Last weekend, President Barack Obama’s supporters in Hollywood mingled with many of his administration’s top officials at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. But recently, it has come to light that Hollywood is not just good at helping to rewrite Obama’s failed record, they are just as skilled at doing so themselves.
The curious case of failed Obama ambassador and fundraiser Nicole Avant represents, perhaps, everything that is wrong with the Obama-Hollywood nexus.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Avant was one of only four Los Angeles bundlers to raise more than $500,000 for Obama” during the 2008 election cycle.
And while Obama promised to end the culture of “pay to play” revolving door politics that has plagued Washington, he awarded Avant with an Ambassadorship to the Bahamas. And she failed miserably at it, hurting in the process many of America’s international initiatives, including those dealing with counter-terrorism.
As Foreign Policy magazine noted, a State Department report concluded that Avant presided over “an extended period of dysfunctional leadership and mismanagement, which has caused problems throughout the embassy.”
Further, the report found that “Avant was absent from the embassy 276 days between September 2009 and November 2011, including 102 ‘personal’ days and 77 ‘work travel’ days to the United States, of which only 23 were on official orders.”
The internal report found that, “Her extensive travel out of country and preference to work from the Ambassador’s residence for a significant portion of the work day contributed to a perception of indifference” and “the frequent absences of the Ambassador contributed to poor mission management.”
According to Foreign Policy, the State Department’s Inspector General found that “Avant was out of touch partly because she didn’t interact often with the State Department or anyone else in Washington” and “she left that to her deputy chief of mission, whom the report identified as also being poor at management and administration.”
Foreign Policy and the State Department report note that “the Bahamas is a critical partner in ongoing efforts to ensure the security of the south-east flank of the United States” but, while Avant was Ambassador, “cables written in the past year show little political reporting or analysis on international crime, drug smuggling, and illegal migration or on prevention of terrorism.”
As Foreign Policy observed, The State Department inspectors “visited the embassy in September and October of 2011. Avant resigned in November.”
As soon as Avant resigned, Tina Daunt starting writing puff pieces about Avant in the Hollywood press. In January, Daunt wrote a piece in The Hollywood Reporter which described Avantas Obama’s “top Hollywood fundraiser” who “has resigned the ambassadorship to the Bahamas and returned to Los Angeles in the hopes of patching up the incumbent president’s battered relationship with the entertainment industry.”
Avant was also described as one of “Obama’s earliest and most dedicated Hollywood supporters” and was “rewarded with a plum diplomatic post, which she has now put aside to support the president’s reelection in the city where she grew up.”
In another puff piece in The Hollywood Reporter, Daunt writes of the critical State Department internal investigation of Avant, “In the Bahamian press and among Avant’s Washington associates, the report was dismissed.”
Of course, such accounts not only aid Avant, but they also help Obama. By building up Avant, the facts about Obama’s irresponsible and unqualified appointment gets muddled.
The Hollywood media complex, like Washington’s, protects their own. And Obama is becoming more and more a central part of both.