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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"South Africa's Foreign Ministry has spent the day trying to dispel rumors that it is working to facilitate the exit of Muammar al-Qaddafi. Though there doesn't seem to be much behind the earlier reports that planes had been sent from South Africa to bring the Libyan leader into exile, perhaps in Zimbabwe or Angola, the country's government hasn't exactly covered itself in glory. 'As far as we are concerned, if this government falls, there is no government,' said Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, effectively scuttling any chance to get off on the right foot with Libya's new rulers. Compare that to the Chinese Foreign Ministry's cautious statement that it respects 'the Libyan people's choice.' Overall, it's hard to imagine how Jacob Zuma's government could have played the Libyan conflict worse. The South Africans broke with the BRICs to vote for the intervention, but then Zuma almost immediately called for a cease-fire when airstrikes began. Given that it was pretty clear to everyone at the time that the U.N. resolution empowered NATO to take on Qaddafi's ground units, Zuma's government appeared to have been either unsure of its stance, or badgered by Western allies. Then Zuma, along with a delegation of African leaders, made two ineffectual trips to attempt to mediate the conflict, and raised eyebrows when he called Qaddafi 'brother leader.' Today's news isn't all bad for Zuma. With Qaddafi and his pan-Africanist ambitions off the stage, Libya's government is likely to turn more toward other Arab governments, leaving South Africa as sub-Saharan Africa's undisputed superpower." (ForeignPolicy)


"From the Weekly Standard to the Wall Street Journal, on the pages of policy periodicals and opinion sections, the egghead right’s longing for a presidential candidate of ideas — first Mitch Daniels, then Paul Ryan — has been endless, intense and unrequited. The problem, in shorthand: To many conservative elites, Rick Perry is a dope, Michele Bachmann is a joke and Mitt Romney is a fraud.
They don’t publicly express their judgments in such harsh terms but the low regard is obvious: The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, the bible of conservative intellectual orthodoxy, pretty much excommunicated Romney from the movement in May for his health care sins. Then, last week, the editorial board suggested that Bachmann and Perry couldn’t be elected, and that 'now would be the time' for 'someone still off the field to step up.' The editorial spoke, as it said, for 'desperate' voters — but they could have been talking about themselves." (Politico)

"Tripping the light fantastic with one’s past. One of the first interviews we did for the then new NYSD was with Fleur Cowles, a once celebrated magazine editor and writer who back in 1950 created FLAIR, one of the most innovative magazines in the world. Innovation aside, the magazine was not a financial success and didn’t quite make it to its first anniversary. Nevertheless, FLAIR remains to this day, a highly praised, much sought after collector’s item. About ten years ago, a boxed edition of the magazine was re-published. I recently saw a copy of it for sale on Amazon for $649. Its creator, then living in London with her fourth husband Tom Meyer (whom she married in 1955), came to New York to publicize the new publication. I’d heard and read about Fleur Cowles as a boy growing up in New England, although I had never met her before this interview. She was a personification of New York media sophistication. Her third husband, Gardner Cowles Jr. (known to all as  'Mike') was a scion of an American newspaper and magazine publishing company. It was this marriage that gave the Fleur the journalist the opportunity to put her imprint on magazines. The world according to Fleur. What I didn’t know about Fleur at the time of our interview was that she rose to the top in New York publishing and social circles having re-invented herself, giving herself a new name – creatively modeled from the original – and a new growing-up background. At the time of our meeting she was about 90 years old (she died two years ago at 101) and even her made up history was now decades old. She was still fashionable, as you can see in the pictures. When she talked about her background, she demonstrated a seasoned publicist’s natural inclination to hyperbole, still working efficiently." (NYSocialDiary)

"Jamie Foxx is fired up about bringing back 'Showtime at the Apollo.' When Foxx took the stage at the Apollo in the Hamptons benefit at Ronald Perelman’s East Hampton estate Saturday night, he announced that he’ll be bringing back the variety show that ended its 21-year run in 2008. It included performances by professionals and amateurs who were sometimes booed off the stage, including Foxx as a young comedian. He said, 'The Apollo did it long before ‘American Idol,’ except the audience were the judges.' Foxx will executive-produce the show for BET. Other performers at the bash, which raised more than $1 million for Harlem education programs, were Alicia Keys, Jon Bon Jovi and Apollo legends Ben E. King and Bettye LaVette. Those in the audience included Matt Lauer, Richard Gere, LA Reid, Ron Meyer, Penny Marshall, Pharrell Williams, Jimmy Buffett, Google’s Eric Schmidt, City Council Speaker Chris Quinn and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly." (NYPost)

"Elisabeth Murdoch has backed out on a planned talk at this weekend’s Edinburgh International TV Festival. The Shine Group founder became convinced questions about phone hacking at Shine parent News Corp would dominate any appearance, a spokesman said Monday. Shine was purchased earlier this year by her father Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for $680M. Her planned ascension to the News Corp board was put on hold in the wake of the phone hacking scandal and a shareholder lawsuit over the inside nature of the sale which sent a whopping $212M her way. The Edinburgh International TV Festival is the UK industry’s most prestigious gathering." (Deadline)

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