Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Little of the Old In and Out


(image via burnisongroup)

In: Chris Matthews. Chris Matthews' Hardball, recently featured on the incredible new season of The West Wing, is like crack-cocaine to Washington Insiders. So much so, that when Matthews took to attacking Ahmed Challabi's $300,000 position on the US government payroll nightly, Chalabbi instantly became persona non grata among the neocons. That's juice.

Matthews has been mentioned as being a part of the Libby indictment, indirectly. But his true role in the dramatis personae of Washington's upcoming Trail of the Century is opaque. Intrepid reporter Michael Smerconish of the Philadelphia Daily News asked Chris if Tim Russert called him directly after that fateful discussion with Libby. Matthews said no. The clever Smerconish then asked if Russert had "ever had any conversation with Russert where Russert told him that Libby had a beef with him." Here's the Matthewsesque answer (link via poynter):

"He hedged a bit. Here's my transcription of what Chris Matthews told me:

"Well, let me just tell you this, without getting into that, because I know the answer generally to your question, is that, because all of this involves testimony that Russert is probably going to have to make, and let me just tell you this, that those people in the White House, especially Libby and the vice president, working as a team, 'connected as a root,' to use Libby's favorite phrase, basically pulled off an alley-oop play to get us into war in Iraq by feeding to the New York Times stories about nuclear potential in the hands of Saddam Hussein, to get it into the Sunday paper, and then deploying the vice president on 'Meet the Press' and other administration officials like Condi Rice on the other Sunday talk shows in a kinda alley-oop play.

"So they put the ball in the air, and then on Sunday mornings, these guys put it in the basket, and then all of a sudden we're at war over Iraq because a lot of Americans in the middle politically say, 'I don't know how we're getting into that mess or why we're getting in it, but I guess we have to protect ourselves against a mushroom cloud,' that is Condi's phrase.

"So, having pulled this masterful move of moving the undecided middle into the war, they then became very sensitive to the charge by Joseph Wilson that they had done the very thing, pushed the nuclear button and then covered up any threat to that nuclear button, and Wilson was that threat, and then, going volcanic against anybody including me, who dared to say, 'Wait a minute, there is a pattern here of how we got into the war, and how they promoted the nuclear case and how they protected the nuclear case against Wilson.'

"'They didn't like me doing that. I know that a number of administration officials were screaming at my network at all levels about me raising this issue, the very points I've just made. They don't like hearing it, Libby is in trouble now because he doesn't like hearing it, the vice president is very much a part of this, and the answer to your question is that you are on the right trail, Michael."

"What does all that mean? To me, that Russert may not have called Matthews immediately after hanging up with Libby, but he did tell his colleague of that call, which doesn't bode well for Libby." Full story here (free subscription required).


Queen Noor and Meggers. (image via nysocialdiary)

Out: Meg Ryan. We know that missing-in-action Hollywood actress Meg Ryan occasionally gets a hankering to appear somewhat brainy, or at least put herself in the company of people who actually think for a living. Remember how she toted Newsweek's Howard Fineman as requisite arm-candy to the White House Correspondent's Dinner last year? Well, Meggers is at it again. According to our favorite social chronicler David Patrick Columbia in NYSocialDiary:

"On Tuesday, Her Majesty Queen Noor and the King Hussein Foundation International held an Inaugural Peace-Builders Dinner and awarded the 6th Annual King Hussein Leadership Prize at the Harold Pratt House, also the headquarters of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.

"The black tie evening featured a dialogue among notable global leaders on leadership and peace-building with a focus on human security. H.E. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, President Bill Clinton, H.E. Mr. Ghassan Salame, Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris and Senior Advisor to the UN Secretary General as well as a former Lebanese Minister of Culture, Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University in Washington DC and former High Commissioner of Pakistan and Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Chairman of Concordia BV, as well as other distinguished personalities with Charlie Rose moderating."

(A considerable pause) Always Charlie Rose ...

"Among the attendees were ... The Honorable William Cohen and Janet Cohen, Ambassador Daniel Gillerman ... Rabbi Irwin Kula, HRH Prince Firas, Walter Isaacson, H.E. Dr. Riyad Mansour, Mary Robinson, Meg Ryan"

Which one of these names is not like the others?


(image via booksandmoviesandmore)

In: Michael Korda. The legendary Michael Korda is stepping down from Simon and Schuster. According to Sarah at Mediabistro:

"The news that the publishing giant would be stepping down as editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster -- a post he's had for almost fifty years -- seems like a good time to reflect on who he is, what he's done and what he's written.

" ... some of the current roster include Sandra Brown, Mary Higgins Clark, Brad Geagley, Larry McMurtry and David McCullough. But Korda had a knack of picking presidents to edit, like Richard Nixon, Charles de Gaulle and Ronald Reagan. He edited early works by Philip Roth, Joan Didion, and Graham Greene as well as more popular types like Harold Robbins and Jacqueline Susann, for whom he secured a $250,000 advance (in the late 60s!) for the novel that would follow up THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS based on a few napkin scribblings.

"... Which brings us to perhaps the weirdest footnote in Korda's life concerns his only son. Chris Korda, who [sic] is a "cross-dressing vegetarian and theoretical cannibal who insists on being referred to as 'she'" serving as a Reverend of the 'Church of Euthanasia'. Korda was so livid about the publicity about his child's activities that his lawyer ordered Chris/Chrissy 'to either stop giving interviews or adopt a pseudonym until Michael retires from Simon & Schuster.' So since that day's here...will interviews suddenly show up?"

We hope so. Anyway, farewell Michael Korda.


(image via islandconnection)

Out: Jeff Zucker. Oh, Zucky, Zucky; poor Jeff! (The Corsair sips a 2001 Baron de Brane Margeaux) Observing the quagmire that is NBC is not unlike gawking at a particularly sanguinary car crash. One cannot help the luckless pedestrian, and one cannot quite bring oneself from averting ... the ... gaze. Medialifemagazine, which has made a postmodern art form out of tasteful "NBC-hadenfreude," tells it like it is:

"One might think NBC couldn�t sink any lower from its onetime dominance in the ratings and ad revenue.

"It can and has. Nielsen data for the new broadcast season reveal the network is now suffering its biggest and potentially most devastating humiliation.

"NBC is losing hold of the affluent viewers that advertisers most prize.

"Through the first six weeks of the new season, ABC has surpassed NBC in reaching adults 25-54 in homes with household incomes of $100,000 or more. And it has matched NBC in the percentage of its audience that falls into this group. That is according to an analysis of Nielsen Media Research data released this week by Magna Global.

"NBC had been the dominant network in reaching affluent viewers for decades, which was a key reason it was the most lucrative network for most of the past 20 years."

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