It was cool in the early days of “The Weather Channel”. Now…not so much. Do we really still have a macabre sense of waiting to watch Jim Cantore tumble down the shoreline?
It was cool in the early days of “The Weather Channel”. Now…not so much. Do we really still have a macabre sense of waiting to watch Jim Cantore tumble down the shoreline?
Whoopi Goldberg barely let Ann Romney settle into her seat on ABC’s “The View” before pouncing on the first lady hopeful, asking why Mitt Romney didn’t serve in Vietnam and if the couple is prepared to console families of fallen soldiers if voted into the White House.
Unlike a recent joint appearance on the show by President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama during which questioning ranged from how romantic is the president to the couple’s anniversary, the show’s five hosts skipped the softball questions and got right into red meat — including military service, abortion and the Romneys’ Mormon faith.
When the Obamas’ appearance aired on Sept. 25, the panel stuck to questions about the First Couple’s 20th wedding anniversary and whether or not President Obama is “romantic,” though they did query Obama lightly about the murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, which the president declined to characterize at the time as an act of terrorism.
Romney, 63, clad in a red dress and gold jewelry, was initially scheduled to appear with her husband, who backed out citing a scheduling conflict, according to host Barbara Walters. But his wife deftly deflected her husband’s description of the female klatch as “sharp-tongued,” saying the candidate called the women “sharp and young.” Moments later, Goldberg asked Romney if her husband’s Mormon faith precluded him or their five sons from serving in the military and whether the Romneys would be prepared to console relatives of fallen U.S. soldiers. Many Mormons serve in the military and the faith does not bar them from doing so.
Asked how she would explain to relatives of the fallen soldiers that her sons did not serve in the U.S. military, she continued, “I would say it’s the hardest thing that a president and a first lady can do. We have the most extraordinary fighting men and women and we have to be grateful for them.”
Walters grilled Romney on abortion, and stem cell research, but noted she is not the one running for office.
“I am pro-life and I’m happy to say that,” said Ann Romney when asked by Walters if her thoughts on the issue changed like her husband of 43 years. “When a decision came across his desk to use embryos for experimentation, he could not have, on his conscience, created human life for experimentation.
“The most important thing we can do is have respect for each other in this dialogue. This is a tender, tender issue”
Following Walters’ initial question on abortion, co-host Joy Behar asked Ann Romney about women’s access to contraception, prompting Romney to say: “I would love if you could get my husband on the couch, Joy.”
Romney continued: “What I know is I am here to reflect the character of the person I know. Every decision he will make … [will be based on] is this is the best thing for America to go forward? I think I know where his heart is.”
Romney’s appearance was part of the show’s “Red, White and View” campaign, which highlights political topics and has made the show into an unexpected daytime battleground with the election less than three weeks away.
The interview then took a lighter turn, as co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked Romney’s son, Josh, who was sitting in the studio audience, if he had any political aspirations. He does not, he said, and added it was difficult seeing his father go through the rigorous election season. Josh Romney also downplayed reports that his brother Tagg told a radio host that he wanted to “take a swing” at President Obama.
“It’s hard in this process to see your Dad get beat up,” Josh Romney said. “So you take it pretty personally. I assure you [Tagg] didn’t mean it.”
Along with first lady Michelle Obama, President Obama appeared on “The View” last month, saying the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya “wasn’t just a mob action” and warned people to ignore the “terribly offensive” anti-Islamic video that sparked unrest throughout the Middle East.
“That’s why we can’t let down our guard when it comes to the intelligence work that we do and staying on top of not just Al Qaeda, the traditional Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but all these various fringe groups that have started to develop,” Obama said in an interview that aired on Sept. 25. “You know, the tragedy is that Chris Stevens, the ambassador who was killed there, was actually somebody who was beloved by many Libyans. He’s one of the people who helped to guide our policy as we liberated Libya and got rid of Qaddafi, who had murdered not only Libyans, but also Americans.”
That remark followed some lighter moments in the interview, including questions about the couple’s 20th wedding anniversary and whether the commander-in-chief is a “romantic” husband.
“He’s really good,” Michelle Obama said. “Actually, our — he tells this story, so I’m going to tell it. Our first wedding anniversary, I totally forgot. I totally forgot about it because it was on the weekend and he said, ‘Well, what are we going to do on Saturday?’ I was like, ‘What’s Saturday?’ And it was our anniversary and I forgot.”
Host Barbara Walters also asked Michelle Obama to describe her husband’s personality, saying she wanted to compare descriptions of the president by some as “aloof, cold [and] unemotional.”
“No, no, no,” Michelle Obama replied. “He’s very — he’s very loving. He’s very giving. He’s very open. He’s funny. I’m funnier.”
Obama’s appearance on the popular daytime talk show came as world leaders convened for the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He was criticized for making time for the appearance but not hosting meetings with world leaders at the United Nations, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I miss teaching,” Obama said when asked about his post-White House plans. “And, you know, I’m not sure it would necessarily be in a classroom, but the idea of being able to go around in various cities and helping to create mentorships and apprenticeships and just giving young people the sense of possibility. Something along those lines I think I’d really enjoy doing.”
Anyone who watches Jon Stewart knows that he’s a person of liberal political views – but he also shows impressive flashes of independence. Last night was such an instance. In the course of his show, Stewart skillfully rips apart ABC News and its chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross, for falsely suggesting that the Aurora, Colorado, killer was a member of the Tea Party.
Ross, based on the flimsiest evidence, took an innocent man and, in the words of Stewart, “casually, baselessly, and publicly accused [him] of – I don’t know – maybe being a mass murderer.”
Stewart then explains why this occurred. The mindset of Ross, according to Stewart, is that linking the Tea Party to the atrocity fits into “a pre-existing narrative. I should get that on the TV.” As Stewart puts it, “Tea Party, low taxes, madman. You do the math.”
Stewart then asks, in the form of a joke, quite a serious question: What story does a guy have to blow to get in trouble at ABC? What exactly does a chief investigative correspondent have to get wrong in order to be grounded by the news division?
When it comes to ABC News, apparently, tendentious, reckless and false allegations aren’t terribly problematic – at least when the object of the smear is the Tea Party.
Checking for context before slamming someone for a single line in a speech is always a noble endeavor. But there’s a point when the “benefit of the doubt” becomes ridiculous. A prime example is the liberal argument that President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment wasn’t directed at businesses:
When he made the comment in Roanoke, Va. Friday, Obama was arguing that businesses needed infrastructure investment to succeed.
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” Obama said. “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
The antecedent to “that” is not the business, but “roads and bridges,” as well as the “American system” as a whole.
To believe that Obama was talking about businesses, you only have to watch his speech in context and take it at its literal meaning. To believe Obama was talking about something else, you have to divine certain messages from his ambiguous body language, assume he mixed up his demonstrative pronouns, and concede that the context was structured oddly. Even then, it isn’t clear what exactly he’s referring to.
How could this be, considering he’s supposed to be one of the world’s most celebrated orators? The answer is, no teleprompter:
Judging from video and photos of the event, Obama wasn’t using his teleprompter. According to the video footage posted below, Obama pulled a folded sheet of paper out of his front shirt pocket at the beginning of his speech, and slowly unfolded it. Throughout the speech, Obama glances down at his sheet of paper, rather than the usual mechanical side-to-side head turns from screen to screen.
Wide-angle photos of the event show no sign of the familiar twin-screens that typically follow Obama everywhere. Instead, a white sheet of paper is seen at the podium.
No wonder the speech was such a train wreck, and I’m not just talking about the most controversial line. Here’s a key excerpt:
If you were successful somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you own a business — that, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Iternet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
Stilted, flat, unimaginative and full of banal observations. “Imagine if everybody had their own fire service,” he said at one point. “That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.” Really? It actually sounds like firefighting would be pretty easy if America had 300 million fire services. Not that this is physically possible, or that anybody has ever proposed such a thing. “Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet,” he added. The idea that the government created the Internet to help companies make money is so obviously inaccurate that it’s not even worth discussing. And what does any of this have to do with raising federal income taxes?
For the past four years, liberals have tried to sell us on the idea that Obama is one of the greatest speakers of all time. Now they’re complaining that conservatives are taking his words literally and not cutting him enough slack. Which one is it?
In the course of writing the below report on the Firefly 10th Anniversary press conference from San Diego today I stated that Joss Whedon was seriously considering a reboot of the entire Fireflyfranchise, to air on the Science Channel, and following their upcoming reunion documentary.
I do honestly, personally believe that my report from this afternoon is accurate. Brendon disagrees and has cited his reasons for believing that Whedon was joking: remarks made by Joss Whedon in a further panel later this evening to the effect that he has no plans as yet to return to television; comments from Whedonesque, who have good access to Whedon, stating that there is definitely no reboot in the works.
I have continued to work to either confirm or disprove my assertion that a new series of this show, including the original cast, is imminent. I have reached out to both Joss Whedon and the Science Channel, asking to confirm my reading of Joss’ remarks and the conclusion I made in my article.
I am still waiting on a reply.
Kate Kotler writes for Bleeding Cool;
Out of the 10th Anniversary Firefly Reunion panel came a surprise announcement which will delight Browncoats the world over:
Bleeding Cool was on the scene when Joss Whedon and The Science Channel’s Debbie Myers confirmed to a packed room of journalists that if the planned Firefly reunion movie performs well that we can expect a full Firefly series reboot. And, it seems as if Whedon plans to wipe the slates clean and bring back the entire original cast.
“The opening sequence [of the Firefly reboot] is a conversation between Wash and Book,” said Whedon quite, quite seriously to the amazed Firefly cast and crew on the press panel with him Friday in San Diego.
“Have I never talked to you about this?” He asked Nathan Fillion, seated to his left.
To this point, Whedon has seldom discussed the decision to kill off the characters portrayed by Alan Tudyk and Ron Glass in the 2005 release, Serenity. To critics and fans, alike, this decision provided a finality which indicated that it would be unlikely that a reunion or reboot would ever be possible.
Now we know, that perception was incorrect.
Some are supposing that because Whedon followed the comment with an offhanded remark about rebooting the series with a younger cast (“Zac Effron as Simon…”) that bringing back Wash and Book is more of Whedon’s patented “snark” and are not taking the concept of a reboot seriously.
Not so; immediately upon confirming that, yes, he would like to head back to the ‘Verse again, The Science Channel’s General Manager, Debbie Myers, stated emphatically, “We can help you with that!”
Regardless, it is clear that even after a decade, the impact of the short-lived sci fi series is still being felt by both fans and the cast.
“[Doing Firefly] taught me how to act,” said Nathan Fillion of his involvement with the show, “Out of [the show] I got some of the best work I’ve ever done and a movie, I really couldn’t ask for more.”
“I have much more perspective,” said Alan Tuydk of watching the series again for the first time, “Everything is a discovery again after ten years.”
Bleeding Cool will continue to work to confirm the exact details of the promised reboot and the confirmed movie. Stay tuned!
Now that the U.S. presidential race is well and truly underway, celebrity A-listers are at it again — with one massive exception.
A-listers play the political game in a way the rest of the world can only imagine. George Clooney, for example, is hosting a fund-raising dinner for Obama in Switzerland. This might be the new definition of a real celebrity: If you can hold a fundraiser for the president of the United States on a continent that is not the one in which he is running, you are a real star. The rule has a useful corollary: If you can afford to fly out of your own country to attend a $40,000-per-plate dinner, you are a big donor.
Mr. Clooney’s Switzerland shindig for his favourite politico is but an echo of a much more significant exchange that occurred some four years ago. I was reminded of that transaction by the psuedo-news of Katie Holmes’ flight from her marriage to Tom Cruise — and the caravan of Scientology that goes with it. Those whose minds are, like mine, perilously defenceless against the absorption of the absolutely trivial, will recall that when Cruise first hooked up with Holmes, he went on Oprah Winfrey’s show and started jumping up and down on the cushions of the guest couch like a 10-year-old with a new toy, or a monkey with (as we say these days) incontinence issues.
Cruise went on Oprah’s show then because he was an A-lister, and Oprah’s was the show of celebrity shows, the singular plateau on the nearly barren savannah of celebrity display cases. Oprah was the queen of all that she surveyed. She was regularly highlighted as one of the most, if not the most, influential persons in the United States. If she touted a book, it went to the top of the best seller lists. She waved a wand and the already famous were made more famous. And she was ardently “non-political.”
But four years ago, the House of Oprah made an epic decision: It chose to endorse Barack Obama. Oprah featured Obama on her show, with Michelle, and put the celebrated Oprah muscle to task for his campaign. It was a truly momentous event — the most powerful woman in entertainment endorsing a presidential candidate.
The move was timely. Obama had not yet crested to the great heights of adulation that marked the later stages of his campaign. Oprah endorsed him when it counted, then — having made her point — withdrew from the stage. I can’t think of a more significant moment in the modern intersection of the worlds of Hollywood and Washington, celebrity and power.
Was Oprah’s benediction a “tipping point”? Was it the moment when Obama jumped from being just another candidate to being a star in a class of his own?
Perhaps, but that was then. What of now? Well, something strange has happened. Oprah has lost her chi. She ended her long-time relationship with mainstream television and decided that she should have her own network. It is one of the very few examples of a person ordering her own self-exile. And the result is that she has simply ceased — in television terms — to be. I cannot recall a more precipitous drop in status, and in the influence status bestows, than Oprah’s almost complete fall from entertainment eminence.
Who speaks of Oprah now, save in valediction? Is she endorsing Obama this time? Who cares? Had her “fall” something to do with breaking her tradition of staying out of politics? I think the answer is simpler than that: Fame is frail, celebrity is a bubble and the spotlight passes.
I’m sure Oprah’s absence won’t cast a shadow on the dinner in Switzerland, not will Mr. Clooney raise a glass to the departed queen. Oprah will be an unacknowledged ghost at that banquet. No star, and no president, wants a reminder of glories that have faded, or of stars than shine no more.
As well as one of “My Three Sons” – Don Grady.
Generations will miss the both of you.
Some of the president’s most ardent entertainment industry supporters quietly tell The Hollywood Reporter that while they realize he needs to deploy all of his weapons to compete with deep-pocketed Republican super PACs, they fear the increasing reliance on stars and celebrity contests could backfire with swing voters and mobilize the right.
“We don’t like what he’s doing, but we understand it,” says one Hollywood fund-raising insider. “He has to raise the money. It’s a bad situation.”
Reaction was particularly strong to the $40,000-a-plate dinner co-hosted June 14 by Sarah Jessica Parker and Vogue editor Anna Wintour with guests including Meryl Streep, Aretha Franklin and Bravo’s Andy Cohen. Critics say the tony, heavily promoted event — Parker sent an e-mail to supporters promising the evening would be “fabulous,” and Wintour posted a video online urging supporters to enter a lottery for two tickets — risked creating the impression of an elitist, out-of-touch candidate in a period of ongoing distress and growing economic inequality.
“It’s a mistake,” a veteran Hollywood exec says flatly of the event, which the Drudge Report headlined “Checks in the City.” The exec adds: “He’s supposed to be a man of the people, and he’s hanging out with Anna Wintour? Is he trying to turn the election into a celebrity reality show?”
Conservatives quickly pounced, with Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus writing a column on Breitbart.com titled “Out-of-touch Obama Is in Wintour Wonderland.” Even liberal-leaning Jon Stewart reminded viewers that the insufferable magazine editor in The Devil Wears Prada was loosely based on Wintour, quipping, “If there are two things the American people relate to, it’s the devil and Prada.”
Despite the criticism, the Parker-Wintour event raised at least $2 million for Obama’s re-election effort, and a fund-raiser later that evening at The Plaza featuring singers Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys brought in $2.5 million. This is on top of the $15 million raised at a George Clooney dinner in May and millions more from twin June events, one emceed by Ellen DeGeneres and one hosted by Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy.
And the Obama campaign is far from done: An online contest is under way that allows donor-participants to name the celebrity they’d like to join for dinner with the president, and on June 26, Obama will appear onstage in Miami at a benefit concert with singer Marc Anthony. Another online contest offers backstage passes to that event (with an entry form in English and Spanish, signaling how important Latinos will be to winning Florida).
Despite the risks, most industry Democrats see no alternative given the Republicans’ ability to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in super PAC donations from corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals like brothers Charles and David Koch. Gaming magnate Sheldon Adelson already has given $20 million to GOP campaign coffers and says he’s willing to pour as much as $100 million into this election. Without celebrities to generate buzz for Obama’s campaign, many believe he will be far outspent.
In addition to the focus on high-profile events with the president, the Obama campaign is homing in on entertainment-industry donor lists, trying to milk even more money out of Hollywood.
“We need you to panic NOW!” wrote Cookie Parker of the Obama campaign in an e-mail that hit showbiz inboxes in early June, urging recipients to commit to giving or raising “$1,000 each month until the election.” The increased urgency — with an event slated for June 20 at actress Donna Mills‘ L.A. house touting Sharon Stone as a special guest — also has left some with a bad taste.
“After he took office, he ignored everyone here,” gripes one L.A. donor, “and now we feel like we’re being used.”
Still, with Mitt Romney gaining on Obama in many polls, insiders admit they will cough up for the president. Says Universal chief Ron Meyer, an ardent Obama supporter, “He has to do what he has to do.”
The show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss state that George W. Bush’s was used as physical inspiration to create a head for a scene in which King Joffrey shows Sansa Stark her deceased father’s head on a stick.
“It’s not a choice, not a political statement!” one of the writers insisted during the DVD commentary. “We just had to use what heads we had around.”
HBO did not respond to our request for comment, but as outrage mounted Wednesday, they released a statement saying they were “deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste.” HBO also said the scene would be removed from future DVD pressings.
The producers also did an about face, kind of, releasing their own statement.
“We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc. We can’t afford to have these all made from scratch, especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk,” the statement read. “After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush. In the DVD commentary, we mentioned this, though we should not have. We meant no disrespect to the former President and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise.”
Several people on social media sites called for a boycott of HBO, calling the “Thrones” move “uncool” and an example of “lamestream media.”
However, others on Twitter gave the impaling act the thumbs up.
“No wonder I love this show,” tweeted one, while another called it “clever.”