Monday, June 21, 2004

Dan Rather IS The Anchorman

Dan Rather was categorically unequipped to ask probing psychological questions of the former President mainly because his own subconscious is such a menacing, unprobed void ("What's the frequency, Kenneth," The Corsair shivers).

You just know Oprah will do better on excavating Clinton's psychological subterranean cairns and all the McNugget sized secrets that lie therein. Plus, Oprah's black, and so will be better able to relate to him. It's a black thing.

Anyhoo: Rather stuck to the sexy but shallow questions, veering slightly, if only for a moment, into Clinton's childhood and briefly into foreign policy initiatives, but always -- always -- returning like a terrier in search of a dog yummy, back to Lewinsky.

There was a very funny moment, though, which Wonkette caught with her jeweler's eye, about Clinton's handshaking skillz (Complicated Handshakes? Come on, in your heart-of-hearts you know Clinton's black):

"CLINTON: Tony Lake, my National Security Adviser, has a wonderful sense of humor, says, well, I know how to do this. Well, now you be Arafat and I will be you and you try to kiss me. And I'll show you what do ...

"RATHER: I'm not sure I want to do this.

"CLINTON:So, I shook hands ... and he put his hand like this, in my elbow. And he says, 'If you've got your hand in your elbow, he can't kiss you.

"Presumably, the White House staffer who was supposed to teach this trick to interns fell down on the job."

This exchange reminded me of one between Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes and Yassir Arafat (second story from top), who, clearly, gives off some problematic homoerotic vibes to Wallace:

"Wallace: Four out of five Palestinians in a recent poll, 83 percent actually, said they believe that the Palestinian Authority is corrupt; that there is money that has been stolen consistently, that your people. I mean, look. Around here, they have money, they have jobs, they have cars. The Palestinians who live out here in Ramallah, where the unemployment is 36 percent, and down in Gaza, where it's 48 percent, they don't live the way that you do. Its a comfortable life for you and your colleagues.

"Arafat: Do you want to see my bedroom?

"Wallace: Do I wanna see your bedroom?

"Arafat: Yes.

"Wallace: I, I'm not sure that I understand the invitation."

I'm not sure that I want to understand the invitation, or, more disgustingly, contemplate the visual.

Channeling his inner Ron Burgundy, Dan Rather, ran through the Tina Brown gauntlet on CNBC afterwards. Tina commented rather sweetly on's Henry the Intern, who, incidentally, said of the interview:

"In a blatant attempt for a slice of '60 Minutes' viewers, Tina milked Dan Rather for a postscript to his hyped interview with Bill Clinton (Old trick: Interview the interviewer when you can't get the interviewee). 'Dan,' she began, 'It's wonderful to be visiting with you. . . How did you find that he's changed?' Rather: 'He's much more within himself, searching for answers about himself.' Tina: 'More interior?' Rather: 'Yes. . . [he's] trying very hard to be insightful about himself.'

"It got better. That is, if you wanted to know the dimensions of Bill's biceps. Tina said Clinton followed the South Beach Diet. Rather: 'He's buffed up.' Tina pressed: 'Does he have a gym in that house in Chappaqua?' Rather: 'Yes. . . It's not large, but it's quite complete. . . I counted at least 13 barbells.'"

Frankly, Tina got a more incisive interview of Clinton by torturing out editing floor clips from Dan Rather than The Anchorman did in his own sit down with the former President, especially this tidbit:

"Rather: The first person (Bill Clinton) talked to after the interview was the Senator from New York."

Oprah, Tina, anyone but Dan Rather, The Anchorman. BTW: Tina will be on vacation in London next week (not Quogue, or Venice). Arianna Huffington will take her place. According to Page Six: "... Tina Brown is taking a week off from her CNBC show (Arianna Huffington will fill in) to go to England for a week of parties in honor of her husband Harry Evans, the distinguished editor and author who is being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II."

Leave it to the hardest working man in the gossip biz, the great Richard Johnson, to get a scoop while doing an appearance.

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