Arianna Huffington's new book - Right Is Wrong - is as partisan a piece of political writing as any during this political season. The subtitle says it all: "How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe." At Friday night's book party at the Chambers hotel in Midtown however, the divide between the guests was anything but political. The Greek-born polemicist has herself made a mockery of political convictions by switching so effortlessly from conservative wife-of-convenience to liberal power woman. To be sure, the tycoons she had assembled — Mort Zuckerman of Boston Properties and the New York Daily News; Les Moonves of CBS; former Viacom boss Tom Freston; and Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone and US Weekly — were quintessential rich liberals. But any Marxist observer at the party would note that the guests true loyalty was less to a political ideology than to their class.
Late in the evening a frisson rippled through the upper lobby as Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi came up the stairs. No matter that the Australian media mogul gave former Nixon aide Roger Ailes a cable news network to play with, nor that he publishes the neo-con rantings of the Wall Street Journal's opinion pages, and the nauseating moralizing of Andrea Peysner in the New York Post. Murdoch was immediately surrounded by friends and sycophants.
Best moment: Maer Roshan dragged photographer Nikola Tamindzic over to capture a moment of pretend intimacy with the 77-year-old tycoon. The move had all the subtlety of a high-school girl who was still trying to make her ex-boyfriend jealous: the intended audience was Mort Zuckerman of the Daily News, who let Roshan's magazine run out of money before he found a new benefactor.
But by the time Roshan managed to tap Murdoch's shoulder and extract him from his group, Nikola was distracted by some pretty girl; by the time the Radar editor refocused the Serbian photographer on the task at hand, a friend of Murdoch, Tom Freston, came over to have a tycoony chat; and by the time a slightly embarrassed Roshan finally got his photo opportunity, Zuckerman was distracted by a gold-digging Julia Allison. "He's single, right?" she asked.
Hey girls! Mort Zuckerman — owner of the New York Daily News — is single.
Larry David — creator and star of Curb Your Enthusiasm — is single.
Star talking head Julia Allison — seen here talking with Business Week's Sarah Lacy — is dressing for her new target demographic.
Julia Allison looks a little different. Ah yes, no hand on hip. Or maybe something else.
Charlie Rose and Mort Zuckerman can at least turn on the charm when they need to. Liberal pundit Eric Alterman has no mode but obnoxious.
Jacob Bernstein, son of the Watergate investigator, is thinking about his flat-screen television at home.
Yes, Wendi Deng is indeed hot — and tall. Seen here with Lloyd Grove, the former gossip columnist.
No matter how much he begs, not a penny into that Radar magazine. Mogul to mogul, let me tell you: worst decision I ever made.
Something about George Bush's crimes against humanity, probably.
PBS's Charlie Rose.
What on earth is Mediabistro's Laurel Touby doing here? I didn't recognize her without the boa.
This man looks important, but I have no idea who he is.
Rich gay men make such good fathers. (Arianna Huffington, whose husband Michael turned out to be a political loser and "bisexual" — with Jann Wenner. The Rolling Stone author and his boyfriend had a baby with a surrogate mother.)
You know who this is, don't you? The hotel bellboy — must have been living on some blissful service industry planet without continuous cable talk shows — didn't. "Can I help you, miss?" he asked. "Where is the Huffington car?" she replied.