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Monday, August 31, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"George F. Will, the elite conservative commentator, will call in his next column for U.S. ground troops to leave Afghanistan, according to publishing sources. '[F]orces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters,' Will writes in the column, scheduled for publication later this week. President Obama ordered a total of 21,000 more U.S. troops into Afghanistan in February and March, and casualties have mounted as the forces began confronting the Taliban more aggressively. August saw the highest monthly death toll for the U.S. since the invasion in 2001, the second record month in a row. Will’s prescription – in which he urges Obama to remember Bismarck’s decision to halt German forces short of Paris in 1870 - seems certain to split Republicans. He is a favorite of fiscal conservatives. The more hawkish right can be expected to attack his conclusion as foolhardy, short-sighted and naïve, potentially making the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorist attack." (Politico)



"In the spring of 2005, New York Times columnist David Brooks arrived at then-Senator Barack Obama’s office for a chat. Brooks, a conservative writer who joined the Times in 2003 from The Weekly Standard, had never met Obama before. But, as they chewed over the finer points of Edmund Burke, it didn’t take long for the two men to click. 'I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,' Brooks recently told me, 'but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.' That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. 'I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,' Brooks says, 'and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.' In the fall of 2006, two days after Obama’s The Audacity of Hope hit bookstores, Brooks published a glowing Times column. The headline was 'Run, Barack, Run.' These days, the center-right Brooks frequently seems more sympathetic toward Obama than the liberal Paul Krugman. He has written columns praising Obama’s Afghanistan policy, education proposals, and economic team. Even on broad areas of disagreement--deficit spending, the sprawling stimulus bill, health care reform--Brooks tends to treat Obama and his administration with respect. 'My overall view,' Brooks told me, “is ninety-five percent of the decisions they make are good and intelligent. Whether I agree with them specifically, I think they’re very serious and very good at what they do.” It is an odd situation to say the least: David Brooks, prominent conservative, has become the most visible journalistic ally of arguably the most liberal president of his lifetime. How did this happen?" (TNR)



"If The Oscars are, say, Barbie, The Golden Globes are Skipper, and The Tony’s are the slightly effeminate Ken, then The Daytime Emmy’s are like .. Barbie’s weird cousin twice removed, that she is slightly embarrassed of. So what weird sightings could be spotted on the red carpet last night? ... Some stars definitely came out for the Emmys, including Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi, Tyra Banks, Vanessa Williams who hosted (and made out onstage?), and Sandra Oh. Then, there were the stars that were probably very exciting to certain demographics: Betty White was there (to the delight of diehard Lifetime Television For Women fans), Dr.Phil (to the delight of conservative Middle America), and Alex Trebek (to the delight of my grandparents)." (Guestofaguest)



"Conventional wisdom of the day: Magazine mogul Jann Wenner, the man who made his mark with Rolling Stone in the 60s and 70s, and then again with US Weekly in this decade, has blown it on the Web. And now it’s too late for him to catch up.And who knows? It may even be true. But here’s one bit of nuance to chew on: Magazine mogul Jann Wenner has made money — as in, a profit — on the Web for the last 5 years. How so? By licensing Rollingstone.com to RealNetworks (RNWK) and letting that company bear almost all of the costs of running the site. True, that site didn’t blow anyone away. But it did generate cash. I’m told the RealNetworks deal was worth 'several' millions in profit per year. That’s the kind of performance that wouldn’t be that meaningful for a title owned by someone like Time Warner’s Time Inc. (TWX), where it would be important to show Wall Street that you’ve harnessed the power of the Web and turned it into your own personal growth engine. But for Wenner’s privately held company, which owns all of three titles, a few million bucks a year in profit is a few million bucks a year in profit." (Peter Kafka/AllThingsD)



"Cindy Adams. Gossip columnist, dog-lover. Doing a one-woman show to raise money for the A.S.P.C.A. Opening up her Park Avenue apartment for four nights. Did I mention it’s a penthouse? That Doris Duke used to live there? Now it’s just Cindy and Jazzy and Juicy. Toy Yorkies. Eight pounds of canine entitlement. 'Living on Park Avenue with these two has its limitations,' she says. 'Take them for a walk? What walk? I got terraces all around that cost me a fortune. My babies don’t walk—they take a limo. Juicy’s legs are two inches long! This is not a marathon runner. I have more hair under my arms than Juicy has on her whole body.' Relaxing at home, Cindy’s wearing a black T-shirt with heart-shaped photos of the pooches on the breast. 'My breeder makes them every Christmas or New Year’s, or the day the incinerator got stuffed up—whatever day there is to celebrate,' she says. 'I have hundreds of them.' So is Cindy going to pull a Leona? 'And leave Jazzy and Juicy twelve million dollars? I don’t think so. But I love them so much that if they could afford the maintenance I would leave them the apartment.'" (NYer)

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