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David Poland

By David Poland

The Gossip Wars: Episode 32609

So now… Sharon Waxman does another piece about Nikki Finke that is both overly generous and not generous enough. Nikki responds with vague splatter.
As I explained before, none of the “reporting” bureaus actually know anyone’s real traffic. They are based on surveys of a very limited number of people. Sharon’s holy grail that she is using in this analysis is Quantcast, whose numbers must be suspect based exclusively on the information offered by the site. For instance, Variety’s traffic peaks in late December… not. They estimate that 605,709 people visit Variety each month… and that they generate only 750,190 visits. Uh, no again.
Of course, I can tell you that regarding MCN, the numbers are off. But more odd, the website that has the second highest affinity with MCN, after Variety, is something called “canhegetit” which seems to be a gay site with porn bent. What that suggests to me is that someone who comes to MCN a lot and who is on their survey list, also likes gay porn. But I don’t think this is a clear definition of our primary readership or which sites they most frequent. In addition… they claim we have 41,966 monthly readers… but 0 visits per month. Oy.
What amuses me, however, is that Nikki (and others) has forever been screaming about the Alexa ratings as regards this site… and I have been explaining forever that Alexa’s rankings come from Google toolbars and MCN’s heavily industry readership clearly does not rock many Alexa toolbars. Didn’t faze her. And then Sharon throws Quantcast’s b.s. at her and the world has come to an end. Love that.
(I shouldn’t be surprised… I used to get nasty e-mail from Nikki on a regular basis complaining about my temerity in commenting on other journalist’s work… something she’d never do. Until, of course, it was in her interest. I still do it for the same reasons I always have: 1) because if we dish it out, we should be able to take it (when it’s actually about the work), and 2) in the hope of unearthing more accuracy.)
As for Nikki, I broke down what her traffic really looks like earlier this week. Its not rocket science. And the notion that Charlie Koones was willing to drop $500,000 on buying Nikki’s site is a hoot. But to answer the question that Sharon has posed to her by someone at Variety, no, hiring another reporter instead of buying Nikki would not make a lot of sense for Variety. Nikki gets more attention than any one reporter or critic, however disgusting the attention. At the same time, thinking that Nikki could be monetized by Variety is also absurd.
But Sharon… really… learn what facts are facts and which ones are guesses. Throwing around web ratings and getting sucking into the “uniques” vs page views thing (or worse… not even considering it) is extremely weak tea. Think about the notion of Variety actually having 600,000 readers, instead of 60,000 in any given month, which is probably around the realistic number of actual people. Same with Nikki’s alleged 200,000 readers… most of who come up on Quantcast and Alexa and others via Drudge, not via regular readership.
Of course, it is in Sharon’s interest to believe in these tracking services because Quantcast is already claiming that The Wrap has over 100,000 readers… which is obviously inaccurate. Meanwhile, Alexa has traffic for The Wrap behind not only MCN, but behind The Hot Blog as a standalone, while Quantcast doesn’t have enough data to analyze The Hot Blog, but has MCN with less than half the readers of The Wrap.
It’s all a messy, blurry joke, folks. One that is probably costing me money. But still… the numbers are a jumbled mess that have people self-selecting which services they choose to believe because of which ones make them look better. I choose “none.” But I certainly would never hold any site up or down based on these random and often inaccurate surveys.
Finally, Nikki showed her truest colors in a post yesterday…
NBC Security Freaks Over Research Leak, in which she gloats about the effort to secure test screening research from the press, and in this particular case, Nikki, who ran it in full with the intent to harm and no insight whatsoever.
Do you get it, writers? She is not your friend. If her ego is fed by chasing Ben Silverman around – always via whatever source has been after him from the start of his tenure and has fed Nikki every single piece – then the writers of Parks & Recreation be damned. Nor does she care about the actors in the show… or the many other union employees of NBC, etc, etc, etc. And caring about journalism… HA! Nikki cares about Nikki. Nikki cares about being respected… even more so when she least deserves it. Nikki fears being found out to be the con artist that she has always been – which is why she has never been able to hold a job in her long career – and fear is her only tool.
It’s not funny, people. It’s not just about embarrassing the bosses, who are such easy targets. This person is the embodiment of everything she claims to be against… except for one small element… she’s ever done anything of value in her entire career… not one insight that has ever meant anything… not one contribution that has actually improved anyone’s lot in life beyond the momentary thrill of shaking your fist at the giants.
I am going to keep beating this drum because it’s what I do… and because, in the end, however boring, it’s really important. It takes a village to raise our standards. Let’s not be too lazy to do so.

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43 Responses to “The Gossip Wars: Episode 32609”

  1. Martin S says:

    But more odd, the website that has the second highest affinity with MCN, after Variety, is something called “canhegetit” which seems to be a gay site with porn bent. What that suggests to me is that someone who comes to MCN a lot and who is on their survey list, also likes gay porn.But I don’t think this is a clear definition of our primary readership or which sites they most frequent.
    Would this be around the same period you went batshit crazy with the Prop 8 coverage?

  2. Abraham says:

    In the name of fairness and FOR THE RECORD and based on factual data:
    1) According to the website at this time has 27,452 unique visitors. has 19,838 unique visitors. has 26,505 unique visitors. has 45,000 unique visitors monthly. has 215,279 unique visitors monthly. Variety has 739,712 unique visitors monthly.
    2) Also, according to another metrics website the traffic rankings (not unique visitors) for the sites are: The lower the number the better, ideally would be #1 (that is the ranking of ranked #124,842 website on the internet ranked #104,277 website on the Internet ranked #64,251 website on the internet ranked #54,150 website ranked#25,896 website
    the best site is ranked #3,800 website.
    3) says that “Sorry, we don’t have enough data to profile” and estimates the site at around 200,000 unique visitors per month. Regarding it says it estimates the unique visitors at 42,000 monthly. gives 200,000 unique visitors monthly and 606,000 unique visitors monthly
    I hope this data helps to clear the debris.

  3. scooterzz says:

    I am going to keep beating this drum because it’s what I do… and because, in the end, however boring, it’s really important.
    thank you lenny bruce……

  4. David Poland says:

    Poor example for many reasons, Scoot… starting with the fact that it is a cultural reference point that you are still using decades after the man’s death.

  5. Rob says:

    “But more odd, the website that has the second highest affinity with MCN, after Variety, is something called “canhegetit” which seems to be a gay site with porn bent. What that suggests to me is that someone who comes to MCN a lot and who is on their survey list, also likes gay porn”
    It wasn’t me, I swear!

  6. CaptainZahn says:

    I’ve looked at my share of gay porn sites, but I’ve never heard of that one before.

  7. Rob says:

    Actually, I remember reading Nikki’s Parks & Rec posts and thinking, “David Poland is going to love this…”
    Basically, she posted the test screening info, and then after Ben Silverman came out and said “It’s meaningless, every show gets feedback like this,” she agreed with him. So why post it in the first place?

  8. gradystiles says:

    Does the fact that this post has received 6 (now 7…) comments, whereas the Rachael Leigh Cook one has over 40, maybe make you think your readers are getting tired of the constant Nikki coverage?

  9. The Big Perm says:

    While I don’t LIKE gay porn, I’m compelled to watch it for five hours every day.

  10. David Poland says:

    This isn’t a democracy, Grady. But your suggestion that the audience reaction is more important than the work explains a lot.

  11. Working AD says:

    As I’ve stated here before, it’s important that somebody provide a proper counter to Nikki Finke’s attempts to set the record. It may not be what everyone wants to see, but it’s necessary for the future.
    In another few years or less, when Nikki is trying to say that she was right about this or that, or how she was the only honest journalist covering the WGA strike, etc, readers here will be able to pull up instant examples that demolish her justifications. For me, it’s akin to the FAIR coverage of Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh can go on all he wants about what he’s said and when he was right, but FAIR has documented and published so many of his misstatements that he no longer has any credibility.

  12. anghus says:

    jesus dave. some days i can’t tell whether you want to kiss her or kill her.

  13. daniel_jenkins says:

    “I am going to keep beating this drum because it’s what I do… and because, in the end, however boring, it’s really important”
    No, it’s not. I mean really, it’s not. These constant posts REEK of envy. Let it go, dude, life is short.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    I’d like to propose that the content and intention of David Poland’s long-running anti-Finke posts are admirable and necessary.
    The execution and style in which they are delivered…that seems like something else.

  15. Hallick says:

    I’ll grant you admirable and necessary. But is the preaching reaching anywhere past the converted here? Shouldn’t these posts be laid at the feet of the pieces she’s doing, in the comments section of that site? (Y’know, unless she’s just deleting them as soon as they’re posted, or blocking David’s access to responding there entirely)

  16. Joe Leydon says:

    Angus: “jesus dave. some days i can’t tell whether you want to kiss her or kill her.”
    You know, seriously, the same thought has crossed my mind more than once. See, I worked with Nikki, briefly, back when we were at the Dallas Morning News. And let me tell you: This little vixen could drive some guys to distraction.

  17. leahnz says:

    is she the spawn of satan, joe? just wondering, from the way she’s portrayed

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, to be honest, I haven’t actually seen Nikki for years. But I do recall her as a smart, curvy, funny, sexy, take-no-guff lady. For some guys, that’s even more intimidating than the devil.

  19. leahnz says:

    ahhh, the plot thickens
    (no, not really, i have no idea about this particular plot, no idea what’s going on, i just like to say that. it all does seem a bit like some weird episode of ‘family feud’, tho: team poland vs. team finke – assuming she has enough players to be on her team, if she’s that hated probably not; so who would be richard dawson? is anybody neutral?)

  20. David Poland says:

    Uh, Joe… I have met Nikki (unlike the vast majority of people now in the industry or e-journalism) and while I defend her against anyone suggesting she is a grotesque, I would not qualify her as any of the things you suggest.
    The suggestion of any sexual tension is as stupid as your jokes about me drinking… which are a pretty good show of how little you know me. Nor do I think there is any sexual tension the other way. Nikki’s issues with me are parental, but not an Electra thing. Nikki craves praise… from EVERYONE.
    Thing is… there are no two sides. My issues with Nikki are, first and foremost, about the lies and how she influences others. She has taken her best shots against me privately and, it seems, has had no effect. But her shots have all been based on lies and intimidation techniques. I write about what she publishes and how it is processed. I am happy to support anyone’s work if it’s good. And I am willing to criticize close friends’ work if it’s bad or dangerous.
    The problem I face with all of this is that people don’t get it. You have to be deeply in the game to understand what she has been doing and I have found that many of our colleagues don’t care about how… they care about the perception. And that is very, very dangerous.
    If gossip becomes defined as news, we will have nothing but marketing in this business.

  21. scooterzz says:

    i dunno…i’ve always thought that we shouldn’t look to the obsessed to explain the real reason for the obsession….
    and the endless ‘if you don’t agree, you don’t get it’ thing is very capt. queeg….
    i think several of us ‘get it’ but don’t share your compulsion to tilt at that particular windmill…..
    but, as always, your house-your rules so…type on….

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    Geez, David — lighten up. You’ve been banging this gong so long, you’re bound to start getting jokes. Next step will be the derisive mockery. Your jihad against Nikki is obviously an obsession. And, sorry, but other people’s obsessions always look a tad ridiculous.

  23. David Poland says:

    “Getting it” and being compelled to concern yourself with it are to different things, Scooterzz… though I have to say, many the people who don’t get it always seem to use rather flimsy excuses to dismiss it and don’t really speak to the issue.
    If your issue is that you find it boring… don’t read it. This blog is not a drill in your mouth after you have been sedated.
    And the Captain Queeg garbage is much the same as the Bill Clinton witch hunt. If the facts are true, there is no witch hunt… there is no Queeq. If the facts are not true, both are reasonable interpretations. It’s really that simple.
    If Kennedy was assassinated by Oswald and no one else, then some people are conspiracy nuts. If there was a conspiracy, then those who buy Oswald acting alone are wrong, some bordering – because they had the information to work with – on criminal. There is no opinion involved if you have the facts. The facts define how reasonable the argument is.
    And in Nikki’s case, it is becoming clear that people who have to deal with this every day in the work are about at the tipping point. All I ask for is truth… not an easy thing to get out of professionals in either show business or the movie business. But you need to understand, I hear a lot of what is still private as well as what most of you hear only through public channels.
    I am completely aware of every pro-Nikki argument out there. Some are arguable… others are not. But as I have seen so many times before in journalism, those arguments stop in pretty much every case in which someone has had to deal directly or closely but indirectly with methods like Nikki’s.
    If there was any size camp of people who were not either using, being abused by, or being disconnectedly amused/disgusted by her, I would have to take that seriously. But I have not found that group.
    And Joe… that is your M.O. to a “t”… take the cheap, dumb shot and then claim that the person you took the shot at is being sensitive and/or harsh. Take a little responsibility for yourself, as you expect others to.
    My “jihad” against Nikki is a jihad against what her efforts are doing to an entire group of people who used to know better. Nikki, unfortunately, is also a bad person, which makes it all too blurry and easy to turn into a personal issue. But it is amazing how many things I must be obsessed with by your standards. I am just one big raw obsession… because why else would anyone be critical… especially of something that you don’t care about or care to worry about?
    What I am obsessed with is trying to do the right thing in situations like this. I have argued with people who actually know me about some things I have railed about over the years. But of all the cases, the only thing I regret is that it took so long for me to cut Wells off 100%. I took the bait for too long. In this case, I am not being baited, so I don’t have that fear.

  24. David Poland says:

    We are all just prisoners here, of our own device.
    And in the master’s chambers,
    They gathered for the feast
    The stab it with their steely knives,
    But they just can’t kill the beast

  25. scooterzz says:

    and…i think that pretty much makes my case…
    you dismissed the lenny bruce ref because it was decades old (doesn’t make it any less relevant)… you dismiss the capt. queeg ref as ‘bill clinton garbage’ (i don’t even know what that means…it makes me think you haven’t seen the movie)…..
    but you continue to ignore (not dispute) that you are totally ocd when it comes to finke….that was my point…you can’t see it…..
    i’m thinking that a professional could…..

  26. scooterzz says:

    so…the bruce ref gets dismissed because it’s ‘decades old’ and then you quote a 33 year old song……
    you are really all over the place…

  27. Joe Leydon says:

    David, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: You have much too thin a skin to be in this business. You really should lighten up. But, hey, I’m sure you’ll spin this as me thinking I’m better than you. Or something like that. Yawn. Look, don’t mind me, go ahead and trash Nikki and the NYT and Variety and anybody else you want to. As Scoot says, it’s your blog, so blog on the way you want. Some folks will keep reading. Others will get bored and move on. And the world will keep on turning in its greased grooves.

  28. David Poland says:

    You boys belong together.

  29. Joe Leydon says:

    Boys? Thank you, David, that’s quite sweet, actually. Almost as sweet as the cashier at the grocery store last week who asked to see my I.D. because I was buying some wine.

  30. scooterzz says:

    and, that is your serious response….you have an ocd prob, poland…and, with each response you distance yourself from recognition of it….
    someday, you should try to look ‘objectively’ at your finke posts….
    that said, NEVER ref your finke responses because you’ll be embaressed to death….
    ‘you boys belong together’… weak…

  31. Joe Leydon says:

    Scoot: You don’t think he was taking a cheap shot by implying we’re, well, you know, nancy boys or something, do you?

  32. scooterzz says:

    you should be so lucky, leydon…. (but, in all fairness, better you than him)….

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    That’s harsh, Scoot. I feel…. rejected.

  34. David Poland says:

    Neither of you have any interest in a serious conversation about this. Fortunately, neither you is relevant to the issue… though I gather you are in the e-journalism game, Scoot, so you should be.
    Scoot… I will never be embarrassed about a single word I have written about Nikki Finke. Not one… unless I have gotten something wrong. And so far, not a word.
    Do I worry that people like you think that I am being obsessive? Of course. I am human and vulnerable to all forms of such oversimplification.
    Should I let your interest in talking about that and not about the subject at hand somehow embarrass me into silence about an issue that I consider important? Of course not.
    I would truly like to figure out a way to place coverage of Nikki’s circus act into this blog without it eating so much space and time. On the other hand, if I want to make arguments, I have to back them up or it really would just be whining. Complicated. And hardly the first time I’ve faced the issue.
    Again and again, you keep telling me what you “know” about how I think. You’re even working as a therapist for me now. But you don’t choose to respond to what I have written in response to you, as opposed to what you want to think it was that I wrote. (see: your Lenny Bruce analysis above.) How can I take you seriously?
    And Joe’s been doing the same shit for as long as I can remember. He is often a great pleasure to have participating on this blog. And there is a significant amount of time that he is asserting himself in ways that are childish. (see: “nancy boys” comment above) He takes shots until I slap him, then he takes shots at me for slapping him. So playground.
    The only thing OCD of me is that I continue to beat my head against the wall, trying to treat you both like you want to actually engage in a real dialogue. Sadly, I am wasting both of our time. There is no dialogue to be had. You’ve already decided.
    As far as my posts, history remains my guide. And sunlight remains the best disinfectant.

  35. Joe Leydon says:

    And the sun will come out tomorrow.

  36. scooterzz says:

    you never addressed the actual questions…you just danced (as always)…
    really..based on that post alone, you might want to consider a little professional consultation…there is obviously a little ‘boarderline’ behavior here that might be a good idea to address….
    you’re quite the ‘spin’ master (right up there with o’reilly and hannniy)…
    look, i’m not going to argue this any farther but you seem to have slipped a cog….the lenny bruce ref stands and you should read a book or two…..
    you’re now making wells look sane (and that’s really scary)…..

  37. jeffmcm says:

    You know, it’s possible to have every fact in the world on your side, and still be completely obsessive-compulsive about something, to the point where people decide that mockery is not only amusing, but also right and appropriate.
    It’s all about the framing. And everybody in the above posts is, I would say, completely accurate and only disagreeing about where those frames get placed.

  38. scooterzz says:

    yeah, what he said (quite the little peacemaker mcmahon)…you’re going to tarnish your image….

  39. David Poland says:

    Oh, Scoot.. you’re so upset that can’t even read your own posts now… you didn’t ask any questions for me to dance around. You just keep on trying to pile on the shots. Maybe I would understand you if I read a book or two because I am so very ignorant.
    And J-Mc… as insightful as ever…
    My mistake is engaging. Guilty as hell of that.

  40. Crow T Robot says:

    You need to be careful, Dave. The more you lash out at this odious Boss Gettys, the more you leave your self-righteous Charles Foster Kane open for attack.
    Don’t let this woman poison you.

  41. IOIOIOI says:

    “Again and again, you keep telling me what you ‘know’ about how I think. You’re even working as a therapist for me now. But you don’t choose to respond to what I have written in response to you, as opposed to what you want to think it was that I wrote. (see: your Lenny Bruce analysis above.) How can I take you seriously?”
    My motherfucker.
    Welcome to my world. Really. I have people trying to analyze every little thing I type, and trying to DECIPHER it. Go read some of Jeff’s responses to me. He thinks he’s in my head. He’s not, but this is the hot blog. This is how it works.
    So you just need to realize that everyone is going to over-analyze you for now on in terms of your FINKE COVERAGE. You may be in the right, you may feel that you are right, but you are most likely posting about a time-suckage of a woman.
    All you need to do with her new rantings is this.
    1) State what she did.
    2) Respond with this; “FUCK HER.”
    3) Repeat.
    It will be a lot easier on your constitution man.

  42. The Big Perm says:

    Except, that David would probably prefer noit to come off like a raving lunatic loser. Just a thought, buddy!

  43. jeffmcm says:

    David – to take a page from your book, “you don’t choose to respond to what I have written in response to you, as opposed to what you want to think it was that I wrote. How can I take you seriously?” This was your response to Scooter, but it applies completely to what you wrote to me.

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon