Jewish World Review Oct. 4, 2004 / 19 Tishrei, 5765
Black Rock third-degree; to live and fight in L.A.; more
CBS News is girding for some very bad days at Black Rock, the network's Midtown corporate headquarters where former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, retired Associated Press exec Louis Boccardi and a team of lawyers have been summoning news types for intense interrogations this week.
I hear that the grilling began on Tuesday, with Thornburgh, Boccardi and the lawyers taking detailed notes on the testimony. Around 20 key people everyone from CBS News President Andrew Heyward to top anchor Dan Rather are expected to trek from the Broadcast Center on W. 57th St. and submit themselves to the tender mercies of the independent panel probing how "60 Minutes Wednesday" managed to use apparently faked documents in a controversial report about President Bush's National Guard service.
News exec Linda Mason, vice president for standards and practices, has sent a memo to potential witnesses concerning the parameters of the investigation, which will result in a public report on the network's journalistic missteps.
Among those expected to be called are prime-time news Vice President Betsy West, "60 Minutes Wednesday" exec Josh Howard, his deputy Mary Murphy, "CBS Evening News" exec Jim Murphy and, of course, "60 Minutes Wednesday" producer Mary Mapes who oversaw Rather's flawed report on Bush.
I hear that folks are being told that their cooperation is "voluntary," but it's difficult to imagine the scenario in which someone can safely refuse. As for Mapes the woman at the center of the scandal "I think she'll be bringing her lawyer with her," a CBS type told me.
On Thursday, CBS News spokeswoman Sandy Genelius had only this to say: "The panel's work is well under way, and that's it. There are no details, and we don't plan on releasing any until the report is final."
TO LIVE AND FIGHT IN L.A.
Billions of dollars can't buy good manners.
This column hears that in the wee hours Thursday morning, twenty-something oil heir Brandon Davis got in a nasty fistfight with 31-year-old Dole fruit scion Justin Murdock at the popular Hollywood bar Guy's.
A spy for this column reported: "As I'm waiting for the bathroom, Brandon walks out of the men's room, and Justin says, 'What's up,' in a smart-aleck tone. They start pushing each other, and five seconds into it they're full-on fighting, throwing punches."
The eyewitness added: "Justin got in three good swings, and Brandon didn't get in any he didn't know what was going on."
When bouncers finally separated the prosperous pugilists, Davis's actress-girlfriend Mischa Barton didn't exactly stand by her man. Says the spy: "Mischa just berated Brandon in front of everyone. She said, 'What the f - is wrong with you?' They finally left, and everyone came up to Justin and said, 'Thank you, we've all wanted to kick Brandon's b - for years.'"
On Thursday, a Davis family rep denied that Brandon was the aggressor. "This guy Murdock, who tells people that he's related to the News Corp. Murdochs, elbowed Brandon on his way to the bathroom," said the rep. "Brandon said to him, 'I don't want any trouble, my grandfather just died.' Murdock said, 'I don't give a f - about your dead grandfather,' and Brandon put him in a headlock."
Davis's grandfather, Hollywood mogul Marvin Davis, expired last weekend. Murdock didn't respond to this column's e-mail Thursday, and said through his assistant, "Nothing happened."
Barton's rep had a different sort of spin: "Mischa's a lover, not a fighter."
YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS: How much more humiliation can CNBC take? The cable network is paying tennis ace John McEnroe more than $1 million to host a nightly talk show. But Monday's installment of "McEnroe" featuring such guests as Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and CNBC "Money Honey" Maria Baritoromo ranked 833rd out of the 834 shows that aired on all of cable television in the period from 6 a.m. Monday through 3 a.m. Tuesday. "McEnroe" beat only the Food Network's "How to Boil Water."
YOKO REFLECTS ON JOHN'S ASSASSIN: "I don't even want to focus on that guy or even say his name," Yoko Ono tells Steppin' Out magazine about convicted John Lennon killer Mark David Chapman. "It's just too demeaning to put him on an equal level with John and give him any attention for doing John in. Know what I mean? I prefer to think of him as an accidental element. John didn't pass away because of Chapman's power or anything like that." Attica inmate Chapman is up for parole next week, and Ono is formally opposing his release.
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10/14/03: Madge gets mad, lips are sealed; the candidates who listen; he who hesitates is Beatty
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07/21/03: White House smear?
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06/26/03: Rapping the beat
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06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
06/09/03: WHAT DID SHE KNOW, AND WHEN DID SHE KNOW IT?
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05/29/03: Newt's new novel
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© 2003, Creators Syndicate