Adweek editor Michael Wolff gets only a few seconds of screen time in Page One. But thanks to a vitriolic review of the cheerleadery-but-effective New York Times documentary he published just hours before the premiere (“Agonizing to watch! … Aggressively unattractive!”), Mr. Wolff was the topic of many conversations at the postscreening bash Monday night.
“Michael Wolff should not throw stones,” Off the Record heard one partygoer say, though we didn’t catch what constituted his metaphorical glass house.
He wasn’t around to ask for comment.
“I think his theory that there’s no one attractive at the Times is rebuffed, in the film, by the presence of Tim Arango, whose phone number I’ve been asked for by five filmgoers,” Brian Stelter told Off the Record. Mr. Stelter, who lost 90 pounds during the course of shooting the film, wasn’t looking too shabby either, in a sleek black suit (a rental) and with the pretty CNBC anchor Nicole Lapin on his arm.
Mr. Arango is now the Times’s Baghdad bureau chief, a decent enough excuse for missing the premiere.
“Tim Arango is the hottie of the movie, but if your taste runs toward smooth slightly evil dudes, Michael’s got that down,” said David Carr.
Mr. Wolff dubbed Mr. Carr the “Snooki of journalism,” but to director Andrew Rossi, he was more of a Virgil. A compelling interview with Mr. Carr for an unrelated project provided the inspiration for the documentary, Mr. Rossi told Off the Record in an earlier conversation.
Mr. Rossi stopped short and told Mr. Carr he wanted to make a documentary about him. Mr. Carr said, “Go ask my bosses.”
Times brass had no qualms parading the scrappy media desk before cameras, what with the impending pay wall and the onus to prove to online freeloaders why the Times is worth dropping some cash for.
Off the Record asked media editor Bruce Headlam if the Times could continue the tradition of calling the annual meeting “Throw Stuff at Bill,” when Bill is a woman named Jill.
“You know he called his farewell ‘Throw Drinks at Bill,’” Mr. Headlam said. “I imagine she will maintain that. Maybe we can just throw things more generally at the masthead. If things get bad maybe we’ll be throwing things at each other. Maybe after the movie they’ll be throwing things at us three.”
Neither lame duck executive editor Bill Keller nor incoming successor Jill Abramson were there to comment, either. The crowd was light on Timesmen, though there was no shortage of media figures on hand.
“I found it very entertaining,” S.I. Newhouse told Off the Record, silver cigarette case in hand. “That’s a quote.”
NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan has a special affinity for the printed New York Times. It’s a crucial prop in his morning routine, Pat’s Papers. By 7:40 a.m., he’s glanced at every headline in print. As for what newspaper he reaches for first in his scavenger hunt for the day’s most colorful journalism, he said it varies day to day.
“It’s the New York Times if we’re following the kind of story the Times excels at,” Mr. Kiernan said. The New York Post and the Daily News offer a faster glimpse, he admitted, “when we’re into … ”
The genitals of our elected officials?
Brian Williams said he’d been able to dodge most of the Weiner body-shot brouhaha. He’d been on vacation with his wife, celebrating their anniversary.
“This is going to sound like I’m being cute,” he told Off The Record, “but I’ve had limited exposure.”
“I wish it would go away,” Regis Philbin told Off the Record as he hailed a cab outside the Lincoln Center’s new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, which the Page One premier christened.
“I’m so sick of looking at his skinny neck.”