Yes, everyone knows the late Jack Valenti not only reached across party lines but also brought political opponents together. Still, his gentlemanly spirit of unity may have outdone itself last night at MPAA offices in D.C., where many gathered in his name at a party in honor of his recently published memoir.
Spied across the room: XM satellite radio chief Hugh Panero embracing Recording Industry Assn. of America top lobbyist Mitch Bainwol.
XM and RIAA are locked in a bitter legal battle over an iPod-like device XM sells, which the music industry claims cheats labels and performers out of certain royalties. (Not true, XM has countered.)
Better yet: National Assn. of Broadcasters topper David Rehr jovially said he’d like to meet Panero. NAB is almost apoplectic over the planned merger of XM and rival satcaster Sirius and has been letting everyone know it.
But as Rehr observed, “It’s not personal.”
Jack would have been proud.
—By William Triplett in Washington.