Joyce, Monica and Mommy!

Joyce, Monica and Mommy!

Joyce, Monica and Mommy!

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
May 20 1998 6:08 PM

Joyce, Monica and Mommy!

Current journalisitc convention holds that we don't yet know what Monica Lewinsky's voice sounds like. But a surprising number of Washington journalists do know--they just haven't written about it. They've schmoozed with Monica in off-the-record conversations arranged by her lawyer, William Ginsburg. In these sessions, the ground rules are that Lewinsky will talk about everything except the scandal that made her famous. ... Ginsburg's idea seems to be that if journalists get to know his client, they'll be softer on her if she's indicted. And, indeed, Monica is generally charming and media-savvy in the sessions, Chatterbox hears. ... One flaw in Ginsburg's strategy: he can't possibly soften up all the journalists who might write about his client, not to mention the editors who will shape the coverage of any big show trial. Even if Ginsburg could identify them in advance, there aren't enough Morton's Steakhouses to hold them all. And those who don't get the secret face-time with Monica that their competitors get won't simply be uncharmed--they'll be actively pissed off. ...

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Mommy Track II: Even as Chatterbox writes this item, a huge fuss is brewing at the New York Times over the commencement address given two days ago by Metro Editor Joyce Purnick. Purnick, who is married to former NYT #1 Max Frankel and does not have children, declared "I am absolutely convinced I would not be the Metro Editor of The Times if I had a family." Instead, Purnick says, "I'd be a reporter, or a lower-level editor." Purnick goes on to ask whether it's fair that women and men who have children lose out to the "others who have been working the 12-hour days--mostly men." She "reluctantly" concludes it is fair. "That's just the way it is." ... Well, you can imagine the reaction of Timeswomen! Anger! Meetings! Attempts by Purnick to explain herself to her disgruntled colleagues and subordinates. ... And what about Arthur Sulzberger Jr.'s crusade for diversity? Will he appreciate her remarks? ... Take it away, Ellen Goodman! Maureen Dowd! Barbara Ehrenreich! Karen Lehrman! Naomi Wolff! Christina Hoff Summers! Mona Charen! Susan Faludi! Katie Roiphe! Noemie Emery!... The list is seemingly endless. ... Easy columns all around! ... Actually, Chatterbox has read Purnick's address, and thinks it a fine, provocative, heartfelt speech in the "you-can't-have-it-all" school of realism. It just needed one more paragraph saying that society should keep pushing to level the playing field between men who father children and women who mother them, even if true parity will never (because of biological differences grounded in millenia of evolution, etc.) be achieved. ... But clearly that's what Purnick thinks. So everybody calm down! ....

Post-post script: Howie "The Beast" Kurtz does a better job with the Purnick story in WaPo for Thursday, 5/21. But, hey, Chatterbox beat him by five hours! ...