Vanity Fair v Bill Clinton. Away from the main action of the Primaries, a bitchy side story has sprung up, provoked by Vanity Fair. Todd S Purdum, national editor of VF, lambasted Bubba for his “cavernous narcissism” in the magazine’s latest issue. In “The Comeback Id”, which could easily have been titled “When did Bill ‘jump the shark'”, Purdum writes:

This winter, as Clinton moved with seeming abandon to stain his wife’s presidential campaign in the name of saving it, as disclosures about his dubious associates piled up, as his refusal to disclose the names of donors to his presidential library and foundation and his and his wife’s reluctance to release their income-tax returns created crippling and completely avoidable distractions for Hillary Clinton’s own long-suffering ambition, I found myself asking again and again, What’s the matter with him?… There is ample evidence that his eight-year absence from a political workplace that has changed radically in the interim has left him conspicuously rusty at the craft of which he was once a master. There are those friends who worry that Clinton has never been the same since his quadruple-bypass surgery, in 2004, and the unexpected follow-up operation six months later to remove accumulated scar tissue on his lung.

Bill fired back with some libel of his own, calling Purdum “sleazy” and a “scumbag.” Clinton told The Huff Post: “He’s a really dishonest reporter. And one of our guys talked to him … And I haven’t read [the article]. But he told me there’s five or six just blatant lies in there. But he’s a real slimy guy.” Undeterred, VF backed Purdum: “In a response of nearly 2,500 words — a quarter the length of the actual story — former president Bill Clinton’s office fails to address a single factual mistake.” Embarrassingly, Hillary Clinton’s camp later apologised for Bill’s “inappropriate” language, which he now regrets (tail between his legs) using in response to an “outrageously unfair article”. 

And in a sideshow to the sideshow, Purdum also peeved someone else — Gina Gershon, Showgirls “actor”. She’s filed a suit against VF, for  outrageously” insinuating she’d “had an inappropriate s-xual relationship with President Clinton. This is absolutely false.” TMZ has obtained a copy of a demand letter. — Jane Nethercote

Even Pulitzer Prize winners check their popularity. This morning, we spoke with New York Times staff writer Amy Harmon, who just won a Pulitzer-prize for her series, The DNA Age. She helped us settle the dispute about whether Times reporters check the most-emailed list: “We all watch the most emailed list,” she told us. Case closed, although she provided a different take than the ‘NYT reporters are complete ego-maniacs’ explanation offered by Nick Denton. “As a reporter, you want all the response you can get,” Harmon said. Makes sense, but we imagine the truth is somewhere in between the two. — fishbowl NY, mediabistro

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Seven News won again with 1.608 million viewers. Australia’s Got Talent was second at 7.30pm for Seven with 1.583 million, Today Tonight was third with 1.538 million and the fresh episode of i was Ten’s best program (and of the week so far) with 1.459 million. Nine’s 20 to 1 departed in style with 1.388 million viewers at 7.30pm, with All Saints 6th and on 1.339 million in 6th spot. That put it in front of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares Revisited in the same timeslot with 1.256 million. But Gordie was on top of the right demos. The 7pm ABC News was 8th with 1.247 million viewers (and well in front of Nine News in the rankings). Seven’s 7pm show, Home and Away was 9th with 1.228 million and Ten’s 9.30pm repeat of NCIS was 10th with 1.205 million. Nine News was 11th with 1.204 million, Nine’s 7pm repeat of Two and a Half Men averaged 1.192 million and A Current Affair was 13th with 1.133 million viewers. Ladette to Lady averaged 929,000 for Nine at 9.30pm, Medical Emergency on Seven at 9.30pm averaged 941,000 and Renters at 10pm averaged 685,000. Neighbours averaged 872,000 at 6.30pm for Ten.

The Losers: Million Dollar Wheel Of Fortune: 577,000. It’s having no impact on Nine News in closing the gap on Seven. The gaps in Sydney and Brisbane are at all time highs and Seven is back being more competitive in Melbourne. Big Brother, 964,000. Average.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne where Nine was ahead by 2,000 viewers but the 7pm ABC News beat both easily with 400,000 viewers to 375,000 for Nine and 373,000 for Seven News. Today Tonight won everywhere and nationally. The 7pm ABC News finished second ahead of Nine in Brisbane last night. Ten News averaged a solid 938,000 and the late News/Sports Tonight was also strong with 548,000 viewers. The 7.30 Report averaged 942,000; Lateline, 219,000; Lateline Business, 119,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 176,000, Insight, 247,000 and the late News at 9.30pm, 122,000. 7am Sunrise down under 400,000 to 357,000. Today steady on 284,000 from 7am.

The Stats: Seven won 6pm to midnight with a share of 30.0% (28.0%) from Nine with 26.6% (26.5%), Ten with 24.4% (25.2%), the ABC with 14.9% (15.3%) and SBS on 4.0%. Seven won everywhere bar Melbourne. Nine still leads the week 29.3% to 28.5%. In regional areas it was a similar result with prime/7Qld winning with a share of 33.4%, from WIN/NBN with 25.0%, Southern Cross (Ten) on 23.9%, the ABC on 13.0% and SBS with 4.7%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: A win to Seven, but Nine is still in front. Gordon Ramsay still appeals more to Melbournians than it does elsewhere. Adelaide viewers have drifted away. But Gordie scored 432,000 viewers last night in the deep south with his revisits (follow ups) program. It was the most watched program in the Melbourne market on the night and with solid efforts by Nine News, Two and a Half Men and Ladette To Lady led Nine to a win over Seven. Gordie was the tops of the pops in every demo under 55 last night, which will bring a smile to Nine’s dial. In Brisbane though a very different story: Nine was third with Ten second. Gordie, the News and ACA didn’t bounce, nor did they do as well in Sydney for Nine. We said goodbye to Bert’s 20 to 1 for the time being and he proved you can’t keep a good hairstyle down by recording the best figures this year for the clips program over the last two episodes. It will be back, and so should Bert. We also said goodbye to Ladette to Lady. Tonight: Spicks and Specks and The Gruen Transfer. A double goodbye episode from House, Ugly Betty and Criminal Minds from Seven. Fire, Search And Rescue, Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit gives Nine, on paper, a solid line up. But it will be hit by the ABC from 8.30pm to 9.30pm and by Ten’s double episode of House. Anybody’s night.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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