Archives: August 2005
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Wow. This is a huge get. President Bush will guest on “Good Morning America” tomorrow in an exclusive live interview with Diane Sawyer to discuss Hurricane Katrina and the emergency relief efforts. He probably won’t get around to talking about his 45% approval rating but we’re betting that the phrase “war on terror” will somehow sneak in there.
TVNewser has the scoop, as always, and wonders aloud: “When was the last time Bush granted a live interview?” Chalk one up for Karl Rove; this is, as usual, a PR masterstroke, and FAR safer than the White House press corps.
UPDATE: This? PR masterstroke, not so much.
UPDATE: Thanks to an eagle-eyed tipster I have corrected the approval rating. 38% was incorrect and reflected specifically the approval rating on Bush’s handling of Iraq, not his overall approval rating. Sorry, tipster. You know Fishbowl tries to be fair and balanced.
You didn’t miss much today. Hope you were in the Poconos or Central Park or somewhere. The three new kids — Domino, OK! and Shop etc. — vied for mama’s attention. Charlie Rose and Dan Rather nodded each other’s way. Tina relaxed with the Telegraph‘s Andrew Neil. There was a gaggle of media reporters to witness the shenanigans, but (sigh), no shenanigans.
This might be a good time to tee up your Fall by sending Loreal (the woman who decides what table you are assigned) a Baby Gift! We have heard that many people did, but if you haven’t yet, you still have time. The baby’s name is Sophia Grace Hazel Sherman. We urge you to heed our call and send cards, gifts, flowers, swag and what-not to: Michael’s Restaurant, 24 West 55th Street, New York, NY, 10036. Phone: 212-767-0555.
Feel free to correct us if we are wrong on anything by writing LaurelT AT mediabistro Dot Com.
Table 1: Phil Ramone, Billy Joel’s producer, with entertainment attorney big-wig Freddie Gershon, and a woman who arrived late, wearing a patterned blouse or dress.
4: Literary agent Owen Laster, in the most wonderfully outrageous fuschia shirt, with Penguin’s Dan Conaway, in a decidedly staid beige suit.
5: Dan Rather with Gil Schwartz.
3: A team of high-powered headhunters from Bentley & Farrell Executive Search were with Christian Toksvig, head of the so-far wildly successful OK! Magazine. Lots of male bonding rituals performed at this table. Loud guffaws, bawdy jokes and shoulder slapping. OK! must be hiring up!
6: Anna Perez, head of corp comm for NBC Universal (formerly worked for Condi Rice and Barbara Bush), sitting with two other women, one in khaki pants, with a blue thing on her ankle, in from LA. Anna seems to know everyone, Rather, Rose, Tina, and on.
7: George Malkemus, of Manolo Blahnik, with colleagues, most of whom were female and blonde.
8: Brooke Duchin (wife of Peter Duchin) with New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia.
11: Tina Brown, looking rested after some time abroad (Positano, England, etc.). She was in a beige, striped jacket (wearing a white t-shirt underneath. We approve!) and beige slacks by Michael Kors. Only Tina could be at a garden party chatting up the Queen “when alarms started going off everywhere!” It was the London bombing scare. Today, she was dining with Andrew Neil, formerly of the Financial Times, now at the Telegraph. No doubt doing research for her Princess Di book.
12: Shop etc. Publisher Cynthia Lewis, wearing very deep, brick-colored lipstick (we liked it) bemoaned the loss of Laurie when she sat down. Who Laurie is we don’t know. But we overheard her tell her guest, a woman in a dark blue dress or suit, with a spidery blue-crystaled pin, “Laurie’s leaving me…. Going to that woman we talked about!” Is Laurie her housekeeper? One of her sales execs? Tell us, if you know.
[This just in from a reader: "Laurie is likely Lori Rhodes, Executive Marketing Director (and a great lady)."]
It was only a matter of time, of course, before the comparisons were made — and not without reason: death, destruction, flooding, homes and people washed away, horrific scenes of devastation. It’s certainly a hell of a lot more germane than a Hollywood breakup (long memories, Kent Brownridge).
Even so, the scope really doesn’t compare, and the Tsunami-comparing backlash is gearing up, starting with Romenesko letters (again), as a Corey Pein writes in from Bangkok:
“The tsunami hit a whole region and killed hundreds of thousands of
people and came without leaving enough time to evacuate. The worst-hit places here in Thailand are still [messed] up, whole villages of shell-shocked people who lost their families and their livelihoods. It is possible to convey the scope of the disaster on the Gulf Coast without resorting to such hyperbole. From this perch, it only offers evidence to support the worst stereotypes about Americans, ie, that we only think of ourselves.”
E&P editor Greg Mitchell wades into the fray and writes:
“I’d like to add that I hope the media also doesn’t swallow and follow Gov. Barbour’s widely-published (front page of NY Times etc.) declaration that the Gulf Coast of Mississippi now seems like “Hiroshima.” The differences are monumental (in the degree of destruction, loss of life and, let’s not forget, horrid radiation effects). This is not to minimize the Mississippi tragedy; I just fear that to make such a comparison tends to minimize the utterly unique and must-be-avoided danger of nuclear weapons.”
Still, you try telling a floating corpse in Louisiana that Katrina doesn’t technically merit a comparison to another devastating tragedy. It’s pretty fucking brutal no matter how you slice it.
Even as Seventeen celebrates the hiring of their new beauty editor, the non-anonymous blogger non-Nadine Haobsh non-female Desi Gallegos (whisked away from the associate beauty editorship at Teen People), the NYT and a brother in anonymous blogging arms stick up for almost-beauty editor Nadine Haobsh, who saw her job offer yanked when she was outed as beautyblogger Jolie. That was a very long sentence.
Jeremy Blachman, the Harvard law student who blogged as beleagured white-shoe hiring partner Anonymous Lawyer, leaps to Haobsh’s defense* in today’s op-ed pages, agreeing that, yes, people can get fired for all sorts of stupid stuff but that weblogs ought to be protected, dammit. Otherwise how would people know to slather on Jergens for a natural yet reasonably-priced glow? Or what goes on inside a white-shoe law firm? (er, just a quick note on that: didn’t you make it all up? Not that it’s not hilarious satire – especially this entry and this one too – but it’s not, strictly speaking, the truth. Though as a former associate in a white-shoe firm I can definitely attest to the some-truth).
Blachman’s point is that the public interest in free-flowing information ought to trump the employer’s interest in not being outed as a vacation-ruining taskmaster or a spa-vacationing iPod-enjoying cosmetic-shilling SwagHag (did I just make that one up?). I’m actually not sure I agree; as much as I’m a fan of fighting the power and heeding the bloggy muse, I don’t think random employees should be able to blog willy-nilly about their employers with impunity. There are obvious dangers inherent in that, particularly with respect to bloggers less thoughtful than Haobsh or fictionalized like Blachman. This is not to say that I don’t think employers should be cool about anonablogs: after reading pretty much all of Jolie I didn’t think she had crossed any lines at all and thought the LHJ firing was uncalled for and the rescinding of the Seventeen offer appalling (nice message to send to your readers about speaking out, Atoosa). But there are lines, and when employees cross them it’s just as unfair to deny employers redress.
But don’t take our word for it, see what Blachman has to say – he must be pretty convincing, considering that he actually recieved a bunch of résumés from law students wanting to work at his pretend slave-driver firm. Aw, kind of reminds me of how we got the Fishterns.
*It feels funny not to call you Jolie, Nadine. Sigh. But we all must grow up sometime. Fly, fly, fly, little bird.
In New Orleans, they are finally evacuating the SuperDome, apparenty planning to airlift people to the Astrodome in Houston. I will never make fun of sports again. Meanwhile, amazingly, water still continues to pour into the city with two levees destroyed — CNN has a video here (as a side note, CNN has finally dropped their tasteless and oft-mocked “Watch Free!” video plug).
On the newsblogs, more reports of the devastation: The Daily Nightly has an account by NBC Correspondent Kerry Sanders who flew over New Orleans and Bay St. Louis, Miss. in a helicopter yesterday (video here) – he typed it in the air but couldn’t post it ’til today. Hardly pre-packaged news.
The newsies continue to fan out but still the scope is too gigantic to cover, even as they capture the personal moments (Jon Friedman feels a little voyeuristic being privy to such raw grief; Robin Roberts reports from her home state of Mississippi, voice shaking).
An emailer writes:
“It takes a lot of exposure to understand how this impacts people. You grow blasé after seeing your hundredth house submerged, until you realize that it means you can’t live in the house. And your neighbor can’t live in his. And no one can live in any of theirs. And there’s nowhere to go. And the one place there was to go to is a hot, humid, football stadium with no plumbing or water and tons of trash. And people are looting and rioting on the dry parts, without any law enforcement. And the water’s rising, and every other city nearby is the exact same way.”
The extent of the Katrina-wrought devastation is enough to render anyone speechless, but the correspondents in the field who are seeing it all firsthand don’t have that luxury. What’s amazing is that after literally weathering the storm and covering the massive fallout over two long days, so many of these people are actually making time to blog, delivering their raw impressions in a way that will surely change the paradigm. I came upon David Shuster’s first-person accounts on NBC’s The Peacock when I was rounding up quotes for the previous post and I just couldn’t stop reading. Here is an excerpt:
Now I’m about a quarter-mile from the beach. Everything from here back down to shore is utter destruction. All the beachside houses are destroyed. There’s nothing left. The people in this neighborhood who did survive did so because they were on the second story or on rooftops of buildings that were farther inland…
One of the most horrifying stories in Biloxi is with an apartment building along the beach. This morning, I talked to a homeowner whose house was right next door to the complex. The homeowner came back and saw that his house was totally destroyed. He says the people in the complex tried to ride out the storm and haven’t been heard from again.
Read more here…
What the fuck?!?! People need to be informed about this situation. This is quite possibly the worst disaster to ever occur in the history of this country, maybe not in terms of loss of life, but easily in terms of economic impact…It’s bad, people. Get Tommy Lee off the fucking television.
(NB I’m wondering where the ABC staffers are keeping their little blue wristbands; surely “According To Jim” isn’t the right answer to “What Would Peter do?”)
We drove over power lines, past a flipped van, and a giant fuel tank sitting by itself on the highway, blocking two of the three lanes. When we arrived at the beach, the sight staggered us all. Much of Biloxi was leveled.
That’s a good question. I don’t know. I mean, I was in — we found a hotel in Philadelphia, Mississippi, about four hours north of here last night. We ran out of gas. We found some gas at a Wal-Mart. We got a little bit of food at that Wal-Mart, some, like, potato chips. We drove down here. I don’t know where we’re going to go tonight. We’ll find something. Maybe we’ll sleep in the truck and wake up and, you know, start working again tomorrow.
There’s so many communities here, and people are so desperate for information. You know, the last thing we’re thinking about is, like, where we’re going to sleep or how we’re feeling. That doesn’t matter. There’s so many people in need right now, and information is so important.
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