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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"The Israeli-Turkish alliance, already under strain following Israel's war in Gaza in 2008, has suffered the most obvious blow from this recent crisis. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu referred to the Israeli actions aboard the flotilla as 'murder conducted by a state,' and called for the international community to hold Israel accountable for its actions. Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Israel, while protestors in Istanbul tried to storm the building that contains the Israeli consulate. Egyptian reaction: In response to the growing diplomatic furor, Egypt announced that it would open its side of the Gaza border to humanitarian aid for several days, in an effort to 'alleviate the suffering of our Palestinian brothers after the Israeli attack.'" (ForeignPolicy)



"Media executives thrive on high-wattage company – Hollywood celebrities, publishing legends, fellow tycoons. The tycoons, at least, were in abundance last summer at the annual retreat sponsored by boutique investment bank Allen & Co in Sun Valley, Idaho, where the wealthy and powerful of the media and technology worlds gather to talk shop. But by day four, the chief executive of Time Warner, one of the biggest producers of entertainment and news, couldn’t wait to leave. Jeff Bewkes’ bags were sitting in the boot of a hire car ready to speed to nearby Friedman Memorial Airport, where corporate jets were lined up wingtip to wingtip. Bewkes was flying commercial. He’s not a private-jet kind of guy, and routinely takes to the streets of New York to flag down his own taxis – or did until the company decided it was too much of an insurance liability. Nor does he welcome profile writers. Our stories, he told me in the cool mountain air of Sun Valley, are relics of a dying breed of mogul, whose empire-building was little more than an ego-trip at the expense of shareholder returns. But Bewkes was happy to talk about his company, if not himself." (Kenneth Li/FT)



(Bunny and Paul Mellon via NYSD)

"The weekend dish wafting inland from the beaches and the hills was about Ken Starr, the 'accountant/ business adviser to the stars' who was arrested last week and held without bail for using his clients personal funds for his own edification, so to speak. Mr. Starr is not to be confused with Kenneth W. Starr, the Washington lawyer who spent $50 million checking up on President Clinton’s sex life. One of this Ken Starr’s clients, Mrs. Paul (Rachel Lambert) Mellon was quoted by her lawyer Alex Forger in the New York Times as being 'shocked' that Mr. Starr, whom she has known for many years, would use more than $4 million of her money to buy himself and his new wife, a very fancy condo. Mrs. Mellon is famous for being rich and for her brilliance in the field of decorative arts and horticulture. She is also famous for living luxuriously, and far under the radar of the media. Although she is 99, she has remained quite active in her life pursuing her myriad interests, most of which have to do with the creation and acknowledgement of beauty. Her life is about order and industry, and the decorative arts. The number of staff for her houses and her interests is said to run in the hundreds. Although she has successfully avoided publicity most of her life, at this late date, it appears that her biography is taking form." (NYSocialDiary)



"We four have come together, now joined by many others, to support a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately to end them as a threat to the world. We do so in recognition of a clear and threatening development. The accelerating spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear know-how, and nuclear material has brought us to a tipping point. We face a possibility that the deadliest weapons ever invented could fall into dangerous hands. But as we work to reduce nuclear weaponry and to realize the vision of a world without nuclear weapons, we recognize the necessity of maintaining the safety, security, and reliability of our own weapons. They need to be safe so they do not detonate unintentionally; secure so they cannot be used by an unauthorized party; and reliable so they can continue to provide the deterrent we need as long as other countries have these weapons. This is a solemn responsibility, given the extreme consequences of potential failure on any of these counts." (George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn/HooverDigest)



"Bid packages are due to Allen & Company tomorrow for Newsweek, the beleaguered weekly being put on the block by owner the Washington Post Company. So far Thompson Reuters, Allbritton (owners of Politico), Steven Rattner, Mort Zuckerman, and billionaire Haim Saban have been reported to be interested, though the Journal reports that Zuckerman and Reuters won't submit bids tomorrow. There are also rumors out of London that the Guardian might be interested. Ritchie Capital Management is likely to put in a bid. And according to Keith Kelly last week, TV Guide owner Open Gate Capital is also 'definitely' bidding." (NYMag)



"Sex and the City 2 makes Phyllis Schlafly look like Andrea Dworkin. Or that super-masculine version of Cynthia Nixon that Cynthia Nixon dates. Or, like, Ralph Nader (wait, bad example—Schlafly totally does look like Ralph Nader in a granny wig). SATC2 takes everything that I hold dear as a woman and as a human—working hard, contributing to society, not being an entitled c*** like it's my job—and rapes it to death with a stiletto that costs more than my car. It is 146 minutes long, which means that I entered the theater in the bloom of youth and emerged with a family of field mice living in my long, white mustache." (Lindy West/TheStranger)



"After six years legal maneuvering, 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' creator Celador International gets its day in court with a $270 million lawsuit against Disney, which the production company claims hid millions in profits within a complex accounting scheme. The trial, beginning Tuesday in Riverside, will be a rare look at the Byzantine webs that Hollywood dealmakers can weave. If it goes Celador’s way, the evidence could break the levee of Hollywood accounting methods. Celador brought 'Millionaire,' which originally aired to great success in the UK in 1998, to the United States the following year. It now alleges that Walt Disney/ABC, Buena Vista Television and Valleycrest Productions bilked them of millions in profits with overly complicated accounting arrangements and deflated payments. Certainly the witness list, which was first unearthed by the Hollywood Reporter reads like an exclusive Disney off-site circa 2000 with an entourage of a few dealmakers thrown in for good entertainment value. While former 'Millionaire' host Regis Philbin is not scheduled to be making an appearance before Judge Virginia Phillips, almost everyone else involved with the show is." (TheWrap)



"Artist and provocateur Terence Koh emailed friends over the weekend announcing that he was returning home to New York from Beijing on Monday with a three-month-old adopted baby boy he is calling Bei Bei. 'I am so happy to announce that my real goal here while in Beijing was to bring home my new adopted baby boy,' Koh wrote. 'I will announce plans to throw a party to welcome him to his new home soon.'" (Papermag)



"One of Memorial Day weekend’s unofficial functions is to mark the beginning of the wedding season. As someone who is 30 years old, roughly the age when many of my peers finally decide to tie the knot, I am keenly aware that late May through October is a popular time of year to stage elaborate wedding celebrations. Just recently, I was a groomsman at a destination wedding in south Florida. It was a considerably lavish affair, with more than 200 guests partying morning, noon, and night for several days on end. No great scandals erupted, though. The notable billionaires and political power brokers in attendance behaved themselves, or at least they practiced discretion well enough to escape embarrassment. Coincidentally, Jeb Bush’s son was getting married in the same place and on the same day, but at a slightly different hour, so gossip mongers in the area were focused on the crowd at the Bush wedding, not the people involved in the wedding that I was attending." (vanityFair)

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