Jewish World Review Oct. 16, 2003 / 20 Tishrei, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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George Clooney and intolerable Drudgery; Cameron goes native; and you thought the war in Iraq was nasty?; now it can be revealed; star wars? | NEW YORK — When "K Street" co-creator George Clooney invited Matt Drudge on his HBO show the other day, Drudge declined. On that much the two men agree.

But on Wednesday the movie star and the cybergossip gave me widely differing accounts of Clooney's recent phone call to Drudge at his Miami Beach apartment.

Clooney, the star of the movie "Intolerable Cruelty," says he phoned Drudge after the Web site published a photo of "K Street" regular and Dick Cheney adviser Mary Matalin in a rogue's gallery of suspects in the latest Washington leaking scandal -- over which Bush administration official outed former ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife as a CIA agent.

"Drudge put Mary's picture on his Web site along with Karl Rove and George Bush with a headline that said something like 'Who leaked?' " Clooney told me. "I can't remember the exact phrase. But when you clicked on the link, you got a story about Dick Cheney that had nothing to do with Mary. So I called Drudge personally and said, 'Do you want to come on the show to defend yourself for putting Mary's picture up there?' And he said, no, he didn't want to do our show.

"When I pointed out that he was putting Mary's picture up there simply to make people think she was a suspect, he said, 'Yeah. Sneaky!' "

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Drudge vehemently denied making the "sneaky" remark, but acknowledged declining Clooney's invitation, " 'Don't take it personally, but no,' I told him. He was very persistent, kept asking me to do the show. Finally, I told him, ' "No!" is a complete sentence.' "

Clooney insisted that it didn't happen that way.

Drudge, meanwhile, vowed to go to court and file a "cease and desist" motion if "K Street" continues to use his likeness and images of his Web site. Last Sunday's episode did just that, and featured "K Street" regular James Carville, Matalin's husband, leaving a profanity-laced message on Drudge's voicemail.

"This is not a news program! This is an entertainment program, and they can't just use it without my permission," Drudge said. Clooney, for his part, said the show's lawyers have advised otherwise.


Cameron Diaz clearly values her Indian roots.

The 31-year-old movie star, whose mother, Billie, traces her ancestry back to the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, has just forked over an astonishing amount of wampum for various high-end accessories: two pairs of moccasins, three leather bags and a belt, to the tune of $12,000.

Apache designer David Jet Black Horse sold Diaz the goods at his Murray Hill studio last Thursday, and threw in a freebie: a Native-American name. The 50-year-old designer dubbed the actress "Firedancer."

"She never had an Indian name before," Jet Black Horse revealed. "I called her 'Firedancer' because it's so perfect for her. The woman is on fire, and she loves to dance! She got emotional. We all did. She really liked it. It's so cool."

Cameron Diaz's publicist, Brad Cafarelli, did not return phone calls.


NBC and ABC are trading blows over who's getting the real scoop on the Jessica Lynch saga. NBC News operatives are touting Friday's "Dateline" interview with Iraqi lawyer Mohammed Al Rehaief -- who helped U.S. troops rescue the severely injured Army private, and then took money from NBC Entertainment as a consultant on an upcoming docudrama. An NBC News type claimed that Diane Sawyer's much-hyped exclusive sit-down with Lynch next month won't be reliable because Lynch can't remember what happened to her.

"That's pretty humorous when you consider the unseemly and ultimately unsuccessful attempts by NBC to throw money at Jessica Lynch in a vain effort to get her to consult on the movie and grant an interview to NBC News," an ABC News operative fired back. "Ultimately, viewers can decide if they want to see fiction on NBC, or the first interview with Jessica Lynch on ABC News."

The NBC combatant responded: "Mohammed Al Rehaief's story is far from fiction. Given the conflicting reports that initially came out after Jessica Lynch's rescue, his 'Dateline' interview provides a first-hand account from the man behind this heroic story." Katie Couric interviews Lynch the morning after Sawyer's "Primetime" get.

THE BRIEFING NOW IT CAN BE REVEALED: Not even Arnold Schwarzenegger knows his political staff's private nickname for him. The California governor-elect's loyalists apparently don't want to risk his ire by addressing him as "Governor Schnitzel."

STAR WARS?: "Living It Up! With Ali and Jack" cohost Ali Wentworth, in a galactic ratings battle with the daytime talk show empire of "Live with Regis & Kelly," lunched at Michael's yesterday with Yoda, er, Kathie Lee Gifford.

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10/15/03: Kerik into the breach?; holiday pander?; "the Dink" corrects the record; more
10/14/03: Madge gets mad, lips are sealed; the candidates who listen; he who hesitates is Beatty
10/13/03: Clothes, but no cigar; New Yorkers put a Sox in it; mad at Matalin?; more
10/09/03: Gray Davis goes to the movies; Ali Wentworth, working blue; Law & Order?; pot of gold at the end of the rainbow room?
10/08/03: Art-time for Hitler; the actress who hates movies; lying "Liam"
10/07/03: Pond scum of the rich and famous
07/24/03: Ali and George, living it up; Mel Gibson's Washington power play
07/21/03: White House smear?
07/17/03: Yet another intern scandal; it's her party and she can pay if she wants to
07/14/03: On the auction block: JFK'S boxer shorts; love bytes the maestro
07/10/03: A hairy situation at Homeland Security; Van Susteren v. Orth
06/30/03: Rep. Patrick Kennedy: I've never worked a (bleeping) day in my life; Drudge's dressing down; Ken Lay's Kerry connection
06/26/03: Rapping the beat
06/23/03: Another Watergate scandal?; AL GORE TV!
06/19/03: Tony Snow, rocker?; that won't be crow on Mr. Carlson's plate
06/16/03: Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
06/05/03: Incoming from Barbara Bush?
06/02/03: Bob Dole's plan for fighting unemployment
05/29/03: Newt's new novel
05/27/03: Hitchens & Blumenthal, together again; He still believes in a man called Hope
05/09/03: Close, but no cigar; Romeo & Juliet with a happy ending?; Geraldo to help Heebs?
05/05/03: So Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw walk into a coffee bar . . .; hotel hell; more

© 2003, Creators Syndicate