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Monday, July 18, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"In the high-stakes Murdoch family sibling rivalry, daughter Elisabeth appears poised to emerge out of the News Corp. scandal with a net gain on embattled brother James: As soon as the scale of the News of the World scandal became apparent, she and (aptonym alert) half-sister Prudence called for Rebekah Brooks's swift resignation, while James and father Rupert searched for ways to protect Brooks. In hindsight, of course, Elisabeth's recommendation of quick and decisive action would have made for far better damage control, and so her prescient judgment has Murdoch watchers arguing that the Shine Limited CEO might be the best hope for a familial successor to Rupert. eanwhile, James, previous occupant of that role, whose decision-making has been cast in a far less flattering light throughout the affair, will reportedly be asked to step down as chairman of BSkyB. (BSkyB has issued a denial.) One British editor told Newsweek, ' think James is not in a good place.'Indeed." (NYMag)


"The news of the weekend and the world that was on the lips of everyone I talked to was about Rupert Murdoch and children, his editors, his minions and his news media. We are watching the great fall of man. For many years Mr. Murdoch possessed a fearsome political power through his enterprises, that was greater than any individual including those who run governments. Some might question the veracity of that statement. I have news for them: he obviously never questioned it, even in his advanced age and the experience of life ... Powerful press lords are not something new in our civilization. What is new, is the rush of technological developments of the past quarter century, and the speed with which it delivers the worldwide distribution of media fodder ... Do you realize that we now live in a world where almost every week, if not every day, we are exposed to news about some high-ranking, high-profile men and/or women who have been on the take, or hacking, or spying, or robbing, or murdering, and almost always stealing something from somebody. If they’re not politicians, they’re businessmen or bankers or investment advisers. It’s nothing new but it does seem epidemic." (NYSocialDiary)


"Supermodel Stephanie Seymour is back to her old habit of calling the cops when she's got problems with Peter Brant -- but this time it's about her son Peter Jr., not her paper magnate husband, Peter Sr. On July 4, Greenwich, Conn., police said, Seymour called them after having a dispute with 18-year-old Peter Jr., which Peter Sr. witnessed. Lt. Richard Cochran said that when police responded, they were told the mother and son had argued because 'the son was going to visit with the mom, and the mom canceled.' Cochran said: 'It was all civil in nature.'  Seymour's lawyer, Mark Sherman, said, 'No comment,' when asked about his client and her family. A spokeswoman for Brant declined to comment about the incident." (PageSix



"In Kabul, the hard-as-a-rock, 5-foot-9, 150-pound, -distance- running, push-up-pumping Petraeus has conducted the war from a rundown Edwardian villa, surrounded by a labyrinth of shipping containers piled into two-story blocks of offices and sleeping quarters, and all of it behind high walls, concertina wire, and a lot of firepower. An aide loaded down with three laptops follows him everywhere he goes: one laptop for unclassified emails, one for U.S. secret traffic, one for classified NATO/International Security Assistance Force material. In the colorless corridors of Langley, Va., he’ll be largely on his own. But Petraeus has been preparing a long time for this post. 'History will regard him as one of the nation’s great battle captains,' then–defense secretary Robert Gates said in 2008. 'He is the preeminent soldier-scholar-statesman of his generation.' Even then, Gates might well have added 'intelligence director.' Since at least the end of 2008, Petraeus has been a key figure in efforts to develop new approaches to covert warfare and take full advantage of real-time information on enemy movements captured by drone technology. The military’s Special Operations Forces and the CIA’s Special Activities Division carry out attacks with ever-higher levels of coordination and integration in Pakistan, in Yemen, in Somalia—and, indeed, in Afghanistan. The way Obama shuffled his cabinet recently (Gates, a former CIA director, has been replaced as defense secretary by outgoing CIA chief Leon Panetta) is testimony to the president’s faith in this approach, at least when it comes to fighting Al Qaeda and its spinoffs." (TheDailyBeast)


"John Kerry surprised a lot of people when he endorsed Barack Obama for president in early 2008. Kerry was a longtime friend of Obama’s chief rival, Hillary Clinton. He had served in the Senate for a quarter-century and had built a reputation as a cautious, incremental figure — like Clinton herself. But for Kerry the time had come for a decisive break with the past. 'I felt very strongly we needed a new narrative for the country,' he told me during a long conversation last fall. In fact, Kerry saw the world very much the way Obama did. As a candidate, Obama distinguished himself not only from George W. Bush but also from Clinton by advocating a new foreign policy of 'engagement.' He vowed that as president he would meet the leaders of Iran and Syria and other enemies without preconditions, which Clinton deemed 'na├»ve.' Kerry was already practicing engagement: as a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a man who had come within a whisker of being elected president, Kerry had been meeting with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and forming close relationships with autocratic as well as democratic leaders around the world. When Obama won, Kerry dearly hoped to be named secretary of state, a job for which he felt supremely qualified. But Obama, to almost everyone’s surprise, picked Clinton instead. Kerry is enough of a creature of Washington to understand that no one has a lock on jobs like that, but the setback still stung." (NYTimesMag)

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