 22, 2002. In the months before she was found, Dominick Dunne speculated about what had happened to Chandra. Dunne had many theories, and he told them to just about anyone who would listen. Condit's suit claims that in December of 2001, while on the Laura Ingram radio show, Dunne said that Condit was a suspect, that he was working with the FBI on the case, that he believed Chandra has fallen into a sex slave ring run by middle eastern sheiks. Dunne went on to say that Chandra had been seen being put on a plane by five men, and that at the time she was not walking. And to top it all off, Dunne claimed that Chandra's body was dumped from the airplane into the Atlantic ocean. Horrible.

Then on Entertainment Tonight in January, 2002, Dunne said this:

"GARY CONDIT rides with The Hell's Angels as a motorcyclist," Dunne revealed. "He rides with a Haitian motorcycle group in Washington, and I went on "LARRY KING" and said that I thought that the reason she left was that she'd gotten on the back of a motorcycle -- somebody doing a favor for him -- and had been taken away."

Which theory he believed to be true was anybody's guess. And while never specifically saying that Condit killed Chandra, Dunne went right to the edge of pointing the finger at Condit as an accomplice. "I don't think he killed her," Dunne allegedly said. "I think he could have known it was going to happen." Recall it was Condit's seemingly odd behavior in the middle of a media circus that caused many to suspect him. But most fair-minded people can draw a line between a person seeming to act suspiciously and that person being guilty. Dunne did not seem to understand this important distinction. And neither do those who now falsely accuse Martha.

Condit is now pointing the finger right back at Dunne. This promises to be a very expensive lawsuit for all concerned. The good news for Dunne is that his Court TV show will probably pick up the tab for the exclusive rights. Look for a very feeble attempt from Dunne (and possibly Vanity Fair) to hide behind their first Amendment privilege. But it won't work. Dunne went public with multiple and often conflicting theories about Condit's involvement--not all were even possible, and the one about the airplane turned out to be untrue. Condit is out to save his name, and also to make an important point; public figures have rights too. Whether you are a celebrity, a politician, or anyone else, the Constitution guarantees all of us equal protection.

Jay. Christopher. Billy. Yahoo finance board posters. Do not be surprised if Martha chooses to protect her name as well...

Sorry, Billy, but looks like somebody's got their dates wrong
Remember the letter Rep. Billy Tauzin sent to Martha last summer, asking for all the documents related to her December 27, 2001 stock trade? Well, on the House Energy and Commerce Committee website, the letter, which was delivered to her lawyers on August 6th, 2002, states that "outside counsel disclosed that you sold all of your ImClone shares on December 27, 2002, the day before ImClone received the FDA's refusal-to-file letter for Erbitux" That date is the week after next--and is over four months after this official letter to Martha was sent! As everyone knows, the correct date of Martha's trade was a full year earlier. Just a typo, or sloppy management? Well, it's almost five months later and they still haven't corrected it on the House Committee website! There's even a printer-friendly version in case you need extra wrapping paper. Hello, Billy, anyone home? No wonder they punted the case to Justice, where it has sat ever since. Just another reason why this witch hunt has to end. Lets see how long it takes them to fix it. Save Martha!

Recipe of the day: The best Macaroni and Cheese
News, gossip and rumors
On Martha Stewart Living

Thursday, January 16
Learn to season your cast-iron skillet. This technique creates a permanent nonstick cooking surface and keeps pans rust-free.
Make Martha’s famous pear upside-down cake.

Friday, January 17
NEW RECIPE! Martha makes an easy and delicious pork-and-apple stew on “Everyday Food.”
Author Barbara Mauzy offers tips for collecting and displaying antique pot holders.

Point Blankets, by Andrew Ritchie

Of Martha Stewart's numerous collections, perhaps none is more warm and cozy than her collection of historical point blankets. Point blankets originated more than two-hundred years ago during the North American fur trade. European settlers produced the blankets using a fine blend of wool and traded them with the Native indians in exchange for fur pelts, such as the much sough-after beaver pelt. (Read more)

Should Martha buy Kmart?

Click Here for Bluelight.com Home & GardenMartha Stewart could buy Kmart and in one fell swoop save both companies. This may sound crazy, but then so do most of Martha's detractors. MSO has $170 million in cash, Martha herself could raise between $200-$400 million just based on her own net worth. Add in some cash from a leveraged buyout firm and suddenly Martha has over 1,500 stores dedicated to selling her merchandise. And just think of the store makeovers that Martha could do.

Martha's Smart Kmart Deal
It looks like Martha made a really smart deal with Kmart. The deal with Kmart runs through 2008. MSO gets guaranteed minimum payments regardless of store closings. That plus $170 mil in cash on hand gives MSO a strong long-term business position. Martha Stewarts company said in a Tuesday statement that the Kmart closings "should not have a financial impact...due to minimum royalty payments guaranteed under our agreement with Kmart, which runs through 2008."

Worth Magazine says Save Martha! by Adam Hanft

This month's cover story in Worth Magazine, entitled Back Off! The Case for Martha, makes the second-most persuasive case yet for why investors and the Constitution are being sacrificed in the Martha Stewart scandal. Adam Hanft recalls the case of Richard Jewell, who was wrongly accused of the 1996 Atlanta bombing, and makes the case that both Martha and Jewel were tried and convicted by a media running ahead of the judicial system. In this case, it's shareholders who have suffered from the media and politicians who are paying too much attention to cases that get headlines and not enough to ones that get reform. Hanft says shareholders should turn their rage on "the heat-seeking journalists, politicians, regulators, and law-enforcement grandstanders." It seems everyone has forgotten how much millions of investors lost in Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, and have made Martha the scapegoat for a broken system that nobody wants to fix.

Importantly, the article discusses how law enforcement officials leak information to the press, thus manipulating the media to make the impression of progress when they cannot prove their case. Author Naomi Wolf is quoted, saying the case against Martha is "an unscrupulous destruction of her reputation to drive ratings." Hanft also points out the role of Congressional investigators, who had no public policy role to play in Martha's case, but still spent months grabbing headlines and appearing on TV shows, before finally punting the case to the Justice Department. This scandal has nothing to do with alleged insider trading, but with Martha's image, and misogyny in a society that enjoys seeing accomplished and talented people fall. Kudos to Worth Magazine for uncovering the hidden agendas and causes behind the media's bias.

Save Martha In the news
Finally, my thoughts since last summer regarding the injustices to Martha Stewart have been put down in a prominent magazine - Worth Magazine -in an article entitled "Its a Bad Thing" (January/February 2003) by Adam Hanft. I am ecstatic! I feel an overwhelming relief, and need to support this hard working, terribly wronged woman, who has brought back refinement, beauty, and caring to everyday life. Mr. Hanft says all that I have thought, and more. And he introduced me to your web site, of which I have been unaware. My message to Martha is "once again, don't get mad, don't get even, get ahead!" Go girl! You are innocent. Remember, "the nail that sticks up...? Carol

Blue day at the Bluelight: Kmart to fire thousands, close 330 stores--Detroit Free Press
Kmart Corp. will announce today that it is closing about 330 stores and firing more than 35,000 workers in the biggest cost-cutting move since the Troy retailer declared bankruptcy a year ago. Last year, Kmart announced the elimination of 283 stores in March, and all were closed by the end of June. Several store managers said they were asked by company executives to be at work by 7 a.m. One said Kmart corporate headquarters told him that it had "important information to share with the field staff" and to tune into a satellite broadcast at 1 p.m. Eastern time.

Some independent experts who follow the retail industry for investors say the new batch of store closings is not enough to salvage the century-old retailer that once dominated the discount industry and gave Americans the Blue Light Special. "We doubt Kmart survives the year," said David Fick, managing director for real estate at Legg Mason Inc. in Baltimore. "We would be shocked if they'll be here a year from now."

What Legg Mason analysts don't seem to understand is that this is a restructuring, and the news puts Kmart ahead of its plan to turn the business around. The good news is that Kmart posted its first profit since declaring itself insolvent, and plans to emerge from bankruptcy by April 30, chief executive James Adamson said Tuesday. That's 3 months earlier than plan. Only 326 stores will close, less than the 570 stores originally reported.

Martha has been loyal to Kmart, but how long can she survive a retail strategy that depends on a single, troubled retailer? It will soon be time to take the company private, and then raise new capital to either build standalone Martha Stewart Living stores, or find new retail partners.

Feds in Martha probe out to lunch
According to John Crudele of the NY Post, "a very good source says Martha still hasn't heard another word about the problem caused by her unfortunate trading of ImClone stock. Investigators haven't made any new attempts to get information out of her. " Recall that Martha provided thousands of pages of records to Congressional investigators last summer, who then complained that she was trying to bury them with paperwork. May their ill advised investigation rest in peace.

'Martha moms' go all out--Arizona Republic
Competitive fire shows up in child rearing
By Laura Trujillo-
You know them by the cookies they send to kindergarten - all the animals in Noah's ark carefully painted in six colors of glossy smooth icing. Their Christmas cards always shine, tauntingly, in the mailbox on Dec. 1 - and not satisfied with photo cards from Costco, they instead make their own with metallic ribbon and arty black-and-white photographs that, of course, they took themselves. They are moms who decorate one cake with their children and then save another to adorn on their own - ensuring its perfection. They are moms for whom Martha Stewart is the goddess of handmade crafts, not a stock market scandal. They are, simply, "Martha moms."

Author says the United States of America has gone mad--by John le Carré, The Times of London

Internet Analyst and Her Husband Investigated for Insider Trading--by Gretchen Morgensen, NY Times

While the tabloids covered Martha, major insider trading was covered up

While the press and many in the public have been up on their self-righteous soap boxes and screaming for Martha Stewart's head, Wall Street analysts who traded information and influence to the detriment of millions of investors have gone unnoticed. Now the truth is catching up with reality. First Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodgett was called on the carpet for privately mocking the same stocks he was publicly touting. Then Jack Grubman (that's Lizzie Grubman's uncle) of Solomon Brothers was caught trading his AT&T stock picks for nursery school slots for his twins at the 92nd St. Y.

Now Gretchen Morgensen of the NY Times reports that one of Wall Street's most trusted analysts, Holly Becker of Lehman Brothers, is accused of insider trading, and you won't see a SaveHolly.com website around here. You also won't see any bashers asking for the standard witch burning in Holly's case. That's because Harvard-educated, McKinsey -trained Holly Becker is not as high profile as Martha, has not been as successful as Martha, and has not had inaccurate and misogynist propaganda about her sold in the form of special news reports and biographies. As far as the media is concerned, Holly is just not sexy enough. Martha is.

The significance of this story is that Wall Street analysts and the media have hidden behind the Martha Stewart case for months, hoping it would provide a smokescreen to obscure their sins. But how many analysts have gone on CNBCs Power Lunch to discuss what a minor issue and waste of time for the SEC Martha's case is when their own clients are giving them false financial information? None. Zero. I was on Power Lunch last fall, and they couldn't find a single one of them to even discuss the case on the air.

The media made Holly their darling. Meanwhile, investors lost their 401ks. An April 6, 2001 column in the Wall Street Journal really poured it on:

"Lehman's Becker Upgrades Yahoo!, But Biggest Boost May Be Her Clout"

"In my opinion, Holly is now becoming the most well-regarded Internet analyst in the nation, whereas a couple of years ago, it would have been Mary Meeker and Henry Blodget," said Alan Kelley, who manages the $100 million STI E-Commerce Opportunity Fund at SunTrust Banks Inc. in Atlanta. Ms. Becker, who earned an estimated $5 million last year, well below the reported paychecks of her better-known competitors, says: "I don't want to be the next anybody. I just want to be able to have an unbiased, unemotional view of the sector." (famous last words?)

One of Wall Street's most trusted is again in trouble, in an insider trading case that would dwarf Martha's by an order of magnitude. You see, Holly's husband Michael J. Zimmerman was a hedge fund trader at SAC, one of the biggest in the market. And Holly was telling the public to sell stocks like AOL and Amazon and Yahoo, which were owned by millions. These stocks fell 10-20% on the days she issued her sell recommendations. And if her hubby knew about it in advance, that information would be worth millions. Do you believe she kept the secret? The SEC evidently does not. So how come this investigation is now two years old, but nobody knew a thing about it until today?

"Holly B. Becker, one of Wall Street's most powerful Internet stock analysts, and her husband have been notified by securities regulators that they may face enforcement action over possible insider trading based on her firm's research. The regulatory inquiry, which began almost two years ago, centers on whether information from Ms. Becker's firm, Lehman Brothers, was made available to her husband, Michael J. Zimmerman, a stock trader at SAC Capital Advisors, a hedge fund with offices in Connecticut and New York, according to people involved in the inquiry. Investigators are trying to determine whether he knew about research reports by Lehman analysts before they were released to clients and whether he profited by trading in those securities." (read more)

Martha's New Food Magazine--NY Post

The NY Post tees up on Martha yet again, but even they are having a hard time being completely negative these days:

MARTHA, Martha, Martha. If you think the Queen of Clean dominated the news in 2002 and would quietly fade from sight, you've got another think coming - because Stewart is all over the newsstands this week.

Of course, Stewart herself is responsible for much of it. Since launching Martha Stewart Living, she has branched into wedding magazines, decorating magazines and food magazines. The latest Martha Stewart Living makes for good reading - and has great ideas for living. During this cold January, a feature on soothing soups definitely hits the spot; just reading it made us feel warm and cozy. We also liked the decorating feature on patchwork patterns, which definitely brighten a room.

Stewart seems to know her full-time dedication to house and home isn't something most modern parents have time for. So she launched Everyday Food, a quarterly digest-size magazine filled with simple recipes to let you put a good meal on the table even after working a 10-hour day. And now you can get the
first issue free!

And unlike Chrysler, which just bailed out on Martha, many of the nation's biggest consumer brands – Campbell Soup , Kraft Foods, ConAgra and General Motors – are sticking with Stewart, gladly linking their products with Everyday Food.

From Martha's hometown newspaper:
A better year for Martha--The Westport Minuteman
The final decisions have yet to be announced, but it appears that 2003 will be a better year for Westport's own Martha Stewart than the year just passed. Martha is attempting to turn herself into a "brand" that can succeed on the strength of its magazines, television shows, and so on, regardless of the personal travails of the company's founder. In this effort, she follows in the footsteps of people like Colonel Saunders, who continues to have great success selling chicken despite experiencing the ultimate personal travail, i.e., death. Westport watches in amazement as Martha continues to reinvent herself. She's playing with the big fish now, and has, so far, managed to evade the barracudas.

Researcher Finds Bias in Media coverage of Martha Stewart--Gazette Net
Melissa Click, a graduate student in communications at the University of Massachusetts, is exploring consumer reaction to the media's portrayal of Martha Stewart. Click says the women interviewed said the coverage of the scandal was biased and sexist, since "a woman who has not been charged is getting more press coverage than the people at Enron, who have ruined many more people's lives." In spite of negative coverage, Martha still maintains trust among many women. "She is seen as a trusted source for information," Click said. "She strikes a chord with women who grew up with working mothers, since she gives them the information that their mothers couldn't."

Save Martha and Save the USA: The United States of America has gone mad--The Times of London
by John le Carré

America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War.

The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press.

The imminent war was planned years before bin Laden struck, but it was he who made it possible. Without bin Laden, the Bush junta would still be trying to explain such tricky matters as how it came to be elected in the first place; Enron; its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich; its reckless disregard for the world’s poor, the ecology and a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties. They might also have to be telling us why they support Israel in its continuing disregard for UN resolutions. (read more)

Chris Byron: Fair or Foul?

Chris Byron has made a cottage industry out of covering Martha Stewart. Here is a list of his recent coverage, as well as a link to his recent unauthorized Martha tome. Is he being fair or not? read up, and take our instant poll.

Martha Inc.: The Incredible Story of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
by Christopher M. Byron

Is Chris Byron fair?
Is reporter Christopher Byron being fair to Martha Stewart?

Yes--hes been very fair
Somewhat--he has been mostly fair
No--He has gone after her with a sharp knife


Current Results

IMAGINE NO MARTHA
By CHRISTOPHER BYRON
July 8, 2002 -- NO one knows what the future holds for Martha Stewart in the ImClone mess. But the sheer uncertainty of the situation gives rise to an obvious question: Can Martha Stewart's company survive without her?

MARTHA SPINS A WEB
By CHRISTOPHER BYRON
July 3, 2002 -- As more names pop up in the Martha Stewart insider trading scandal, America's queen of hearth and home is undergoing a surprising makeover.

Martha Stewart in a real stew
By CHRISTOPHER BYRON

June 25 —  Anyone for an update on the ImClone scandal? For Martha Stewart at least, the situation ain’t great. She’s got problems on both the legal and public image fronts, and they keep getting worse.  

Transcript of Chris Byron on Crossfire

Martha in the hot seat

The price of friendship for Martha Stewart 

 
OPINION
By Christopher Byron
MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR 
June 14 —  Choose your friends carefully. That’s the most obvious lesson to be drawn from the pickle in which lifestyle authority Martha Stewart now finds herself thanks to her long-time friendship with Manhattan social climber and cancer-cure businessman, Sam Waksal. For Martha Stewart, the price of that friendship is suddenly proving to be high indeed.