Confider #74: LA Magazine Woes, the Sordid Tabloid Scandal, and Twitter/X/WTF

Confider #74: LA Magazine Woes, the Sordid Tabloid Scandal, and Twitter/X/WTF

Welcome to this week’s edition of Confider, the media newsletter that pulls back the curtain to reveal what’s really going on inside the world’s most powerful navel-gazing industry. Subscribe here and send your questions, tips, and complaints here.

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

EXCLUSIVE — THE LA MAG FAULT LINE: Once revered as an award-winning publication that punched above its weight, Los Angeles magazine is starting to lose its luster under the ownership of celebrity attorneys Mark Geragos and Ben Meiselas and the new management of publisher Chris Gialanella. Since their media arm Engine Vision Media took hold of the magazine and its various Golden State sister publications last year, current and former staffers told Confider, a host of troubling issues have befallen the new management. Read the full Confider story here.

EXCLUSIVE — WOOTTON WTF: Some staffers at The Daily Mail have urged management to fire columnist Dan Wootton following revelations about his sordid double life, Confider has learned. Wootton, whose twice-weekly column hasn’t appeared in the Mail Online since June 29th stands accused of creating bogus online identities to trick and bribe men into sending him sexually compromising images. “He is universally reviled across The Mail and staff are hoping he is bulleted very soon,” one Mail insider claimed to Confider. “Everyone is hoping Mail management kick him out and he never contributes to The Daily Mail ever again.” Wootton had been using privacy law firm Mishcon de Reya LLP to send scary-sounding legal letters to media outlets (including Confider) inquiring about the story but Confider has learned they are no longer representing the former top Murdoch editor. After Confider reached out to Wootton for comment on Monday about the status of his employment with The Daily Mail, he directed us to attorney Donal Blaney from Griffin Law, who promptly sent us a three-page legal threat. A rep for The Daily Mail did not respond to a request for comment.

Tips? We’re all ears:

X? TWITTER? WHO KNOWS?! — The Associated Press got in front of the confusion last week surrounding the new name of Elon Musk’s online hellscape, updating its stylebook to classify it as “X, formerly known as Twitter.” But various publications that traditionally follow AP Style have been reluctant to jump onboard. The New York Times has outright refused to refer to the company as the single letter, referring to it as “Twitter” in stories posted on Sunday and Monday before noting the rebrand upon second mention. The Washington Post has wavered between following the AP’s guidance and still labeling the website as Twitter, while The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Politico have all referred to X as the company “formerly known as Twitter,” while Axios walked the line in between and labeled the company “Twitter/X.” Other outlets, like NBC News and CNN, have still used a simple “Twitter” in their headlines. The Daily Beast has been using both names in close proximity. It remains unclear how quick news outlets will adapt to the new guidance—or whether Musk will change his mind again.

Twitter boss Elon Musk in an animated GIF with the words

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty


—Right Side Broadcasting Network has quickly become the YouTube propaganda channel for all things MAGA, but as our colleague Zachary Petrizzo reports, the streamer is facing internal criticism for somehow not being Trumpy enough. Read that here.

—Remember when Fox News stars spent countless on-air hours railing against Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative as being a Marxist plot or whatever? Well, in an eyebrow-raising twist of fate, one Fox star has embraced the program—as a way to bash the more recent object of Fox’s anger: a nonbinary person. More here.

—Totally-not-right-wing Joe Rogan has gone from “just asking questions” about COVID-19 to embracing conspiracy theories that the Jan. 6 insurrection was a false flag operation orchestrated by the feds. More on that here.


—News Corp has been using artificial intelligence to publish more than 3,000 Australian local news stories per week, an executive revealed this week. Potentially dark stuff ahead. More here.

—The dire state of local news is a topic we have constantly highlighted in Confider and a New Yorker yarn about a small town paper and a dodgy sheriff is a prime example about the need for local newspapers. Read it here.

—To fully understand the mogul that Rupert Murdoch has become, The Guardian wrote, look to a series of 1958 hearings in which the then-27-year-old scion lobbied hard for his first TV license. More here.


Fox News host Harris Faulkner speaks during an episode of her show.

The outrage-industrial complex went into speculative overdrive this weekend after the Department of Justice sent a letter asking a Manhattan judge to set a date for Devon Archer’s prison sentence to begin. (Archer was sentenced last year to a year in prison for defrauding a Native American tribe.) According to MAGA media and GOP politicians, the DOJ was guilty of witness intimidation and “obstruction of justice” as it was attempting to throw Hunter Biden’s former business partner into jail just ahead of his congressional testimony. After House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer raged to Fox News on Sunday morning about the DOJ’s letter, right-wing media then claimed the feds wanted to imprison Archer “before” his testimony in the Hunter probe. “The DOJ is attempting to arrest Devon Archer just hours before he’s scheduled to testify on Monday about the Bidens’ corruption and foreign influence peddling scheme,” far-right podcaster Charlie Kirk falsely claimed on social media. “SDNY Damian Williams issued the letter Saturday telling Judge Abrams to order Devon Archer to surrender IMMEDIATELY.” Serial plagiarist Benny Johnson and New York Post columnist Miranda Devine echoed Kirk’s breathless warning, followed by a number of GOP lawmakers who promised to fly to D.C. to make sure Archer was in the witness chair come Monday. Of course, there was never any danger of Archer being locked up ahead of his testimony—something the disgraced businessman’s lawyer pointed out on Sunday. Despite speculation being shut down by Archer’s camp and the DOJ on Sunday night, some at Fox News were under the impression that his life could be in danger. “What deal did lawmakers have to get him to come in this fourth time, to keep that promise? And also: What deal did they have to make to keep him out of prison on Saturday?” Harris Faulkner wondered. “I’m really curious, cause you know, and I want to be delicate here: People die in prison. I mean, you put somebody in there who can take down really, really powerful people. Stuff can happen!”

Confider will be back next week with more saucy scooplets. In the meantime, subscribe here and send us questions, complaints, or tips here.

The Daily Beast

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