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Author: aloha2213 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 49533  
Subject: A Message from Alice Date: 3/5/2003 1:24 PM
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Our distinguished Ms. Kottmyer is becoming somewhat of a celebrity. She has completed her CBS MarketWatch interview and has granted permission to pass this along to the board.

Aloha,

I thought I'd send you an e-mail as to how the visit
to CBS MarketWatch went yesterday -- and I don't mind
if you pass this on to the gang in the galley or on
MF.

I got to Jon Friedman's "office" at the CBS Broadcast
Center at about 10am. It is a smallish room with lots
of low cubicles (low, as in all the journalists can
see each other over the tops of them -- the better to,
as one of them put it, "throw things at each other").


Jon sat me down at a spare cubicle and asked me to
wait a few minutes -- he was due to conduct a short
(3-minutes or so) interview with Michael Eisner and
Jamie Dimon (of Bank One), who were in town to open
the NYSE and talk about that Visa card deal. So I sat
there for about 15 minutes, making my own phone calls
back to DC. Then Jon came back in, obviously ticked
off -- and said, "I can't believe it, he blew me off."
All the other journalists said, "Eisner blew you
off?" And Jon said, "Yeah." "That's pretty low
class," they said.

We got started talking; Friedman was still angry. I
said, "Well, maybe he had something else to do." He
said, "No, he didn't. This was all set up. Dimon had
no problem talking to me -- Eisner just doesn't want
to answer the hard questions."

I said, "Come on, how likely is that? My boss,
Secretary Powell, has been on French and German and
Russian TV recently, answering hard questions -- all
he has to do is repeat the Administration position.
And that's all Eisner has to do. I'm sure he has a
position and he just has to stick to it. I don't know
why he would be scared of a journalist."

Friedman answered, "Bad comparison. Colin Powell is
smart. Eisner's not. And he knows I'm preparing this
series on Disney. He doesn't want to face the music."
I decided to let it drop, since he was pretty
aggravated. (For the rest of the morning, various
other CBS folks would pop in and say, incredulously,
"Eisner bailed out?" It seemed to be a very big deal
around there.)

We chatted for about a half hour about my background
and Disney (from a shareholder perspective -- we
didn't touch on the Stores). Then he suddenly said,
"Hey, would you like to go on camera?" Surprised, I
asked, "Me? Why me?" He said that it might be
interesting. I said, "Sure, why not?" So he ran
around getting the necessary approvals, and then we
sat down in a little studio and he shot questions at
me about how I felt as a small shareholder about what
was going on at Disney, what has gone wrong with
Disney, and what would be needed to fix it; and we
also talked about my shareholder proposal that was
shot down.

In short, I said that I thought the acquisition of ABC
put too many stresses on the company that it didn't
know how to handle (chasing ratings, advertising
revenue, and doubling of the size of the company
overnight). To fix Disney, I thought Disney really
needed to pour more resources back into the creative
side -- primarily Feature Animation. We have to tell
good stories. That's our core business; that's what
"Walt Disney" does best, and I was concerned about
morale in WDFA and the fact that there weren't all
that many FA movies in the pipeline.

We chatted some more after the on-camera interview was
done, then I returned to DC.

I don't know if Friedman is going going to use any of
what I gave him. I can't imagine that anybody else
would find it even remotely interesting. He is not
himself going to the s/h meeting; Russ Britt, who is
based in L.A., will attend the Denver meeting for
MarketWatch.

Tell everybody hello.

Alice
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