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‘Beat The Press’ Will Critique The Media

THURSDAY, MAY 18, 1995

“Meet the Press” or “Beat the Press”? You make the call.

“Meet the Press” began on NBC in 1947. “Beat the Press,” to be hosted by Camille Paglia, a “radical libertarian,” and conservative Arianna Huffington of California, is being shopped to various outlets as a weekly series to launch in early ‘96.

NBC is unhappy with the title of the media-bashing “Press” and wants it changed. Tough toenails, says Hurricane Camille.

“Even if we called it ‘Meet the Press,’ titles are not copyrighted,” says Paglia, 48, a university professor and social critic. “Certainly, the satirical ethos is not covered, and we’ll bring a satirical perspective to the news.”

Tim Russert, 45, “Meet the Press” moderator since December 1991, says of the title tiff: “To each her own. I guess our lawyers have written letters. I’m not going to talk about it.”

As for the competition potential, he says, “the more, the merrier. There’s enough for everybody.”

“Beat the Press,” to include guests and skits, is to be produced out of Washington. No producer or staff yet.

“Beat’s” purpose, Paglia says, “is to critique the media establishment, print and broadcast, from a dual political perspective.”

Part of the critique, Paglia explains, will expose the “incestuous connections” between major media elite and political figures, a relationship that makes it “almost impossible to critique the establishment, because they are the establishment.”



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