03/12/2007 03:32 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Ombudsblogger: The Hall Monitor Weighs In

Today's little intra-media fracas has given us no choice but to launch a new feature, Ombudsblogger, which from now and 'til evermore will walk the hallowed halls of media, sternly issuing yellow cards to anyone who is running, shoving, or trying to stuff a freshman in a locker. Today's media spat involves Radar and Page Six. Here's what happened: A Radar staffer's cellphone accidentally dialed someone who passed it on to Page Six, resulting in six minutes of staff meeting being piped straight into the newshole. Tough break, Radar, but it happens, and anyhow, now you've got the city looking out for all the naked hot people you're going to have in your next issue. Instead, Radar lobbed back a seriously nasty salvo directed not at Page Six, where the buck stops with Richard Johnson, but specifically at Corynne Steindler, currently the most junior person on the masthead.

Here's what we think: By all means, attack each other. Pull each other to bits — over stuff that matters. Someone goofs, or is careless? Great, call them out. It'll make everyone more careful. Someone has a conflict of interest they don't disclose? Well then, feel free to provide the whole picture. That stuff is important. But why are low blows necessary? If you've got a solid leg to stand on, they shouldn't be. So okay, here we go:
  • Radar, your staffer mainlined your editorial meeting to Page Six. Tough luck. Take your lumps.
  • Page Six, "insipid" is a little unkind. Isn't brainstorming supposed to be about throwing it all out there in a safe space? Bravo to Radar for providing one.
  • Radar, you could do worse than being said to aspire to Spy and Vanity Fair. And you ARE in your third incarnation with a third set of investors.
  • Page Six, considering the attention you pay to really hot people, I would think you'd agree that hot porn models are good for business.
  • Radar, Page Six basically ran an item confirming that you come up with "a million and one" ideas and nurture a creative environment. And now the world knows to expect hot porn pictures. For this you're holding a grudge?
  • Page Six, what magazine doesn't eyeball the competition? A dumb one, frankly — even just to make sure you're not reporting on last month's story. But anyway, we can confirm that the amateur porn story in question is still a go at this point, and that it's a reported feature on "the cultural, social and legal issues associated with online amateur porn." The writer told us that — Radar contributor Peter Hyman, who coincidentally contributes to ETP. He told us about the porn story a few weeks ago, actually. When we saw the item, we asked. Making phone calls can be as useful as receiving them!
Sigh. We wish that had been all. But then Radar had to go and cross the line into abject dickery, ceding the moral highground for a nasty frat-boy laugh. Yeah, you heard me. FOR SHAME. Here's why:
  • According to multiple sources who would know, Steindler at no point attempted to attend or sought to attend the Radar party. It was a good party, dudes, but come on.
  • We are not going to get into the snipey history of Radar's Jeff Bercovici and Page-Six-formerly-Jossip's Steindler. But there is one. Which is a shame because there used to be love, until there wasn't. So anyway, that's why they're blaming this whole thing on the most junior person on the masthead.
  • ETP dealt with the "error prone" charge in September. There but for the grace of God and a copyeditor go us all. Including us. Including them. Including you.
  • Yeah, I'm sure you looked really hard for another photo. We found this one on her MySpace page. ETP stands with Corynne in sisterhood, having sent similarly pleading emails to various websites who ran mortifying photos (and yes, we know we're tempting fate now, but whatever). But wait, what, exactly, are you trying to say when you say that you looked for a "more flattering photo" but "Funny thing--we just couldn't find one?" So, whether or not a flattering photo of a woman can be found has some bearing on the kind of reporting she produces? Wow, that's an AWESOME message, Radar. How many chicks do you guys have on staff again?
  • Making fun of dead celebrity sightings is totally fair game, as is calling out cozy relations with Joe Francis (though they are a year old). But the rest of this nasty, over-the-line attack bullshit is beneath you, and anyone purporting to be taken seriously for the substance of their reporting.

Moral highground: Page Six. You're better than this, Radar — but crap like the above will makes us doubt it soon enough.

Hugs and kisses
The Ombudsblogger

p.s. We're not even getting into the whole Burkle thing. We've already done that. But, you know.
p.p.s. We've corrected this post, which originally said the call went to Page Six. It went to someone who likes Page Six, we guess.