Posts tagged with "The Daily Beast"

James Cameron says he commissioned a study on whether Jack could have survived in ‘Titanic’

December 29, 2022

Twenty-five years since its first release, director James Cameron‘s swooning epic, ‘Titanic,’ is still the third-highest-grossing movie of all time. Besides its storied legacy, it also has spawned an endless debate among fans on its ending: whether Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, could have survived the freezing ocean if he’d climbed onto the floating door with Rose, played by Kate Winslet.


And now, Cameron — renowned for his obsession with minute cinematic details—says he’s finally put an end to the debate with an actual scientific study, reports Futurism.


“We have done a scientific study to put this whole thing to rest and drive a stake through its heart once and for all,” Cameron told The Toronto Sun while promoting his latest blockbuster sensation ‘Avatar: The Way of Water.’


He revealed, “We have since done a thorough forensic analysis with a hypothermia expert who reproduced the raft from the movie and we’re going to do a little special on it that comes out in February.”


“We took two stunt people who were the same body mass [as] Kate and Leo,” the acclaimed director explained, “and we put sensors all over them and inside them and we put them in ice water and we tested to see whether they could have survived through a variety of methods and the answer was, there was no way they both could have survived. Only one could survive.”


  For now, that’s all the details we have on the study, but this isn’t the first time Cameron has addressed the perennial, nagging question. In 2017, he debunked a theory posited on the TV show, ‘Mythbusters,’ that Jack could have survived by tying Rose’s life vest to the door for buoyancy.

“You’re underwater tying this thing on in 28-degree water, and that’s going to take you five to ten minutes, so by the time you come back up you’re already dead,” Cameron told The Daily Beast at the time. “So that wouldn’t work.”


And science aside, Cameron thinks Jack’s death was thematically integral to the story—so there’s no point getting hooked up on something he’s not going to change his mind on anyway.


“No, he needed to die,” Cameron explained during the recent press tour. “It’s like Romeo and Juliet. It’s a movie about love and sacrifice and mortality. The love is measured by the sacrifice.”


Research contact: @futurism

Experts warn of grim consequences of new cosmetic surgery trend

December 20, 2022

After actress Lea Michele dropped a couple photos on Instagram of her face looking suspiciously hollower than what people expected, social media—Twitter especially —became rife with speculation that she’d had the surgery known as “buccal fat removal,” which removes a pad of fat from the lower face, reports Futurism.

“What the fu*k is buccal fat,” quipped Internet funny person Trash Jones, and “how are they still inventing new flaws for us?”

Buccal fat removal isn’t anything new, but it has quietly gained favor among actors and influencers. And now, it’s getting an unexpected spotlight, too.

“The surgery has been around for many years, but with the advent of social media, I think it’s really seen a resurgence and popularity,” plastic surgeon and buccal fat expert Ira Savetsky recently told The Daily Beast. “The reason why buccal fat pad removal is so popular is because the jawline has become really popular. Everyone wants a snatched jawline, that’s what the kids are saying these days.”

Richard Swift, also a plastic surgeon, believes that Michele and fellow actress Zoë Kravitz have both gone through with the procedure.

“I think Lea and Zoë have much more definition than they had before,” Swift told the Beast. “Zoë Kravitz had more of a baby face, and if you look at the submalar area, that’s really well defined now.”

Buccal fat removal is also relatively cheap, quick, and easy—only taking 20 minutes and $5,000 in New York City, according to Savetsky— making it all the more enticing for influencers to give it a try, as well as their susceptibly insecure followers.

While it may give you those Robert Pattinson-worthy sunken cheeks you always desired in the short term, though, there can be some major downsides as time goes by.

For one thing, you’ll probably be happier if you make peace with how you already look. For another, the procedure may well actually backfire. “The drawback is that from an aesthetic standpoint, facial fat is very precious, and we learned from anatomy studies and studying how people age that as we get older we lose fat in the face,” Savetsky explained. If a patient goes through with the procedure even though they don’t have “excess” buccal fat, “you’re going to look overly hollow as you get older, he said, adding, “Out of every five people that walk into my office that want it, probably only one is a good candidate for it,” he added.

Furthermore, reversing the procedure by adding some healthy fat to the face is difficult and costly. “When I’m doing a facelift for an older woman I am putting fat back into her face,” Savetsky told the Beast, “but adding fat back into that space is very, very difficult, because it’s a deeper area. It’s almost irreversible.”

Unfortunately, that kind of forward thinking hasn’t stopped the surgery from latching on, primarily among young women. There’s even a whole corner of TikTok spotted by the Beast that’s dedicated to the practice of traveling to Mexico, where the procedure is even cheaper, to get buccal pads removed.

“I had mine done in Mexico, Mexicali specifically, and for both surgeries it was $1,735,” one 25-year-old woman told the outlet. “It was $1,400 for the neck/chin lipo and the buccal fat removal cost $300 to add on. $35 for a face garment.”

It’s cheap to buy in, but expensive to back out—so maybe buck this latest buccal trend.

Research contact: @futurism

Same-sex marriage finally will be written into law

December 12, 2022

After decades of inaction and months of back-and-forths between the House and Senate, lawmakers finally sent a bill to the President Joe Biden’s desk on Thursday, December 8, that would, for the first time ever, codify national same-sex marriage rights into law, reports The Daily Beast.

The House passed a final version of the Marriage Equality Bill (Bill 258-169) by a vote of 258-169,  with all Democrats and 39 House Republicans voting in favor of the legislation.

Before this summer, same-sex marriage wasn’t really on Congress’ radar. But after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a decision that sent shockwaves across the nation, things changed.

Many pointed out how Justice Clarence Thomas seemed to be targeting other rights, like gay marriage, in his abortion opinion. With Democrats unable to cobble together the numbers to codify abortion rights, they moved on to protecting same-sex marriage. And they were met with some surprising levels of support—at least at first.

In the House, the original bill passed with the support of 47 Republicans. Democrats rejoiced at the moment of bipartisan agreement. But as the bill went to the Senate, prospects changed.

Led by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), who is gay, Senate Democrats struggled to assure that ten Senate Republicans would join them in supporting the proposal and averting a filibuster. Some early supporters emerged, like Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), whose son is gay. But others hemmed and hawed, voicing concerns about religious liberties and protections they felt weren’t concrete in the bill text. Some senators swore they wouldn’t unveil their position until Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) put it to a vote.

Ultimately, Schumer kicked back the vote on the bill until after the midterms in an apparent bid to give Republicans some breathing room.

The bill would ensure that the federal government recognizes same-sex marriages, even if a couple is in a state that does not. Some changes to the bill were made in the Senate to ensure religious liberties were intact, like ensuring religious non-profit groups would not have to perform same-sex marriages.

Last week, the Senate passed the proposal, 61-36. It got tossed back to the House for this final vote before heading to President Joe Biden, who’s sure to sign it into law.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) gaveled the vote as Democratic members on the floor cheered.

“Americans have grown accustomed knowing that they have a constitutional right to equal marriage. Those living in same sex and interracial marriages should not have to live with the fear that their government could rescind legal recognition of their families at any moment,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said on the floor, adding, “That’s not America. That’s not content of character.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Trump Organization tax fraud verdict: Guilty on all counts

December 8, 2022

The Trump Organization’s two affiliate companies on trial in New York City were found guilty of all nine counts of tax fraud and related crimes on Monday, December 5, as jurors ended a long trial with a swift verdict against the former U.S. president’s corporate empire, reports The Daily Beast.

The Manhattan jury concluded that former President Donald Trump’s eponymous companies dodged taxes by playing accounting games: showering their executives with benefits, reducing their official salary, and paying them at times as if they were “independent contractors.”

As the court clerk read the list of nine criminal counts—tax fraud, falsifying business records, engaging in a conspiracy—the jury foreperson kept repeating the same word, “Guilty.” At times, she even got ahead of herself, saying the word before the clerk finished describing the charge. Afterward, each juror nodded and asserted out loud that they agreed.

The company now faces what prosecutors expect to be more than $1 million in fines—a paltry sum for a multi-billion dollar global marketing operation but a mark of shame nonetheless, just as Trump launches a re-election campaign. This is also the first successful legal action against the Trumps in years.

The tax accounting hacks were all a ruse—one that even the company acknowledged but placed all the blame on a rogue employee.

Defense lawyer Michael van der Veen tried to win over jurors with a mantra straight out of the O.J. Simpson trial: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” The Trump Organization motto was, “Weisselberg did it for Weisselberg.

But the jurors weren’t convinced. After all, those swindling staffers were Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg and company Controller Jeffrey McConney, as well as half a dozen other executives who were never charged.

Weisselberg eventually confessed to reducing his on-the-books salary—enabling him to avoid city, state, and federal taxes—and instead to get a ton of perks: a fake $6,000 no-show job for his wife, corporate Mercedes sedans for them both, a luxury Manhattan apartment, and more than $360,000 in private school tuition for their grandkids paid by Donald Trump himself.

Weisselberg and several other executives, including Chief Operating Officer Matthew Calamari Sr., also diverted some of their salary to make it seem as if they were outside contractors, claiming a status that allowed them to pay even fewer taxes.

The ploy enabled the company to reduce the overall size of its payroll, allowing it to pay less in payroll taxes, Medicare, and related expenses.

Two hours after the verdict, Trump issued a statement titled, “MANHATTAN WITCH HUNT!” In it, he reiterated the same arguments that failed to convince the jury: claiming that the company’s CFO acted on his own and misquoting his testimony, which in reality revealed that the company benefited from the fraud as well.

“Disappointed with the verdict in Manhattan, but will appeal,” Trump’s statement said. “New York City is a hard place to be ‘Trump.’”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Arizona secretary of state defeats Trump’s favorite election denier

November 16, 2022

Kari Lake, a far-right former TV journalist, may have become a national MAGA celebrity during her run for governor of Arizona. But she won’t become governor: She was defeated in the midterm election by her Democratic opponent, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, reports The Daily Beast.

Multiple news networks called the race in Hobbs’ favor on Monday, November 14, after nearly a week of slow post-election vote tallying in the swing state.

The contest between the two women was one of the most bitter, contentious, and nationally-watched state-level races anywhere in the country this year. In the late stages of the race, with the national environment cutting against Democrats, insiders believed that Lake was the clear favorite and Democrats were concerned about Hobbs’ low-key campaign strategy.

But the party’s surprisingly resonant message, and the apparent backlash to extreme GOP candidates like Lake, lifted not only Hobbs but Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ), who won re-election; and Adrian Fontes, who defeated the election denier Mark Finchem to succeed Hobbs as Secretary of State.

Hobbs’s victory is enormously significant for Democrats, on a number of fronts, says The Daily Beast:  The first Democratic governor of Arizona in well over a decade, Hobbs has built on major statewide wins for herself and for the party in 2018 and 2020, speaking further to this formerly deep-red state’s political transformation. Lake’s defeat is a bitter one for Republicans, who lost all toss-up governors’ races this year except for in Nevada.

But for many Democrats both in Arizona and beyond, simply averting a Lake governorship is cause enough for celebration. An effusive supporter of Donald Trump, she has amplified false conspiracies about the outcome of the 2020 election and made “election integrity” a core component of her campaign. Many worried that, as governor, Lake could have thrown out decades of precedent and norms about how elections are run in Arizona, to benefit the GOP in the 2024 election.

Lake also ran as a hardliner on issues like abortion and immigration, and her defeat will give Democrats much more power to ensure abortion access going forward in Arizona.

Despite Lake emerging as the favorite, for much of the 2022 campaign, both Democrats and Republicans believed that her extreme politics and her liabilities as a candidate made her unelectable. In the August primary, Lake scored a narrow victory over Karin Taylor Robson, a wealthy and influential figure in state GOP politics, who ran a more centrist campaign highlighting Lake’s fringe positions.

In the general election, Lake appeared to find her footing against Hobbs, who ran an exceedingly cautious and low-key campaign that contrasted starkly with Lake’s schedule of raucous rallies and near-daily events.

A flashpoint in the race was Hobbs’ decision not to debate Lake, saying that doing so would have given her a platform to spread conspiracies about the election and turn it into a spectacle. But Lake and her allies used the storyline to paint Hobbs as a candidate who wasn’t interested in explaining her positions to voters.

Ultimately, Hobbs’ conventional campaign strategy of distinguishing herself from her opponent through issues-based messaging and voter outreach blunted Lake’s momentum and manipulation of the media narrative.

While some Arizona insiders believe Lake is on track to remain a rising GOP star no matter what, she will not be pursuing further ambitions from the perch of the Arizona governor’s office.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Mitch McConnell dildo supports abortion rights

October 7, 2022

Sexual wellness brand Dame has released a dildo partially-molded with the face of anti-choice politician, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, reports The Daily Beast.

The brand launched the unusual sex toy as a part of a new campaign—‘Get F*cked by the Government on Your Own Terms.’ The campaign comes in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s recent Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade; a decision, The Daily Beast said, “that was undoubtedly the result of the Kentucky senator’s long-term agenda to ensure his legacy of attacking women’s rights by strategically establishing a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.”

Dame’s decision to create this limited-edition love toy bearing Mitchell McConnell’s portrait was a natural choice, the company notes, as he’s become the face of extreme anti-abortion discourse—but the campaign is aimed to call out every anti-choice advocate blocking access to critical healthcare.

“Mitch McConnell has been one of the most outspoken voices around abortion bans in the country. His rhetoric is dangerous to people’s autonomy over their bodies. We’ve seen this play out through his role in engineering the fall of Roe v. Wade from the very beginning,” Dame founder and CEO Alexandra Fine recently told The Daily Beast exclusively. “Using his likeness in this product represents every anti-choice politician that has worked so hard to silence our voices and put us in danger. We hope this helps them hear us now.”

The company will donate 100% of sales of the dildo to abortion rights funds. Even before this campaign, Dame has remained an outspoken supporter of reproductive freedom and has donated to organizations like the National Network of Abortion Funds, and RAINN. Fine previously worked for Planned Parenthood; and is also an advisor to Hey Jane, a trusted telemedicine clinic specializing in virtual abortion care.

“Unfortunately, the lack of access to safe reproductive healthcare is a part of our reality (for now). This is something that drives us to continue to find ways to always support and enable abortion choice. Moving forward, you can expect more educational campaigns and content from [Dame], and more opportunities to donate,” Fine said.

For now, you can pre-order your own Mitch McConnell dildo for $80, which represents the 80% of Americans who believe abortion should remain safe and legal, according to independent research conducted by Gallup.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Report: Herschel Walker paid for girlfriend’s abortion

Octobver 5, 2022

Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia and an avowed abortion opponent, paid for his then-girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009, according to a report published exclusively on Monday, October 3, by The Daily Beast.

The New York Times reports that Walker called the report a “flat-out lie,” after The Daily Beast—which also has broken news about Walker’s out-of-wedlock children—reported that a former girlfriend had the procedure in 13 years ago.

The woman, whom The Daily Beast said asked to remain anonymous out of privacy concerns, said that she and Walker had conceived the child while the two were dating—and mutually agreed not to go ahead with the pregnancy. She said Walker, who was not married at the time, reimbursed her for the cost of the procedure, the outlet reported.

As evidence, the woman provided a copy of a $700 check from Walker, a receipt from the abortion clinic and a “get well” card from Walker, The Daily Beast reported. The outlet published a photo of the card with what it said was Walker’s signature.

According to the Times, Walker quickly posted a statement on Twitter and threatened to file a defamation lawsuit against The Daily Beast on Tuesday morning. “I deny this in the strongest possible terms,” he said. “It’s disgusting, gutter politics.”

The development is the latest in a series of potentially damaging reports about Walker’s personal life since he began his campaign for Senate in 2021. In June, The Daily Beast reported that Walker, who has criticized absentee fathers in Black households, had fathered a child out of wedlock. Later that week, the outlet reported on two more children he had not previously mentioned publicly or to his campaign aides.

Christian Walker, Walker’s son who has not endorsed his father’s campaign or appeared publicly on behalf of his father, weighed in on Monday evening, October 3—saying on Twitter that “every member” of Walker’s family urged him not to run for office.

“I don’t care about someone who has a bad past and takes accountability. But how DARE YOU LIE and act as though you’re some ‘moral, Christian, upright man,’” he continued. “You’ve lived a life of DESTROYING other peoples lives.”

Walker responded with a single tweet: “I LOVE my son no matter what.”

In an interview on Monday night with Sean Hannity of Fox News, the Times reports that Walker denied the account laid out in The Daily Beast article—saying he did not know the woman. When asked about the reported $700 payment for the abortion, he said, “I send money to a lot of people.”

“I never asked anyone to get an abortion; I never paid for an abortion,” Walker continued. He said of Democrats, “They want this seat. But right now they’ve energized me even more.”

Indeed, the Times notes, the Georgia Senate race is one of the most closely watched in the country. Most polls show that the race between Walker and his Democratic opponent, Senator Raphael Warnock, is virtually tied. A spokesperson for Warnock’s campaign declined to comment.

Research contact: @nytimes

Democrats waste no time using Graham’s 15-week abortion ban to slam GOP

September 15, 2022

Entering a neatly prepared room in the Russell Senate Office Building on Tuesday, September 13, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) seemed jubilant to be introducing a national 15-week abortion ban in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 6, reports The Daily Beast.

But while Graham figuratively thumped his chest, Democrats throughout Washington were locking eyes with the bill—almost instantly behaving as if Graham was throwing them a thick, juicy bone.

For months Democrats have been warning of the very possibility Graham is now making a reality: Republicans pushing for a national abortion ban taking away states’ rights. With Graham’s latest version of the bill introduced, just weeks before an election no less, Democrats no longer have to speak in hypotheticals.

“If we take back the House and Senate, I can assure we’ll have a vote,” Graham said at a press conference. Democrats wasted no time in seizing on Graham’s message.

“Senate Republicans are showing voters exactly what they would do if they are in charge: pass a nationwide abortion ban and strip away women’s right to make our own health care decisions… the stakes of protecting and expanding our Democratic Senate Majority in November have never been higher,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Nora Keefe.

“Very simple: If you want to protect the right to choose, and you want to protect a woman’s right to health care, vote for more Democratic senators. You want to have a nationwide abortion ban? Vote for MAGA Republicans,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a press conference Tuesday.

“There you have it — if Republicans take control, they will vote to pass a national abortion ban. Take them at their word,” the Democratic National Committee’s War Room wrote in a tweet.

“Lindsey Graham just said the quiet part out loud. The right to an abortion is on the ballot this November…” tweeted Representative Mondaire Jones (D-New York).

Graham said Tuesday that he wants to try and put Democrats on the record about whether they support a 15-week abortion ban. The first nine pages of the bill base the 15-week cutoff around the argument that fetuses begin to feel pain around that point—though research on the exact point that fetuses can feel pain varies.

Graham also insisted he wants a vote on the bill in the immediate future, insisting he believes a few Democrats could possibly join Republicans on the issue.

Asked whether he spoke to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) about the bill, Graham said no—but, a few hours later, he may have wished he had.

“I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level,” McConnell told reporters.

McConnell wasn’t the only Republican annoyed at Graham’s timing on a day that should have been a slam dunk in the message wars. Tuesday morning, the latest Consumer Price Index report said inflation is still on the rise, even as gas prices fell dramatically in August.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) told Politico curtly, “I’m not sure what he’s thinking here. But I don’t think there will be a rallying around that concept.”

Democrats jumping to capitalize on Graham’s new bill also comes after a number of voting wins on abortion for the party. Kansas passed a pro-abortion-rights ballot referendum last month—and Democrats have won competitive House races in Alaska and New York in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling.

Voter registration among women and young people is also on the rise, a trend pollsters have attributed in part to the abortion rights issue.

Graham’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Democrats latching on to the issue.

But Graham brushed off concerns that abortion has been a force for Democratic voter turnout at his press conference Tuesday, and questions about whether his bill would make the situation worse for Republicans this midterm cycle.

“I don’t think this is going to hurt us,” he said. “I think it’ll more likely hurt them when they try to explain to some reasonable person why it’s OK.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Steve Bannon surrenders to Manhattan DA for ‘Build the Wall’ financial fraud case

September 9, 2022

Rightwing provocateur Steve Bannon turned himself in Thursday morning, September 8, to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, where he is expected to face criminal charges of financial fraud, reports The Daily Beast.

New York prosecutors are attempting to nail him for crimes that former President Donald Trump already had pardoned. However, that presidential Get Out of Jail card only applied to a previous federal case that had to be dropped. The DA operates at a state level and doesn’t have to abide by that pardon.

Bannon—who was scheduled to be arraigned at 2:30 p.m. (EDT)—had to turn over his passport, according to a source familiar with the case. That person said the DA’s case is being handled by two prosecutors in the office’s economic crimes bureau: assistant district attorneys Daniel Passeser and Michael Frantel.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees that a person cannot be prosecuted twice for the same crime, a concept known as “double jeopardy.” However, New Yorkers fed up with rampant corruption during the Trump Administration sought to create a loophole of sorts in 2019—allowing the state to pursue criminal charges on a local level that weren’t being addressed at the federal one.

The Manhattan DA’s office has taken the same approach with other Trump World associates. Last year, it brought a criminal cyberstalking case  against another person who previously had received a Trump pardon: Ken Kurson, a former editor of The New York Observer who’s close with Trump’s son-in-law and former Observer owner Jared Kushner. Earlier this year, Kurson took a plea deal for unlawfully spying on his ex-wife.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Stephen King to testify for government in book-publisher merger trial

August 3, 2022

As the Justice Department bids to convince a federal judge that the proposed merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster would damage the careers of some of the most popular authors, it is leaning in part on the testimony of a writer who has thrived like few others: Stephen King, reports ABC.

 The author of “Carrie,” “The Shining,” and many other favorites, King has willingly—even eagerly—placed himself in opposition to Simon & Schuster, his longtime publisher, ABC says. He was not chosen by the government just for his fame, but for his public criticism of the $2.2 billion deal announced in late 2021—joining two of the world’s biggest publishers into what rival CEO Michael Pietsch of Hachette Book Group has called a “gigantically prominent” entity.

 “The more the publishers consolidate, the harder it is for indie publishers to survive,” King tweeted last year.

 One of the few widely recognizable authors, known for his modest-sized glasses and gaunt features, King is scheduled to take the witness stand Tuesday, August 2, the second day of a federal antitrust trial anticipated last two to three weeks.

 He may not have the business knowledge of Pietsch, the DOJ’s first witness, but he has been a published novelist for nearly 50 years and knows well how much the industry has changed: Some of his own former publishers were acquired by larger companies. “Carrie,” for instance, was published by Doubleday, which in 2009 merged with Knopf Publishing Group and now is part of Penguin Random House. Another former King publisher, Viking Press, was a Penguin imprint that joined Penguin Random House when Penguin and Random House merged in 2013.

King’s affinity for smaller publishers is personal. Even while continuing to publish with the Simon & Schuster imprint Scribner, he has written thrillers for the independent Hard Case Crime. Years ago, the publisher asked him to contribute a blurb, but King instead offered to write a novel for them, “The Colorado Kid,” released in 2005.

 “Inside I was turning cartwheels,” Hard Case co-founder Charles Ardai would remember thinking when King contacted him.

 King, himself, would likely benefit from the Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster deal, but he has a history of favoring other priorities beyond his material well-being. He has long been a critic of tax cuts for the rich, even as “the rich” surely includes Stephen King, and has openly called for the government to raise his taxes.

 “In America, we should all have to pay our fair share,” he wrote for The Daily Beast in 2012.

 On Monday, attorneys for the two sides offered contrasting views of the book industry. Government attorney John Read invoked a dangerously narrow market, ruled tightly by the Big Five— Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishing, Macmillan and Hachette—with little chance for smaller or startup publishers to break through.

  Attorney Daniel Petrocelli argued for the defense that the industry actually is diverse, profitable, and open to newcomers. Publishing, he said, means not just the Big Five, but also such medium-size companies as W.W. Norton & Co. and Grove Atlantic. The merger, he contended, would in no way upend the ambitions so many hold for literary success.

 “Every book starts out as an anticipated bestseller in the gleam of an author’s or an editor’s eye,” he said.

 Research contact: @ABC