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the take

Are Ben Silverman and NYT's Bill Carter Too Chummy?

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox, we guess

Radar casts a skeptical eye on the possibly too comfortable relationship between New York Times movie reporter Bill Carter and NBC wunderkind Ben Silverman. Apparently, Carter told Radar that the two are acquaintances, while Silverman tells everyone — including a courtroom — that he and Carter are "dear friends." Is Carter too close to the subject of his recent profile?

Depends on how you define "friend." Choire Sicha over on Gawker has it right when he notes, "Everyone in LA thinks you're their 'friend.' Gag." We're sure that Ben Silverman does think of Bill Carter as a "dear friend," using the standard Hollywood definition:

dear friend [deer frend] 1. Not an active enemy. 2. Someone you do low-effort favors for sometimes, and who does low-effort favors for you. 3. Someone whose children you would not hesitate to devour if it would advance your career even an iota.


So, yes, Ben Silverman thinks of Bill Carter as a dear friend. How does Carter think of Silverman? No one knows that except Bill Carter. But Radar makes a lot of hay about the favors Silverman has done for Carter, including letting him bring his son along on a visit to the set of The Office. (Well, it was actually producer Greg Daniels who did that, but Radar thinks Silverman had his hand in it.)

Here's the thing: In Hollywood, everyone does shit like that all the time, and journalists had damn well better join in. Any reporter who doesn't accept favors from execs — and share information with them in return — will never, ever, ever get any kind of access whatsoever. Where do you think those scoops come from? So you should assume that anyone who's writing about Hollywood has tangled friendlike relationships with nearly every single person he's writing about. Hell, we've only been reporting on Hollywood for like four months and we're already up to our eyeballs in anonymously sourced bullshit that we got from "dear friends," some of whom actually are, and some of whom we've never even met in person.

Times TV Reporter's Cozy Coverage [Radar]