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Monday, March 19, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"While Kony 2012 was being released, I was working with Invisible Children staff and community leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on civilian protection initiatives. I was astonished to see the view count climb into the millions. None of us expected that a 29-minute film about Joseph Kony would go viral -- or that the backlash would include criticisms that Invisible Children was unawareof the current location of his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), when, in fact, our work has extended into currently affected regions of central Africa over the last two years ... Kony 2012is undoubtedly simplified. It is, after all, a short film geared toward high school and college students. It was also designed for the Internet, where attention spans are notoriously short. But the backlash criticizing the film for being oversimplified misses the point -- Kony and his top commanders are still committing atrocities today in central Africa with impunity, and international efforts to stop him have not succeeded. Delving deeper into the issue quickly reveals its complexity. The LRA have become masters of evasion and survival, eluding regional forces by weaving between country borders and veiling their tracks among those of nomadic herders. They are much smaller in number than they were a decade ago, and yet the atrocities they commit against the civilian population remain devastating. Since 2008, the LRA has abducted more than 3,400 civilians, killed more than 2,400 others, and displaced more than 400,000 people from their homes. The history of the conflict is complex, and the solutions require a multifaceted responsefrom an array of humanitarian and security actors. A 29-minute Internet video will inevitably fall short of addressing these nuances.
What is not complex, and what the film appropriately simplifies, is the morality of the issue. For 26 years, Kony has perpetrated some of the most egregious human rights abuses on the planet, with total impunity." (ForeignPolicy)


"Three of the four candidates for the Republican presidential nomination — Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul — might soon agree with T.S. Eliot: for them, April may indeed be 'the cruelest month.' That’s because their front-running rival, Mitt Romney, appears poised to further pad his lead in delegates in upcoming Republican nomination contests, starting with Illinois next Tuesday and through a northeastern primary day on April 24. From now until the end of April, we expect Romney to win not only the majority of nominating contests, but also the majority of delegates awarded in these contests. It’s fair to ask how Romney’s position can be so strong after finishing third in the two major primaries held on Tuesday, Alabama and Mississippi. The most important thing anyone can do on any primary night is to remember the calendar — not the primary schedule but the general election date. The two Deep South primaries appear critical, yet they will be long forgotten by Labor Day, much less Nov. 6. Barring a massive, difficult to fathom shift in this contest, Mitt Romney has a better than 80% chance to be the GOP nominee. No amount of wild tapping on CNN’s magic wall will alter those odds. The reason is that, much like when Hillary Clinton was fighting a front-running Barack Obama in the last few months of the 2008 Democratic primary, the delegate math — and particularly the lack of true winner take all contests — favors the candidate with the big delegate lead. That candidate is Romney ...We expect Romney’s delegate edge to grow on Santorum in the next six weeks." (SabatosCrystalBall)

via patrickmcmullan

"This past Friday at the Friar’s Club, they celebrated Jerry Lewis’ 86th birthday. Patrick McMullan was there with his camera. When I saw them, two things: I’d forgot about Jerry Lewis. And two, just one look at him made me laugh. I first saw him when I was a kid going to the movies some Saturday afternoon matinee at the Strand Theater. (Dean) Martin and Lewis were the hottest comedy team on radio and television and nightclubs. In the '50s they were pulling down $30,000 a week at the Copa. Multiple that figure by 35 or 40 and you get the picture if it were today. Eventually the two went off on their own and Martin became a bigger star away from Lewis. But Lewis was always just funny. A nut. These photos got me laughing. Jerry Lewis all these years later still makes me laugh just seeing him. Born in Newark, started out as a kid working the Borscht Belt with his father and mother. That was his patrimony and it stood him in good stead all these years. A funny funny man, still." (NYSocialDiary)


"THE runway presentation at the futuristic IAC Building on the West Side Highway had gone off without a hitch. The boldface guests had come backstage and said their congratulations — Rebecca Romijn, Lauren Bush, Kelly Rutherford and Allison Sarofim among them. The news media had done interviews, and the staff was headed to Acme, the new NoHo hot spot. After months of preparation, Cynthia Rowley had a moment to breathe. Or so she thought, as she guzzled a mini-bottle of prosecco. 'We should get over to the party now,' said Bill Powers, her husband, who had been working the event like something between a ringmaster and proud father. 'Ready?' 'O.K.,' Ms. Rowley said. She hugged more guests. Her husband told her about two events the next night for Waris Ahluwalia and Josephine Meckseper. 'Can you go?' he asked. Ms. Rowley, who would be facing 40 buyers from Asia the following day, didn’t blink. 'Of course, I can go,' she said as they left the building. 'What do you think?'  You might think, given her very hands-on relationship with two young daughters (who are at her side after each runway show), and multiple TV gigs and design projects, that the answer might be a sharp 'No.' But that isn’t in her vocabulary, nor is it in the vocabulary of her 44-year-old husband, an art dealer, judge on Bravo’s 'Work of Art,' editor, hands-on father and author of a new novella with a sexy cover by Richard Prince. 'Warhol’s philosophy was ‘Do everything,’ ' Mr. Powers likes to say. 'Us, too.'" (NYTimes)


"The St. Patrick’s Day episode of The Rosie Show on Friday opened with an unknown tenor crooning the hymn 'Ireland (I’m Coming Home).' Sitting behind her desk in a small, audience-free studio, Rosie O’Donnell blabbed about how much she loved Chicago, her place of residence, and how she wore a coat for only two days this winter. She pontificated about her upcoming 50th birthday next week. She said that when she was born, her parents considered naming her after the season. 'Spring O’Donnell,' she said with a chuckle. 'It doesn’t really flow.' The episode trudged along, rather inconspicuously, with the first guest: the tattoo artist, former reality star, and ex-fiancĂ©e of Jesse James, Kat Von D. The Rosie we all knew and loved—the one who built a $100 million empire with her landmark talk show that ran for 1,193 episodes from 1996 to 2002—was virtually absent, replaced by a subdued and checked-out host. 'Um … so … you’ve been in the limelight, had a public romance?' O’Donnell asked. 'I thought that was the first famous guy you went out with,' she said, not even mentioning James by name. Since the episode was pretaped, it made no reference to something else significant: the show’s demise. As the final credits rolled, the Oprah Winfrey Network issued a press release announcing The Rosie Show had been canceled, following six months of humiliating ratings. At the Harpo offices in Chicago, O’Donnell’s staff had been alerted of the decision only hours before, after weeks of rumors that the show was on the chopping block. Over a short TV life span, through countless reboots and hiatuses, the series had morphed from a delightful comedy hour that nonetheless premiered to weak ratings in the fall to a bleak, Larry King–style interview program with C-list guests like the cast of Dance Moms and Jaleel White. Through all the changes, some 30 employees from producers to writers had left because of budget cuts and possibly because of a boss who couldn’t decide what she wanted and frequently humiliated them in public. 'It was such a fucking hellhole,' says one former staffer." (TheDailyBeast)


"Last month, David Ignatius revealed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s inner thoughts about the timing of a possible Israeli attack on Iran. Then, the Washington Post columnist struck again — disclosing last week the contents of secret documents taken from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. 'David is on a hot streak,' said Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic. 'Everyone in Washington would love his level of access. He’s a hell of a reporter.'
The Post associate editor’s emergence as the administration’s go-to guy with those twin bombshells has cemented his standing as the nation’s preeminent writer on national security affairs and, at the same time, rekindled a debate over the value of White House-directed 'access journalism' that can make cheerleading reporters (and columnists) seem more like uncritical spokesmen than truth-tellers.
Ignatius, who appeared Sunday on both ABC’s “This Week” and NBC’s 'The Chris Matthews Show,' has gained access to senior White House and Pentagon officials, and established a level of trust with them as the result of decades spent shuttling between Washington and the Middle East, cultivating sources throughout the region, and developing deep expertise on national security. 'David is not only influential, he’s a serious journalist who is taken seriously,' an Obama administration official told POLITICO. 'His byline gives [the bin Laden] story instantaneous cachet, credibility and, yes, visibility.'" (Politico)


"Nobody doesn’t love Mister Rogers. And yet, it has to be said: the minister turned low-key children’s television pioneer, the gentle soul who made the Keds Champion sneaker cool (and never took a dime of endorsement money)—did us wrong. In a what was no doubt a genuine attempt to protect young children from the brain-numbing evils of commercial television, he inadvertently helped to deliver us into the diabolical clutches of the enemy. By painstakingly cementing an ardent emotional attachment to the medium in his young viewers, he groomed us for a lifetime of exploitation ... (Filmmaker Ben Wagner) met Fred in 2001. It was late summer. September 11 was still more than a week away. Mr. Wagner was celebrating his 30th birthday, and Mr. Rogers ambled over to say hi. (Maybe he was bored—it was just a month after he’d taped the final episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood.) Mr. Wagner was then working for MTV, and feeling guilty about it. He was a guy with “a PBS mind,' as he puts it, 'in a jump-cut, sound-bit MTV world, trying to figure out just what I can do to make it a better place.'" (Observer)

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