Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jamie McCourt's unwanted celebrity.

As you might have seen, it has come to light that Jamie McCourt once directed former Dodgers' PR guru Charles Steinberg to prepare a plan of action which would result in her winning the Presidency of the United States. The Face of the Free World, if you will. Shaikin:
In a December 2008 e-mail, Dodgers executive Charles Steinberg presented her with "Project Jamie," a seven-page action plan that included this line: "Goal: Be Elected President of the United States."
In a March 2009 e-mail suggesting that she first run for mayor of Los Angeles and then governor of California, consultant Michael Wissot wrote: "Since I've never known you to joke with me about your professional objectives, I presume that this POTUS (President of the United States) goal is serious."


Steinberg's blueprint envisioned a "Jamie Coalition" of women, minorities, youth, Hollywood types and "sports-loving males" and the development of a "Dodgers University" that would include after-school programs for children, adult literacy classes and sports business seminars.

According to the plan, McCourt could then run for office on twin platforms of family improvement and education, using the Dodgers University to garner endorsements from the likes of Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy, Maria Shriver, Antonio Villaraigosa, Fernando Valenzuela and basketball's Bill Russell.
My first instinct on this is that it's being blown out of proportion. This is probably just the daydream of a very wealthy woman. We all get carried away. It's just that most of us don't have the power to make people indulge us and create action plans for carrying out our whims. And, it's quite safe to say, our delusions of grandeur rarely reach as far as attaining the highest office in the world.

What bothers me more about the current situation is Jamie's attempt to spin all the negative publicity into a the-world-is-against-me stance. She's repeatedly talked about how she doesn't want the litigation playing out in the public arena. Per Shaikin's piece:
She also said she hopes to parlay the "unwanted celebrity" conferred upon her by the divorce case to transform her work and life "into something fantastic."

"I love change, which is a lucky thing," she said. "There's no telling what's going to come next."
So, if you're following along at home: Jamie actively and intentionally put herself in the public eye as an owner of the Dodgers. You'll remember that among the perks she's seeking compensation for are professional makeup and table sponsorship funds for her many community and charity appearances. When the attention was positive and served her own ends--altruistic or otherwise--she sought the public eye.

Now that the attention is not so kind, she portrays her plight as the unfortunate acquisition of "unwanted celebrity." This is either naive or outright manipulative. Jamie has a habit of wanting things both ways; she wanted to be protected from creditors' claims in case the businesses failed, but now seeks half the businesses' worth. She desired attention--was paid to draw attention--when coverage was positive, but claims to be the victim of "unwanted celebrity" now that coverage isn't so rosy.

Unfortunately for Jamie, that's just not a decision for her to make. By affirmatively inserting herself into Los Angeles public business, politics, and society, Jamie surrendered any real chance at anonymity. If things went badly, as they did, this was bound to happen.

*Note: An earlier version of this post referenced Charles Steiner as the former Dodgers' PR whiz. I was referring to Charles Steinberg. Charley Steiner is, of course, a Dodgers radio play-by-play man. A hasty mistake--sorry folks.


  1. I attended meetings with the dentist, Steinberg, in the late 1980's when he worked for the Orioles. He was an unimpressive boob who fell asleep during meetings. Amazing how he got this far!

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