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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Rupert Murdoch has apparently lost a great deal of his power of memory, but nature has compensated by endowing him with a vivid imagination. He can surely deploy his new gift in the service of Fox movies. There is the great scene he pitched to Lord Justice Leveson on Wednesday morning where the editor of the Times enters left, closes the door behind him and begs: 'Look, tell me what you want to say, what do you want me to say, and it need not leave this room and I'll say it.' And our hero proprietor, so famously fastidious about such matters, has to tell Uriah Heep: 'That is not my job.' And thus, children, was how Mr KR Murdoch honoured the promises of editorial independence that enabled him to avoid the Monopolies and Mergers Commission over his bid for Times Newspapers in 1981. As the editor in question, I am not able to compete with Murdoch in fabrication – he has had a lifetime of experience – but I do happen to have retained my memory of the year editing the Times, made notes, kept documents and even had the effrontery to write a whole bestselling book about it in 1983, called Good Times, Bad Times. It has gone unchallenged for 30 years in its detailed account of precisely how Murdoch did break all five of the crucial pledges, did press for adopting his rightwing views, did want to know why we reported the Treasury statistics that the recession continued when the government had previously said it had ended. When counsel waved the book in front of him, Murdoch wanted everyone to know he had not read it." (Sir Harry Evans)



"The London Olympics isn’t the only venue for world-class sport this year. Political gold is waiting to be won in November, and the only way to grab the top U.S.A. medal is to master Electoral College math. It is both deceptively easy and maddeningly complex. A candidate has to accumulate 270 votes in a tiny universe of 538, but those 538 will be generated by 130 million votes cast in 51 separate entities. A game that looks like checkers is really multi-dimensional chess. Still, the deep polarization of party politics has simplified the process somewhat. Remarkably, about 40 states — and maybe more — have almost no chance of flipping from one party to the other in the 2012 Electoral College. If President Obama gets his way, the electoral map will look very close to the way it did four years ago; on the other hand, Mitt Romney needs to flip a relative handful of states to take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Obama’s 2008 performance was close to the high-water mark for a modern Democrat: 365 electoral votes (359 under the new 2010 census apportionment). Obama did the seemingly impossible by very narrowly pulling two long-time Republican states, Indiana and North Carolina, to his column and even winning an electoral vote in Nebraska’s Second Congressional District, while narrowly losing Missouri and Montana. Those latter two states are widely believed to have moved out of his reach for 2012. It is a little-known Electoral College tidbit that a president reelected to a second term has always added a state to his coalition that he did not win during his first successful run. Sometimes, in the early days of the Republic, it was a state that didn’t exist during a president’s first bid. But it appears that Obama, if reelected, will break this trend. The only state John McCain won that Obama appears to have a chance of flipping is Arizona, but that is a long shot that would require a massive turnout effort by the Obama campaign among Hispanic voters. To compare 2012 politics to war for a moment, the current electoral map is akin to World War I’s Western Front trench warfare: Massive amounts of manpower and resources will be needed to move the frontlines even a smidgen. And the less the lines move, the better it is for Obama." (Larry Sabato)


"From the lecture it was down to Michael’s Wednesday, and full up. Just inside the door and Mary McFadden, Jackie Weld Drake, Anne Eisenhower and Saundra Whitney were lunching, as you can see. Around the room, a variety of trades and types: Bob Arum, the mega-fight promoter; Jewelle Bickford with Michael Fuchs; Susan Blonde with Javier Colon, James Cohen with the legendary Bo Dietl; Steven Haft, Gerry Imber and Duh Boyz – Della Femina, Greenfield, Bergman. I didn’t see Kramer the playwright. Next door, Hoda Kolb with producer Amy Rosenbloom ..."(NYSocialDiary)


"New Age/New Media guru Arianna Huffington’s love of sleep is well documented. There’s the “sleep your way to the top—literally” TED talk, the sleep challenge and the famous AOL nap rooms. That story that she hides her three BlackBerrys in the bathroom while she sleeps is inextricable from her personal mythology. Repeating it to WWD at the Time 100 Gala this week, she revealed that her PDA brood has grown since the New Yorker profile. 'When I sleep, I put all my devices in another room to charge,' she said,'“I have four BlackBerries, one iPhone, two iPads.' And it seems the increased connectivity demands a new mode of relaxation. She told WWD she’s launching an app called 'the GPS for the Soul.' ;It’s a way for us to identify our stress levels and course-correct,' she said." (Observer)


"But I’ve lived in Europe most of my life. What Obama and his media catamites have to say about the rich or well-born I’ve been hearing all my life in the Old Continent, and then some. Even my old man blamed it on the class system, one that had performed swimmingly since Roman times until well past World War I. There was an upstairs and a downstairs; you’ve seen Downton Abbey and know the rest. People knew their places and stuck to them. Pliny the Younger had two houses, one more showy than the other, where elegant food was matched by deep thought, clever chat, and stunning scenery. It was a Platonic ideal of dining, an event where all the elements were in perfect harmony, although I’m not sure the servants agreed. Listening to some European protesters nowadays, one would think that nothing has changed since Pliny’s time ... The decline of the upstairs-downstairs system had something to do with the general cultural decline. It began with a healthy challenge to deference from below and became a crisis of nerves from above. The people who belonged to the Establishment, the old authority figures—and by that I don’t mean only lords of the manor and millionaires, but also teachers, religious leaders, and politicians—no longer believe in the ethos that made them what they were. They no longer feel able to uphold traditional values. Parents, bombarded by generations of lifestyle gurus on bringing up their children, simply lost the plot. Respect for one’s elders is now an alien concept ... Most people I grew up with never swore, and I don’t think my mother would have recognized a swear word if she heard it. She was kinder to people who worked for a living than, say, a countess or a princess of the blood, and in a way I’m glad she’s no longer around to see our current mess." (Taki)


"Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin asked for a meeting with Spanx creator Sara Blakely after the secretary of state spoke at the Time 100 Gala. Tuesday’s event to celebrate Time Magazine’s '100 Most Influential People in the World' issue was packed with moguls, leaders and newsmakers including Jeremy Lin, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Harvey Weinstein, and Rihanna — but it was Blakely whom Abedin, wife of Anthony Weiner, most wanted to meet before she and Clinton left the Time Warner Center, An event organizer was dispatched to Blakely’s table to ask her to come over, and the Spanx sensation was soon seen in deep conversation with Clinton ... Clinton didn’t reveal much about her next move, saying, 'As I finish off my term as secretary of state and eventually get to a point where I can put my feet up and enjoy just being a citizen again . . . We need to continue what America does best.' The night ended in raucous style with Tilda Swinton and pals poking fun at Angelina Jolie by posing in front of the Time backdrop, striking Jolie’s famous right-leg Oscar pose." (PageSix)


"That’s how I think about the memorial to Norris Church Mailer which happened at The Players Club on April 22nd. I couldn’t be there. But my good friend, Maury Hopson who had charge of my flowing locks for the recent Annie Leibovitz photo in Times Square, has written me a heartfelt paragraph on the late wife of Norman Mailer – one Norris Church. Needless to say, Norris was about the most adorable woman to ever come into Norman’s orbit. Her recent memoir, A Ticket to the Circus, was a refreshing, great, uncensored screed to love, romance, sex and how a beautiful girl from Arkansas caused an American literary idol to fall for her. The aftermath became novelistic history. She also became a wonderful painter, writer and the caring mother of all of Norman's children. But here’s Maury: 'She was quite a force and she was another friend who leaves a hole in all of our hearts. The program ended with a great still photo of her with Norman and a hauntingly beautiful song 'You’ll Come Back (You Always Do)' with lyrics by Norman, sung in a gorgeous voice by Norris herself.'" (Liz Smith/NySocialDiary)

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