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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

May 5, 2007

Media Matters

Sunset Musings…

I find myself thinking about the last week, relieved there was no huge
tragedy like Virginia Tech. To be sure, there were small ones, a mall
shooting here, a bomb found there, but no massive and macabre murders
to rivet the attention of the media and traumatize the country.

Paris Hilton was sentenced to jail though that didn’t generate the
media heat I thought it might; she discovered, in a harsh way, there is
actually a piper to pay. While Paris was being tabloid splashed, a
number of serious articles ran in serious newspapers, continuing the
staccato of sobering news about climate change. Italy’s winter has
been the warmest in 200 years so it is declaring a drought emergency
though in that marvelously disorganized fashion of Italians, they have
declared an emergency but will decide later on how to deal with it.
Out of a U.N. meeting in Thailand there was both sobering and hopeful
news: we have only thirteen years left to clean up the air but it can
be done.

The country was atwitter because the Queen [of England; there is no
other monarch that is known as simply: the Queen] was visiting the
States. She had given respects at Virginia Tech, visited Jamestown
which is celebrating its 400th anniversary of being founded during, I
believe, the reign of Elizabeth I. She also attended the Kentucky
Derby. All the while she was followed by a film crew which is
documenting a year in her life, part of her [or her advisers] well
thought out efforts to continue humanizing the monarchy. It is being
produced by Andy Goodsir. His last film revealing the inner workings
of Windsor Castle was the highest rated program on the BBC that year.

Though Iraq continues to blow itself apart the Financial Times of
London had a small article about the returning stability of Kabul and
that “its erratic property market is beginning to settle.” I felt all
good about that.

That same Financial Times pointed out that much news right now is being
made by the media giants themselves. Thomson of Canada is courting
Reuters; Rupert [the Fox] Murdoch is bent on devouring Dow Jones and
its prize: the Wall Street Journal. Google is becoming such a
monolithic enterprise that all the other monoliths are getting a little
frightened – so they’re circling the wagons against those Silicon
Valley barbarians. Microsoft is dancing with Yahoo while looking at
24/7 Real Media [a bagatelle at a mere billion]. Everyone not a
Googleian is nervous as Google just bought Doubleclick, the ad serving
giant who probably knows more about you than you remember about

Francois-Henri Pinault may be known to you because he is engaged to
Selma Hayek and they are having a child together [it seems rather
normal now that children precede marriage]. He is also the CEO of one
of the world’s largest luxury conglomerates [owning, among other
things, Gucci]. He believes the world is entering into an irrational
phase. No expense will be spared to satisfy the need for the world’s
wealthy to have luxury. When I read that, I thought: he’s right, the
world is entering an era of irrationality though from my point of view
it is not about the demand for luxury as it is about the irrationality
of the world itself.

While we are battling to breathe, a huge amount of the world’s lucre is
being spent on wars, driven by people’s inability to live with each
other or to accept differences in the way they manage things or
differences, particularly, in how they worship God. While we have
moved out of the age of throwing children down wells or into fires to
mollify the gods, we have not disavowed murdering each other over our
various views of “God.” Today we only kill the children as by products
of the conflicts about religion.

As the sun sets, these are the thoughts that rustle down my nerve ends,
wondering what the next thirteen years will bring us. Will headlines
then let us know we have grabbled with climate change, learned to love
or will they document our slithering down the slippery slope?