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Friday, May 06, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Hillary had been one of the first in the administration to privately raise the issue of a no-fly zone. But she retreated when her main ally in the Cabinet, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, loudly and publicly said a no-fly zone would mean attacking ground positions, and it was a bad idea to get involved in Libya. The White House was searching for a way to arm the rebels—a strategy Hillary found problematic—but also resisted a no-fly zone. 'Lots of people throw around phrases like no-fly zone. They talk about it as though it’s just a video game,' White House chief of staff Bill Daley said dismissively. Hillary decided to push her case on March 12, after the Arab League voted to request action from the U.N. Security Council—an extraordinary decision to break Arab ranks and ask the nations they had for so long denounced as colonialists to help. 'Their statement moved her,' said a close aide, adding that two meanings of 'moved' applied. A myth quickly arose that the women in the administration—Clinton, U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, and national-security aide Samantha Power, whose Pulitzer Prize–winning book on genocide was influential in Obama’s thinking—drove the debate. “The idea that the girls pushed the boys into war is ludicrous,' says Anne-Marie Slaughter, who until recently served as director of policy planning at State. “We were dismissed for months as soft liberals concerned about ‘peripheral’ development issues like women and girls, and now we’re Amazonian Valkyrie warmongers. Please.” In truth, the president, as usual, was not persuaded by anyone to change his mind. He was always a reluctant warrior and decided to intervene only when imminent atrocities in Benghazi made sitting on his hands even riskier." (VanityFair)


"Appointing Gen. David Petraeus to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency might make good politics for Obama -- bottling Petraeus up in a strictly non-partisan position -- and may or may not be a good move for Petraeus, depending on his future ambitions. My interest is more prosaic: would the move be good for the CIA? Possibly. Petraeus is not just smart: he is capable of challenging groupthink, which is exactly what the CIA needs. If Petraeus is ready to rewrite the book on intelligence the way he did, not just for counterinsurgency doctrine, but for the Army's culture as a whole, he could do wonders for the CIA. But if Petraeus lets himself go native or surrounds himself by the intelligence establishment, he'll just keep the chair warm for the next Director. Let me say right off that I do not think the intelligence community is hopelessly broken, it does provide an irreplaceable service to policymakers and I have the highest respect for the folks I worked with during seven years at the CIA. But I do not think the taxpayers are getting the most bang for their buck. Here are a few things Petraeus should tackle." (ForeignPolicy)

"On a weekend night about a month ago, the paparazzi stand in front of Milk ­Studios in ­Chelsea, hoping to catch a glimpse of some of their favorite prey in New York. This is the Kabbalah Centre’s annual ­Purim party, to commemorate the thwarting of a Persian plot to kill Jews, and Madonna is due to arrive at seven, swishing through the wet streets in her blacked-out Town Car with her children Rocco and Lourdes, and fashion photographer Steven Klein in a black-latex mask. When Madonna is at Shabbat services and celebrating the Jewish High Holidays, she presents a confusing tableau: Still a Catholic, she often appears with a gigantic cross hanging from her neck, the size of the one in her Desperately Seeking Susan days, and carries her adopted ­Malawian son, on whom she’s usually placed a yarmulke. But like most synagogues, the Kabbalah Centre celebrates Purim with a party befitting Halloween night, so tonight, with her flair for a shocking costume, Madonna has no trouble fitting in. At past Purim parties, she’s dressed as a nun (Guy Ritchie was the pope), a flapper (Guy was a cop), and a goth schoolgirl (she was single at that one), but this year, she’s decided to conceal herself as Charlie Chaplin, with her hair in a bun, a round black hat perched on her head, and a white rose clenched between her teeth. Even as a man—a being that, according to the teachings of both the Kabbalah and Madonna, is far less enlightened and perceptive than a woman—she’s unmistakable, and the paparazzi shoot her as she goes up to the party, though they miss Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, who dash into the elevator in matching pig costumes with big fuzzy heads." (Vanessa Grigoriadis)



"The main problem with last night’s GOP debate is that most of the diehard political junkies in Washington—yours truly among them—had to be reminded that it was even taking place. The many, many voters who missed this clash of 'Governor Tim Pawlenty and the also-rans' can continue their lives without a care. The real loser of tonight’s South Carolina encounter is Fox News Channel. What on earth possessed the network to host this asterisk-in-the making? Fox wasted airfare, production costs, and the time of some of their marquee names—Chris Wallace, Juan Williams, and Bret Baier—who asked questions of a bunch of also-rans without even pretending to listen to their answers. The first clue this debate was a disaster was when the moderators began to ask the placeholders on stage about candidates who weren’t even there: Mitt Rom-bot, Trump, Daniels, Huckabee, Bachmann, Gingrich, and Trump, again. Ironically for a network accused of right-wing bias, Fox may have done the Republican Party a monumental disservice. In the midst of one of the Obama administration’s greatest achievements—the killing of Osama bin Laden—the network made the Republican presidential primary look like a low-budget Star Trek convention, where only the guy who played Dr. McCoy and a bunch of extras bothered to show up. And the network’s overuse of a loud, annoying Price Is Right bell to cut candidates off in mid-sentence only added to the aura that this affair was a tawdry game show waiting for someone to mercifully hit a gong." (TheDailyBeast)


"Yesterday brought us the the news that Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, had resigned. I've known Judy for a little over 11 years and admired her for many more. We met in 2000 when I sold my company Mischief New Media to MTV Networks. We've been friends ever since. Yes, I was friends with my boss. That sometimes made it more difficult to have debates and disagreements... and we had many as I was a big pain in the ass back then. I actually thought all those television channels were there to promote our websites and mobile products. But that was the culture that Tom Freston, Judy and the rest of the management team fostered. What many don't realize about the history of success of MTV Networks is that culture is the key ingredient. It's a different kind of place. It's not something you see in a spreadsheet or budget. It's a respect and admiration for creativity. A non-elitist management style at all levels. It's a love for pop in the best sense of the word. It's easy to devolve into gossip about other explanations for her departure, who will leave next or any kind of intrigue. But what gets lost in that nonsense is the kind of person Judy is and the mark she had on the company, pop culture and really anyone who crossed paths with her. So when I think of Judy I think lots of things: •She started as a copywriter 30 years ago when she moved from Scranton, PA. •30 years later she leaves a company that may be valued at $30 Billion dollars, MTV Networks is the large share of Viacom." (Jason Hirschorn)


"The navy SEALs Team Six is so elite and secretive that its very existence has never been acknowledged by the military—even after its members led the successful assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In this exclusive book excerpt, former Team Six member Howard E. Wasdin describes his progress through SEAL training and its notorious Hell Week, an unthinkably brutal training gauntlet designed to separate the born warriors from the merely mortal." (Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin)
 
 
"[NYSocialDiary House] Oooh la la! We’re going to talk about Madeira! [Lesley] Did you get sent there? When you’re British you get sent to boarding school. Amanda Nisbet I went of my own volition because I was a rider. NYSD House: Sounds very posh. Amanda Nisbet: It’s not posh. It’s a ladies’ school … you know the headmistress was Jean Harris and she murdered her lover. He was the first big diet doctor. He wrote the Scarsdale Diet. So that was the scandal at the time. She was there in my sophomore year … it was right out of a novel. [laughs] NYSD House: Did you think she was a murderess? Amanda Nisbet: I’m going to get into so much trouble. She was very proper and she would get very upset with us if we were heavy or fat. She would get mad at us. It was all about appearances." (NYSocialDiary House)
 
 
"Pay TV is alive and well, and now has more subscribers than ever. There was some consternation in the second and third quarters of last year, when the industry reported its first ever declines in the number of pay TV subscribers. But as BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield points out (subscription required), now that all the major public pay TV providers have reported their earnings, the overall state of the industry is looking up ... We’ve been skeptics of TV Everywhere and the value it offers to subscribers, but it seems to actually be working. Now that cable subscribers have more options for being able to access cable content they pay for — including on their PCs and mobile devices like the iPad — they might actually stick around rather than using other services. Not just that, but the second generation of TV Everywhere services is much better than the initial services launched about 18 months ago." (GigaOm)
 
 
"Ever since Mel Gibson's abusive meltdown coincided with his filming of the Jodie Foster-directed The Beaver, his friend of 15 years has been defending the hot-headed star. On tonight's Late Show, however, Foster's narrative seemed to change from 'God, I love that man,' to a more canned, publicist-friendly, 'He's wonderful in the movie, he's extraordinary in the film' one. What gives? Not only did Foster appear to back off of her blind praise of Gibson tonight—aside from a soft 'He's a very good friend' at the end of her discussion with Letterman—she also put some distance between Gibson's troubles and the shooting of her film when she remarked that his misbehavior happened 'mostly after we wrapped.' Then, after being asked by Letterman if she was willing to defend Gibson's behavior, Foster shot back—before he'd even finished the question—with an emphatic 'No.'" (Gawker)

1 comment:

Zachary said...

You mention TV Everywhere, well if you want to get the best TV Everywhere app I would suggest the DISH Remote Access app. I work at DISH Network and with this app you can watch your live TV the same you would have at your house anywhere you can get a 3g or wifi signal. Go to www.dishnetwork.com/tveverywhere for more information.