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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"You know, I'm so tired of everryone acting like Mackenzie Phillips is the only headline-making onetime user who's currently on TV Land. To remind us of her travails with coke, crystal, ecstasy, and booze, Jodie Sweetin has written a memoir called Unsweetined, which deals with her own premature dalliances with the devil. At a party at costar John Stamos's house, Sweetin writes, 'Mary Kate left, but Ashley and I got really, really drunk. She eventually got sick and John stepped up and took care of her. At some point we all passed out in John's bed. It was totally platonic--nothing weird happened. We were just three drunk friends passed out in a bed overlooking the Pacific Ocean.'" (Musto)



"Washington has been abuzz with stories speculating about the role of special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, the gregarious U.S. diplomat who has been somewhat absent from public appearances recently. Salacious headlines such as 'Holbrooke missing from Afghan talks' and 'Where's Dick?' have led off articles citing unnamed sources to speculate that the White House had sought to diminish Holbrooke's usually public persona, especially since the last-minute diplomacy to convince Afghan President Hamid Karzai to allow an election runoff was led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry. But in an exclusive interview with The Cable, Holbrooke refuted the reports of his marginalization with a mix of indignation and bewilderment. He's been intimately involved in all the goings-on related to the situation in Afghanistan and his lack of media appearances is due to his hectic and relentless work as part of the administration's ongoing review of the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, he said. 'I didn't know I was missing in action because I was kind of busy all day,' said Holbrooke, denying that the White House had given him any instructions to lay low or stay out of the public eye, as has been alleged ... 'The truth is that I go Afghanistan every two months and I was there less than two months ago. When I came back, I knew we were plunging into the biggest imaginable policy debate,' Holbrooke said. 'So [Secretary of State] Hillary [Clinton] and I mutually felt that my place at this time was to stay here.'" (ForeignPolicy)



"(Gore) Vidal has much more affection for Tennessee Williams – who, he notes, thought that JFK had a nice ass – and especially Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (who wouldn't?), who are pictured frequently. They apparently shared Roman holidays, country weekends and weddings. The money shot in this book is the image of Gore and Paul with their hands on the globe-like testicles of a phallic ancient Greek statue. In reproduced letters, Newman comes across as a randy, playful sort – 'It's been a long time since I have seen you face down in the urinal,' he writes his friend 'Gorvie' in recollection of alcohol-laden confabs. Those would be held, among other places, in Vidal's fabulous Italian villas, his Hollywood Hills manse, or earlier, in a Guatemalan church and a Hudson River estate. There are snaps documenting the tasteful decor of each – befitting his interest in history, there are an eclectic range of antiques from various periods – and visits from Andy Warhol, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Lauren Hutton, Susan Sarandon (and her brood), and Leonard Bernstein." (BayAreaReporter)



"As Doug Marshall alerts us on Twitter, 'the Walgreens at 14th Street had a prominently displayed sign that they are completely out of Plan B.' Wow, New York; wow. So what could be the cause of this sudden demand for back-up birth control? While the elegant Princess Grace Awards Gala might at first seem too elegant an event to be the cause, remember that Prince Albert of Monaco has had TWO KIDS out of illicit trysts, something he probably doesn’t want to repeat. Also, all those CMJ afterparties are bound to lead to some ill-advised (un?)romantic entanglements." (Guestofaguest)



"Long before she began making headlines of her own, Beth Ditto had a little brush with fame as a kid growing up in Arkansas. The Gossip frontwoman had an odd and unexpected run-in with President Bill Clinton, back when he was still just governor of that state. Ditto explains that she was in the backseat of her family's pick-up truck, headed to a fish fry. 'My hair is blowing out, all matted and nasty, there's food all over my face, my dad throws a cigarette out the window and it knocks me right in the head because I'm sticking my head out like that, of course,' Ditto tells Spinner. 'So I have this huge burn mark on my face and my hair looks like it hasn't been brushed in my life.' Around that time, the Dittos pulled up to the fish fry. Shortly thereafter, a limousine drove up and Governor Clinton steps out. Caught up in the frenzy of everyone around her clamoring for his autograph, little miss Ditto presented the future President of the United States a dollar bill that her grandpa had just given her and asked him to sign it. According to Ditto, Governor Clinton looked down, patted her on the head and said, 'I think that's illegal darlin'.'" (Spinner)



"PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON signed autographs, stood for photos and showed off his gift of gab while making his way out of the Marriott Hotel ballroom, but he stopped for two questions from The Trentonian. Clinton may know the gross national product of Nigeria, but he also knows sports. Clinton, a former Arkansas governor, went Hog wild when asked about the Razorbacks 23-20 loss to No. 1 Florida on Saturday. 'Did you see that the SEC apologized for the one penalty that helped Florida in that one drive?' Clinton said. 'And that was only a 10-yarder. There were three other 15-yard penalties that helped (Florida) during that last drive.' Clinton called himself a 'big fan' of Arkansas and a supporter of coach Bobby Petrino. 'They’re getting better. They’re going to be a really good program.' The SEC notified Arkansas officials that they blew a call against Razorbacks defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard on a first down play with Florida on the Arkansas 21. Half the distance to the goal line later, Gator Jeff Demp scored to tie the game at 20-20. CLINTON SAID HE'S still playing golf. 'Still love playing but it’s taken me a little longer to come back since my heart surgery,' Clinton admitted." (TheTrentonian)



"In the latter days of The Public Interest, there were too many articles on how public policy could help promote marriage and stem the decline of the traditional family. Following the disciplinary tendencies of most sociologists, who simply project an ongoing change into the future, I thought neither traditional religion nor the family could resist the onslaught of commercial society. Irving found the limitation of The Public Interest to domestic affairs confining and founded The National Interest, recruiting the wonderful Owen Harries from Australia to edit it and hoping it would provide a platform for a more realistic (I think that is the term he favored) approach to foreign policy. Oddly enough, such an approach was in contradiction with what came be known as 'neoconservative' foreign policy: Irving (Kristol) was skeptical early on about imposing or promoting democracy in South Korea or Vietnam (he was wrong about South Korea), and, undoubtedly, he would have been equally skeptical about its prospects in Iraq and Afghanistan. The term 'neoconservatism' was hijacked." (Nathan Glazer/TNR)



"Rupert Murdoch promised his shareholders when News Corp. acquired Dow Jones that the company’s content was ripe for premium products—and execs have been signaling for months that something was on the way from the Wall Street Journal. Turns out the first entry—and the only coming in 2009—is a blend of WSJ and Factiva called The Wall Street Journal Professional Edition, a new site billed as a premium business news service. (That description isn’t odd but I would venture to guess a large chunk of the WSJ’s existing subs get it because they think it’s already aimed at professionals. ) WSJ Pro will be available for enterprise users in November, going wider in January. Reuters reports a subscription will run $49 a month, just under $600 a year. For some context within the confusion of WSJ pricing, that’s a little less than the newsstand price of about $610, considerably more than the discounted print subscription of $391, and considerably less than the WSJ.com rate of about $100. It’s also just under a third of the cost of a real-time Bloomberg Terminal, not an exact comparison but the statement by Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones, suggests strongly they want WSJ Pro to be viewed not as a substitute for their own basic service but as an alternative to Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters terminals: 'We are not imprisoned by a terminal and are thus able to produce a more contemporary web-based news feed tailored to a sector, a company or an asset class.'" (Staci D. Kramer/Paidcontent)



"Howard Stern may have finally given fans a clue about his plans to continue The Howard Stern Show when his Sirius XM contract expires in January 2011. Tuesday night, Howard Stern told reporter Lisa Glasberg of Howard 100 News that he'd be sticking around the business for 'a while.' Howard Stern was attending the annual Angel Ball fundraiser for cancer research with his wife Beth Ostrosky Stern on Tuesday night when he was uncharacteristically candid about his future plans for The Howard Stern Show. The King of All Media told Howard 100 News reporter Lisa Glasberg that there was still a substantial fan base for the Howard Stern Show and that his wife Beth Ostrosky still 'likes getting me out of the house,' and then added: 'I'll probably be doing it for a while...I'm sticking around.' Howard Stern tried to back track on Wednesday morning's Howard Stern Show broadcast, claiming that 'a while' could be referring to the next 14 months until his Sirius XM contract expires. Howard Stern admitted that he had imbibed two glasses of wine before his red carpet confession .." (Examiner)



"Rome Hartman, current 'BBC World News America' EP and former EP of 'CBS Evening News," said earlier this year that he'd been branded the "Howard Beale of Twitter' for his criticisms of it. Well today, he was moderating a panel discussion about social media and its impact on news at UGCX, mediabistro's user-generated content summit in New York. Hartman was joined by Scott Karp of Publish2, Michael Meyers from Now Public, and Rachel Sterne from Ground Report as the group talked about trends in news gathering, producing, and publishing in an increasingly interactive news environment. But the democratization of news coverage may not always be a good thing, Right Rome? 'Crowds typically like crap,' Hartman says, asking his panelists, 'How do you moderate that instinct towards junk?'" (TVNewser)

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