Graydon Carter Is Stepping Down As Editor Of 'Vanity Fair' : The Two-Way The charismatic, silver-maned editor in chief embodies the urbane style and sensibility reflected in Vanity Fair's pages.
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After 25 Years, Graydon Carter Is Stepping Down As Editor Of 'Vanity Fair'

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After 25 Years, Graydon Carter Is Stepping Down As Editor Of 'Vanity Fair'

After 25 Years, Graydon Carter Is Stepping Down As Editor Of 'Vanity Fair'

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I want to turn now to NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik. He's been following the announcement by longtime Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter that he is stepping down.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: His is a distinctly pre-digital sensibility, yet Graydon Carter casts an outsized shadow on the New York media scene, a mentor of many of the nation's most prominent magazine writers and a tormentor of many of the nation's most famous figures. His magazine focuses on the fields of media, culture, fashion, finance and politics, and above all, on celebrity. Vanity Fair covers tend to feature shots of Marilyn Monroe, a Kennedy or a British royal as often as not. And while there are whispers of kid glove treatment of certain celebs, Vanity Fair's investigations periodically inflamed relations with powerhouses, including its exposes on Tom Cruise and Scientology.

Carter ultimately swam in those waters himself, hosting elite parties following the Academy Awards in LA and the White House Correspondents Dinners in Washington. All that hobnobbing made it easy to forget his origins as a young Canadian with literary tastes, underwhelmed by the staidness of the magazines for which he wrote in the 1980s.

Carter joined Kurt Andersen to found the satirical Spy magazine - irreverent to its core, punching up at those already wealthy, powerful and famous. One of its frequent targets? A striving real estate mogul from an outer borough of New York City - Donald Trump. The two young magazine editors decided to make fun of the size of Trump's hands repeatedly merely because it bothered him, as Carter told me last year when Marco Rubio teased Trump on the trail.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

GRAYDON CARTER: I know it just gives him absolute fits. And now that it's become sort of part of the whole campaign rhetoric, I'm sure he wants to just kill me with those little hands.

FOLKENFLIK: That hasn't happened. Instead, Carter is yielding the editor's suite voluntarily, just days after reports that his parent company is intent on making far-ranging cuts. Carter is 68. He says he's leaving now to ensure he has time for an undisclosed third act after a six-month refresher in France with his wife and daughter, unplugged from the media matrix.

David Folkenflik, NPR News, New York.

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