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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"In the days of yore, this never would have happened to Rupert Murdoch. Men (and some women) owned newspapers and what we now call media outlets, for the power it delivered and the added bonus of keeping your name out of the papers. It’s still done; sort of. There were powerful press lords in England as well as America. Mr. Hearst was very powerful, and abusive with his power when it suited him. He could practically start a war if he felt like it, and sometimes he felt like it. Those were his good days. Bad days followed, as alas they always do, and there came a time when William Randolph Hearst was nearly bankrupt. Thankfully for all involved, he died, and his will and its executors performed a miracle and revived the empire that is today. Few media moguls have ever been put under the spotlight like the one on Mr. Murdoch. It used to be considered an unwritten law, steadfast, that media/press did not report on media/press. However, Rupert Murdoch in his stellar career became a man without peer." (NYSocialDiary)

"Dana Carvey had a character during his years on Saturday Night Live who was a crotchety old man complaining about how much better everything was "in my day," the imagined halcyon times of his past. After almost 42 years immersed in the politics of Congress, I have to check myself regularly to avoid falling into the same trap. When I came to Washington in 1969, for example, the city was riven with division and antagonism over the Vietnam War, which segued into the impeachment of a president, followed by many other difficult and contentious moments. In this case, though, Carvey's old man would be right: The hard reality is that for all their rancor, those times were more functional, or at least considerably less dysfunctional, than what we face with Congress today." (Norm Ornstein)


 
"It was big news last weekend when President Obama refused to let journalists into his private meeting with the Dalai Lama. The maneuver reflects increasing concerns in the U.S. that emphatic public support for the Tibetan leader will alienate Chinese officials, and in turn jeopardize our strategic interests in the world’s fastest growing economy. Like the president, a rising number of international billionaires have begun to worry that backing the Dalai Lama could pose a risk to their personal wealth by potentially limiting access to lucrative markets in China. Years ago, before surging Asian industry became a force impossible to ignore, such fears were remote, if they existed at all, for the American super-rich. But now that the seat of financial power has started shifting eastward, patronage of the Dalai Lama can come at a considerable cost. Not too long ago, a member of a prominent dynastic family I know was organizing a conference that included an official appearance by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. It turned out that one of the primary challenges of arranging the event was recruiting other affluent sponsors to lend their names to the cause. The conference facilitators told me privately that several distinguished billionaires had expressed their commitment to the ideals of the convention, but they had refused to participate openly. To make matters worse, a few of the individuals who did agree to bolster the program with the weight of their bold-faced names didn’t want to show up in person because of the potential backlash it might cause. It was a classic demonstration of wealth’s definitive triumph over traditional integrity ... Sadly, China’s increasing sway over our economy compromises the Dalai Lama’s ability to attract wealthy American patrons." (Jamie Johnson)
 

"Famous friend of Britain's Prince Andrew Kazakhstan-born beauty Goga Ashkenazi threw a wild party at her St. Tropez villa over the weekend, complete with a topless crasher. Wealthy businesswoman Ashkenazi hosted 350 for dinner, then added another 200 guests to join an after-party. Revelers included Joan Collins, Blackstone's Steve Schwarzman, Denise Rich, movie producer Lawrence Bender and model Victoria Silvstedt. Grace Jones performed in a black thong when a young woman, who guests described as a 'party crasher,' jumped onstage and ripped off her top to 'grind' with the rock goddess, before the intruder was 'escorted out by security,' a spy said." (PageSix)

 
"Six months after the NBC Universal-Comcast merger was completed, Ryan Seacrest, the reality king of the Comcast part of the company, is crossing over to the other side with a docu-series series for Bravo. Tentatively titled Shahs of Sunset, it follows a group of affluent young Persian-American friends who juggle their flamboyant, fast-paced L.A. lifestyles with the demands of their families and traditions. 'The series will offer rich characters and relatable storylines about everyday life -- love, work, friendship and family -- steeped in a diverse culture, which is wildly entertaining and fun,' Seacrest said. While they have a big presence in a number of areas of Southern California, including the San Fernando Valley, Orange Country and Los Angeles' Westwood area, the influx of affluent Persian-American families in Beverly Hills has been a phenomenon over the past decade. They are the dominant ethnic group at Beverly Hills High, something reflected in the new 90210 series, and recently got their first Mayor, Jimmy Delshad, who served 2 terms. On Bravo, the new series is expected to fit with the Real Housewives franchise and Million Dollar Listing."  (Deadline)

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