John Skipper and Richard Haass are our guests this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton.
Conversations recorded at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Aspen, Colorado
Original Air Date: July 13, 2013 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124.
PoliOptics airs regularly on POTUS on Saturdays at 6 am, 12 noon and 6 pm.
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This week, as we begin an on-and-off hiatus from the studio this summer, we introduce a special series shows recorded at the Aspen Ideas Festival against the glorious backdrop of Ajax Mountain in Aspen, Colorado.
How to describe the Aspen Ideas Festival?
Start with something akin to a bucolic liberal arts college campus, but ring it with the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Then add a full-day, full-participation seminar schedule with what surely must rank among the world’s finest corps of teachers, offering ideas from all sides. Then round it out with a town like Aspen, with more food and fun than a few days can possibly allow.
I came out to the Festival – now in its 9th year — with my microphone in my backpack and, between the scheduled series of lectures and discussions, managed to pull aside some of the speakers and attendees to squeeze in some PoliOptics-themed bilaterals.
On this, the first of four shows from Aspen show, we welcome John Skipper of ESPN, , the president of ESPN, Inc. and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, the world’s preeminent sports entertainment platform; and Richard Haass, the president of the Council of Foreign Relations and author of the new book Foreign Policy Begins At Home: The Case for Putting America’s House in Order.
As always when we take the mic with us into the field, please forgive the occasional ambient noise you’ll hear in the background and the not quite studio quality sound.
We begin with John Skipper, the president of ESPN, Inc. and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks. Skipper, whose media roots being in New York at Rolling Stone magazine, is a towering guy whose company towers over much of the media business. ESPN’s EBITDA of $3.9 billion give the franchise a value, according to Forbes, of about $40 billion, about half of the $84 billion value for the Walt Diseny Co. as a whole. I’ve long thought that coverage of politics could learn a lot from the coverage of sports. Let’s face it, much of politics is a contact sport, and we might as well lean in.
Later, we talk with Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of the new book Foreign Policy Begins At Home: The Case for Putting America’s House in Order. Richard is one of those guys who, even though he earned his stripes working mostly in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and the two Presidents Bush, always struck me as a reasonable centrist. He is a guy with a fierce intellect but is also one possessing a ripeness for compromise, using a phrase that Richard himself he might prefer to ascribe to giants of diplomacy and leadership. If only there was more ripeness in Washington.