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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Before looking forward, it’s worth revisiting the legal victories of 2012—victories that were less permanent than they may have seemed in the run-up to the election. Some coverage of court decisions, like the ones that blocked implementation of the Pennsylvania and Wisconsin voter-ID laws in 2012, obscured the fact that the decisions did not permanently invalidate the laws but rather merely prevented their implementation before November’s elections. For instance, the unnecessary and for many citizens onerous Pennsylvania requirement stands a strong chance of being in place for the contentious 2014 re-election of the Republican governor who signed it into law. The October court decision temporarily blocking the bill seemingly offers a roadmap to voter-ID proponents of how to receive judicial go-ahead. Essentially, if the Republican-run state government convinces a judge that the required voter IDs are sufficiently available to Pennsylvanians, the injunction against the law (based on fighting an entirely unsubstantiated fraud problem) will be lifted. The future of the Wisconsin law is less clear, as current lower state court rulings against it are under appeal, but Republican appetite for voter-ID laws and gerrymander-assisted control of the state government makes it a live risk. Additionally, in states where voter ID and other 'counterfraud' efforts have not yet been taken up, the passage of such laws may be made easier by the wide attention that has been paid to 'voter fraud' in recent years. Social science research has underscored the difficulty in correcting misperceptions and the risk that debunking can actually help reinforce the original misperception. That resilience means that viral untruths about ACORN and minority voter fraud, given ample hearings on Fox News and talk radio and seeping into mainstream coverage, are likely to remain virulent for a long time.  Accordingly, the coordinated normalization and expansion of efforts to combat nonexistent voter fraud is continuing apace in 2013. From states that seem like improbable Republican suppression targets (West Virginia) to states where their efforts are likely to fail (New York), conservatives are expanding their pursuit of the voter-fraud bogeyman across the country, including to Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, Missouri, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. The unlikeliness of some of these efforts suggests that pursuing suppression is an easy ideological box for many Republicans to check. Additionally, the inclusion of predominantly white states also helps the national movement argue that proponents simply 'don’t see race,' even as they fail to offer an empirical basis for their schemes. However, the most consequential battles are likely to occur where race and partisan consequences are both in play." (Democracy)


"Drew Katz, the son of former New Jersey Nets owner and Philadelphia Inquirer partner Lewis Katz, married lawyer Rachel Snyder over the weekend at the Breakers in a ceremony so dazzling it amazed even the most social of Palm Beach regulars. Nearly 500 guests were treated to three days of celebrations that included heart-shaped fireworks, a ballroom filled with cherry blossoms and lamps decorated entirely with pergolas. Newark Mayor Cory Booker (who gave a salty speech) and Drew’s father, who owned the Nets until 2004, shared the role of best man, and the bride wore Oscar de la Renta. Guests included Gayle King, Milk Studio’s Mazdack Rassi, Inga Rubenstein, Dori Cooperman, Republic Records’ executive vice president Charlie Walk and wife Lauren, Joyce Varvatos, Emily and Harold Ford Jr. and 'Seinfeld' actor Steve Hytner. Some residents told us the bash was 'one of the grandest we’ve seen,' The groom, the chief executive of New Jersey-based Interstate Outdoor Advertising, told us, 'It was a magical weekend.'" (NYPost)



"Despite all that, the social calendar was heavy with big events. At the Pershing Square Signature Center, Isabella Rossellini and Venetian Heritage hosted a benefit performance of 'Caro Federico' performed live by Ed Norton and Diane Lane, followed by a gala dinner. Up at the Paley Center on West 52nd Street next to '21,' there was a Marvin Hamlish event, 'What I Did For Love: The Music and Life of Marvin Hamlisch.' The evening was originally conceived and planned by Mr. Hamlisch in the days just before he died, as a retrospective of his work. The tribute included performances, rarely seen footage, and personal recollections of working with the man as well as his impact on media particularly in television and film. Among those attending were Steven Soderbergh, Tom Brokaw, John Lithgow, Klea Blackhurst, Malcolm Gets, Donna McKechnie, Marissa McGowan, Blair Hamilton, Rupert Holmes and J. Mark McVey. Down at the Pierre, Castle Connolly held its annual National Physician of the Year Awards. Then over at the Asia Society on Park Avenue and 70th, they were celebrating Asia Week and hosting An Evening to Benefit the Asia Society. Dinner and dancing. Jason Wu was Honorary Chair." (NYSocialDiary)


"The New York Times named Dick Stevenson the new Europe Editor, based in Paris, and Alison Smale as the new Berlin Bureau Chief, they announced today. The appointments come after the recent announcement that the International Herald Tribune will be renamed the International New York Times. 'As we build one news gathering operation that will combine our journalistic strengths and help us to expand our global readership, we are lucky to have such a talented editor and manager direct our European news coverage,' executive editor Jill Abramson said in the Times‘ announcement. 'Dick’s deep understanding of politics and economics, and his embrace of digital journalism make him especially well-suited to the role.' Mr. Stevenson, who was most recently the Chief Washington correspondent, will be in charge of European coverage, including the soon to relaunch International New York Times. Ms. Smale goes to head up the Berlin bureau from the IHT, where she was the managing editor." (Observer)


"Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn made it Facebook official yesterday. The jock power couple posted a posed portrait — flashing the logos of the athletic apparel companies they endorse — along with statements about how their "friendship" had "evolved" into "something more," for which they asked us to respect their privacy. And we totally will, after briefly making the case for why — despite USA Today's cynical nay-saying— Vonn and Woods are a perfect match. The couple became publicly linked last month, when Woods dispatched his private jet to ferry Vonn home to Vail for knee surgery after she was injured at the World Championships in Austria — a chivalrous gesture rivaled only by the Adam and Hannah plot in the Girls season-two finale. Vonn reportedly recovered on Woods's yacht in Florida. So they're off to a fairytale start.  As has been widely noted, Vonn appears to be Woods's type, physically speaking, but they also have a lot in common. They are both child phenoms-turned-world champions at Waspy sports — though not Wasps themselves — who fell from the top of their game amid marital problems. (To be fair, Vonn's divorce and stumble paled in comparison to Woods's.)One potential hurdle to their relationship is that, short of war criminals, Woods might be the world's most difficult bachelor to bring home to Dad. But Vonn is already a seasoned pro at dating men her father doesn't approve of (he was not invited to her 2007 wedding to Thomas Vonn) and rebuilding the father-daughter bond post-breakup. Plus, it takes the competitive spirit of a world-class athlete to be the girlfriend of a confessed sex addict." (NYMag)

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