Is George Clooney’s Haiti Telethon a Publicity Stunt for Pop Stars?

Some of us are totally hopeless when it comes to engineering high-quality publicity stunts. And the rest of us let George Clooney organize such extravaganzas and idly wait by the phone, hoping he’ll ask us to join him. Among those of us who were so lucky: Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Taylor Swift. Essentially, any pop star who has a project that needs or will need pimping has signed on to perform at Friday’s televised benefit for Haiti. Sure somewhere in the germ of the idea for a Haiti relief telethon are the best of intentions. But as is typical, such intentions are jockeying with the quest for publicity and maximum viewership.

(‘DiggThis’)Anytime anyone mixes the plight of unfortunates with the level of glitter required by pop stars, the results are always awkward and useless–as Linkin Park demonstrated at Live 8. Crappy electro-punk will never save the world. Neither will Jennifer Hudson belting out, “And I’m Telling You” at the Hope For Haiti Now special.

A few details, though: The two-hour telethon will be broadcast across the big four, plus CNN, MTV, and other cable outlets this Friday. Hosts include George Clooney, anchoring from Los Angeles, Wyclef Jean from New York City, and Anderson Cooper reporting on-location from Haiti. Proceeds will go to a bunch of charities. Said charities may or may not siphon some of the proceeds to cover “operating costs” before sending a bag of pennies or a coupon for a free packet of pizza-flavored Combos to Haiti.

This is all basically to say that in assembling some of America’s wealthiest, perhaps it would’ve been less patronizing if Clooney and his A-list posse would’ve leveraged their own assets towards reconstruction efforts instead of trying to hit near-broke (though still benevolent) civilians up for cash, as their own bank accounts have cratered–much like the presidential palace in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince itself. Although all this looks downright dignified placed next to ScarJo’s Haiti auction.

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