Television has long propelled the careers of cute, harmonic boy bands. The Fab Four crossed the Atlantic for their fateful Feb. 9, 1964, appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The Osmonds got their start on “The Andy Williams Show.”
The Disney Channel reincarnated “The Mickey Mouse Club” in 1989, launching the careers of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and half of ‘N Sync: Justin Timberlake and J.C. Chasez.
Since the January 2001 debut of “Lizzie McGuire,” the Disney Channel has become a powerful creative engine for its Burbank entertainment parent, producing a string of bankable names such as the Cheetah Girls, “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana.” The latter two are each expected to reap $1 billion in retail sales this year.
“They own the talent, they own the distribution, they can promote it all the time on television,” said David Smay, co-editor of the book “Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth: The Dark History of Prepubescent Pop, From the Banana Splits to Britney Spears.”
“It’s almost impossible not to have a hit,” he said.
Troll Tracker gained repute as a forum for information, not invective. But its more volatile content would eventually combine to blow up the blog and land its creator and Cisco in legal hot water. A reader comment in December contained a death threat against Chicago attorney Raymond Niro Sr., who has long represented trolls. Two Texas attorneys were enraged by Troll Tracker reports suggesting that the lawyers may have had dates altered on a court document—a felony. By the end of last year, Niro had put up a $15,000 bounty to unmask the anonymous blogger, and Internet sleuths had tried to track him.
On Feb. 23, in what turned out to be his final post, Troll Tracker outed himself with an entry titled “Live by anonymity, die by anonymity.” According to the post, he had received an anonymous e-mail that told him to declare his identity or the e-mailer would do it for him. “Let me introduce myself,” Troll Tracker wrote. “My name is Rick Frenkel.”
The fallout was swift. […]
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