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Posts Tagged ‘David Gergen’

Eliot Spitzer on Working for CNN: ‘I’m having a barrel of fun!’



Although it might not seem like it given the sheer numbers of journalists reporting from England this week, there are plenty of media folk and fashion mavens who aren’t headed out of town to cover that little get-together at Westminster Abbey on Friday. The dining room at Michael’s was packed today with A-listers of every stripe.  I lunched with my good friend Lisa Linden and Eliot Spitzer and we had plenty to talk about. Eliot joined us fresh off this morning’s shuttle from Boston where he’d given a lecture at MIT yesterday. He also taped last night’s broadcast of Inside the Arena from there.

While the rest of CNN is in the grips of royal wedding fever, Spitzer couldn’t be happier to be left out of the lovefest across the pond (“I’m really upset they didn’t send me over there,” he quipped). The subject did come up on last night’s show when he questioned Muslim activist Anjem Choudary about his planned protest at the wedding. While Spitzer pressed him on whether he was planning to “bring violence” to an  event watched by over two billion people, Choudary continually evaded the question. It was fascinating to see a flash of Spitzer’s past as New York’s attorney general come through during the exchange. Perhaps not so coincidentally, it was announced this morning that the group had canceled the planned protest.

When I asked Spitzer if he considered himself a journalist or a commentator, he answered simply, “I don’t know. I don’t mean to be vague. When the issue of objectivity comes up, I don’t think there is any such thing as objectivity. I don’t mean to say you infuse everything with bias and don’t try to be rigorously factual, but how you present every fact depends upon the prism through which you see it.” Read more

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Lunch: Tina Brown, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Media Mavens Galore!



They were dining and dishing like it was 2006 today at Michael’s. When I mentioned to one of the regulars that I hadn’t seen the dining room jam packed with so many power lunchers in a long time, he summed up the scene this way: “People are tired of waiting for the official word that we’re out of the woods so they’re trying to act as if we are. In some ways, it’s working.” In other words, denial is the new black.

A few weeks back, my friend Robert Zimmerman introduced me to Melanie Brandman, founder and CEO of The Brandman Agency, and Diana Biederman, managing director of Blackbird PR. I chatted briefly with the two public relations mavens and today we had our own ‘Michael’s lunch.’ Melanie started her all-female agency in 2000 after serving as vice president of corporate affairs for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in London where she headed worldwide PR for over 3,000 properties in 100 countries. Today, at the helm of her own agency, she specializes in luxury hotels and lifestyle brands and represents top-tier clients including Qantas Airways, Orient-Express Hotels & Resorts, as well as her former employer. As you might imagine, she’s logged “millions of air miles” on the job and in just the past six months alone has visited India, Morocco, and Barbados multiple times. She recently hosted a group of lucky travel writers on a six-night sojourn aboard the uber luxurious Maharajas’ Express, which travels from Delhi to Kolkata. “Absolutely the best way to see India,” says Melanie. I’ll bet.

Last year, Melanie launched Blackbird PR, a lifestyle subsidiary of The Brandman Agency, and asked Diana, who had been working as public relations director of ’21′ Club for eight years, to head up the company. Of the spin-off Melanie says: “It was a natural progression, because we do a lot of work within the lifestyle divisions of our travel clients. I wanted to keep Brandman as a separate entity.” Things are off to a good start with clients like VOS Selections, whose handcrafted artisanal wines are the brainchild of Victor O. Schwartz and Ray Griffiths Fine Jewelry.

Melanie also tells me she just opened an office in Los Angeles so she could “get more business out of Asia” and squeeze in a few more trips back home to see the family in Australia. Where does she find the time?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Hotshot Hollywood attorney and producer Freddie Gershon with legendary Oscar winning songwriters (“The Way We Were“) Alan and Marilyn Bergman.

2. Peter Brown

3. Howard Rubenstein

4. Allen & Co.’s Stanley Shuman

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Will Next Week’s Election Spell Doom for Television?

mccain_obama.jpgRemember how back in the late nineties no one could really imagine what life would be like after 2000? (And really, who among us could have envisioned YouTube?) And then everyone freaked out about Y2K and welded all the manhole covers shut in Manhattan. Well, with only eight days left to this long, strange, and extremely profitable election cycle it looks like the media may be experiencing their own sort of political Y2K. Says David Carr:

No more nights of watching Anderson Cooper make the eager hand-off to the wise David Gergen. Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly will have to make do with political autopsy, while Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will have to find humor speculating about those first 100 days. And if the current polls hold (and don’t hold your breath), Tina Fey might have to make do without Gov. Sarah Palin, along with the rest of us.

What will we watch! Perhaps more to the point in this calamitous media environment, how will advertisers make money? The last time we heard an industry panic this much over the conclusion of their favorite product was when Harry Potter ended.

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Media Events 11.08.07


THURSDAY 11.08.07
WHAT: Fabulous new play, Always — But Not Forever
WHO: Director Gary Imhoff with cast: Bryan Callen (Mad TV and Sex in the City , Tanna Frederick, David O’Donnell, Michael Fairman, Samantha Sloyan, Brent Fraser and Kelly DeSarla
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Edgemar Center for the Arts
WHY: It’s the first play legendary filmmaker Henry Jaglom has written in about 30 years. The play is about the end of his first marriage and is based upon his 1985 film of the same name. Ticket info here.

SUNDAY 11.11.07
WHAT: Book signing of Second Civil War
WHO: LAT political columnist Ronald Brownstein
WHEN: 4 p.m.
WHERE: Book Soup
WHY: He casts the red-state/blue-state social war in Civil War terms. And if that doesn’t make you feel duped and distracted, then you probably voted for Bush and we can’t help you.

MONDAY 11.12.07
WHAT: Political talk
WHO: Former presidential adviser (for both parties) and current editor-at-large of U.S. News and World Report David Gergen
WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
WHY: The promotions for this talk promise insight into the “ups and downs of presidential leadership” over the past 30 years. You need another reason? Ticket info here.