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Archives: June 2005

Is Ellen the new Koppel?

EllenDeGeneres.jpgPage Six today offers one of those seemingly far-fetched ideas: That Ellen Degeneres might replace Ted Koppel‘s Nightline.

“A network insider tells PAGE SIX that ABC has not abandoned the idea of hiring a host who could square off against Jay Leno and David Letterman in the late-night ratings war–and has indeed reached out to the popular DeGeneres, who recently signed a six-year deal to continue her Emmy-winning daytime chatfest.”

The talks, which aren’t given a date in the NY Post, are news to a lot of people at ABC, that’s for sure. An ABC spokesman said that “Nightline” is staying right where it is–but could Page Six be half-right? Could Ellen replace Ted as host? It would certainly lend the show a different aura…

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More on Novak, Matt & Judy

novak.184.jpgAs first reported here yesterday, CNN’s Ed Henry gave an obviously uncomfortable Bob Novak a well-deserved and long-overdue grilling yesterday on Valerie Plame, Matt & Judy. The NYT’s Jacques Steinberg picks up the story today:

“Mr. Novak has chosen to maintain his silence about his role in the inquiry despite persistent demands from some journalists, as well as others in the Washington establishment, that he at least disclose whether he had received a subpoena in the case and, if so, how he had responded to it.”

Former Capital Gang colleague Al Hunt weighed in too: “It does beg the question why Matt and Judy, and not Bob…. It’s just so confusing to citizens and people in our business. If Bob could provide some context, I think it would be helpful.”

So how about it Bob? Even William Safire wants some answers.

> The New York Times also has a round-up of yesterday’s court appearance, including that Cooper/Miller might face only a maximum of 120 days in jail, not 18 months as feared.

> Mary Ann Akers in Roll Call offers some details about a possible Bob Novak-Harry Reid showdown. After the Prince of Darkness took a swing at the minority leader, the Nevada Dem’s team shot back: “Harry Reid is a former boxer who stands up for the little guy and isn’t afraid to take on cowardly lightweights.”

Will Redford Play Again?

Names & Faces offers a little nugget of real Washington gossip today:

Robert Redford was somehow spotted (perhaps by someone named Bernstein?) yesterday leaving Bob Woodward‘s Georgetown home with a copy of the latter’s forthcoming book on Deep Throat. The quickie tome, “The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat,” is due out Wednesday and N&F wonders whether a new movie is in the works.

One of Redford’s most famous roles, after all, was playing the intrepid reporter in 1976′s “All the President’s Men.”

Woodward declined comment, saying only that Redford had stopped by for a 3 1/2-hour “life catch-up” during which they discussed “Sundance, the movies, politics, books I’ve done on Bush.”

When the Post pressed him, Woodward added “There was a very serious discussion and the focus was on Watergate…. Redford, like me, has this endless fascination with Watergate. He gets it.”

Snark Attack

NBC decided to give as good as it gets yesterday with a snarky and anonymous reply to Tuesday’s ABCNews Note.

TV Newser has the letter.

Matt & Judy Update

coopert.jpgResults of today’s hearing: Matt & Judy have until Friday to prepare their last-round defense.

Final hearing July 6th. Cooper’s lawyer said that it’s his intention to accept the civil penalty. When asked by reporters outside, Matt Cooper said that he’d “rather not” have Time turn over documents to free him, but that the decision was up to the corporation.

“There’s no shame or dishonor in fighting all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States and then complying with a lawful court order if that’s what Time chooses to do,” Cooper said. “On balance I think I’d prefer that Time not turn over the documents, but Time can make that decision for itself, and I think it’s an honorable one whatever they decide.”

Novak Gets Grilled

“Inside Politics” guest host Ed Henry just grilled Bob Novak on Matt & Judy. Here’s the rush transcript:

HENRY: Bob, first, what’s your reaction to the Supreme Court saying they would not hear the case?

NOVAK: Well, I deplore the thought of reporters — I’ve been a reporter all my life — going to jail for any period of time for not revealing sources, and there needs to be a federal shield law preventing that as there are shield laws in 49 out of 50 states. But, Ed, I — my lawyer said I cannot answer any specific questions about this case until it is resolved, which I hope is very soon.

HENRY: In general, though, you believe in the principle of keeping the identity secret, of confidential sources. Have you ever revealed the identity of one of your confidential sources?

NOVAK: Well, people know — who have read my column know there have been special case where I have. But the question of being coerced to by the government and being put in prison is, I think, something that should be protected by act of Congress.

HENRY: In general, have you cooperated with investigators in this case?

NOVAK: I can’t answer any questions about this case at all.

HENRY: Okay. Now, just in general about the principle at stake here — William Safire, fellow conservative, wrote an op ed in the New York Times saying that at the very least, he believes that you owe your readers, and in this case, your viewers, some explanation. He said, “Mr. Novak should finally write the column he owes readers and colleagues perhaps explaining how his two sources, who may have truthfully revealed themselves to investigators, managed to get the prosecutor off his back.”

I think that’s the question. Why sit that there are two reporters out there who may go to jail, Bob, but it doesn’t appear that you are going to go to jail?

NOVAK: Well, that’s what I can’t reveal until this case is finished. I hope it is finished soon. And when it does, I agree with Mr. Safire, I will reveal all in a column and on the air.

HENRY: Do you understand why in general there’s frustration among fellow journalist after 41 years of distinguished work, where you’ve always pushed and been a fierce advocate of the public’s right to know, you’re not letting the public know about such a critical case, and two people may go to jail.

NOVAK: Well, they are not going to jail because of me. Whether I answer your questions or not, it has nothing to do with that. That’s very ridiculous to think that I am the cause of their going to jail. I don’t think they should be going to jail.

HENRY: Yes. But I didn’t say you were the cause. But there are some people…

NOVAK: Yes, you do did.

HENRY: No, but some people feel if you would come forward with the information that you have, that maybe they would not go to jail.

NOVAK: But you don’t know — Ed, you don’t know anything about the case. And those people who say that don’t know anything about the case. And unfortunately, as somebody who likes to write, I’d like to say a lot about the case, but because of my attorney’s advice I can’t. But I will. And there might be some surprising things.

HENRY: We’ll all be waiting to hear that story finally told, Bob.

Assertive Chat Questioning

Some nuggets from today’s chats:

  • Perhaps the most intriguing question in today’s “Ask the Post” forum, which this week featured Foreign Editor Keith Richburg, was when someone asked him where he would place two more correspondents if he could: “I’d love to have one more bureau to cover Central America, especially given the large Central American community right here in the Washington area. And I’d love to have an extra person in Africa, so we could get to areas of the continent that we now don’t often get to.” [The Post currently has two "foreign correspondents" in Africa: One in Kenya and one in South Africa.]

  • After running this week’s attacks on A2, the Post is sadly continuing to buy into the “Shark Attack” frenzy, hosting an Ocean Conservancy expert. Perhaps the Post would do well to listen to its own media reporter.

  • Dan Froomkin offers some props to CBS’ Bill Plante, ABC’s Terry Moran, and NBC’s David Gregory for their “outbreak of assertive questioning.”

  • And Tom Sietsema goes after D.C.’s favorite sacred cow restaurant: Lauriol Plaza.

Revolving Door 6.29.05

Two byline changes to note today:

  • In a move that has left Posties of all shapes and sizes puzzled, 22-year veteran writer John Mintz is leaving the paper to join the private sector. He’s taking his “formidable sleuthing skills” to his brother’s corporate intelligence firm, the James Mintz Group, as a senior investigator–we would guess at a pay rate somewhat higher than the Post offers. The firm specializes in investigations “before deals, during disputes, and after fraud.”

    Mintz, who started on the Metro desk, has spent roughly the last decade on the national staff and has been one of the paper’s lead voices on homeland security issues since 9/11.

  • Over at the Watergate, Hotline staff writer Mike Memoli has been appointed Last Call’s associate editor, taking the place of the departed David Smith. Memoli joined the staff just after Labor Day last year after graduating from Baltimore’s Loyola College. He’s single and likes long walks on the Tidal Basin.

Any other beat changes/transfers/hires/fires out there we should know about? Email us or use the tip box.

Wonkette, Safire Rise To the Occasion

william-safire.jpgProving that they A) have a heart and B) can be serious and thoughtful, the unlikely team of Wonkette and William Safire have risen to the defense today of Matt & Judy–who at 4:30 p.m. today will face another hearing in their quest to avoid jail for not revealing confidential sources.

Safire’s volley: “The Supreme Court has just flinched from its responsibility to stop the unjust jailing of two journalists–not charged with any wrongdoing–by a runaway prosecutor who will go to any lengths to use the government’s contempt power to force them to betray their confidential sources.”

Safire lists four things that should happen to arrest the case before real damage occurs. Number 3 is perhaps the most damning, coming from another stalwart conservative: “Mr. Novak should finally write the column he owes readers and colleagues perhaps explaining how his two sources–who may have truthfully revealed themselves to investigators–managed to get the prosecutor off his back.”

wonkette2.jpgWonkette, after offering an explanation of the case yesterday, today dives into attack mode. Referring to Safire’s suggestion that Novak come clean, she writes “That’s a nice thought, but that would require Novak to honest. And what’s that saying about a leopard changing its spots? A turd cannot grow a spine, either.”

She also attacks Karl Rove, long thought to be the mastermind behind the Plame leak, but then takes a step back: “Of course maybe Rove wasn’t involved, WMDs will be found, Saddam was involved in 9/11 and unicorns will appear in the back yard if you wish real real hard.”

Quote of the Day: Chris Matthews

chrismatthews36.jpgMSNBC’s Chris Matthews, talking last night following the President’s speech about the Iraqi insurgency:

“Is it these IUDs? Not IUDs. Different topic. IEDs.”