We can’t imagine why MSNBC’s Dan Abrams and onetime Huffington Post scribe Rachel Sklar called their new site Mediaite. Maybe because it sounds like a kind of parasite, one that attaches itself onto the skin of the media and burrows into it? Getting under the media’s skin seems to be the aim, at least with the site’s much-ballyhooed Power Grid, a kind of virtual popularity contest that rates hundreds of media figures large and very small (even we’re on it!) on their Googleability. But that’s about as far inside as the site goes. Unlike the Early Gawker, which the founders cite as an influence and which grabbed eyeballs with decidedly inside fourth-estate gossip, Mediaite traffics in mostly thought pieces of the type that will get linked on Romenesko, not snarky intel. There are no items headlined, for instance: “So Are Dan Abrams and Rachel Sklar Boinking, or What?”
This is both a good and bad thing, to our minds: Good, because we don’t actually want to know the answer to that specific question, and bad, because it would be more interesting and fun to read than former Portfolio editor Jim Impoco’s odd and uncomfortable-making essay about why Vanity Fair is awesome for stealing Portfolio’s writers. That said, Sklar’s essay on Sarah Palin is smart and entertaining, and journalism vet Bill Rappleye’s “Old Guard” column sounds kind of interesting, too … if only we could get the page to load. Ah, new media.