Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sydney's Daily Telegraph honors Steve Dunleavy

The Daily Telegraph

Steve Dunleavy,
hard-nosed legend
with ink in his veins

By Piers Akerman
September 30, 2008 12:00am

LATER this week a special edition of The New York Post will mark the retirement of the last of the great journalists of the pre-electronic era - the Australian Steve Dunleavy.

Dunleavy, or as he occasionally introduced himself, Steven Patrick Francis Aloysius Dunleavy, is that rare thing in these times of five-second celebrities, a genuine legend.

To put his 70-year-life and 55-year career into some perspective, Dunleavy's name was known from Hong Kong to Halifax, Melbourne to Miami, in a period pre-dated computers and fax machines and the now ubiquitous mobile phone.

When he began as a cadet on the old Sydney Sun, many homes didn't even have a telephone, and calls were made from coin-operated telephones found in quaint weatherproof boxes generally located on street corners.

Interstate telephone calls had to be booked in advance from operators who worked for the Postmaster-General's department in each capital and newspapers relied on banks of telex machines for their national and international news stories.

Reporters didn't go to Google looking for stories, or to idiot-traps like Wikipedia for their "facts".

Newsrooms were packed with experienced professionals who had learnt their craft after progressing through a series of rounds designed to instil in them a love of words and a reverence for truth.

The sub-editors' desk was a repository of collective memory and institutional wisdom, experts could be found there on almost every topic, and most were willing to take likely beginners through their stories, word by word, paragraph by paragraph to help them get it right.

Good editors knew what a story was, knew how to campaign, and didn't need to sit behind one-way glass listening to focus groups fantasise about visions and perfect worlds.

There were no media studies degrees and no courses in journalism in Australia, and when they did emerge, they were largely staffed by those who hadn't been able to make it in a professional news organisation.

If anyone did appear with a qualification in journalism, it was assumed they had not made their name on the road.

There was probably the same ratio of misfits and malcontents attracted to the media as there is today, and the bars near newsrooms had their share of psychologically damaged souls who had never heard of stress counselling. Alcohol and mateship carried those who had seen scenes they would never wish upon anyone through their torment.

In this world of clattering typewriters, ringing telephones, and cigarette-etched desks, Dunleavy was king.

He had a nose (quite a feature of his handsome face, actually) for a story. He had charm and personality to spare.

If he could get through on a telephone, he had the story half-written, if he could get his foot in a door and speak face-to-face with his subject, the story was on its way to the presses.

While some reporters began their day with a prayer which started: "Lord, forgive us our press passes", Dunleavy's began with cold beer.

He would pounce on a telephone as soon as it rang, in case there was someone with a story to tell. He was a great listener, and a great charmer, and the stories of his extraordinary success with women are all true.

He did have his ankle broken by a passing mini-van when he was making love on a drift of snow formed between some parked cars (he spread his coat on the snow as a blanket for his friend) across from Elaine's nightclub during a New York blizzard, and such was his devotion to the moment that he didn't realise what had happened till he was dancing later that evening.

He did romance one of Ted Kennedy's "boiler-room" girls to get the inside story on the events that led to Mary Jo Kopechne's tragic death in Ted Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick in 1969, and his then-wife, Yvonne, did co-author The Happy Hooker with Dutch madam Xaviera Hollander.

While he graduated from the university of hard knocks, he knew his way around enough to guide me on my first visit to Harvard more than 30 years ago. That we were en route to the maximum security Walpole prison to visit the Boston Strangler, Albert de Salvo (above), is another story.

He later wrote a weekly column, This I Believe, which ushered in the Reagan era and the restoration of American pride, and he became a star of a tabloid television show produced by another old Sydney reporter, Peter Brennan.

He stood up for cops and firemen and servicemen and women, and he wrote of his pride and tears when his own son, US Army Captain Peter Dunleavy, went to Iraq in 2004.

Tomorrow night, Australia's global media giant Rupert Murdoch, the editor-in-chief of the NY Post, Col Allan, and a galaxy of media greats will stand up for Steve as he turns in his NYPD press card.

Big drinks will be taken, even bigger stories will be told, and the final paragraph will be written on the reporting days of a man who fiercely burnt the candle at both ends and in the middle, living the life he loved.

Steve Dunleavy Tabloid Master Class Part 4

We continue our special presentation of journalism legend and cultural icon Steve Dunleavy's master class on tabloid journalism.

This morning's lesson:

Aussie rhyming slang.

Steve's being feted by Rupert Murdoch at a retirement party tomorrow night.

This is the place where we're cutting through the jealousies and politics show why Dunleavy is so influential. And so good.

More lessons to follow. Stay tuned here.

(From the Tabloid Baby-Frozen Pictures production: Steve Dunleavy: The Man and His Music).

Steve Dunleavy Tabloid Master Class Part 3

Journalism legend and cultural icon Steve Dunleavy talks about objectivity in this special master class on tabloid journalism.

Rupert Murdoch and The New York Post are throwing Dunleavy a retirement party on Wednesday.

More lessons to follow. Stay tuned here.

(From the Tabloid Baby-Frozen Pictures production: Steve Dunleavy: The Man and His Music).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Steve Dunleavy Tabloid Master Class Part 2

Journalism legend and cultural icon Steve Dunleavy continues his master class on tabloid journalism with his thoughts on the elements of a good story.

More lessons to follow.

Stay tuned here.

(From the Tabloid Baby-Frozen Pictures production: Steve Dunleavy: The Man and His Music).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Steve Dunleavy Tabloid Master Class Part 1

They're throwing Steve Dunleavy a retirement party in a saloon on West 46th Street Wednesday night. Time to cut through all the spinners-- the snarky gawkerstalkers, hoity-toit print libs and twenty five-dollar-haircuts-on-twenty-five-cent heads who read the network Teleprompters-- and understand why the man who wrote Elvis What Happened? is so beloved, so important and so influential.

Heck, most of you only know Paul Newman from the supermarket shelves.

So begins a master class in tabloid journalism from the master.

More lessons to follow.

Stay tuned here.

(From the Tabloid Baby-Frozen Pictures production: Steve Dunleavy: The Man and His Music).

The New York Times praises Steve Dunleavy

In tomorrow's (Monday's) paper:

A 'Tabloid Guy' Calls It a Night
After 41 Year With Murdoch


Published: September 28, 2008

There are so many stories about the life and times of Steve Dunleavy, the longtime New York Post columnist and even longer-time Rupert Murdoch acolyte, that some, inevitably, have evolved over the years.

Many of the tales involve copious amounts of alcohol. But not this one. It goes like this: As a young copyboy in Australia 55 years ago, Mr. Dunleavy was so hungry for a story that he popped the tires of his father’s car at a murder scene. His father, a photographer at a rival paper, could not get to the post office to transmit photos, and Mr. Dunleavy, then about 15 years old, earned his paper a big scoop.

That is how Mr. Murdoch remembers it.

Mr. Dunleavy tells a different version. Yes, he punctured the tires of a car, but it was owned by his father’s newspaper and he did not know his dad was there. And it was not a murder but the story of a group of missing hikers.

“That story gets told and told, and each time it gets a little bit more whiskers on it,” Mr. Dunleavy said.

After 55 years in journalism — 41 of them spent working for Mr. Murdoch — Mr. Dunleavy is seeing the curtain come down on his career. He has been an unabashed friend to police officers, firefighters, civil servants and the occasional mobster and the scourge of polite society and liberals.

In his heyday, Mr. Dunleavy was the personification of Mr. Murdoch’s brand of tabloid journalism, both in print and, for 10 years beginning in the mid-1980s, on television. He was an on-air reporter for “A Current Affair,” a news magazine whose sensationalized mix of crime and celebrity inspired a lot of what is on television today, like TMZ.com, Court TV and Fox News Channel.

“Steve was very much involved in educating America about the joys and pleasures of tabloid journalism,” said Col Allan, editor in chief of The New York Post. “In many ways, Steve has represented the News Corp. culture — that is, hard work, hard play, laughing.”

Mr. Dunleavy also tweaked the political landscape of the city, proving that populism in New York City could come from the right and not just from the cadre of well-known left-leaning columnists of the time, men like Pete Hamill, Jimmy Breslin, Murray Kempton and Jack Newfield.

“Politically, the notion that there could be a populist, right-wing columnist in New York seemed almost inconceivable at the time, but that’s exactly what he was,” said Jonathan Mahler, author of “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning,” a chronicle of New York City’s turbulent times in 1977, and a contributor to The New York Times Magazine. “All of the iconic New York columnists were liberal, and Dunleavy was like the party crasher.”

There were times when his political instincts seemed to lead him astray, such as his championing of Wayne DuMond, who had been convicted in Arkansas of raping a distant cousin of former President Bill Clinton, who was governor of Arkansas at the time of the rape.

Mr. Dunleavy wrote a series of columns defending Mr. DuMond, who was eventually paroled, only to be convicted of murder in Missouri. And of course, Mr. Dunleavy has steadfastly refused to accept any criticism of the police — perhaps most notably by supporting the officers who were convicted in the case of Abner Louima, who was assaulted in the bathroom of a Brooklyn precinct in 1997.

But Mr. Murdoch has always liked party crashers, being one himself. Long before the News Corporation, his media conglomerate, conquered the world with cable news, movies and satellite television, it was an Australian newspaper company looking for a toehold in the United States. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Dunleavy was working in New York for United Press International, the wire service, which had its office in a building that also housed the foreign correspondents for Mr. Murdoch’s newspapers. It was there that Mr. Dunleavy met Mr. Murdoch, whom he now refers to simply as “the boss.”

In a nearly three-hour chat last week at Mr. Dunleavy’s home in Long Island, where he lives with his wife of 37 years, Gloria — hours in which he drank just two cans of Budweiser — he was uncharacteristically contemplative, melancholy even, but funny all the same.

He is in frail health, he says, because of back problems, which prevent him from moving around easily — although he insisted on fetching his second beer himself. Mr. Dunleavy and his wife have two sons, one a police officer, the other a soldier who has served in Iraq.

“I always had dreams of dying at the desk,” he said. “It’s frustrating not doing what I love best, and serving, I know it sounds corny, the one who I admire the most. Murdoch. The boss.”

It is a relationship that has spanned more than four decades, one that put Mr. Dunleavy, now 70, at Mr. Murdoch’s side as he popularized tabloid journalism.

“He was livelier than Solomon, and he was always the most entertaining reporter,” Mr. Murdoch recalled in a telephone interview last week.

Of Mr. Murdoch, Mr. Dunleavy says, “even though he’s done so well in TV and movies, I think if you asked him, he’d say he’s first a newspaperman.”

After working for several years as a correspondent in New York for Mr. Murdoch’s Australian and British papers, Mr. Dunleavy was tapped for a Murdoch start-up business in New York, The Star, a supermarket tabloid to compete with The National Enquirer. In 1976, Mr. Murdoch bought The New York Post, which was then a liberal newspaper.

“Murdoch took it over and Murdoch-ized it,” said Mr. Mahler. “And Dunleavy was at the center of it.”

In 1977, Mr. Dunleavy’s reporting on the infamous Son of Sam serial murder case reinvigorated The Post. Before Mr. Dunleavy hopped on the story, The Post had basically conceded it to The Daily News’s Jimmy Breslin.

“They kept spiking his copy,” said Mr. Murdoch, “while Breslin was leading every day. It was just killing The Post and killing Dunleavy. So I made a change because of that.” Mr. Murdoch brought in new editors, and Mr. Dunleavy began earning his own scoops — in one instance by sneaking into a hospital, dressed in clothes that looked like hospital scrubs, to interview a victim’s family.

“Steve is one of the three people in America who loves Rupert Murdoch,” said Mr. Breslin. “In a time of listless reporting, he climbed stairs. And he wrote simple declarative sentences that people could read, as opposed to these 52-word gems that moan, ‘I went to college! I went to graduate school college! Where do I put the period?’ ”

Mr. Hamill used to drink with Mr. Dunleavy at Costello’s, an old Manhattan saloon favored by reporters.

“He always had this energy,” Mr. Hamill said. “I always thought he was writing his columns like he was double-parked. He was a tabloid guy in every fiber of his body. If it didn’t have conflict, he didn’t want to write it.”

In 1988, the federal government forced Mr. Murdoch to sell The Post because he had bought a television station in New York, WNYW-Channel 5 (five years later, he reacquired the newspaper out of bankruptcy). It was around this time that Mr. Dunleavy’s television career was born on “A Current Affair.”

Recently, invitations went out to a slew of New York city journalists, police officers, lawyers, firefighters — and who knows who else — inviting them to a party given by Mr. Murdoch this week to celebrate Mr. Dunleavy’s retirement. Note that the party is not being held at Langan’s, the Midtown Manhattan bar around the corner from The New York Post’s newsroom that for years served as Mr. Dunleavy’s office.

He had a routine, normally arriving at Langan’s around lunchtime for a day of reporting. “You’d always know if he was hung over from the night before because he would have a cold beer right away,” said Des O’Brien, the owner of Langan’s. “He’d work the phone all day and various people would come in and out. He’d put in a full workday.”

If Mr. Dunleavy seems like a character out of a movie — the gruff, hard-drinking troublemaking journalist — that is because he is. Robert Downey Jr.’s role as an Australian TV reporter in Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers” is said to have been based on Mr. Dunleavy. He was also a character in “The Bronx Is Burning,” which was made into a mini-series on ESPN.

“When I first came around, there was some very good newspapermen in New York,” Mr. Dunleavy said. “But increasingly, they started leaning on this Columbia School of Journalism thing. That you wanted your mom to be proud. That it was a profession.

“Journalism is a craft, like being a master plumber. We wore white collars, but we were blue collar.”

This generational clash became evident to Mr. Dunleavy years ago when he was on the campaign plane for Robert Dole, the former senator who ran for president in 1996, and saw younger reporters heading off to health clubs at the end of the day.

“As soon as we’d stop, we’d go have a gargle,” he says. “I think the younger generation is far better served going to the gym rather than the gin mill. No question about it. But we learned from our elders.”

Mr. Dunleavy gets to Manhattan infrequently nowadays, usually only when he has to see doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital, leaving voids at Langan’s, The Post’s newsroom and Elaine’s, the Upper East Side restaurant that was Mr. Dunleavy’s other favorite nightspot.

One night last week at Elaine’s, Elaine Kaufman, the proprietor, recounted the time that Mr. Dunleavy left the bar with a woman during a snowstorm and was hit by a truck. “He didn’t want to go the hospital,” recalled Ms. Kaufman. “And then there he was on the gurney.”

Mr. Dunleavy has not written much lately — he has been in a sort of unofficial retirement while he tends to his health. If he never writes again, his last byline was a tribute to his friend Tim Russert, the late NBC newsman.

“I laugh easily and loudly, but like so many of us, sometimes not sincerely,” Mr. Dunleavy wrote in June. “But with Tim, you responded with more than just a belly laugh — you’d end up in hysterics with tears streaming down your face.”

Probably more than a few can say the same about Mr. Dunleavy. “He’s a legend in his time,” said Mr. Murdoch.

Video: Sarah Palin shows off her ass in pageant

The 1984 Miss Alaska pageant.

Pop quiz for tabloid fans: What goes on behind the scenes at backwoods beauty pageants?

Now find those photos and video for an October surprise...

Sarah Palin saved from witchcraft by witch hunter

Sarah Palin takes part in a 2005 service at the Wasilla Assembly of God Pentecostal church in Alaska, in which preacher and "witch hunter" Thomas Muthee calls for witches and other Palin enemies to be defeated.

"In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, every form of witchcraft is what you rebuke. In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, father make away now.

"Come on, talk to God about this woman. We declare, save her from Satan. Make her way, my God. Bring finances her way even for the campaign in the name of Jesus. Use her to turn this nation the other way around."

He didn't protect her from Katie Couric now, did he?

Dr. Ruehl stars in Ed McMahon's rap video

Reports in recent days that beleaguered TV icon Ed McMahon is making the most of his recent financial troubles by appearing in a "rap" video ad for a credit reporting company left out the most important part of the story: Tabloid Baby pal, contributor and columnist Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. is McMahon's co-star in the clip!

The good doctor, wjo along with his genius and tabloid work is very much in demand as an actor in TV, movie and music videos, tells us:

"I portray a street preacher in Ed McMahon's new internet segment, an ad for Freecreditreport.com entitled 'McGangster,' in which he sings a rap song about his financial problerms, rides a pit bull and two hotties, dances with several folks, is in a barber shop, and is yelled at by a street corner preacher--portrayed by yours truly!

"Ed shot the ad over a two-day period (Sept.22 & 23) in Los Angeles, including scenes in many "gangsta" neighborhoods.

"He was quite congenial, shaking all of the cast members' hands.

"In one dance scene in a motel room,where everyone was dancing around him as he rapped, he asked that cast members endeavor not to bump into him as he did not want to fall, considering that he broke his neck during his last fall.

"I portrayed the soapbox preacher(actually,on a street corner on a soapbox with my Bible, waving a 'REPENT' sign and wearing my 3-tailed raccoon Stetson hat."

Ear swabs and angels in Dr. Ruehl's Bizarre News

Tabloid Baby pal, contributor, columnist and TV, movie and music video star Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. is back with another edition of The Realm of Bizarre News, this time warnings of the dangers of ear swabs and, quite controversially, smashing a myth about angels!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Exclusive! Steve Dunleavy: A Man and His Music

Anyone who's read the book Tabloid Baby knows that Steve Dunleavy is the greatest and most influential journalist of the past fifty years. And for all the mainstream, highfalutin, latte-sipping scribes and network newscopiers who publicly look down their noses at him, there are hundreds of reporters, writers, editors, producers, newsreaders and execs who were lucky enough to learn at his fancy feet.

This is the first in a series of exclusive clips from the Tabloid Baby-Frozen Pictures production, Steve Dunleavy: The Man and His Music.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The New York Times picks up our exclusive Joan Rivers-AOL censorship story-- and copies our TMZ angle-- without giving us credit, of course

We reported exclusively on Monday that AOL had backed out of a deal to link to and promote Joan and Melissa Rivers' Emmy red carpet coverage on MyHollywood.com because the AOL suits found their zingers and comic commentary to be offensive.

And we had a good laugh, seeing that AOL sponsors, owns and hosts the subliterate swill-spewing celebutard space, the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com:

"...AOL is offended? AOL is an owner of the corporate porn-pushing gossip site, TMZ.com, that cesspool of celebutard sleaze that oozes out piles of lowbrow, poorly-written smut like these headlines from today..."

Well, today the New York Times got into the act. They finally covered the story-- a little late, but hey-- and took our angle, to boot:

"...But when AOL saw the video it rescinded the offer, telling MyHollywood it was too offensive - which is saying something considering that AOL has ties to the raunchy celebrity gossip site, TMZ.com..."

Did they give us credit, a plug or a link? Of course not. But then again, if those nudniks copying our coverage of the Israel Baseball League couldn't give a nod, what can we expect from the Old Gray Lady?

Hockey coach pol is named as Sarah Palin's alleged illicit lover

From the
Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

Wasilla, Alaska
August 16, 2008

PALMER — Palmer’s run for city council won’t be a race as only two candidates filed for the two seats up for election this year. Kevin Brown and Brad Hanson will be elected, assuming a write-in candidate doesn’t emerge and garner at least the second-most votes for council.

This year’s candidate turnout in Palmer pales in comparison to last year, when five residents ran for two open council seats. The 2007 race, however, also featured an uncontested race for mayor, with Mayor John Combs running...

Brad Hanson
Coming off his 10th year as a Palmer city councilman, Hanson said he’s running for another term because he wants to finish what he’s started.

“I’ve been doing it for 10 years,” Hanson said of his council service. “I’m interested in the city of Palmer.”

Hanson said while he feels the council has made much progress over the past decade, there’s still work to be done.

“There are some things that still need to be done to improve the quality of life here,” Hanson said.

Born in Montana, Hanson moved to Alaska at age 2, landing in Glennallen with his family. He moved to Palmer when he was 6 and has lived there for 40 years now.

The offense coordinator for Palmer High School’s football team and head coach of Palmer’s varsity hockey team, Hanson also owns some property from which he makes a living.

Educated at Northern Arizona University and the University of Alaska Anchorage, he holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and also has a master of business administration.

Hanson said some of the improvements that have happened while he’s been on council include more recreational opportunities for area youth, the paving of many Palmer streets and the beautification of downtown.

Now, Hanson said one of his objectives is to increase the shopping opportunities in Palmer while maintaining the town’s appeal.

For those worried about big-box stores crowding the streets in Palmer, Hanson said a large retail ordinance passed years ago already addresses how the city would handle such growth.

“It doesn’t prohibit large retail,” Hanson said. “What it says is here are some values we deem important to our community.”

Hanson went on to call shopping a quality-of-life issue, adding that if residents have to leave Palmer to buy the goods they need, the city is not being a “full-service community.”

Not only that, but Hanson said Palmer is exporting its sales tax revenue to Wasilla by being deficient in some of the stores at which many residents want to shop.

“Small-town charm costs money,” Hanson said. “It costs a lot of money.”

Unlike Brown, Hanson said he isn’t disappointed more people didn’t file to run for a council seat. During his next term, Hanson said he’ll continue doing what he feels he’s done for the past decade.

“I’m just going to try to do the best job I can,” he said.

National Enquirer has details of Sarah Palin's alleged extramarital affair

"There are three things folks, even conservative Christian types,
do in Alaska:
Drink, screw and swing."
--Tabloid Baby, September 2, 2008

The National Enquirer follows up on its allegations that Sarah Palin had an extramarital affair.

They name the "other man" as Brad Hanson.

Also married.They were both married at the time. Three members of Hanson's family have already sworn by affidavit that Palin and Hanson were having an extramarital affair!

Hanson owned a snowmobile dealership along with Palin's husband Todd. Todd ended the partnership in 1996 after learning of the affair.

Despite denials from Palin and Hanson, Jim Burdett, a Hanson family confidante passed a polygraph test.

“I’ve known about Brad having had an affair for a long time, but it wasn’t until just recently that I learned his affair was with Sarah Palin. Sarah was elected mayor of Wasilla, Brad became a city council member in the nearby town of Palmer, and they started an affair.

"Todd found out about the affair and was so mad he broke up their partnership at the snowmobile dealership.”

An anonymous source has given a sworn affidavit, saying, “Todd was away on business a lot and Sarah felt lonely. Brad was a good listener, and Sarah talked to him at length. Eventually, she real ized she was falling in love with him. When Todd got back from one of his trips, Sarah told him that she had begun to have feelings for Brad.”

File that lawsuit now, McCain camp. And what about you, "mainstream" media?

Another sign of the Apocalypse

Monday, September 22, 2008


After all the talk about political censorship at last night's Emmy Awards, we just got word that the war against free speech has spread in the most ridiculous and hypocritical fashion, as AOL has censored and banned Joan Rivers!

Joan and daughter Melissa last night delivered their by-now-traditional politically-incorrect and often very funny red carpet commentary for the new website MyHollywood.com. AOL, which hired the team for its Oscar red carpet coverage earlier this year, had a deal to hype and link to the video clips.

But when the AOL suits got a listen to Joan and Melissa's observations, they said they were offended and refused to link to MyHollywood.com! Watch the clip above. Was it their criticism of Oprah Winfrey? Or Joan's sighting of a "Third Reich Hair" trend?

Either way, it's to laugh. AOL is offended? AOL is an owner of the corporate porn-pushing gossip site, TMZ.com, that cesspool of celebutard sleaze that oozes out piles of lowbrow, poorly-written smut like these headlines from today:

Poke 'Em-- She Hardly Knew 'Em
Smothers to Emmys: It's About F'n Time!
Cook's Crappy Defense: Belushi's Ghost Owns Me

AOL banned Joan and Melissa Rivers over a free speech issue?

The Rivers' commentary sounds to us like traditional Jewish American humour in the spirit of Mel Brooks' The Producers, Springtime for Hitler, Jackie Mason's "Nazi bastards"-- even Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi"-- Wait a minute! We're explaining this? Joan Rivers is one of America's most cherished comedians. Did anyone notice that they showed George Carlin's picture twice in the Emmys Dead Celebrities tribute?

Funny that MyHollywood.com is a very friendly femme-based destination for celeb and entertainment news, casual games, fashion and community. Sounds like AOL is jealous of the competition.

Mark Day gives Steve Dunleavy his due

All too many latte-sipping American "mainstream media" professionals journos thumb their noses at true journos like Steve Dunleavy. His countryman Mark Day today gives him the honor he deserves (and be sure to read to the third-to-last graph):

The Australian September 22, 2008

Steve Dunleavy, the last of the old-school legends


IT is difficult to summon the words to adequately describe the amazing life and swashbuckling style of Australia's legendary news man Steven Francis Patrick Aloysius Dunleavy. Outrageous, extravagant, inimitable and hugely successful don't do it justice.

He has been called the Keith Richards of tabloid journalism, but that's half-arsed. It should be that Keith Richards is the Steve Dunleavy of rock music.

The Dunleavy era of journalism, which began at the Sydney Sun in 1952, has ended. It kind of petered out a few months ago when Dunleavy's legs gave out.

He said it was a vascular problem; genetic inheritance and all that, but it was probably the booze. It deserved to be, for few human beings have ingested the volumes of vodka to rival Steve and lived to tell the tale.

Dunleavy will be farewelled on October 1 at the Bourbon Street Bar and Grille on New York's west side. No doubt the entire zone will be secured by Steve's mates, the New York cops, probably backed up by the city's firemen and a platoon of US Marines, all of whom he has rabidly supported with his hard-hitting, between-the-eyes outpourings over the years. His views were right wing, some would say in the extreme, but they were genuinely held, and they earned him the title of American of the Year from the good ol' boys of the lunar right in the 70s.

They don't make 'em like Dunleavy any more. As Ken Chandler, a former editor of the New York Post said: "You put him on a story and he just goes until he gets it. It's the old way of doing things. I wish I had a newsroom of Dunleavys."

Dunleavy left Sydney in the late 50s and worked in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Spain and London before arriving, destitute, in the Big Apple.

Dunleavy and I worked together in the News Limited bureau in the NY Daily News building from 1968 to 1970. Much of our work involved rewriting material to give it an Australian flavour, but that was too mundane for Steve. He got a scoop when he interviewed the notorious serial killer Albert DeSalvo, aka the Boston Strangler, in jail. The visit was approved because DeSalvo was entitled to have one visitor a month -- and no one had asked. It is a lesson for all reporters: if you don't ask, you don't get.

In this period Dunleavy also put to test Teddy Kennedy's story about the accident on Chappaquiddick that killed his campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne. He swam the swift-flowing channel that Kennedy said he had negotiated to call help. When asked why he did it, Dunleavy said: "Because I'm from Bondi and I can."

Dunleavy was a reporter on the National Star, Rupert Murdoch's first foray into American publishing. The editor, our old bureau chief Ray Kerrison, of Cobgogla, South Australia, recalls that the Star's rival, the National Enquirer, had "paid a ransom for the exclusive serial rights to the hottest book of the decade -- Judith Exner's revelations about her affair with President Kennedy".

Kerrison says: "The book was under lock and key, guarded tighter than Fort Knox. One day, I told Steve, 'We've got to get a copy of the book and beat the Enquirer to the punch'. Steve said, 'Boss, gimme some time and I'll get it'.

"He disappeared. A few days later he turned up in my office, clutching a copy of the Exner book. I couldn't believe my eyes. 'My God,' I said to him, 'Where the hell did you get that?' Steve looked a bit sheepish and said, 'Boss, don't ask. You wouldn't want to know.'

"We 'reviewed' the Exner book in the next issue. The Star's circulation went through the roof. The Enquirer went berserk, threatening to sue us to kingdom come, etc. To this day, I don't know how Steve got his hands on that book. I dare not ask. But it was just one of his scoops in a lifetime of working the streets."

And then there was Elvis. Dunleavy met a pair of Elvis Presley's bodyguards and worked on them with liquor and charm. They told stories of the excess and madness that had turned Elvis into a gross parody of his former self, which Dunleavy cobbled together into a book called Elvis: What Happened.

It was published the day Elvis died and spent 16 weeks on top of the New York Times best seller lists. In typical fashion, Dunleavy just wrote the book, handing all rights to Murdoch as publisher. To his credit, Murdoch bought him a house on Long Island.

There are many such stories that contributed to the Dunleavy legend. But there were also moments when he was reminded that his world was not necessarily shared or aspired to by others.

Visiting Sydney in the early 70s, after more than a dozen years away, Dunleavy walked into the bar at the now demolished Invicta Hotel. A photographer from his old Daily Mirror police rounds days looked up from his beer and said: "G'day Steve. Been on holidays, have ya?"

Just as it is hard to describe Dunleavy's life without excessive superlatives, it is impossible not to mention sex. It is said Dunleavy would f..k anyone or anything for a story, and that is true.

He got a scoop for the News of the World when he wined, dined, seduced and ignobly reported the pillow-talk and tears of one of Teddy Kennedy's "boiler room" girls after the Chappaquiddick scandal. I visited him one evening in his New York apartment. He opened the door and greeted me, naked, before introducing me to a star witness in a police corruption investigation, also naked. They were engaged in an in-depth, probing interview of sorts -- another scoop.

To many women, Steve was sex on a stick. They loved his bouffant hair, his salacious eyes and cheeky patter, as well as his reputation as a pants man extraordinaire. When his exploits became grist to the mill of Burt Kearns' book Tabloid Baby, Dunleavy wrote in his Post column: "Of course, I normally would have sued the son-of-a-gun for what he wrote about me, but I can't -- it's all doggone true."

Now it's sayonara, Steve. Wherever journalists gather for years to come, they'll talk of his exploits. There'll be tut-tuts about the booze and his Rabelaisian excesses, but there will also be agreement that he was the last of the old-school legends.

I can't be in New York for Dunleavy's farewell, but from afar I'll lift a jar to one of the most enduring, generous, loyal and endearing friends of my life.

www.mday@ozemail.com.au Blog: www.theaustralian.com.au

Friday, September 19, 2008

Flying Piggy! Mountbattens in hot new video!

The Mountbattens are an awesome Rutles tribute group from Tokyo who've gotten international attention with their inclusion in The Seventh Python, the new Neil Innes biopic from our pals at Frozen Pictures. Now, in the afterglow of the film's world premiere, the Mountbattens are reaching out from their home in Tokyo clubland by posting a new clip of a killer version of what is perhaps Neil's greatest Rutles tune, Piggy in The Middle.

Amy Winehouse makes Dr. Ruehl's Bizarre News

The Realm Of Bizarre News 39: Amy Winehouse Scarecrow

Tabloid Baby pal, contributor, columnist and TV, movie and music video star Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. has Amy Winehouse in this week's Realm of Bizarre News. And who starred in Arsenic & Old Lace?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Palin and Hannity: What a joke

Sean Hannity sure does make us get kind of sick. He thinks Charlie Daniels and Phyllis Schlafly and John Leboutillier are good role models. He and the callers on his radio show keep calling each other "Great Americans." What the fuck makes him a "great American"? He was a radio jock who took up conservatism as a shtick and then rode it to success... he's no better than a TV preacher because he lies. He lies about Barack Obama and he lies about his life just like Howard Stern lied about his life when he was on the radio. And he yells so much on his radio show now that it's no fun listening.

Hannity's a GOP lapdog, which is why they let him sit with Sarah Palin for an interview that made not a blip on the national scene.

We'll leave it to comedy legend Chris Bearde, the satirist who's been coming out with The Daily McCain, to take on Hannity, who's full of it:

In her Fox interview with Sean Hannity... Palin came across as somebody who recently spent time with Christopher Nance renovating her trailer.

Sean Hannity had tough questions about the economy... unfortunately he didn't ask her any of them...but he did find out that she'd recently discovered lip gloss.

She's so shallow that standing up she looked like she was sitting down.

She didn't look like a deer because Fox turned off the headlights.

She didn't have trouble answering any tough questions because Rachael Maddow is on MSNBC.

Palin refused to talk about Bristol's baby daddy but did say the marriage would take place when everyone is locked and loaded.

Palin makes Hillary Clinton look like a woman!

Sean Hannity's questions were so soft only Viagra could have changed them.

Palin is so white she broke the tanning machine.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dunleavy retires

His health, his age, the new generation who know too much to learn from the giants among us, and the passage of time all lead to what we've known about for some time but have kept it close within the tabloid family because Steve's family.

The "mainstream" journos will write and talk about Dunleavy like he's a relic, but even as a columnist he's always been the world's oldest cub reporter, always as hungry to chase down the next story as he was the last, never sitting back to toss snark or pontificate, but scared to death he'll miss out on the next scoop. "All's fair in love, war and newsgathering," he'd say, but he also taught us to do anything for a story but do anything for a friend.

We'll not wait until October 1st, but lift a glass tonight to Dunleavy.

And tomorrow night...

(Read the best Steve Dunleavy tales, and they're all true, in Tabloid Baby.

The Enquirer's latest Sarah Palin story II

Following the email story. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Even Sarah Palin's tan is fake

Sarah Palin's "narrative" is being disassembled piece-by-piece, and we can only hope that it is finally broken down to its bitter, vengeful, cynical, dysfunctional and corrupt dyed roots before Election Day.

The latest report that's spreading around the Internet and into the "mainstream" is from The Narco News Bulletin, which reveals that the healthy, outdoorsy tan displayed on the candidate's face and legs is fake, and that for real the cost-cutting reform she lies about, Palin charged somebody to have a $35,000, cancer-causing tanning bed installed in the governor's mansion in Juneau, so she could bake and tan when she wasn't charging taxpayers her travel per diem fees for the days she spent at her home in Wasilla.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Rick Wright death premonition?

The magazine at the top of the stack in the Tabloid Baby office restroom is a MOJO from October 1996 with the Beatles in the cover. For the past week or so, it's just happened to have been opened to pages 104 and 105, in the middle of the reviews section, highlighted by A Blacker Shade of Pink, a review of Broken China, the third album from Rick Wright of Pink Floyd, the guy who got fired from the original band in the Seventies and then hired back as a salaryman on tours, described therein as "always the most low-key figure in the equation.

"The subject matter of his third solo album, namely a friend's clinical depression, offers a rare peek into his private life... furthermore... it also passes the test of any Floyd-related outing by sounding jaw-droppingly great on the headphones."

And there's a brief interview:

Do you have any contact with Syd?

I read that he's now going blind. It's terribly sad. We don't go and see him because apparently if he's even reminded of Pink Floyd he goes into a depression for weeks on end. His mother asked us to stay away a few years ago. Apparently most of the time he's quite happy-- or was-- but our faces can trigger off a lapse.

Syd Barrett died July 2006. The mag also has a rare interview with Neil Aspinall (died March 2008). Evan Dando's on the same page.

Rick Wright's first solo album was called Wet Dream.

It was a heart attack, not a shark attack

Legendary Montauk shark fisherman Frank Mundus, the model for Quint in Jaws, is dead at 82.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Alaskan women reject embarrassment Sarah Palin

From today's Anchorage Daily News:

Anti-Palin activists stage their own rally

MIDTOWN: Hundreds show up when word spreads over Internet.


A crowd of anti-Sarah Palin protesters gathered in Midtown Anchorage soon after the Republican nominee for vice president left Alaska to resume campaigning in the Lower 48.

The Saturday protest in front of the Loussac Library appeared bigger than any Anchorage has seen in recent memory. The crowd looked to be in the high hundreds at least, and organizers said they counted 1,500. It included roughly 100 counter protesters supporting Palin.

Planning for the protest began as discussions over coffee by a small group calling itself "Alaska Women Reject Palin." As recently as Friday, the group thought it possible that just 10 people would show up to the event. But it went viral on the Internet, with friends forwarding e-mails to friends, and people saying they saw a chance to vent their frustration over what several called the myth of Palin.

"Sarah Palin frightens the hell out of me. I don't want her anywhere near the White House," said Marybeth Holleman of Anchorage.

Protesters had a wide range of beefs with the governor. They included backers of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, abortion rights proponents, advocates for wolves and polar bears, opponents of the Iraq war, and people who said Palin is not ready to be a heartbeat from the presidency.

Alison Till, a geologist in Anchorage with the U.S. Geological Survey, said issues such as energy and global warming require solid and unbiased science to make good decisions. Palin's opposition to listing the polar bear as threatened under the endangered species act and her support of teaching creationism in public schools are not the hallmarks of someone who relies upon solid science, Till argued.

"She is unqualified," Till said.

Palin said in a 2006 debate during the governor's race that she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools, but she has not pressed that agenda in the governor's office.

Palin supporters at the protest said she has done a lot of good as governor, including the $1,200 energy rebate checks all Alaskans just received from the state.

"I'll bet on the other side none of those people are going to reject that and send it back," said Rick Case.

Many in the pro-Palin group said they heard about the event on the Eddie Burke radio show on KYBR AM in Anchorage.

Palin opponents said the Burke show also inspired many of them to show up after Burke gave out cell phone numbers of protest organizers on his show.

"We were bombarded with all kinds of hateful, abusive, intimidating phone calls," said Charla Sterne, one of the organizers.

Burke was at the Saturday protest, carrying a sign that said "Alaska is not Frisco." He said the women sent out the phone numbers in a press release about the protest, and he didn't realize they were personal cell numbers.

Burke said he's apologized for calling the Alaska Women Reject Palin group "maggots."

"I used the words socialist, baby killing maggots," said Burke, adding he's only taking back the part about maggots.

Burke said he didn't want the women threatened but thought it arrogant when they denounced Palin's record and position on issues important to "most women and families." As Burke spoke to a reporter at the protest, an angry group formed around him, and a woman declared he "deserves the man of the year award for beating up on women."

"Am I a maggot?" another woman asked.

The protest, which went on for over three hours, appeared peaceful despite the opposing camps. Police were at the scene but were taking a hands-off approach.

It took on a relaxed, almost carnival air. A man with a "Palin Power" sign stood agreeably next to a woman with a placard that said "McBush Palin = More Exxon Justices." One person strolled through the crowd wearing a polar bear suit. A dog was wearing a target that said "Sarah Slaughters Wolves."

There were signs that said "Bush in a Skirt" and signs that said "Palin for President."

Many chanted "O-bam-ah," while, on the other side of the street, the chant was "Sar-ah!" Drums pounded and drivers honked solidarity with one camp or the other.

The protest started about two hours after Palin gave a speech to enthusiastic supporters at a downtown rally. Palin enjoyed high approval ratings in polls as governor, but her candidacy for vice president seems far more divisive.

"Democrats don't like Sarah's conservative views. She's the ultimate of what they are opposed to," said Tony Patrone, standing in the pro-Palin camp. "They'll do whatever they can to keep her from winning."

Some of the anti-Palin protesters said she brought nastiness into the presidential campaign with jabs against Obama, including making fun of his past as a community organizer in Chicago. Others pointed to her support for the "Bridge to Nowhere" -- before she diverted the federal money to other projects -- and the federal earmark money that Palin pursued as Wasilla mayor.

"This election is too important be left to the smears, trivial issues and lies McCain and Palin are trying to make it into," said Rob Lipkin. "The myth (that) either McCain or Palin are mavericks, bringing reform and fresh air into Washington, it's nonsense."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sarah Palin stripped bare by New York Times

The New York Times has just gone online with an explosive investigation and critique of Sarah Palin's political career, painting her as a ruthless, secretive, thin-skinned, vengeful and self-serving political hack who rewards cronies, punishes critics, holds grudges and has a leadership style that combines the worst of Nixon and Bush.

While this week's interview on ABC television revealed Palin to be unqualified to be vice president of the United States, "In Office, Palin Hired Friends and Hit Critics" confirms how dangerous she would be.

Some highlights:

"Ms. Palin walks the national stage as a small-town foe of 'good old boy' politics and a champion of ethics reform. The charismatic 44-year-old governor draws enthusiastic audiences and high approval ratings. And as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, she points to her management experience while deriding her Democratic rivals, Senators Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr., as speechmakers who never have run anything.

"But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents 'haters' — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.

"Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials."

"Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records."

"State legislators are investigating accusations that Ms. Palin and her husband pressured officials to fire a state trooper who had gone through a messy divorce with her sister, charges that she denies. But interviews make clear that the Palins draw few distinctions between the personal and the political.

"The Wasilla High School yearbook archive now doubles as a veritable directory of state government. Ms. Palin appointed Mr. Bitney, her former junior high school band-mate, as her legislative director and chose another classmate, Joe Austerman, to manage the economic development office for $82,908 a year. Mr. Austerman had established an Alaska franchise for Mailboxes Etc."

"While Ms. Palin took office promising a more open government, her administration has battled to keep information secret. Her inner circle discussed the benefit of using private e-mail addresses. An assistant told her it appeared that such e-mail messages sent to a private address on a 'personal device' like a Blackberry 'would be confidential and not subject to subpoena.'

"Many lawmakers contend that Ms. Palin is overly reliant on a small inner circle that leaves her isolated. Democrats and Republicans alike describe her as often missing in action. Since taking office in 2007, Ms. Palin has spent 312 nights at her Wasilla home, some 600 miles to the north of the governor’s mansion in Juneau, records show.

"During the last legislative session, some lawmakers became so frustrated with her absences that they took to wearing 'Where’s Sarah?' pins."

"The administration’s e-mail correspondence reveals a siege-like atmosphere. Top aides keep score, demean enemies and gloat over successes. Even some who helped engineer her rise have felt her wrath."

The Times also adds more details to the furor over Mayor Palin's attempts to censor books at the Wasilla Public Library, an issue that her campaign forces have muddied, and that ABC News further obscured by referring to a "list" of banned books that never was said to have existed:

"...Ms. Palin ordered city employees not to talk to the press. And she used city money to buy a white Suburban for the mayor’s use — employees sarcastically called it the mayor-mobile.

"The new mayor also tended carefully to her evangelical base. She appointed a pastor to the town planning board. And she began to eye the library. For years, social conservatives had pressed the library director to remove books they considered immoral.

“'People would bring books back censored,' recalled former Mayor John Stein, Ms. Palin’s predecessor. 'Pages would get marked up or torn out.'

"Witnesses and contemporary news accounts say Ms. Palin asked the librarian about removing books from the shelves. The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.

"But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book Daddy’s Roommate on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. (Laura) Chase (campaign manager during Palin’s first run for mayor), and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“'Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,' Ms. Chase said. 'It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.'

“'I’m still proud of Sarah,' she added, 'but she scares the bejeebers out of me.'”

Sarah Palin shows she's not ready

Notes on last night's prime time special:

heavily-edited... allowed Sarah Palin to squirm her way out despite Charlie Gibson's mock-stern professorial play-acting... ABC should make the unedited tapes available online to show the real story, what went on between the takes, and what Palin really had to say after her responses were lopped into "soundbites"... the network would have been better served had there been a panel of questioners, or at least a producer allowed to step in and challenge her... the one-on-one "anchorman vs. candidate" setup is outdated show biz... Palin was obviously and simply rehearsed and reciting... the short archival clips from Alaska's local news stations seemed to promise more insight... she's out of step with civilization on the issues of guns and women... she believes she's on a mission from God...

ABC gave Palin a pass because in return for the "exclusive" interview because it gave them ratings and future access...the heavily-edited presentation that told only part of the story, left many questions unanswered...

Palin did make a few things clear: not lived or worked in American mainstream society... She's a stunt candidate and potentially very dangerous... McCain's choice was cynical and thanks to our celebrity culture who's judging her on her looks, persona and scripted one-liners, he's looking like a genius.


Something that didn't make the ABC News special...


Even we know that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the attacks on September 11th...

Dr. Ruehl's Realm of Bizarre News Double Feature

The Realm Of Bizarre News 38: Old Hollywood

Tabloid Baby pal, contributor, columnist and TV, movie and music video star Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. has been working overtime, churning out his Realm of Bizarre News reports two at a time!

The Realm Of Bizarre News 37: Signs Of (Tiny) Life

We'll try to keep up!