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August 6, 2009
Journalist's return a really big shoo
Yesterday, we noted that the media had skipped over the fact that the airplane that Clinton flew to North Korea to rescue the foolhardy women journalist captured and imprisoned by North Korea was owned by Democratic activist, wealthy heir, and Hollywood producer, Steven Bing. The entire affair had a feel of political theatre. We were not too far off the mark.
Turns out it was a political spectacle brought to your screens, courtesy of Hollywood and public relation flacks and hacks.
The New York Post (Bill's H'Wood Blockbuster):
Bill Clinton's triumphant return from North Korea with two rescued US journalists had Hollywood written all over it -- from the Burbank airport to the big-time producer who bankrolled the expedition to the celebrity public-relations firm that orchestrated the homecoming.
A key player in Clinton's high-flying diplomatic mission to rescue Laura Ling and Euna Lee was entertainment mogul Steve Bing, a longtime "Friend of Bill" who lent the ex-president his private Boeing 737.
The multimillionaire mogul paid about $200,000 in fuel and other costs that came with the trans-Pacific flight.
Bing's Shangri-La entertainment firm also funded a major logistical effort to carefully showcase Clinton's arrival in Tinseltown -- which featured Ling lauding the former president while almost in tears.
The company knows a blockbuster when it sees one, having produced Tom Hanks' "Polar Express," "Beowulf," starring Crispin Glover and Angelina Jolie, and Martin Scorsese's 2008 Rolling Stones rock-umentary, "Shine a Light," filmed at Clinton's 60th birthday bash at the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side.
Hollywood p.r. firm Rogers & Cowan, which represents Bing along with a bevy of A-list celebs, began organizing the arrival ceremony after it got word Tuesday morning -- while Clinton was still on the ground in Pyongyang -- to get ready, according to a Hollywood source.
The firm chose as its venue Hangar 25 at Bob Hope International Airport in Burbank, a solar-powered facility that has hosted other press events.
Staffers put together three press risers to accommodate more than 100 media and TV crews, and contracted an in-house photographer to capture the event.
The p.r. firm closely coordinated with Bill Clinton's foundation, which worked with former Vice President Al Gore's Current TV to have family members on hand for the homecoming.
I suppose it just wouldn't be enough to fly the sisters to a private secluded airport so they could enjoy some quality time with their family. Maybe Bill Clinton and Al Gore are just feeling a bit out of the limelight they crvave so much these days. With Bill's wife sidelined by Barack Obama and with Gore's signature issue,the climate crisis, subject to a great deal more scrutiny (and found wanting) it was time to rev up not just Bing's jet but also the fawning media corp.