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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The downfall of the News of the World, which is threatening to engulf the government of British Prime Minister David Cameron, has illustrated the extent to which Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers have become inseparably intertwined in the country's politics -- even hacking personal documents of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and obtaining the medical records of his son, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Murdoch's influence in Britain -- and the United States where the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and the New York Post are media fixtures -- was well documented, even before this recent scandal. But they're hardly the only places where the News Corp. empire has courted political influence and found itself in the midst of political scandal ... The potential of China's vast market had long entranced Murdoch, but his first foray into the country in 1993 was an unparalleled disaster. After buying a Hong Kong satellite TV station for nearly $1 billion, he made a speech in London boasting that modern media technology 'proved an unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere.' China's leaders were not amused and banned the ownership of private satellite dishes in retaliation, threatening the station's viability. When Murdoch tried again several years later, he was much more careful. He cultivated ties with Chinese leaders, entered into joint ventures with state-sponsored broadcasters, and dropped BBC news coverage from his Star satellite network because its critical coverage had angered Beijing. His efforts at outreach were ably assisted by his wife, Wendi Deng, a Chinese former News Corp. employee whom he married in 1999. But flattery won't get you everywhere in China." (ForeignPolicy)



"Last night at Lincoln Center. The White Nights Foundation of America held its annual benefit last night with a gala performance of the Mariinsky Ballet’s U.S. premiere of Anna Karenina with Diana Vishneva, and conducted by the great Valery Gergiev. Mr. Gergiev is the Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky. The Mariinsky Ballet is part of the Lincoln Center Festival of 2011. Last night was not a night you’d expect people in New York at a gala benefit for the ballet. I’d assumed it would be black tie since it was the Met and there was a dinner afterwards at the Mandarin Oriental ballroom five blocks down Broadway. Fortunately, I checked the invitation (groaning) only to discover the attire was 'Festive.' 'Festive' is a popular attire designation these days. I have no idea what it means except it means no black tie. I put on a suit although I felt like I’d rather be in a polo and a pair of khakis. To my surprise, when I got to the Metropolitan Opera House, there were a lot of people wearing just that, often with a jacket -- although not everyone ... Among the guests were Baryshnikov, Darren Aronofsky, Maria Bartiromo and Jonathan Steinberg, Ann Dexter-Jones, Patricia Field, Randy Jones with Selwa (Lucky) Roosevelt and her grandson Sam Hornblower, who is a producer on 'Sixty Minutes,' Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Cynthia and Leon Polsky, Patsy Tarr, Sharon Hoge, Elie and Marion Weisel, Mort Zuckerman, Lally Weymouth, Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn, Paula and Leon Root, Susan and Sam Lehrman, Jean Lawrence and her daughter Stephanie, Chloe Malle who has moved from the New York Observer to Vogue as a social reporter ..." (NYSocialDiary)


"Ashton Kutcher created his own Sun Valley-like conference for cool kids after the older moguls headed home. The 'Two and a Half Men' star has been bolstering his rep as a tech entrepreneur by investing in a host of start-up companies through a partnership with billionaire Ron Burkle and Madonna's manager Guy Oseary, called A Grade. Now, sources told Page Six, Twitter-obsessed Kutcher turned his and wife Demi Moore's 40-acre compound into an under-the-radar powwow for the young jet set. Insiders said Kutcher hosted a dozen 'young tech stars' at his house in nearby Hailey, Idaho, over the weekend. The sources said guests included wunderkinds from Foursquare and other hot tech firms. It was Ashton's own tech weekend," reports a spy familiar with the event. 'It was his retreat of young tech guys,' said another source. 'There were no major deals announced in Sun Valley. There's a generational shift, and Ashton is doing his thing. It was the young tech guys meeting after Sun Valley.'" (PageSix)


"In the 10 years since leaving the White House, former President Bill Clinton has earned more than $75 million in speaking fees alone, including nearly $11 million last year, a report Tuesday found. Clinton earned $10.7 million for 52 speaking engagements in 2010, bringing his total earnings on paid speeches to $75.6 million in the last decade, according to an analysis of financial disclosure reports filed by his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her current job and during her years representing New York in the Senate. But that’s not all the former president has raked in since leaving office. He also earned a $15 million advance for his 2004 memoir 'My Life' and has more than doubled that in earnings from the sales of that book and a subsequent one. The former president’s 2010 speaking haul was his largest annual intake from such fees, edging out the $10.2 million he earned in 2006 for 57 paid speeches, CNN found. In 2009, Clinton delivered 36 paid speeches that brought in $7.5 million. Almost half of what Clinton earned in 2010 — $4.8 million — came from speeches he delivered in 13 countries outside the United States including India, Mexico and South Africa. His domestic speeches were in 8 states and in Washington. In the decade since leaving office, Clinton has in all delivered 417 paid speeches, with fees working out to an average of $181,000 per speech ..." (Politico)


"According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s News Coverage Index, the Casey Anthony trial verdict utterly dominated the TV news sphere for the week of July 4-10. While the economy was still the number one story for the week across all forms of media, the Anthony Trial was by far the top story on both network and cable television. The trial and verdict took up 18% of the newshole on the network news programs, and a whopping 38% of the newshole on cable news. The economy was the number two story on both platforms, despite leading the coverage in newspapers, talk radio and online." (TVNewser)



"As his music career progressed, Bowie’s public persona became more enigmatic, particularly when it came to his sexuality. Angela Barnett, whom Bowie eventually married and then divorced, was oddly instrumental in shaping the flamboyant image that everyone associated with Bowie in the ‘70s. The rock star puffed it up by bragging about his bisexuality. In 1975, Bowie told writer Cameron Crowe that he met Barnett 'because we were both fucking the same guy.' They had an open relationship from the start, and would invite both men and women into their conjugal bed. Bob Grace, a music manager who worked with Bowie, said part of his obsession with the bisexual scene was tied to Mick Jagger. 'Jagger was a role model … and David was convinced he was bisexual' ... Bowie garnered a lot of fame and attention for being a brilliant mimic throughout his career. To top it all off, it was one of the qualities that made the stunning African model Iman fall for Bowie—she loved that he was “good at doing funny voices.' They married in 1992, and Iman triggered yet another Bowie transformation: he forever ditched his otherworldly persona in favor of a “strong streak of conventionality that had always run through him.” (TheDailyBeast)

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