What does our fearless leader do when he’s not, um, doing whatever he does everyday? He watches Dean Quigley buy soup and he appears on public television. Last night, Bwog stayed up past our bedtime to catch PrezBo on Charlie Rose.
Bollinger and the nearly equally dapper Mr. Rose spent most of El Presidente’s half hour cameo talking about PrezBo’s new book, Uninhibited, Robust and Wide-Open (sexy!), about the role and future of the free press. Bollinger expressed his concern about the “contraction of coverage of foreign news” that the economic crisis has wrought on the American press. He also agreed with Rose that the “blogosphere is not a sufficient substitute” for the major journalistic institutions in the U.S, though PrezBo praised the influx of voice and opinion that teh Internetz allows.
The conversation then veered into more Columbia-specific territory: the endowment and Manhattanville. PrezBo spoke to the Columbia tradition of “academic freedom and the pursuit of curiosity,” and went on to talk about how we actually need money to allow that to continue. On Columbia’s endowment: “we proudly say that we lost only 16%, which was actually terrific in the context…” Now, what could PrezBo be referring to when he said: “one of the things we know about our great universities is that they have to grow.” Ohh, right, that! Bollinger briefly laid out the plan for Manhattanville, spoke about the “years of working with the community” that CU has done and referred to eminent domain as the “one remaining issue.”
Rose and Bollinger also spoke briefly about the crisis in Haiti: PrezBo stated that there are 9-10 students, mostly from SIPA, who have survived the earthquake and made it to the U.N compound. He assured Rose that the university has been in touch with the U.N and the State Department and is trying to locate every member of the CU community in Haiti right now.
The whole program can be streamed on the Charlie Rose site. PrezBo wore a blue tie. He smiled at least three times.