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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(The peace of Westphalia)

"It is difficult to make sense of the international system without making sense of the nation-state. The concept is complicated by a reality that includes multinational states like Belgium, where national identity plays a significant role, and Russia or China, where it can be both significant and at times violent. In looking at the nation-state, the idea of nation is more complex, and perhaps more interesting, than that of state. The idea of nation is not always clear. At root, a nation is a group of people who share a fate, and with that fate, an identity. Nations can be consciously created, as the United States was. Nations can exist for hundreds or thousands of years, as seen in parts of Europe or Asia. However long a nation exists and whatever its origins, a nation is founded on what I’ve called elsewhere 'love of one’s own,' a unique relationship with the community in which an individual is born or to which he chose to come. That affinity is the foundation of a nation. If that dissolves, the nation dissolves, something that has happened on numerous occasions in history. If a nation disappears, the international system begins to behave differently. And if nations in general lose their identity and cohesion, massive shifts might take place. Some might say it would be for better and others for worse. It is sufficient to note here that either way would make a profound difference. The state is much clearer: It is the political directorate of the nation." (Stratfor)



"There's been a mini-boomlet of late in arguments to put a military strike against Iran back on the table. Joe Klein had a solid article in Time last week arguing that the U.S. is reconsidering a military strike on Iran. There's a marginal poll showing 56% support for an Israeli strike on Iran (actually quite a low number, given the general enthusiasm of Americans for bombing things). There are Israeli reports that it has convinced the U.S. of the viability of a military option. There's Reuel Gerecht's long brief for military action in the Weekly Standard. There's yet another Washington Post op-ed arguing for brandishing a military threat. This is odd. The argument for a military strike is no stronger now than it has been in the past -- and in many ways it is considerably weaker. Why is the argument weaker? Mainly because Iran is weaker. If you set aside the hype, it is pretty obvious that for all of the flaws in President Obama's strategy, Iran today is considerably weaker than it was when he took office." (ForeignPolicy)



"Viacom employees be warned: Sumner Redstone is on a witch hunt. Redstone, the 87-year-old chairman of both Viacom and CBS, wants to track down the anonymous sources who told me last month that he was smitten with a scantily clad new all-girl group dubbed the Electric Barbarellas—and forcing MTV to air a reality-TV show about the band over the objections of many executives, including MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath. How do I know this? Because Redstone, in a three-minute message left on my office voicemail and in a follow up interview yesterday afternoon, offered to both reward and protect me if I gave up my sources for the piece. (That, of course, will never happen!) 'You may be reluctant, but we have to have [for the lawsuit] the name of the person who gave you that story,' Redstone says in the voicemail, the 'we' being himself and Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. 'We're not going to kill him. We just want to talk to him. We're not going to fire him. We just want to talk to him.' (As Frank Biondi, Mel Karmazin, Tom Freston, and even Tom Cruise can attest, Redstone is famous for such tolerance about opposing viewpoints, and would surely never fire someone just on a whim.)" (TheDailyBeast)



"DirecTV has become the patron saint of lost TV causes, saving yet another high-quality series from untimely death. Following its deal with NBC Universal for Friday Night Lights, DirecTV has inked a pact with Damages producer Sony Pictures TV to take over the ratings-challenged legal drama with an order for 20 new episodes to run over two consecutive seasons, the show's fourth and fifth, in 2011 and 2012. But unlike the deal for FNL, in which the original network, NBC, got a second window on the series, Damages' new episodes will only air on DirecTV. DirecTV has also acquired the rights to Damages' first 3 seasons, which ran on FX." (Deadline)



(Gillian Tett via NYSD)

"Kathy Lacey was hosting a small luncheon in the garden room for Gillian Tett, the new US Managing Editor of the Financial Times (FT). If you’re an FT reader you’re already familiar with Ms. Tett whose byline and reports have graced the salmon pink sheet’s pages for sometime. I don’t know her, only to have read her articles. She’s very smart, sharp witted and very attractive in person. I went to their table to introduce myself but only to get a picture of the group. I was having lunch with Christopher Hyland whose ads (Christopher Hyland Textiles) you may have seen on these pages. He and I always talk about politics with so much enthusiasm it almost seems compulsive. A Republican (from old Massachusetts), he worked in Bill Clinton’s first campaign when he ran for Student Government at Georgetown. Then he worked in the man’s first or second campaign for President of the United States." (NYSocialDiary)



"Conde Nast's monthly books are up 7 percent in ad pages in the all-important month of September versus last year's rather disastrous September performance. Most magazines showed growth or remained flat, and only three went down (and one of those magazines, Brides, dropped partly because of a chagnes in the publishing schedule). 'We're doing quite well, thank you very much,' said Lou Cona, the executive vice president at the Conde Nast Media Group, sounding quite like Chuck Townsend. Mr. Cona was speaking about revenue, which he said is of more concern to the company than ad page increases (it's a distinction with a slight difference!). Nevertheless, the 7 percent gain means Conde Nast only slightly rebounded from the industry's rock-bottom performance last year, so Mr. Cona was careful not to be too effusive when praising this year's results. 'Given the volatility of the market, we are very pleased with the performance,' he said." (Observer)

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