Eri Hotta and John Skipper are our guests this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton. Original Air Date: November 30, 2013 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124. PoliOptics airs on POTUS on Saturdays at 8 am, 4 pm and midnight and on Sundays at noon and midnight. Follow us on Twitter @Polioptics Listen to the show by clicking on the bar above. Show also available for download on Apple iTunes by clicking here
Later in the broadcast, recognizing that many listeners will be spending this Thanksgiving weekend watching college and professional football, we are presenting an encore of our conversation with John Skipper, president of ESPN Inc. and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks. Our conversation with John first aired on July 13, 2013.
Josh Sapan, Gordon England and Susan Glasser are our guests this week.
With guest co-host Steve Silverman alongside Josh King
Show produced by Katherine Caperton. Original Air Date: November 23, 2013 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124. PoliOptics airs on POTUS on Saturdays at 8 am, 4 pm and midnight and on Sundays at noon and midnight. Follow us on Twitter @Polioptics Listen to the show by clicking on the bar above. Show also available for download on Apple iTunes by clicking here
Whenever I was assigned to produce a big site for Governor — then President — Bill Clinton, I always went first to the back of the stadium, field, big city intersection, or wherever we were to hold the event, and imagined it filled with people, with flags, with bunting. I knew, of course, that rare was the occasion when the New York Times would use “the wide shot” on Page 1, but I always thought there was something prideful for the hometown newspaper or local television station to capture “the big picture” in their backyard, a moment of American panorama that would be frozen in time.
As a kid, and even today, I love a flea market. I try to get to Brimfield once a year (if you go, wear comfortable shoes). I’m drawn particularly to the vendors with tables chock-a-block with old black and white photos, usually of large groups: the medical staff of a hospital or an troop of cadets, perhaps oilmen working a derrick. As my wife will tell you, I’m drawn to them a bit too much. We now have a basement full of framed photos over 50 years old and too little wall space that she’s willing to devote to long-faced frontiersmen and long lines of white lab-coated medical students making their mothers proud.
Rest assured, Josh and I cover a wide array of topics, from how AMC’s business is doing (it earned $58 million in net income on $368 million in revenue in Q3 2013) to where his slate of superior drama is headed after Don Draper hangs up his portfolio and Walter White cooks his last batch of Blue Sky (back to the Revolutionary War era, it seems, with a spy drama called Turn, due out in 2015).
Every viewer has their eye out for something. In AMC’s dramas I love the political ecosystems at play, from how The Governor (David Morrissey) metes out justice in Woodbury to how Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley) keeps Mayor John Lindsay from getting tainted by the “brainwashing” brush that doomed George Romney’s presidential aspirations (a topic we explored with Ben Wallace-Wells last year).
Josh Sapan’s story spans that of the cable industry, from the early days to the current Golden Age of television. At AMC, the Golden Age keeps hitting a new vein. One Sapan movie venture that’s not a financial blockbuster, but a treasure nonetheless, is Greenport Theater in Greenport, New York, one of the last of the old movie houses where you can still spend a day enjoying an affordable weekend matinee. When Amy and I take the kids to see Jake Siewert and Christine Anderson in Shelter Island and the weather turns nasty, we make a quick bee-line for the North Ferry to get us to the Greenport Theater. If you’re in the neighborhood, you should drop in too!
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This has been quite a week for Polioptics. The new POLITICO Magazine published my 6,000-word History Dept. piece, “Dukakis and the Tank”, which is required reading for you all, complete with its own mini-documentary (POLITICO’s first) starring Matt Bennett, Sig Rogich and me. The documentary, produced by Matt Sobocinski, was shot partially on location at the King Museum of Presidential Arcana & Ephemera in the Woodbury-like Catskills town of Windham, New York. Huge thanks to POLITICO Magazine’s senior editor, Denise Wills, who made me sound quasi literate and had the excellent sense to cleave a 12,000 word first draft in half (the rest of the stuff, all fascinating, I assure you, will have to wait for the book — or the AMC series!).
In this episode of Polioptics, though, we dig our tank tracks a little deeper into the muddy proving ground of General Dynamics Land Systems and the (for me) endlessly fascinating story of a presidential campaign event gone very, very bad. I’m joined by my collaborator on the tank story project, Steve Silverman, a fellow advance man from 1988 and longtime colleague in the Clinton White House, as we talk to former Secretary of the Navy Gordon England, who few knew until now was the other man riding topside in the M1A1 when Governor Dukakis took his famous and fateful ride 25 years ago.
After we talk with Gordon, a special kicker: Susan Glasser, editor of POLITICO Magazine, joins us as we learn just what it takes to launch a new glossy title in the digital age. Her baby is hitting us every day with the kind of journalism you never saw on POLITICO before, a stunning debut from an all-star cast of writers, editors and multi-media producers, present company excluded. While Susan runs the shop, she also serves up great content, including an exclusive interview this week with the Secretary of State: “John Kerry vs. the ‘Babble.’”
Peter Baker, James Hawes and Rocky Collins are our guests this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton. Original Air Date: November 16, 2013 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124. PoliOptics airs on POTUS on Saturdays at 8 am, 4 pm and midnight and on Sundays at noon and midnight. Follow us on Twitter @Polioptics Listen to the show by clicking on the bar above. Show also available for download on Apple iTunes by clicking here
Did you keep your eye on the news this week? A president, reelected convincingly a year ago, is under fire. His signature program, the Affordable Care Act, is enduring its own days of fire, and the president’s polling numbers are feeling the effects.
Eight years ago saw similar circumstances. George W. Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, rolled to a second term. And yet, the first pivotal year of his re-set – 2005 – was no stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue. There was a deteriorating relationship with Vladimir Putin; first one, then two, vacancies on the Supreme Court; the investigation of the leaking of the identity of a CIA analyst; growing anger over the War in Iraq; a hurricane named Katrina, and; shock, shock that the intelligence community might be using its technology to intercept phone calls on U.S. soil.
And they said being president could be a fun job.
Peter Baker covers President Obama, as he did President Bush, for the New York Times, and while the first draft of history isn’t yet finished for the 44th president, it is for his predecessor, and it covers 658 pages from our first guest, his big new book just out from Doubleday.
Because we find ourselves similarly situated smack in the middle of a presidency in 2013, Peter and I spent our time together revisiting the parallel moment of the Bush Administration, 2005, when the voters gave Bush a new term and perhaps a new mandate – just like Obama received a year ago. But as the president is finding today, Bush saw through the events of 2005 that when you earn political capital, the coffers can run dry quickly, and power might not be all that it seems.
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Then, we return to January 28, 1986. Where were you that day? If you are of a certain age, you will remember.
I was in my college dorm room that morning, smarting over the loss two days earlier of the New England Patriots to the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX. My black and white TV was on. Out of the corner of my eye I was watching something I loved but also took for granted as routine: another launch of the space shuttle from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
Remembering Ronald Reagan’s words as he shared news of the deaths of the seven Challenger Astronauts on January 28, 1986 is a fitting preparation to watch a thoughtful film tonight — November 16 — on Science Channel, its first dramatic film ever. The Challenger Disaster stars William Hurt as Dr. Richard Feynman and tells the behind-the-scenes story of how one man bucked the system and sought the truth behind the tragedy.
On our show this morning we talk with the film’s executive producer, Rocky Collins, and its director, James Hawes. Here’s a preview of Hawes’s work: