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"This editorial is something one would expect from a gossip daily like the New York Post and not from an industry bailiwick like Billboard—a publication known for its integrity, the industry bible, not a promoter of
yellow journalism, innuendo, and blatant false gossip," Reid writes. And we thought we had that market cornered.
ARISTA'S REID THUMPS BIBLE
Remember: Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean They're Not Out to Get You
Reacting to an unusually snarky remark leading off an otherwise glowing review of Blu Cantrell's So Blu in last week's Billboard, Arista President/CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid fired off an even more unusual response, to which the industry bible has devoted a half page of prime real estate this week.

The scathing retort addresses the first sentence of Billboard Associate Editor Gail Mitchell's review, which reads, "While industry pundits lay odds against the staying power of Arista chief Antonio 'L.A.' Reid, newcomer Blu Cantrell's odds of sticking around are far from a long shot." The verbal assault raised many an industry eyebrow last week as totally uncharacteristic of The Bible, which is known to take its solemn journalistic mission very seriously and almost never has an unkind word for the artists it reviews—let alone the executives they record for.

However, some have suggested that Mitchell's lead—along with a handful of other deviations from the straight-and-narrow in the recently redesigned trade—may be indicative of a new editorial direction for the publication. Although we're still trying to sound out the purdy words on Billboard's cover (and obviously don't have a clue what "editorial direction" means ourselves), we can tell you this—only Timbo knows for sure.

Occupying the bottom half of Page 5 of the Aug. 11 issue, Reid's letter reveals that the veteran exec has been more than a little wounded by rampant rumormongering with regard to his future with the Clive Davis-founded BMG label. "I am writing with regard to one of the most disturbing articles I have ever read," he begins, impugning Billboard's nefarious motives as a "clear and present intention to degrade my credibility and attempt to force me from Arista Records." Yow. Can they do that?

Clearly, Reid—who has to be feeling good about the new Whitney mega-deal, the likely solid debut next week for Cantrell and a potential chart-topping bow from Usher (8/7)—was surprised by the attack: "This editorial is something one would expect from a gossip daily like the New York Post and not from an industry bailiwick like Billboard—a publication known for its integrity, the industry bible, not a promoter of yellow journalism, innuendo, and blatant false gossip," he writes. And we thought we had that market cornered.

Reid goes on to demand a formal apology and retraction, pounding the point home in blunt terms: "Your magazine has continuously berated me on the few negatives and has selective amnesia on my many successes," he complains. While The Bible has yet to apologize for or retract squat—indeed, Mitchell maintains in her reply that Reid "misinterpreted the intent and spirit" of her review—at least they've provided an open forum for basher bashing, and we're all for it.

Just one thing—what the heck's a bailiwick?
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