In Michael Bloomberg's Manhattan, just as in Barack Obama's Washington, D.C., the political and media elite seem to think that talking about something, holding a press conference or televising a party amounts to doing something to solve a problem.
The residents of Staten Island, desperately in need of food and power generators three days after Hurricane Sandy hit, know differently.
So far, neither the Red Cross nor the supposedly "new and improved" Federal Emergency Management Administration have provided them with much assistance, if any.
Meanwhile, NBC executives have made the situation worse for Staten Island residents. NBC has decided to divert needed supplies and power generators away from Staten Island and to their Manhattan studios, where they'll be broadcasting a star-studded party/fundraiser Friday night:
Kevin Bacon, Mary J. Blige, Tina Fey (NBC’s “30 Rock”), James Gandolfini, Al Roker (NBC’s “Today”) and Jon Stewart are the newest stars to join NBCUniversal’s broadcast of “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together.” The one-hour live benefit telethon will air Friday, November 2, (8-9 pm ET) across the networks of NBCUniversal, including NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, Style, Syfy and USA.
The NBC Sports Network and The Weather Channel also have now signed on to air the event.
Bacon, Blige, Fey, Gandolfini, Roker and Stewart join the current lineup of previously announced performers, including Christina Aguilera (NBC’s “The Voice”), Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Sting, with appearances by Jimmy Fallon (NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”) and NBC News’ Brian Williams.
Hosted by NBC “Today” anchor Matt Lauer, the telethon will be broadcast from the New York studios of NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. It will air live across the East Coast and tape-delayed on the West. Additional networks are expected to join the broadcast of the telethon prior to airtime.
Money collected will be donated to the American Red Cross relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy.
The telethon also will be live-streamed on NBC.com.
While the event may be intended to increase the brand awareness of NBC and the various stars making their appearances, the cost of diverting critical resources from those truly in need on Staten Island to the celebrities in attendance may be very high.
Here's a common sense idea no one at NBC apparently considered: Why not host the event at NBC studios in Los Angeles rather than New York City? By insisting the event be broadcast from New York City, NBC executives and the participating stars are getting in the way of -- indeed they are making more difficult -- the provision of assistance to thousands of people on Staten Island who are in need right now.