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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"On the eve of his inauguration as president, Woodrow Wilson famously commented that 'It would be the irony of fate if my administration had to deal chiefly with foreign affairs.' For Barack Obama, the irony has been exactly the opposite. Wilson, a former academic, famed orator and political newcomer who had barely traveled outside the United States, was unusually well-suited to champion progressive reform at home, but found himself presiding over a war instead. Obama, a former academic, famed orator and political newcomer who spent much of his childhood outside the United States, was unusually well-suited to remake America’s relations with the world, but has instead found himself presiding over a nation consumed by domestic peril." (Peter Beinart/TheDailyBeast)



"Live Nation Cancels Shows. Unilaterally. Supposedly 200 at CAA alone. This has been the buzz of L.A. for days, but has gotten no mainstream media attention. We know it’s been a bad summer… But this bad? The concert giant is trying to save itself. Which is the exact opposite of its behavior since its inception, which was about overpaying to decimate the competition. They’ve achieved their goal, but at the cost of their bottom line. And when the Ticketmaster kickbacks don’t make up the difference, when there aren’t enough people in the venue to profit from food and beer sales, never mind a cut of merch, drastic measures are necessary. This on top of a no secondary market booking policy that was instituted months back." (LefsetsLetter)



"Last night was going to be a piece of cake. I’d planned to visit three venues, two book parties and a painting exhibition at Wally Findlay on East 57th Street. All running approximately between the six to eight pm hours. After that I was going over to Donahue’s on Lex and 64th to dine with Liz Smith, Peter Rogers and Adolfo. This is always a merry bunch with no small amount of laughs or sotto voce info. " (NYSocialDiary)



"Just over a year ago, in May 2009, word leaked to the press that the two richest men in America, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, had organized and presided over a confidential dinner meeting of billionaires in New York City. David Rockefeller was said to have been a host, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Oprah Winfrey to have been among those attending, and philanthropy to have been the main subject. Pushed by the press to explain, Buffett and Gates declined. But that certainly didn't dim the media's interest in reaching for descriptions of the meeting: The Chronicle of Philanthropy called it 'unprecedented'; both ABC News and the Houston Chronicle went for 'clandestine'; a New York magazine parody gleefully imagined George Soros to have been starstruck in the presence of Oprah. One radio broadcaster painted a dark picture: 'Ladies and gentlemen, there's mischief afoot and it does not bode well for the rest of us.' No, no, rebutted the former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Patty Stonesifer, who had been at the meeting and had reluctantly emerged to combat the rumors. The event, she told the Seattle Times, was simply a group of friends and colleagues "discussing ideas" about philanthropy. And so it was. But that discussion -- to be fully described for the first time in this article -- has the potential to dramatically change the philanthropic behavior of Americans, inducing them to step up the amounts they give. With that dinner meeting, Gates and Buffett started what can be called the biggest fundraising drive in history. They'd welcome donors of any kind. But their direct target is billionaires, whom the two men wish to see greatly raise the amounts they give to charities, of any and all kinds." (Fortune)



"As soon as he finished the first annual lecture of the University College London Centre for Digital Humanities last month, James Murdoch went round the room, seeking the invited journalists present, covering the talk. He had a private word with each of them, shaking hands and asking what they thought. It was friendly and intimate and entirely disarming. Smart. He's like that is James, 37, son of Rupert. 'There are two sides to him,' said a close friend. 'He can be extraordinarily charming. He's got very good manners, so that if he sees a woman come into a room he will make sure she is properly looked after — he's a bit old-fashioned like that. 'If someone is excluded from a conversation, he will include them. He's not showy but quiet and reserved. But he can also have a massive row. He doesn't like a party but a dinner where there's a fantastic argument. He's got a temper.' He has, as Independent editor Simon Kelner famously experienced during the recent election when James marched unannounced into the newspaper's offices to complain about an advertising campaign that he saw as an attack on his father." (EveningStandard)



"Matthew Mellon is in a hurry this year. The Pittsburgh banking-dynasty scion eloped with his fashion designer fiancée, Nicole Hanley, in early April in the Bahamas. Hanley's parents weren't there, but Mellon's pals Dori Cooperman and Alex von Furstenberg jetted in to serve as witnesses. Now we hear Hanley is pregnant and the baby will be a boy. Mellon -- who has a daughter, Minty, with ex-wife Tamara Mellon -- plans to move back to Gotham after eight years in Malibu." (PageSix)



"The Fox News Channel has sealed a new contract with its 10 p.m. anchor, Greta Van Susteren, giving its hugely popular prime-time lineup an added measure of stability. The contract for Ms. Van Susteren, an interviewer and legal commentator and host of the program 'On the Record,' was set to expire at the end of the year. A Fox representative confirmed Tuesday evening that a new contract had been agreed upon. Ms. Van Susteren’s prime-time colleagues, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, are already committed to Fox News through the next election cycle, an important advantage in helping the channel remain a profit engine for its parent company, News Corporation. The new contract will keep Ms. Van Susteren at Fox for several more years, said a person close to the situation who was not authorized to discuss the negotiations ... Separately, MSNBC announced Tuesday that its longtime commentator Lawrence O’Donnell will take over that cable channel’s 10 p.m. hour later this year. Mr. O’Donnell’s show will replace a repeat of 'Countdown With Keith Olbermann.' MSNBC, a unit of NBC Universal, averages about a third of Fox’s total viewers in prime time, but it has made ratings progress in recent years because of the combination of Mr. Olbermann at 8 p.m. and Rachel Maddow at 9 p.m." (Brian Stelter/ NYTimes)

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