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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Media-Whore D'oeuvres





   
    
"Can we please stop already with the tributes to Henry Kissinger? As more and more material gets declassified, there are periodic exposures of his uglier deeds. Walter Isaacson’s biography showed in detail how Kissinger had the FBI put wiretaps on journalists and government officials, including some of his own top staffers. A couple of years ago, it was revealed that back in 1975, while discussing how the Khmer Rouge had killed tens of thousands, he told Thailand’s foreign minister, 'You should also tell the Cambodians'—the Khmer Rouge—'that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won’t let that stand in our way.' More recently, an Oval Office tape was released that captured Kissinger in 1973 saying, 'if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.' And yet Kissinger continues to be publicly lionized in some circles. After his remarkably successful decades-long marketing campaign, he can still call upon an impressive array of friends and cronies to promote him, give him fancy awards or explicitly exonerate him in the press. Last June, at his gala black-tie 90th birthday party at the St. Regis Hotel in New York, the guests included Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Barbara Walters, Tina Brown and hundreds more. Secretary of State John Kerry hailed him as an 'indispensable statesman,' while Senator John McCain told a reporter, 'I know of no individual who is more respected in the world than Henry Kissinger.' Just this week, Kissinger will be speaking at the Center for the National Interest (CNI), a Washington think tank dedicated to realism and therefore regular encomiums to its most famous practitioner. Once again, he is more likely to be acclaimed than to face serious questions about, for instance, the 1972 'Christmas bombing' of Hanoi and Haiphong or the civilian death toll from the massive bombing of Cambodia." (Politico)




" Roger Ailes is watching you. Roger Ailes is famously paranoid about his enemies — he once told Fox News executives that President Obama might shut Fox down and jail him like a political prisoner. But Ailes also controls every aspect of Fox News, no matter how small the detail. He has always cultivated the idea that he is everywhere. 'Look, I know everything I need to know about you,' he once told a producer. 'I talk to the people above you. I talk to the people below you. And I talk to the people on either side of you.' Executives never knew Ailes’s schedule. Sometimes he showed up for the morning editorial meeting, sometimes he didn’t. If he wasn’t there, chances were he was listening in on the speakerphone, although he would not announce himself — suddenly his voice would crackle over the line. Ailes also put eyes in every department. One executive called it 'the invasion of the secretaries.' When Suzanne Scott, the former assistant to Ailes's mentor Chet Collier, sent directions to producers, the staff knew whom she was speaking for. 'She had rules of what you could wear,' a female producer recalled. 'No jeans. If you went out to the field, no dyed hair. The camera people couldn’t wear shorts unless it was over 90 degrees. All of us understood it.' Brigette Boyle was a secretary promoted into Fox’s HR department.'She had no HR qualifications, except to screen people who would be fit for Fox,' a senior producer said. 'Roger every so often had her do a task that was bizarre. Once, he asked for a list of every employee who went to Brown. He said it was because he never knew a conservative who came from Brown." Another time, he asked her to check for any employees who had played field hockey." (NYMag)


Satellite Map of North America


"Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper kicked off 2014 with a televised interview in which he lamented President Obama’s 'punting' of the Keystone XL decision before strongly implying that, in a sense, it didn’t even matter because the controversial pipeline would be built eventually regardless. Then, in keeping with the incendiary nature of the pipeline debate, two climate change protestors stormed onto the stage behind the prime minister before being dragged off by security. With several conflicting signs indicating the decision will come down on one side or the other - such as the North Dakota train fire (approval); State Department reports indicating a negligible impact on climate change (approval); an easing US energy security outlook (rejection); and a well-organized opposition movement (rejection) – the more cynical among us might conclude that President Obama is just waiting to see which voting bloc will be more decisive in this year’s midterm elections. But regardless of what form it eventually takes, it seems likely that the Keystone XL decision will come in 2014." (GeopoliticalMonitor)



Photo by Melissa Moseley/HBO

"HBO announced today that it has renewed Aaron Sorkin’s alternately maligned and celebrated cable news melodrama The Newsroom for one more season. And only one. The show will end its run after the third season, a somewhat inauspicious end for a series that once looked like a sure-thing hit.
The news was announced at the ongoing Television Critics Association winter panels, where networks display their midseason wares and do some early hinting at what’s to come next season. And HBO has, in its wise benevolence, granted Sorkin one more at-bat. But that’s it. Which seems fair. The first season of The Newsroom was an unqualified disaster, full of the kind of pompous windbaggery that Sorkin is capable of on only his worst days. Lots of sanctimonious, not-terribly-nuanced speechifying about the recent past made the show an aggressively tone-deaf, out-of-step chore. Sure, the actors, including Jeff Daniels as a bellicose cable news anchor and Emily Mortimer as his flibbertigibbet producer, were all great, and the show did have moments when it hummed with sleek Sorkin-y momentum. But, all told, it came across as a too-little, too-late lecture. But then the second season came around and, hip to the critics, Sorkin reframed his show." (VanityFair)


Woody Allen throws his own party in New York

"Woody Allen declared, 'I prefer New York,' and skipped the Golden Globes on Sunday, instead throwing himself his own congratulatory dinner party in the Big Apple. While the famed director and writer was being honored by Diane Keaton at the Globes in Hollywood, and simultaneously blasted on Twitter by the man who may — or may not — be his son, Ronan Farrow, Woody was feted at posh Upper East Side restaurant Sistina by a group including wife Soon-Yi Previn, their daughter Manzie Tio Allen and fine arts dealer Lorinda Ash. A source said, “The group celebrated by dining for over three hours. Everyone was in a fun, celebratory mood and congratulating Woody. They spent the majority of the evening discussing their predictions for the Golden Globes . . . It was a friendly banter in terms of predictions of winners — ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ and ‘American Hustle’ were mentioned. Woody was overheard praising Leo DiCaprio’s performance.' We’re told other diners, including film and TV writer George Stevens Jr. and investment banker Kenneth Buckfire, lined up to congratulate Woody." (PageSix)




"By 1967, Brooke Astor had already made a name for herself.  Following her short-lived five-and-one-half year marriage to Vincent Astor, and his ensuing death in 1959, she spent the next more than four decades dispensing as much as $200 million.  As head of the Astor Foundation, she became New York’s most generous godmother. Having transformed herself from an interior decorator to a cultural connoisseur and philanthropist, what to wear for a birthday dinner at a Down East cottage was probably second nature, maybe either a Bill Blass or de la Renta style party dress and simply enough diamonds and pearls so she would still sparkle in the thickest Mt. Desert fog. In addition to Brooke Astor’s cameo at George Garrett’s at-home birthday dinner in Northeast Harbor, Ellen Ordway’s camera and commentary take us to Palm Beach, Little Dix Bay, and Port Royal in Naples. This chapter include a look at Nick and Pat Symington Penniman’s new house,  news about KatharineKaa” Thompson Wood’s tragic murder in the upstairs bedroom of her 'Chateau Country' estate, Elsie Woodward’s views on Society, and a visit with 'Sister' Bingham, Jennie 'Jane' Marston Adams Burgard Tibbett Bingham, at Bali Hai in Naples on Florida’s gulf coast.  The daughter of investment banker Edgar Lewis Marston and brother of financier Hunter Marston,  Jane Bingham’s marriage (her 3rd)  to Metropolitan Opera star Lawrence Tibbett once put her in the national spotlight." (NYSocialDiary)


Jane Fonda gets spanked at Golden Globes party
"Jane Fonda let loose at the exclusive CAA Golden Globes party at the glamorous Sunset Tower Hotel late Sunday. According to an eyewitness, the svelte, 76-year-old actress 'was dancing up a storm. At one point, ‘West Wing’ star Mary McCormack was slapping Jane’s behind. Mary was also twerking. Diddy was dancing with Sandra Bullock next to his ex J.Lo, who was dancing with Melissa McCarthy." (P6)





"When the Golden Globes get handed out on Sunday, it’s possible that Leonardo DiCaprio will wind up with one for his ferocious, incisors-bared performance in The Wolf Of Wall Street. I say that based on the Globe predictions made by The L.A. Times and many of the esteemed experts at Gold Derby, as well as my own awards-season intuition, which is really a fancy way of saying 'BS premonition based on nothing.' But so much of awards-season prognostication is fueled by BS premonitions based on nothing, so sure, let’s go with this. After all, the Hollywood Foreign Press has demonstrated a longstanding admiration for DiCaprio’s work, awarding him once (for The Aviator) and nominating him 10 times, including twice in 2007 in the same category (lead actor in a drama). When it’s a good year for DiCaprio, the HFPA is more than willing to show him extra affection and chuck its rulebook out the nearest window. (I’m going to assume, perhaps naïvely, that there’s an actual rulebook somewhere.)" (TheDissolve)

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