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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"At Table One, Al Gore was lunching with several gentlemen including Mark Rosenthal and Keith Olberman, the newest addition to Mr. Gore’s Current Media (Mark Rosenthal is its CEO), the cable network founded in 2005. Yesterday’s luncheon was a celebration of the new association. Mr. Olberman, now sporting a fresh beard, will produce and host a nightly live news show. His title will be Chief News Officer. Some faces around the room: Joe Armstrong with Deeda Blair; Henry Kravis and friend; Barry Diller with Andrew Tobias, Herb Siegel with Frank Gifford; Fredi Friedman; Hugh Freund; Bonnie Roche-Bronfman; Dan Wassong; Christine Taylor; Joe Versace; Kate White; venture capitalist and international mystery man Vivi Nevo; Mike Ovitz; Harold Holzer of the Met; Diana Taylor; Lewis Korman; Catie Marron, Sherrie Westin; Randy Jones; Paul Wilmot; Chaz Palminteri; Marilyn Crawford; Derek Johnson; Michael Kassan; Jeanine Pirro; Morris Levy; Gerry Byrne; Neal Shapiro; Ralph Baruch. Beverly Hills Chef, Alex Hitz, was hosting Hiram Williams, Peter Vaughan and Brooke Hayward, who has just re-issued (by Vintage Books) her 1977 Number 1 best-selling memoir Haywire ... This was the first time meeting (to talk) with Ms. (Gillian) Tett who began her professional life (after graduating with a PhD from the University of Cambridge) as a social anthropologist. Now married with two young daughters – five and seven, after university she worked in Tajikistan the Soviet Union during Perestroika when she started writing for the FT." (NYSocialDiary)


"Just when you thought it was safe to dine at Michael's, TV gasbag Keith Olbermann was back sporting a full beard yesterday. He was celebrating with Al Gore after signing with the former veep's little-watched Current TV. A spy told us, 'Gore and Olbermann marched in with five other men in black suits. Gore looked chipper and had makeup on, Olbermann had a week's worth of gray beard. Gore went over to Barry Diller's table and said, I'm so excited we've signed Keith -- he'll be on five nights a week.' Diller said, "That's just great." Also probably thinking 'great' was Lawrence O'Donnell, who took over Keith's MSNBC slot and sat quietly at a table further back." (PageSix)


"According to the Slate 60, published in conjunction with the Chronicle of Philanthropy, contributions by America’s top contributors to charitable causes stood at £3.3 billion, the lowest figure since 2000. One reason was the lack of big blockbuster gifts or bequests, such as 2008's bequests of $5.2 billion by Leona Helmsley and $4.5 billion by James LeVoy Sorenson. On the plus side, 2010 was notable for the very public campaigns by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to convince the world's billionaires to donate their wealth. And there are already some very generous givers out there from the world of Wall Street as these excerpts from the money list show. 1. George Soros – hedge funds 'A perpetual figure on the list, Soros came in first, granting a massive $332m (€243m) to his Open Society Foundations, which support a wide variety of justice, education, public health, and media initiatives.' 2. Michael Bloomberg – former bond trader and mayor of New York City 'Behind him came, founder of news and data giant Bloomberg, mayor of New York, and another permanent fixture. He granted about $280m to 970 different charities and initiatives.' 8. T Boone Pickens - hedge funds 'Pickens pledged $100m to Oklahoma State University to endow scholarships that will be awarded based on academic merit and to provide financial aid for students who otherwise could not afford to attend. Counting this pledge, he has committed close to $500m to the institution over his lifetime.'" (eFinancialNews)



"Sen. Jim Webb, D-VA, announced today that he has decided not to seek re-election in the Senate, passing up what was expected to be a tough race to retain his seat in Congress. 'After much thought and consideration I have decided to return to the private sector, where I have spent most of my professional life, and will not seek re-election in 2012,' Webb said in a statement. If he had decided to run, the Virginia Democrat would likely have faced a rematch with former Sen. George Allen. In 2006, Webb emerged victorious against Allen in a tough race and the 2012 race had been viewed as a toss-up. On the GOP side, Allen is getting a challenge from Tea Party candidate Jamie Radtke. Without Webb, Democrats will now have to scramble to find a strong alternative. Possible candidates to replace Webb on the Democratic ticket include Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Kaine has previously denied an interest in running for this seat. But President Obama could help encourage him to run since both men want to be able to carry Virginia in 2012." (ABCNews)


"The fashion world has a new obsession, which is influencing aesthetics, inspiring design and driving business: China. With Europe and the United States still shaking from the economic recession, vast fashion budgets are heading east, funding highly sophisticated launches, shows and store roll-outs as marketing and business strategists aim their sights on a country with a population of a billion and a half. It is an unimaginably large and increasingly lucrative market. Prada, which opened its first store in mainland China in 1995, witnessed a 75 per cent increase in turnover in 2010 alone, and will open nine new stores next year. Miuccia Prada staged her first fashion show in Beijing last month, rejigging her acclaimed spring/summer 2011 show, first held in Milan last September, for the starry audience that included Chinese actresses Maggie Cheung and Tang Wei. On learning that the Chinese dislike plain cotton and anything that feels 'uniform', or has echoes of the strictures of the pre-revolutionary era, Prada substituted the bold, bright cotton dresses and suiting presented in Europe in favour of an array of dazzling sequinned, striped emerald-and-black flapper styles and flounce-hem brocade cocktail dresses that spell flamboyance and glamour. In a neat twist, the unique Beijing dresses will now be available for special order in key flagship stores including Milan, London and New York." (Telegraph)
 

"'Long live Al Jazeera!' chanted Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square on Feb. 6. Many Arabs -- not least the staff at Al Jazeera -- have said for years that the Arab satellite network would help bring about a popular revolution in the Middle East. Now, after 15 years of broadcasting, it appears the prediction has come true. There is little question that the network played a key role in the revolution that began as a ripple in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, and ended up a wave that threatens to wash away Egypt's long-standing regime.  'We knew something was coming,' Mustafa Souag, head of news at Al Jazeera's Arabic-language station, told me Monday. 'Our main objective was to provide the most accurate and comprehensive coverage that we could by sending cameras and reporters to any place there is an event. And if you don't have a reporter, then you try to find alternative people who are willing to cooperate because they believe in what we are doing.' The Tunisian uprising revealed that the dogma perpetuated by the country's regime -- that it was impregnable and its security services invincible -- was merely propaganda aimed at keeping Tunisia's people subdued. Al Jazeera shared this revelation around the region live and in real time, breaking the spell that had stopped millions of ordinary people from rising up and claiming their legitimate rights. Suddenly change seemed possible everywhere across the Middle East. 'We did not foresee the drama of events, but we saw how events in Tunisia rippled out and we were mindful of the fact [that] things were changing, and so we prepared very carefully,' said Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English." (ForeignPolicy)


"Josh Tyrangiel lives on East Seventh Street between Avenues B and C with his architect wife and his daughter, who is turning three soon. He rides the 6 train to work. He likes the new Kanye West album and Wiz Khalifa’s 'Black and Yellow,' but he’s been in a country-music stage recently. He is close to 6 feet tall and has black curly hair that meanders away from his deep-set eyes. He has degrees from Penn and Yale and speaks quickly, avoiding contractions. But his saving grace — what keeps him from being a smug, handsome brat who has climbed too high too fast — is his ability to put people at ease. 'He had an unbelievably good sense of humor, which I think is a form of emotional intelligence that allows you to do well,' said Walter Isaacson, who hired and mentored Tyrangiel at Time in the Nineties. Isaacson has been reading the new Bloomberg Businessweek and said, perhaps not objectively: “It’s smarter than The Economist and better reported.'" (WWD)

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