Trump tweet against Vanity Fair brings it a bonanza

Usually when President-elect Donald Trump pumps out a nasty tweet, the recipient suffers, such as Lockheed (LMT) did after he derided what he deemed the high cost of a fighter plane it is constructing. But the reverse is true after he took on his newest target: Vanity Fair, which gave the restaurant in Trump Tower a scathingly bad review. 

In the tweet, he slammed the magazine for poor circulation numbers, writing: “Way down, big trouble, dead!”  

But in the aftermath, Vanity Fair said Thursday’s subscriptions soared 100 times the level it usually gets in a day. Plus, Thursday saw the largest number of subscriptions sold in a single day for any Condé Nast publication. Further, Vanity Fair added 10,000 new Twitter followers.  

The fracas started on Tuesday, when Vanity Fair writer Tina Nguyen posted herreview of the Trump Grill steakhouse, which is off the lobby of Mr. Trump’s favorite namesake New York building. Trump Tower houses retail, office and condo spaces, including his own home. 

The Vanity Fair review carried the headline: “Trump Grill Could Be the Worst Restaurant in America.” The writer criticized its decor, lack of toilet paper in the restroom, and the food. For instance, she decried the “flaccid, gray Szechuan dumplings with their flaccid, gray innards, as a campy version of ‘Jingle Bells’ jackhammered in the background.”

The review appeared on Vanity Fair’s Hive site, which carries a red banner that it’s “the magazine Trump doesn’t want you to read.”    

The incoming president wasn’t amused, and tweeted his counterattack Thursday morning, striking back at the magazine and its editor, Graydon Carter: 

Trouble is, his assessment of the magazine is incorrect. Condé Nast, which publishes the title, said the circulation of its physical magazine increased 2.8 percent, to 1.23 million, as of June 30 (magazines report every six months). And as of October, its website had more than 14 million unique visitors, up 16 percent compared to 12 months earlier. That was even before both circulation and web traffic spiked in the wake of the review and Mr. Trump’s Twitter blast, a story first reported by Adweek.  

Mr. Trump’s views of specific media outlets run hot and cold. He recently tweeted his thanks to Time magazine and the Financial Times for each making him its person of the year. But last year he knocked Time for choosing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, tweeting that the magazine “would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite.” 

Time selects its person of the year not as an endorsement, but to mark that he or she has dominated the news and made a big impact on the world, for good or ill.

  • Larry Light

    Larry Light is a veteran financial editor and reporter who has worked for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Money, AdviceIQ and Newsday.