Our friends at the Huffington Post made their own news at the Garden Brunch supporting CURE Epilepsy and The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood. Enjoy these interviews of two longtime WRA supporters Arianna Huffington, Matthew Morrison and “Scandal” star Kerry Washington. Read full story HERE.
For those looking to Washington this weekend for the stars and the CEOS, please remember that this weekend is about the work and journalism of the White House Correspondents who without glamour or glitz toil away to try to explain what is happening at the White House and to try to get the Obama White House to explain what they are doing.
Check out the association’s web site for more on their work and the breathtaking photos taken by their awardees.
Politico’s Caitlin McDevitt pulled together a master list for the correspondents weekend. Though many news organizations will not released their list in advance, here are some who like to let the world know who they are hanging out with this weekend.
“Celebrities expected at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner include Hollywood legends George Clooney and Steven Spielberg, troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan, leading ladies Reese Witherspoon and Charlize Theron, plus hot up-and-comers Josh Hutcherson, Zooey Deschanel and Viola Davis. Some famous funny people are going, too, like Jimmy Kimmel, the evening’s headliner, and members of the “Modern Family” cast. Entertainers Stevie Wonder and Mary J. Blige are also on the guest list, in addition, of course, to President Barack Obama and a bevy of Washington journalists.
(PHOTOS: White House Correspondents’ Dinner guest list)
Not satisfied? There’s plenty more. Here’s a rundown of the big names we’ve heard so far, according to the media outlets that snatched them up:
ABC Sofia Vergara; Jesse Tyler Ferguson; Julie Bowen and Eric Stonestreet of “Modern Family”; Christa Miller and Bill Lawrence of “Cougar Town”; “Hunger Games” actress Elizabeth Banks; actor Paul Rudd; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Obama’s senior campaign adviser David Axelrod; National Security Adviser Tom Donilon; Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno.
AFP Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage of “Mythbusters”; writer Colm Toibin; DNC Executive Director Patrick Gaspard.
Atlantic Media Actress Rosario Dawson; chef José Andrés; “Sex and the City” writer Darren Star; Stacey Snider, co-chairwoman and CEO of DreamWorks Studios; Nancy Ann DeParle, deputy chief of staff for policy at the White House.
American Urban Radio Networks Singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder.
CBS “Homeland” star Claire Danes; “The Good Wife” actress Christine Baranski; Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan; Lt. Gen. George J. Flynn; Raymond Kelly, commissioner of the New York City Police Department; actor Daniel Dae Kim; Sen. Amy Klobuchar; American foreign policy adviser and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice; Capt.”Sully” Sullenberger III; Rep. Allen West; Rep. Tim Scott.
CNN’s Piers Morgan Actress Goldie Hawn.
Fortune Actress Rashida Jones.
Fox’s Greta Van Susteren Actress Lindsay Lohan.
Huffington Post Actor Daniel Day-Lewis; actress Dakota Fanning; Anna Paquin; Stephen Moyer of “True Blood”; Darren Criss of “Glee”; Nasim Pedrad of “Saturday Night Live”; Attorney General Eric Holder; Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke; Sen. Rand Paul; White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer.
The New Yorker “Portlandia” stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein; actor Jason Schwartzman; Aziz Ansari of “Parks and Recreation.”
Newsweek/The Daily Beast Actress Reese Witherspoon; “The Help” star Viola Davis; J.R. Martinez of “Dancing With the Stars”; Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; Gen. David Petraeus; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; Sen. Susan Collins; Rep. Steny Hoyer; Rep. Carolyn Maloney; Ambassador Melanne Verveer; Gov. Jerry Brown; Washington attorney Bob Barnett.
NPR Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas of “Once Upon a Time”; R&B songstress Mary J. Blige; singer John Legend; model Chrissy Teigen; actor Colin Hanks; Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes; Kathryn Stockett, author of “The Help.”
People “Hunger Games” star Josh Hutcherson; actress Diane Keaton; William Levy of “Dancing With the Stars”; former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s daughter, Katherine; Sen. Olympia Snowe; White House chef and food policy director Sam Kass.
POLITICO Actress Charlize Theron; Eva Longoria of “Desperate Housewives”; Green Bay Packers star Charles Woodson; fashion designer and stylist Rachel Zoe; WME CEO Ari Emanuel; Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba; MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd; FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski; former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; businessman and philanthropist Ronald S. Lauder; entrepreneur Aerin Lauder; DNCC’s Theo LeCompte; Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell; Obama campaign manager Jim Messina; filmmaker and journalist Perri Peltz; RNC Chairman Reince Priebus; Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt; entrepreneur Ivanka Trump; Sen. Mark Warner.
Time Actor George Clooney and his girlfriend Stacy Keibler; Defense Secretary Leon Panetta; director Steven Spielberg and his wife, actress Kate Capshaw.
Reuters Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services; Glyn Davies, special envoy to North Korea; 46th Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.; Mitt Romney’s top adviser Eric Fehrnstrom; Ambassador of France to U.S. François Delattre; Ambassador João Vale de Almeida.
USA Today Martha Stewart; TV host Kelly Ripa and her husband, actor Mark Consuelos; “The Big Bang Theory” actor Johnny Galecki; Kelli Garner of “Pan Am.”
The Washington Post Actor Pierce Brosnan; Adm. William H. McRaven.” Thank you Caitlin.
Ted Johnson, Variety’s man on elections and politics, and the creative voice and force behind WilshireandWashington.com sizes up this year’s White House Correspondents Weekend power and prestige.
“D.C. Dinner Mingles Elite and Offbeat
Weekend juxtaposes Pols, Celebs and, yes, even Journos
Hollywood and Washington will mix again at the annual White House Correspondents Assn. dinner on Saturday, and the influx of stars, media types and politicos is certain to create its own share of surreal moments. The purpose of the dinner is to honor White House correspondents in a relaxed atmosphere, but the event has long outgrown the focus on scribes on the beat to become a promotional platform for media outlets and, as such, a spectacle of status, stature and, occasionally, the superficial.
Perhaps no moment captured that facet better than last year when Obama threw out zingers at an ever-so-serious Donald Trump, who appeared none-too-pleased at his table amid what turned out to be the peak of GOP presidential speculation. The irony was made all the more apparent the next day, when U.S. Special Forces killed Osama bin Laden.
Organizers said that this year some 2,700 people are expected at the Washington Hilton for the event, which has sold out for the 20th year in a row. Jimmy Kimmel is the headliner entertainment and President Obama will again deliver a monologue of his own.
A big tradition is for media outlets to draw celebrities and administration officials to their table, and interest in the event has not waned this year. A sampling:
•George Clooney and girlfriend Stacy Keibler, and Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, are among those who will be at Time’s table, along with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
•The ABC News table will include members of the cast of “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town,” Elizabeth Banks from “Hunger Games,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, National Security adviser Tom Donilon, former White House senior adviser David Axelrod and Gen. Ray Odiero.
•The CBS News contingent will include Claire Danes, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger III, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) Christine Baranski, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Daniel Dae Kim and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
•Newsweek and The Daily Beast will host Reese Witherspoon, Viola Davis and JR Martinez along with California Gov. Jerry Brown, CIA director David Petraeus, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
•Others reportedly on tap include Uggie, the dog from “The Artist” (a guest of the Washington Times); Sandra Fluke (a guest of the Huffington Post) and a smattering of young actors hitting their moment, including Josh Hutcherson (a guest of People).
The events preceding the actual dinner start much earlier. On Thursday, Elle magazine, the Creative Coaltion and Lanmark technology host a leading Women in media party. On Friday, The New Yorker hosts a party on the rooftop of the W Hotel, in view of the White House: People and Time host a reception at the St. Regis Hotel; and the National Journal, the Atlantic, Funny or Die and the Impact Film Fund host their annual First Amendment party. Reflecting its growing influence in Washington, including a victory in sidelining SOPA, Google is hosting a WHCA-eve party with The Hollywood Reporter.
One of the longest-lasting traditions is the Saturday garden brunch, which started at the home of producer Tammy Haddad but has grown to the historic Beall Washington House. The event is co-hosted by Haddad, Hilary Rosen, David Adler, Mark Ein and a number of others, and will honor Steve and Jean Case and Susan Axelrod. It is a benefit for CURE Epilepsy and the White Ribbon Alliance.
After the dinner, MSNBC is hosting an after-party at the Embassy of Italy; and Bloomberg and Vanity Fair are hosting an event at the French Ambassador’s residence. ” CLICK for the rest http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118053064
One of the most famous White House moments without a president was Jackie Kennedy’s tour of the White House 50 years ago. She saw the potential for connecting with the American people and television network news divisions have been trying to replicate the upclose personal feel for the people who inhabit the White House eve rsince. Merrill Knox of FISHBOWL tells the story an interviews the CBS producer, “This week marks the 50th anniversary of Jackie Kennedy’s famous televised tour of a newly-restored White House, which was broadcast on three networks and drew 50 million viewers. The broadcast was produced by CBS producer Perry Wolff, who is now 90 years old. Scott Pelley caught up with Wolff last night on “Evening News”:
Go to Gretawire.com and congratulate Greta Van Susteren on ten years of “On The Record” on Fox News Channel. Greta is still the newest talent on the powerhouse Fox prime time schedule, winning her time slot, batting away competitor after competitor. Typical Greta, no big party celebrating the big day. Instead she is blogging on Greta Wire…
“Today is the exact day we launched…..February 4, 2002. Incidentally, right before Feb. 4, 2002, I had just had the bags under my eyes fixed and because I was still swollen, I did still look a bit like the Pillsbury Doughboy, didn’t I? I got so much media attention for being open about plastic surgery that ON THE RECORD at 10pm got a huge media launch. Everyone one was talking about it. It was incredible – even the cover of People Magazine! Although it was certainly not planned to be a marketing ploy, it ended up being a phenomenal to launch a show. Even when the critics had something to say about me they mentioned our new show…and mentioning the new show – regardless of what was said – was big for our launch! It is buzz! It didn’t matter what they were saying – it mattered that they were saying it and paying attention and telling everyone else about the new show. Buzz gets everyone paying attention. No other cable news show has ever gotten a media launch like that and the funny thing? It did not cost Fox a dime. It was total luck. At the time I thought – if only I were smart enough to have planned it to work out this way…but it was just plain luck.
Besides working with great people, and having great friends, I have had lots of luck. I was extraordinarily lucky to have been chosen by Roger Ailes to anchor the new Fox cable show at 10p. Frankly, he could have picked a lot of people – there are a lot of good people out there – but he picked me.
I also know and have told ALL OF YOU many times here on GretaWire, you are a GIANT part of the success of ON THE RECORD at 10pm for 10 years straight. Without you, we would not be successful – and we sure would not be #1 for 10 straight years without you.
And, of course, with GretaWire, I feel like I know many of you and that you are my friends – even on those occasions when you are clobbering me for something I said or did (and yes, many times I may deserve it.) But, what is fun is that even when we get into the occasional dust up with each other we all get over it and move on. I love good strong debate.”
Vivek Kundra was America’s first Chief Information Officer assigned by President Obama to help the White House look forward and integrate new technologies for government. He reviewed government agencies and saved billions of dollars for the government and now he is taking all that knowledge to work globally at Salesforce. Here is what the New York Times Quentin Hardy wrote:
Salesforce.com, best know for its sales, customer service and collaboration software for business, is raising its ambitions by aiming at the international businesses and sales to foreign governments that have been the mainstays of companies like I.B.M.
On Monday, the company named Vivek Kundra its executive vice president of emerging markets. Mr. Kundra was the country’s first chief information officer from March 2009 until August 2011. His job was to move the government’s computer infrastructure spending — $80 billion a year — toward cloud computing. Mr. Kundra has extensive experience in technology at several levels of government, and has been a frequent visitor to the technology industry’s conferences.
Mr. Kundra said in an interview that his work would consist of showing “how Salesforce can close the technology gap” between traditional business and the faster-moving industry typified by consumer applications like Facebook andTwitter. Governments, and many overseas businesses, he said, “are still focused on the old model.”
At present, nearly 68 percent of Salesforce’s revenue is from the United States and Canada. Another 18 percent is from Europe and the remaining 14 percent is from the Asia-Pacific region. Africa and the Middle East are not broken out as separate regions. I.B.M., by comparison, has selected Africa as one of its top growth markets.
Though his title indicates he will oversee development and sales in places Salesforce barely reaches, Mr. Kundra indicated he would use his experience and connections to reach out to governments everywhere.
“The developed nations are all facing challenges in terms of their financial health,” Mr. Kundra said. “They can look at their operating expenses and see Salesforce as a disruptor.” He said that Salesforce would present itself to developing nations as a provider of “new services,” like health care delivered over mobile networks. The overall strategy will be developed over the next few months, he said.
The main benefit of Mr. Kundra’s experience may be in cost savings, as well as project implementation. “When I was in the public sector, $26 billion of that $80 billion was in projects years behind schedule or not working,” Mr. Kundra said. “The cloud can save money. I’ve seen it first hand, whether in D.C. or in the federal government.”
Given his relatively short tenure in the federal government, the cost savings produced during his time there was not clear. Mr. Kundra has also worked in similar jobs for the State of Virginia and the District of Columbia, where the installation ofGoogle Apps, instead of traditional office productivity software, was said to have saved about 87 percent.
Mr. Kundra has also been an outspoken advocate of sharing government data with the public as a means of creating low-cost information and business software applications.
Dear David Carr, Only you could have such great reporting on Keith Olbermann’s battle with Current TV on production matters that make all the difference between success and failure in television not just on election night.
Here is Mr. Carr’s column from Monday’s New York Times:
It was just six months ago that I wrote an article for The New York Times Magazine about the well-traveled anchor’s bold new partnership with Current TV, the low-rated liberal cable channel co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore.
I wondered how Current TV and the hot-headed Mr. Olbermann would get along, but back then, it was all hugs and hopeful rhetoric. At a Yankees game I attended with Mr. Olbermann, he said he was looking forward to working at a place where he would hold the title of chief news officer and where the corporate meddling would be at a minimum. Mr. Gore was similarly upbeat in a phone conversation for the article.
“Yes, he is a piece of work in all that that implies, but I have read all kinds of things about him and the Keith Olbermann I know is a good friend, extremely intelligent and uniformly positive,” Mr. Gore told me, adding, “The relationship is way more textured than owners and an employee. We are partners and friends, and this will be the first time that he has been an equity participant and co-owner of a channel that he works at.”
That didn’t seem to count for much on Tuesday night when Mr. Gore found himself participating in Current TV’s coverage of the Iowa caucuses while Mr. Olbermann was nowhere in sight. Without the star power of Mr. Olbermann and the trappings of a well-financed news outfit, the former vice president looked as if he were trapped in the studio of a midsize public access station.
Meanwhile, Mr. Olbermann refused to participate in any programming outside the parameters of his regularly scheduled “Countdown,” a show where he has all but taken himself hostage by broadcasting against a black backdrop. The motif scans as a running protest against the technical problems at the channel, with a candle lit to mark the start of the vigil. That nice, gooey start-up rhetoric now seems very far away.
Mr. Olbermann did excellent on-air work for CNN, Fox, ESPN, and MSNBC, but that never stopped him from burning bridges faster than they could be built. It rarely ended well in spite of his skills.
As it turned out, past performance was a good predictor of results going forward. Current executives have been reduced to communicating with their biggest talent through his manager and lawyer, with both sides working the media to get their story out. By creating drama in yet another high-profile assignment, Mr. Olbermann could be running out of options, but don’t bet the house on that, given how desperate cable channels are for anyone who can generate ratings, never mind the rough edges.
Having worked for big, moneyed cable outfits in the past, Mr. Olbermann was clearly disappointed in the deep technical problems at Current TV, a cable news start-up that had trouble producing live news programming, including “Countdown,” his 8 p.m. show. He declined to lead the channel’s special political coverage until those problems were resolved, but Current TV officials called his bluff and went ahead without him, pre-empting his show in the process. It was a game of chicken in which everybody ended up with egg on their faces.
The impasse has been remarkable to behold, even if few people are watching. Mr. Olbermann, who is reportedly being paid $50 million over the course of a five-year contract, had more than a million viewers when he left at MSNBC at the start of last year, but in the most recent ratings period, he was reaching just 200,000 people a night at Current TV, according to Nielsen. He’s been very disappointed in those numbers, and the fact that the channel has hired talent and built out capacity on the West Coast without his input. After a summer of production problems that never seemed to be resolved, a power failure darkened his studio last month. He responded by sitting in the dark.
Current TV executives are going through all kinds of gyrations to patch things together, while at the same time expressing surprise that Mr. Olbermann is acting like, well, Mr. Olbermann. When I talked to David Bohrman, president of the channel, he praised the quality of Mr. Olbermann’s show; but when I asked him about coverage of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday night, all he could say on Friday was, “I hope Keith is part of our political coverage on Tuesday night and beyond,” adding, “That’s up to him.”
(Over the weekend, both sides said that progress had been made, and that although Mr. Olbermann will not be in front of the camera on Tuesday, he will be involved in Current’s election coverage on future nights. He confirmed as much on Twitter late Sunday. Earlier Sunday a spokeswoman for the channel said, “He’s told us he will do upcoming special election coverage, we hope he does and we would love for him to do it.”)
Mr. Olbermann’s contractual rights at Current TV are significant — he has control over the content of his show and his lawyers have argued that the channel has no right to pre-empt it for special election coverage — and management has very little leverage over him. So the channel is left to check his Twitter updates for indications of his mood, which is usually not very good.
Executives at Current TV told me they contacted Mr. Olbermann two months before the Iowa caucuses about being the anchor and executive producer of their coverage, and he declined. Mr. Olbermann thought it was silly to attempt to expand coverage when the channel’s marquee show lacked reliable production. But that didn’t stop him from calling in his staff for a news meeting on the day of the Iowa caucuses as if his show were going to appear, when he clearly knew that no such thing was going to happen, a pretty callous stunt by any measure. It fell to Mr. Bohrman to send a memo to the staff saying there would be no installment of “Countdown” that night. Ugly business, that.
But if Mr. Olbermann is disappointed in the widespread technical failures at Current TV, it should be pointed out that he helped choose the studio, an old building on the far west side of Manhattan that has turned out to be a lemon. He is a part of the management team, and you generally don’t get to rail against the Man if the Man is you.
Executives at the channel say the embarrassing public fight has more to do with his unwillingness to play, let alone play well, with others. Which is kind of a running meme in Mr. Olbermann’s career, but this time was supposed to be different.
By enrolling him at a high level in the remaking of Current TV and keeping the bureaucracy at a minimum at the small, privately held company, Mr. Gore and Joel Hyatt, the founders, hoped that the brilliant but chronically oppressed anchor would find the angel of his better nature. No angel has been forthcoming. Instead Mr. Olbermann has expressed multiple grievances through letters from his lawyers.
(Problems have only deepened since Mark Rosenthal, a chief executive Mr. Olbermann got along with, left in the middle of last summer and Mr. Bohrman, an experienced news executive, was brought in from CNN.) Current TV wants to be a player in the cable news/opinion world and most especially in the 2012 election, but their production capabilities are not ready for prime time and the man who was supposed to take the lead has barricaded himself within the four corners of his show and, so far, he’s not coming out. Mr. Hyatt, who is also the chief executive of Current TV, did not see that coming when we spoke last May.
“We think of Keith as our partner and as our friend,” he said then. “We don’t think of him as our employee, we don’t think of him as we’re a conglomerate and management, he’s the talent or worse, the employee.”
He was right about the last part. If Mr. Olbermann were simply an employee, they could tell him to show up at 7 p.m. Tuesday to anchor coverage of the New Hampshire primary. They can’t, and he won’t.
As published in the Huffington Post:
Vice President Al Gore made a stunning, unexpected return to politics for the 2012 Iowa Caucus as a political analyst for his own cable channel, Current TV.
For those who migrated over to watch Keith Olbermann, there was a moment of shock and awe as the former vice president and 2000 presidential candidate gave his political views on the Republican candidates, Supreme Court decisions, Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and the perils of being called a “flip flopper.”
With hands pressed together, fingers intertwined, and wearing a sports coat with an open collar French blue shirt, VP Gore pointed out the “most significant endorsement of the day” occurred outside of Iowa: Rupert Murdoch electrified the Twitteratti with his tacit endorsement of candidate Rick Santorum as the “only candidate with genuine big vision” for the United States. Gore went on to point out the political impact for all the candidates of the Murdoch tweets saying, “Romney cannot be very happy.” With his analyst hat squarely on his head, Gore reminded the audience of Senator Santorum’s very big loss in his re-election bid in Pennsylvania: “For an incumbent to lose by 18 points…. the vulnerabilities in his record is responsible for the 18-point loss.”
Gore was angry when he talked about Ron Paul’s comments about race saying, “The messages were so shockingly racist, outright racist. It’s just not enough to let that stand there when there are things beyond the newsletters…. I think we are kidding ourselves.”
Surrounded by unidentified “Young Turks” and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Gore reminded the audience of how his re-election campaign bloodied GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole “in 1996 because the Clinton Gore campaign ran a lot of ads in the heartland… against Dole.”
He compared it to the negative ads run by independent groups against Gingrich in Iowa saying, “that opened the proverbial flood gates… devastating on Newt Gingrich.”
The former vice president seemed to struggle to be measured about Gingrich, stating, “He has an interesting mind. I am trying to be charitable. I don’t think we have seen the last of him. Unlike the proverbial cat he probably only has three lives… he has a role to play in this unfolding drama.”
When asked by Current TV host Cenk Uygur if Gingrich will survive this, Gore replied, “He still has something to say,” and with a nod “the media on all sides has an interest in keeping this going. He will go to South Carolina and probably Florida.”
Gore spoke directly to Democrats saying that, “Should they count so much corporate money and special interest money trying to defeat president Obama we cannot lose sight of how it tilts the playing field,” with this final warning, “And nobody knows where it comes from.”
Like the veteran vote counter he is, Gore points out: “It’s no long winner take all before March 1 on the republican side. It stays that way… that is the delegates they will get and it still gives a slingshot effect. The person that wins, gets the prize. It’s still a significant thing to come in first.” No one in politics knows the pain and truth of these words more than Vice President Gore.
Welcome back to politics, Mr. Vice President.
Tammy Haddad, President, Haddad Media, co-founder, White House Correspondents Insider, and former MSNBC Vice President for Washington.