TO THE LIFEBOATS: Gruner + Jahr better hurry up and find a buyer for YM before there’s nothing left to sell. Creative director Amy Demas is leaving to join the Minneapolis advertising agency Peterson Milla Hooks as art director. Demas, who has been at YM since 2001, oversaw the magazine’s recent redesign. She won’t be the last to depart; insiders say many, if not most, of the title’s editorial staffers are hoping to find work elsewhere, assuming that whomever buys YM will restaff it or shut it down altogether. The latest speculation is that Rodale, which owns Men’s Health and Organic Style, is considering a bid. Asked about it, a Rodale spokeswoman said, “We have conversations with many like-minded potential partners, but we do not discuss the details of our conversations.” — Jeff Bercovici

DARK PROPHET: Seymour Hersh, the dean of American investigative journalism, was in top form Tuesday when he addressed a lunch gathering hosted by the American Society of Magazine Editors. The prolific New Yorker writer shared his gloomy views on the current administration and the prospects for stability in Iraq with a crowd that included Elle editor in chief Roberta Myers, Playboy editor in chief Chris Napolitano and Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker. “The question I keep thinking about is how did eight or nine neocons, utopians, take control of the government?” Hersh said by way of warm-up. He predicted that President Bush would be forced to reinstate the draft in a hypothetical second term, said the Pentagon had failed to account for billions of dollars, and called the abuses at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay “much worse than Abu Ghraib.” He also had choice words for Henry Kissinger (“At least you knew there was some rationality somewhere. There isn’t with these guys.”) And as for Bill Clinton (“I admire Clinton — he was the first president since World War II to bomb white people.”) By the time Hersh declared, “The insurgency is us, baby,” most listeners were all but ready to take the advice he claimed to give anyone who asks: “Sell short and buy some property in Tuscany.” — J.B.

This story first appeared in the September 29, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.