While the website for the Oprah Winfrey show is coy, simply saying that today's show will feature "two no-nonsense powerhouses" and "a young trailblazer," everyone knows that the big guests are Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, NJ Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Zuckerberg is committing up to $100 million of Facebook stock (but what's that really worth?) to a foundation to help Newark's failing public schools, while Christie will cede some control of the school system to Booker. And to those who call this an obvious ploy to divert attention from The Social Network, the movie that paints Zuckerberg as ambitious and coldly calculating, "insiders" claim that's not the case!
The Daily Beast spoke to people who claim the timing of the donation and the film "was not an intentional juxtaposition, they say, because to be so overt in attempting to alter perception would be craven and obvious." They claim Christie and Booker wanted to push the announcement, to help jump start the notion of rebuilding sooner (of course Christie did!). On the other hand, why not just make the donation anonymously?
Whatever—the Star-Ledger's Bob Braun doesn't care either way—he just questions the whole shebang as the solution to Newark's problems:
Oh, good. Now we’re solving intractable urban school problems by relying on a 26-year-old billionaire geek from California and Oprah Winfrey. Going on national television in an orchestrated media blitz with two of the most ambitious politicians in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
All deciding in Chicago what Newark schools really need and what the laws governing the schools really mean.
What’s next - Snooki as education commissioner? Paulie Walnuts as Newark superintendent? How about a seat for Danny DeVito on the state Supreme Court? There is an opening.