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Sep 5, 2008

Us Losing Thousands Of Subscribers Over Palin Cover

Us Losing Thousands Of Subscribers Over Palin Cover

Cov-B 9-1Maybe it should have been obvious that the celebrity weeklies were going to politicize as soon as Hillary Clinton and her supporters showed strong resistance, during the primary season, to acquiescing to Barack Obama, thus highlighting the importance of women voters in 2008. But the heightened political importance of the magazines, whose readers are overwhelmingly female, wasn't in anyone's face until this week, when Us Weekly made waves with its controversial "Babies, Lies & Scandal"Sarah Palin cover. The issue, unflattering to Palin, has so far resulted in 5,000-10,000 cancelled subscriptions, MSNBC.com's gossip column is reporting. More ominously, Us advertisers are starting to feel pressure, and MSNBC reports there is worry about cancelled ads:

 "(Us publisher) Jann Wenner supports Obama, Wenner media decided to follow the buzz around Palin before her speech, and now subscribers feel like a vote has been cast on their behalf," says another magazine editor. “It’s going to be tough to bounce back from this one. Especially if the advertisers get involved. If they get nervous, that can hurt all of us.”

It's easy to imagine the other shoe dropping in this publishing psychodrama: Wenner rival Kent Brownridge, newly installed at Us competitor and celebrity-servile OK!, makes a play for access to Palin, a (sigh) rising political star whoseRepublican convention speech drew 37 million TV viewers, nearly as many as tuned in to watch Barack Obama. If that happens — Presto! You've got MSNBC (Us) and Fox News (OK!) recreated among the celebrity weeklies....

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