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Monday, December 02, 2013

Media-Whore D'oeuvres



"Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s political marriage is about to be put to the test.
For five years their unlikely alliance has gone, by and large, smoothly. He has benefited from a widely admired secretary of state whose presence in his administration helped unite the party after their 2008 combat. She has burnished her foreign policy CV and taken a break from the political grind as she mulls a second run at the White House. But Obama’s own recent difficulties, combined with the swirl of attention around Clinton and her intentions in 2016, is threatening to alter those dynamics — in ways that aren’t helpful to either of them. Obama needs his party’s attention devoted to helping him salvage the final three years of his administration. But Democratic donors and activists say the growing anticipation around a possible Clinton administration three years out could accelerate the president’s arrival at lame duck status. The more Obama is viewed as a has-been, they say, the harder it could be for him to rally the party to fight for his agenda. For Clinton, the rising 2016 speculation — which she is not actively trying to suppress — could force her to make uncomfortable choices sooner than she’d like about whether or how to distance herself from the president. The problem is that at this point neither Clinton nor anyone else knows whether Obama will recover from his worst stretch in the White House and right his second term, or whether he’ll stumble to the finish line, leaving voters with a hangover for which they won’t see her as the cure.
Obama and Clinton are both swimming against the same strengthening current, said Ed Rendell, the former Pennsylvania governor and ex-chairman of the Democratic National Committee who was a strong Clinton ally in 2008. 'She wants to stay under the radar screen and he wants her to stay under the radar screen' so the focus is on his agenda rather than the next election, said Rendell. 'It’s a mutual thing.' Yet while the extended Clintonworld is concerned about how she will deal with Obama’s record, she is showing signs of positioning herself as the inheritor of the Obama tenure —she backed him on the decision to seek congressional approval to bomb Syria and has been quiet on controversial issues like the botched Obamacare rollout. Obama aides have helped feed that perception with comments anointing Clinton as the all-but-certain nominee if she were to run.
Clinton’s close association with Obama could deprive any serious primary challenger of oxygen but become difficult in a general election if voters are looking for change. 'Hillary Clinton is the life raft on Obama’s sinking ship: Obama’s troops would be a lot less likely to abandon ship if she wasn’t around,' said Republican strategist Alex Castellanos.He added, 'Hillary has to separate from Obama to win the general election but has to hug him close to win the nomination. If she leaves any room in the primaries between Obama and her own candidacy, she creates an opening for Elizabeth Warren. It’s going to be a tough call to figure out how close to hug the leper.'" (Politico)


"Following yesterday's fatal Metro-North accident in The Bronx, Gov. Cuomo was front and center to address the media at the scene but Mayor Bloomberg was nowhere to be found for more than 12 hours. While there are larger priorities than seeing the mayor as emergency workers toil away in the background, it was simply odd not to hear from Bloomberg when elected officials – including Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino – spoke out about the deadliest rail crash in the city since 1991. In a 12-year tradition of ducking and covering, the mayor's press secretary yesterday morning wouldn't say where Hizzoner was at the time of the derailment – pointing to Bloomberg's public schedule for yesterday, which only included a taped radio address. But the worst-kept secret in City Hall is that the mayor – via his private plane -- often goes away on weekends to his home in Bermuda. Considering how Bloomberg likes to boast that he's never gone on vacation since becoming mayor, this flies in the face of good PR. Rather than acknowledging that he sometimes leaves town, the mayor insists that his private time is his private time and the public doesn't have the right to know where he is when he's off the clock. But the challenge of being mayor of New York City is that you're never really off the clock; it's the most public job north of the White House. And it's simply jarring and a little weird not to see the mayor on TV when disaster strikes and then there's no explanation forthcoming about his absence. The mayor insists that he's not a first responder, that his job isn't to fix the railroad or put out a fire. And while that may be true, to be mayor of New York isn't to just be a good city manager; it's to lead. Although he's been in office since 2002, Bloomberg has never really embraced the part of the job that had La Guardia reading the funny papers to kids on the radio during a newspaper strike or Ed Koch cheering commuters as they crossed the Brooklyn Bridge during a transit shutdown. Bloomberg's efforts at fulfilling that role have been half-hearted and mostly fallen flat. While not everyone can be a born hugger or a great quarterback, the policy of not saying where the mayor is during his 'private time' serves neither the public well nor, ultimately, the mayor." (Bob Hardt via The Awl)


"A sensational note written by Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife Wendi Deng that reveals she had a ‘crush’ on Tony Blair has been found, it was revealed last night.The note was written before media tycoon Mr Murdoch filed for divorce when he discovered Ms Deng had spent weekends with Mr Blair at Mr Murdoch’s homes.A well-placed source said the document was written in the form of a note by Ms Deng to herself in which she expressed her ‘warm feelings’ for the former Prime Minister.In further dramatic developments surrounding the feud between the two men – who forged one of the most powerful media and political alliances in British post-war history – The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Mr Blair was forced to stay away from the world’s biggest media conference after Mr Murdoch objected to his presence. It has also emerged that Mr Blair, 60, and Ms Deng, 44, met on a superyacht owned by music billionaire David Geffen without Mr Murdoch’s knowledge.The new revelations follow our expose last week of the ‘terminal’ rift between Mr Murdoch and Mr Blair over Mr Blair’s ‘multiple encounters’ with Ms Deng, including three overnight stays at two of  Mr Murdoch’s homes behind  his back.Mr Blair and his office refused to comment, leaving it to unofficial sources to ‘categorically deny’ rumours of an affair with Ms Deng.The Mail on Sunday made it clear last week that we have no evidence of an affair between them. That remains the case.Our report last week, which stated Mr Blair and Ms Deng’s stays at Mr Murdoch’s two homes in California had led to the rift between the two men, has not been disputed by either side." (DailyMail via the awesome Paula Froelich)

"Peter W. Kaplan, the former editor of the New York Observer, passed away after a battle with cancer Friday. He was 59. As The Observer’s editor-in-chief from 1994 to 2009, Kaplan took a paper with a small circulation and revolutionized the field of journalism, whether people knew it at the time or not. He crafted a voice among his writers that was in turns sophisticated, sarcastic, erudite and honest, a legacy that can be seen nearly everywhere in media today. The writers and editors who came of age under Kaplan represent a veritable checklist of journalistic success stories, including the gossip columnist Frank DiGiacomo; the New York Times editor Alexandra Jacobs; the New Yorker staff writer Nick Paumgarten; Choire Sicha, the founder of The Awl; Candace Bushnell—whose column Sex and the City, which Kaplan named himself, became a pop culture sensation even as the paper that printed it remained relatively obscure; and scores of others. There are few publications in New York City—either extant or extinct—that do not bear at least some of his influence. Writers talk about the old Observer as if it were a sacred religious text. Under Kaplan’s tenure, the paper became nothing short of the best kept secret in New York. Its subscriptions never rose much above 50,000–this is true to this day; a spike in circulation, as one former writer speculated, was likely the result of a new crop of young talent moving to the city to try to make it in media. Still, the influence the paper had among the people who controlled the power in New York was incalculable. 'The paper got talked about by the people in New York who do the talking,'  said Michael M. Thomas, a columnist who predated Mr. Kaplan, having been around for The Observer’s founding in 1987. 'I remember once I wrote something in the paper and it irritated Jimmy Robinson who was then the CEO of American Express. And he called me up and yelled at me and I said, ‘For chrissakes Jimmy only 12 people read this newspaper.’ And he said, ‘Yeah and I’ve heard from all 12 of them.’' (Observer)


"Since its founding in 1968, New York magazine has served as a prototype of literate, high-tempo publishing, using its weekly cadence and location in one of the world’s cultural capitals to usher in a new, more intimate and frank approach to what a publication could be. Using the tenets of so-called New Journalism, the magazine helped popularize the knowing, skeptical voices of writers including Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Gloria Steinem and Nora Ephron. It was the birthplace of both Ms. Magazine and the concept of 'radical chic.' Now, this magazine that has been at the vanguard of Manhattan publishing for almost five decades is acknowledging that the cutting edge is not necessarily a lucrative, or sustainable proposition, at least on the same schedule. Beginning in March, New York will retreat from its long-standing status as a weekly and come out every other week instead. Along with the closing of the printed Newsweek and the planned spin-off of Time Inc., which includes the weeklies Time and People, the move to bi-weekly publishing represents the end of an era and underscores the dreary economics of print and its diminishing role in a future that’s already here. The change will beget misty eyes from magazine geeks — myself among them — while other consumers will shrug and dive into the ever-changing web version of New York magazine that shows up in their browser." (David Carr)



"Thanksgiving; Giving Thanks, American-style. Aside from the traditional national holiday weekend festivities, many Americans who were in the mood -- according to media reports -- experienced the pandemonium of what is bizarrely (not to mention ominously) called Black Friday, a fairly new and peculiar American shopping rite where massive crowds engage in chaotic, often violent behavior in stores and shopping malls in quest of fantastically under-priced pieces of merchandise like wide-screen TVs. This year the jostling brought about at least one death, not to mention all kinds of physical injuries. On a more somber note that underscores the senseless tragedy of violence for one family and the entire nation, a friend of mine visited the gravesites of our fallen President John F. Kennedy, his wife JacquelineRobert, at Arlington National Cemetery." (NYSocialDiary)


"Journalist and bon vivant Steve Garbarino and his book 'A Fitzgerald Companion' will be toasted Monday night at the Upper West Side townhouse of 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' author John Berendt. Those expected include 'Mayhem' actor Dean Winters, Reinaldo Herrera, Cynthia Rowley and Bill Powers, Marisa Marchetto, Departures’ Julian Sancton, DuJour’s Jason Binn, Observer alum George Gurley and Spencer Morgan, Gay Talese, Paul Sevigny, T magazine editor Deborah Needleman, Off Duty/WSJ editorial director Ruth Altchek and Steve’s wife, Maddy Simpson. The party comes on the heels of a bash at Garbarino’s 'third home,' the Chateau Marmont, on Nov. 18 attended by Tommy Chong, among many others." (PageSix)

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