Martin the Maverick


FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is getting some grief over the art that accompanied his inclusion in a list of Washington "mavericks" detailed in men's magazine, Details, a sort of Young GQ. (OK, exactly a young GQ, since they are co-owned).

The stand-up and usually buttoned-down Martin is pictured standing up, but jacketless and with shirt unbuttoned, on a Washington hotel bed with a lobbyist in the room and a media executive perched on the edge of the bed playing cards. "In bed with lobbyist" is an obvious implied takeaway being taken away by some frequent critics of the FCC.

"It probably seemed okay at the time, but in light of the flap that has ensued, I am sure
chairman Martin has come to regret taking this picture," the Washington Post quotes Andrew
Schwartzman, president of the Media Access Project, in response to the photo. A Martin spokeswoman cracked to the Post: ""We're FCC bureaucrats. We were happy to be with Ashton Kutcher [another of the 21 mavericks]."

Curiously, the Details magazine Web site makes no mention of the story in the section marked "see all of this month's content," even though it is the top story advertised on the cover of the the print edition: "Meet the 21 Mavericks who are secretly controlling your life." On the Web site, that cover line is, instead: "Josh Holloway: The hottest redneck on television spills secrets from the set of Lost." A lot of secrets being kept in whe world of young men.

A call for comment to Details was directed to an editorial assistant, who said that the magazine just started putting content on the site this month and the "all this month's content" could be a bit misleading since it deals with all this month's Web content, not necessarily everything that was in the magazine. A call to the Web site contact number to find out if there was anything more tothe story's prominent absence had not been returned at press time.

Since I do not have a copy of the print edition in front of me–the weather has held up delivery trucks to my local newstand–and the story is curiously missing online, I can only say, from memory and other reporting, that the two men in the hotel room are a lobbyist and media executive.

But I have seen the picture briefly from the magazine of a colleague, and the photo is very much like the sort of edgy, unusual, Avadon/Leibowitz-like black & white shots these mags like. So, there is something of the "damned if you do quality" about it. Martin is often criticized for being superserious and buttoned down. Now he gets grief for unbuttoning and playing along.

By John Eggerton