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

Very Unfair
Somewhat Unfair
About Right
SomewhatFair
Very Fair


Current Results

Page 9

Recipe of the Day: Fig Holiday Roll
Latest News
On Martha Stewart Living Cookie of the Week: Making and Decorating Gingerbread Cookies Learning: Reindeer with Marc, Christmas Trees 101 with Jim, Wood Grain Wrapping Paper with Tom, Ice Votives, Field Trip: America Decorates Dallas,
Baking: Kouing-Aman with Florian (Also watch Martha on the Food Network and HGTV)

Holiday Plants by Andrew Ritchie

Did you know that a poin-settia plant can grow up to 10 feet tall, or that there are 400 kinds of holly? Find out some surprising facts about our most beloved holiday plants: where they come from, how to care for them and why they are used during the holidays. (Read more)

Winona's Free! Next Celebrity Scandal, Please!

In spite of receiving both incredibly questionable legal counsel and harsh treatment by the media, and thanks to Free Winona t-shirts Winona Ryder is now free! Winona's lawyer Mark Geragos, who will be recalled as the only lawyer in the country who defended Gary Condit's refusal to cooperate with police searching for Chandra Levy's body, whined loudly on Larry King Live last night that his client had been treated unfairly.

That may be true, but it was his own legal strategy of going for broke with a trial, instead of pleading to lesser charges, that led to the many disclosures about Winona's alleged three prior shoplifting incidents, as well as her long list of "prescriptions" which is now easily available to anyone on almost every news website. Winona is now a convicted felon. She cannot vote. If he really wanted to protect her privacy, he would not have staged a media circus in an effort to become the next Johnny Cochran. Unfortunately for Winona, the clothes did fit, so they could not acquit.

Martha is being treated harshly as well, but so far her legal strategy is holding up. And you don't hear Martha's lawyers whining about all of the one-sided media coverage and overzealous prosecutors--that's part of the deal when you are defending celebrities, whom the greedy media and jealous public see as fair game. We hope Winona is able to get on with her life, and stay away from celebrity-chasing defense lawyers who spend more time on TV than in the courtroom. Save Winona!


Just Save Whitney!

Whitney's Weird Chat Gives ABC Fat Ratings--Washington Post

Why the media continues to focus on famous women in trouble is no mystery to us: damsels in distress get big ratings. The Martha Mess has generated mega viewership for cable news, their biggest boost since OJ. Winona Ryder, set for sentencing today, has created a cottage industry of shoplifting counselors and Free Winona t-shirts.

Now Whitney Houston joins the pack, in a sad attempt to sell a few more of her new CD "Just Whitney" as holiday stocking stuffers. ABC taped the interview a month ago in early November, but waited to air it until a week before Whitney's album release. Add to that an appearance with Diane Sawyer on GMA next week and you see the PR machine rolling. This is almost as spontaneous as a J-LO-Ben Affleck paparazzi kiss.

Houston's "PrimeTime Live" interview landed the biggest haul for any newsmagazine broadcast on any network since Connie Chung's with Gary "I Love My Wife" Condit snagged nearly 24 million for ABC in August 2001.

Even more special, among young adults Whitney's bizarre interview was the biggest thing in newsmags since Babs Walters's equally strange interview with Monica Lewinsky 3 1/2 years ago.

Diane Sawyer knows Whitney has a drug problem, but that didn't stop her from pounding away for an answer. Sadly, she got what she was looking for:

"I partied a lot. Trust me: I partied my tail off," she said, adding, "You get to a point where you know the party's over. First of all, let's get one thing straight -- crack is cheap, I make too much money to ever smoke crack! Let's get that straight, okay. We don't do crack -- we don't do that. Crack is whack."
--Whitney Houston

Just Save Whitney!

Stayin' Alive: Martha Stewart Living television series renewed for 11th Season!
After months of speculation and nervous finger-biting, Martha's TV show will return for another season! "We look forward to the new 2003-04 season of Martha Stewart Living," said Roger King, CEO, CBS Enterprises and King World Productions, Inc. Even according to the Martha bashing NY Post, Martha's television ratings have been unaffected by the media driven scandal. Based on our surveys and reader mail, we have maintained from the beginning that Martha has a loyal fan base that even P&G would be proud of. In fact, many people are planning to purchase more of her products, and are saying they will subscribe to her magazine and give it to a friend as a holiday gift. We think that's a good thing to help Save Martha!

Most Boring Celebrity List Released--UPI

The Alan Caruba Boring Institute (now that sounds dull) has released the annual list of most boring people, and Martha came in third. Not because she is boring, we all know she is definitely not. Martha's on the list because we are bored of hearing all the bad news that the media uses to sell you papers and increase their ratings.

Why publish this list every year? "The bottom line is that the media does not know when to stop; they write about a celebrity long after the story has lost its value," Caruba said. "The list is based on 'massive media overexposure;' it has been intended to call attention to the way the media identify a handful of celebrities in any given year generally based on their egotism, stupid, criminal or self-destructive behavior."

The problem is, this media tactic works, and you, the public, are guilty. Now don't feel hurt, but after all, you are reading this to find out the latest news about Martha, right? We all slow down to see the car accident, tune in to see what Anna Nicole is doing, watch Michael Jackson dangle his infant son over the balcony in slow motion for the hundredth time. Why? Because most of us are voyeurs, and watching others do dumb things or getting in trouble gives us pleasure. That's why Save Martha has received over 5 million hits. So here's yet another car wreck, waiting for the public to gasp. Enjoy!

The Alan Caruba 2002 list of Most Boring are:

1. Ozzy Osbourne. "Proof that, by comparison, your family is fabulous!"

2. Anna Nicole Smith. "Proof that reality TV is not all it's cracked up to be."

3. Martha Stewart. Save Martha!

4. Winona Ryder. "Shoplifting verdict makes everyone ask 'Why?'"

5. Barbra Streisand. "Singer turned political wizard advised Democrats."

6. Jennifer Lopez. "Let's hope husband No. 3 is the charm."

7. Ted Williams. "Talk about frozen assets!"

8. Robert Torricelli. "New Jersey Senator had no one left to lie to."

9. James Traficant. "Jailed for the worst toupee in Congress and other crimes."

10. Osama bin Laden. "Scarier than the bogeyman."

We have one more:

11. Christopher Byron. Now losing sleep becuse we are winning the battle to Save Martha!

Update: Martha dodges bullet as "Curse of A&E Biography" goes to George W. Bush
As everyone knows, being named A&E Biography Person of the Year has traditionally been bad luck for the winners, including OJ Simpson, John F. Kennedy jr. Bill Clinton, and Princess Diana, who have all been stricken by the A&E curse. Martha's had enough bad news this year, so not "winning" is actually a good omen. Martha came in 10th on the Biography list--and that's a good thing! The curse of Biography of the year went to president George W. Bush, another person dogged by tales of alleged insider trading. So it looks like people will be getting a little Bush in their stockings this year. See Reader Mail: I have just spent the last 2 hours watching the "Biography Channel"..There was a biography of George W. Bush Jr. and Martha Stewart....

Hug Rosie's New Cutie Patootie
Rosie O'Donnell, the only celebrity figure who has come out to voice her support for Martha Stewart, has added a baby girl to her family, Vivienne Rose O'Donnell, 6 pounds 6 ounces. Give Rosie a Hug!

Don't Sell Martha Short--Wall St Journal
Wall Street firm snaps up 7% of Martha Stewart shares
Rocker Partners believe the worst is over
"Mr. Rocker's assessment of Martha Stewart Living is fairly straightforward: He is attracted to the company's cash hoard, which equates to $3.50 a share, and its core franchise. Also, Mr. Rocker, without claiming any specialized knowledge about Ms. Stewart's legal situation, assumes the worst is over. His firm has years of experience shorting stocks of companies that have been guilty of financial and other shenanigans, and he and his colleagues feel the media and investor response to the Martha Stewart matter is out of proportion with her alleged crimes. Says Marc Cohodes, a Rocker general partner, "We afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted."

Kmart leaves NYSE after 84 years--Reuters
Save Oprah! 10 hurt at Oprah Giveaway--People

Kmart looks to next survival test--holiday sales--Reuters
Bankrupt discount retailer Kmart Corp., its shares down 30 percent Tuesday as delisting looms, is gearing up for the next big test of survival as it prepares to give investors their first glimpse of holiday sales figures. The monthly operating data for October and November, which Kmart said would be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by Dec. 23, will be scrutinized by bankers, suppliers and shareholders as the company fights to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy by next summer.

Rosie O'Donnell, the only celebrity figure who has come out to voice her support for Martha Stewart, has added a baby girl to her family, Vivienne Rose O'Donnell, 6 pounds 6 ounces. Give Rosie a Hug!

Kmart Shares Set for Delisting on NYSE --Reuters
Kmart Corp said on Monday its common shares will be delisted by the New York Stock Exchange prior to the market opening on Dec. 19. The exchange notified Kmart in July that it was not in compliance with listing requirements. The retailer said it expects its shares to trade on the over-the-counter Bulletin Board market under new ticker symbols.

Save Kmart! Viist Kmart Forever

ImClone removed from Nasdaq 100 list--Reuters
Ending a tear of tummult and turmoil, the Nasdaq has dropped ImClone along with 14 other companies from the index , as former CEO Sam Waksal now awaits sentencing on fraud and insider trading charges.

The Heat's On, but Martha's Still in the Kitchen--NY Times
Did anyone notice what Martha Stewart did to the turkey in her annual Thanksgiving extravaganza this year? Probably not. These days, people are much more interested in whether Ms. Stewart cooked up a story with her stockbroker than in whether she's discovered yet another way to cook a Butterball. That's too bad, because this year's turkey recipe was a doozy...

Martha Stewart #2 News Search on AOL in 2002
According to AOL, Martha Stewart beat out Worldcom, Enron, the 2002 elections and Osama Bin Laden as the most searched for news story of 2002. While investors 401ks were turning into 201ks, while voter amnesia made everyone forget about the economy, and while Osama bin Laden was doing his best to kill us all, for web surfers looking for news it was "All Martha, All The Time". But the huge ratings the media received by placing Martha above more important matters were fueled by the public's insatiable demand for More Martha. As a result, Martha has lost hundreds of millions of dollars, was forced to resign from the NY Stock exchange, and has been the brunt of more jokes by Jay Leno than anyone since OJ. Maybe it's not the media that has the wrong priorities after all.

AOL News Search Rankings
1. September 11
2. Martha Stewart
3. Transportation security
4. MCI WorldCom
5. Elections
6. Adelphia
7. Enron
8. Elizabeth Smart
9. Osama bin Laden
10. Daniel Pearl

Make Martha #1. Vote for Martha as Media Person of the Year.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree--Page Six
Yet another activist group is using Martha Stewart's name to get out their message--and they are succeeding. Page Six reports that animal rights activists are mad about comments Martha Stewart made on her TV show two years ago. "Back in 2000, Stewart cited the Iditarod dogsled race in Alaska as a shining example of dogs and humans working together. The episode aired again last week, prompting a group called the Sled Dog Action Coalition to howl for her head.

The doggie defenders are urging animal lovers to complain to Viacom CEO Richard Bressler and to Stewart herself via her Web site. The group claims that dog deaths and injuries are common in the 1,150-mile race, which has been dubbed "Ihurtadog" by USA Today and "an illegal sweatshop for dogs" by the Orlando Sentinel. "Martha is a huge animal lover and she would never support cruelty to animals," Stewart's spokeswoman told us. "

They must have missed Martha's show about Bernese Mountain dogs. Martha loves animals! That's why she mentioned the dogs of Iditarod! Lesson: if you want to get your message out and get on Page Six, Just Say Martha!

Martha #2 on annual PR Blunders list --Society Review
Since Martha Stewart was #2 on the AOL search list, it only make sense that she is #2 on the annual PR blunders list released by Fineman PR of San Francisco. She was beat out by Abercrombie & Fitch for their t-shirts making fun of Asians, and for their ads targeting thongs to 10 year old glirls. At our last visit, 10 year old Asian girls were still shopping at A&F.

Chis Byron to new SEC chief: Save Martha!--NY Post
In a fair-minded reversal of his policy of constantly attacking Martha Stewart, Chris Byron in the NY Post today calls on new SEC chief William Donaldson to either announce they are either moving forward with their case against her, or to immediately drop it. This is the first time Byron has admitted that there may not be a case at all, which he should know by now as an avid reader of Save Martha! Byron notes the rumors and uncertainty are not fair to Martha or her shareholders. It's just two weeks until Christmas, and Byron decides he is no Scrooge. Yes, Martha, there is a Santa Claus! From the NY Post:

"Ending Martha's agony: America's lifestyle cleanup hitter has been under a cloud of suspicion for financial wrongdoing for the last seven months. Rumors now circulate that she's been served with a so-called "Wells Notice" by the SEC announcing its intention to file civil fraud charges against her.

But the uncertainty is simply not fair to Martha. Donaldson should see to it that she is either charged immediately, or that the SEC case against her is dropped.

It's easy enough to get the word out through an artful leak that would let her - and her shareholders - off the hook. "

Read this week's fascinating installment of Deconstructing Byron by Andrew Ritchie:
Volume 7 – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
"I went to a lot of trouble to be fair and I’m sure the portrait in this is complete, three-dimensional and accurate," Christopher Byron said in an interview with MSNBC.com last April about his book on Martha Stewart.

This comment is almost laughable after one reads the book in its entirety, and certainly so when reading various passages in the book that are tainted with Byron’s acidic language and biased opinion. The fact that Byron was burned by Martha when she refused to take part in his book indicates that his requirement to be objective when writing this biography was traded in favor of vengeance and spite.
(Read )

Martha leading the pack in Person of the Year races
Media can't wait to give Martha an award for putting up with all their B.S.

After a year of using Martha as their favorite whipping girl, boosting ratings and selling enough papers to deforest southeast Asia, the media is ready to give Martha a little reward for all her troubles. It's just their way of saying thanks for letting us use the First Amendment to say whatever we wanted about you, and for not suing the pants off of us. Here's a rundown of the races:

IwantMedia.com Media person of the year. It's not exactly Time Magazine, or even F----dcompany.com, but at least you get to vote for this one--and Martha has a big lead over a bunch of other people you would only care about if you were brown-nosing for a job in media, like Bonnie Fuller of Us magazine, Steve Case of AOL and a bunch of other boring people. Plus, according to the Daily News, the editor of the site thinks everyone voting for Martha is too dumb to know who the other obscure candidates on his list are. Like we care! Vote For Martha Now!

Martha Stewart has taken an early lead in the voting for Media Person of the Year on iwantmedia.com--Ny Daily News.

Time Person of The Year. This award goes to the person that Time decides will sell the most magazines and result in the least number of subscription cancellations. So don't bet on Osama. Another award curse, so we hope Martha does not win. Past "winners" include Charles Lindbergh (baby kidnapped), Mahatma Gandhi (ditto) Adolph Hitler (one of the few who deserved the bad luck), John F. Kennedy (asassinated) , Martin Luther King, jr. (asassinated), Anwar Sadat (asassinated). Richard Nixon (impeached) , Corazon Aquino (thrown out of offce) , Newt Gingrich (ditto), So who else is at risk of getting the Curse of Time this year: Yasser Arafat, Ariel Sharon, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Palestinian suicide bombers, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, and General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. Of these, Martha's the only one who has never had to drop bombs on foreign countries in order to do her job. The issue hits newsstands on Dec. 23

Martha Stewart Shares up as U.S. Investigation Stalls--Bloomberg News
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. shares have risen 47 percent since late October as the company appears more likely to weather the controversy from its founder's legal woes, investors and analysts said. ``The stock is reacting to lots of speculation that was negative and now is much more positive,'' said analyst Laura Richardson.
No new developments in the case have become public since the report in October that the SEC's enforcement staff will recommend civil securities charges against her. SEC spokesman John Heine declined to comment on the status of the case. Douglas Faneuil, an assistant to Stewart's broker, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor on Oct. 2 and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Former ImClone Chief Executive Samuel Waksal pleaded guilty to insider trading without implicating Stewart. ``The whole body of evidence at this point doesn't look like it's going to put Martha in jail,'' Richardson said. Save Martha!

Signs of scandal fatigue emerge--The Deal
The American public may finally be recovering from the rash of corporate scandals. Home decorating guru Martha Stewart now appears as though she will survive her brush with scandal stardom.

The scandal caused the stock of Stewart's company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., to crash as investors feared the damage to the icon's image would cause her empire to collapse. And for a while, it seemed they could be right. Advertising revenue dropped for her magazine and television show.

But King World Productions Inc. said Tuesday it would bring back Martha Stewart Living for its 11th season, signaling that the worst may be over. Save Martha!

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.