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February 14, 2005

Ho Hum, Another p6/ReganBooks Item

by Ron Hogan

The publicity department at ReganBooks must have some kind of hold over Richard Johnson and the other contributing writers at Page Six, the NY Post gossip column, beyond the simple fact that the publishing company and the newspaper are part of the same media conglomerate. How else to explain the second obviously planted item about a Regan publication in less than a week? An item in Sunday's online edition leads:

"Flamboyant Village Voice columnist Michael Musto 'prayed to God' to make him straight when he was a kid, but it was no use. He was 'totally hooked on homo,' Musto says in Robert Trachtenberg's When I Knew, due out this summer from ReganBooks."

As usual, p6 can't be bothered to mention its corporate connection to ReganBooks, probably because they haven't come up with a way to convert full disclosure into faux-dishy prose; one wonders how they manage to get away with it when one knows full well other reporters at the paper have been told to always mention the News Corp. connection in their stories about HarperCollins and its divisions. It's a good deal for the book publishers, of course; not only do they get free advertising, they get better treatment from the gossipmongers than it gives to fellow newspaper people; another item in the online version of the column offers a truly vicious and gratuitous slam at a former Post employee (with whom, I'm perfectly proud to disclose, I have a friendly acquaintance, having played on several occasions in the trivia competition she cofounded at a Manhattan bar). UPDATE: Apparently whoever it is in the p6 ranks with a grudge against this woman hates her so much they're willing, as Gawker notes, to make sure the item gets into print, running it again in Monday's column...and it will comes as a surprise to no one to observe Johnson & Co. shilling for HarperCollins yet again, this time for a memoir by a "legendary hip-hop groupie/video vixen/wannabe actress" to be published under their Amistad imprint. Presumably the publishers thought she would be a good fit for them because "amistad" is Spanish for "friendship."

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