the intended effect. Mike Murphy tells me that when he initially talked to Arnold's pyro people about the stunt, the campaign advance guys thought it was "the scariest thing in the world. But to Hollywood stunt guys, blowing up a car is like going to McDonald's," says Murphy. "They said, 'What kind of car?' and 'Do you want anybody in it when it blows up?'"

Haha.

And about LeDuff, I'm surprised. I read an interview with him and he didn't sound anywhere near as abnoxious as Labash describes. I still think he's a good writer, though, and you have to respect the way he got his job.

But to be fair, if I had been Labash in that situation, I would have been annoyed too.

Posted by: Nik at October 13, 2003 09:50 PM

I don't think he was annoyed with LeDuff. I sure as hell wasn't -- I want to meet the guy right now.

What I want to know is, how does a guy with Charlie LeDuff's personality and life experience get hired at the NYT? I always figured that was the kind of place where you needed 5 degrees and 20 years at another boring metro daily.

Posted by: Tony Biasotti at October 14, 2003 09:09 AM

Hey Tony -- if you read the paragraph just after where Matt stopped quoting, Labash blamed some of the access-to-Arnold problems on behavior like Leduff's:

It's guys like Charlie that keep Team Arnold rightly reticent to open up to pack questioning, or to give us print guys much chance to slice and dice and weigh Arnold's every word and gesture.

Although, to be honest, I doubt that's the case. "Team Arnold" wouldn't have opened up anyway, regardless of what Leduff did or didn't do while following him.

As for how he got his job, I forget the details, but there's a nice interview with him on journalismjobs.com where he goes into a little detail about that. Something about how he wrote an obit for an Alaskan fisherman's journal and the NYT folks liked it. How they found an obit in an obscure fisherman's journal is beyond me, but it's a cool story.

Posted by: Nik at October 14, 2003 12:07 PM

Great piece. Linked to it.

Posted by: Gary Farber at October 18, 2003 03:56 PM
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