Chatterbox Buries the Lead!

Chatterbox Buries the Lead!

Chatterbox Buries the Lead!

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Feb. 3 1998 6:43 PM

Chatterbox Buries the Lead!

MANY OF CHATTERBOX'S COLLEAGUES

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were impressed with Jane Fritsch's analysis, in last Sunday's New York Times "Week in Review" section, of exactly where the various parts of the Monica scandal come from. Chatterbox thought it was a festival of cheap shots. For example, Fritsch implicitly chastises Newsweek because the tape transcripts it printed "took six and a half minutes to read aloud," when the entire tape was 90 minutes long. So Newsweek was supposed to print all the boring parts about shopping? Did the Times print every minute of every Nixon tape during Watergate, or only the relevant parts? Fritsch also charges that Newsweek "left the impression that Newsweek staff members had heard tapes containing all of the most serious and salacious" accusations -e.g. about oral sex. Chatterbox, for one, did not get that impression. Finally, Fritsch chastises the Los Angeles Times for reporting that two Arkansas troopers had told its reporters in 1993 that Clinton thought oral sex wasn't adultery. "The newspaper had never before printed those five-year old comments from the unnamed troopers," Fritsch sniffs. Of course, if the Los Angeles Times had rushed those charges into print five years ago, Fritsch would probably have been the first to call it irresponsible. And clearly "five-year old comments" are more credible today than comments made recently, in the middle of a feeding frenzy, would be. ...

CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURE: Chatterbox is a friend of Michael Isikoff's, whom it worships like a god. And Chatterbox recently applied for a job at Newsweek. For some reason they've been too busy to return the call. ...

CREDIBILITY-ENHANCING ANTI-NEWSWEEK ITEM:Newsweek reprinted something that looks like the famous Lewinsky-Tripp "talking points" in its Feb. 2 issue. The document appears to have been typed on a manual typewriter. Aha! thought Chatterbox--whoever wrote them was so worried about keeping them secret that he or she pecked them out by hand--perhaps on a replica of Alger Hiss' old Woodstock! But no. Chatterbox has learned that what Newsweek printed was...let's say a reenactment of what a more photogenic version of the talking points might look like, presumably as cooked up by the magazine's art department. Apparently the real talking points look more like they came out of a laser printer.