Jewish World Review Oct. 15, 2004 / 30 Tishrei, 5765

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Jon Stewart: Novak "evil"!; stomach-turning Hollywood!; artful pander; more


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | CNN "Crossfire" host Robert Novak is recovering from a broken hip and facing weeks of physical therapy before he gets back on the air.


But that didn't stop "The Daily Show" anchor Jon Stewart from jumping all over the 73-year-old conservative columnist at the center of a Justice Department probe into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of Bush White House antagonist Joseph Wilson.


"Bob Novak could end this whole thing tomorrow," the "fake news" apostle declared at a New Yorker magazine breakfast at the Bryant Park Grill. "There's millions of dollars being spent on this investigation, and people are going to jail, but his evil is not allowed even in the darkened abyss of his soul — some would say soul."


Stewart added: "He leaked a CIA source for punitive reasons — for ugly, partisan purposes."


Afterward Novak responded: "On advice of counsel, I don't discuss the details of this case, but I can tell you he has absolutely no idea what's going on. But I'm not going to throw mud with him."


Novak published Plame's name last year in his syndicated column, and so far Time magazine's Matt Cooper and The New York Times' Judith Miller — who also worked on the story — have been slapped with contempt of court citations for refusing to discuss their sources.


"Novak apparently broke his hip. I think that's not the case," Stewart said under questioning from Ken Auletta. "I think his hip tried to escape."


Piling on, Stewart continued: "I would not have him on the show. I have standards. I wouldn't do it. He shouldn't be on television. CNN should not have him on the air. He should not be amongst civilized people."

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STOMACH-TURNING HOLLYWOOD!


"SAW," the new horror flick coming out Halloween weekend, probably won't win an Oscar.


But Thursday morning — after opening up a cardboard box left on my chair, only to find, with the "SAW" press release, a severed hand in a bloody Ziploc bag — I decided to give Lions Gate Films an award of my own.


This column's Prize for Most Disgusting Movie Promotion goes to Lions Gate President Tom Ortenberg and Creative Marketing Vice President Tim Palen.


"We're honored. We're touched," Ortenberg told me on hearing the news. "We're always looking to use innovative, effective, cost-efficient things in the marketing and distribution of our pictures. We don't spend nearly as much as our competitors. We can be a little bit outside the box."


The proud studio exec insisted that the vile hand — which on first sight made my stomach do a flip — was real (though I hear elsewhere it's made of rubber and latex, not that I would ever touch it and see for myself). Ortenberg declined to say if it had belonged to a pink-slipped Miramax employee.


But I hear that Lions Gate sent not only hands but also hundreds of dismembered shoulders, forearms, feet and ears — all in the same goopy, nauseating bags — to unsuspecting journalists around the country.


"It's a great tie-in, and works perfectly with the theme of the movie," Ortenberg crowed. "And it absolutely is disgusting."


THE BRIEFING


NO — HA! HA! HA! — COMMENT: "Air America" host Al Franken — who was famously sued last year by Fox News for putting Bill O'Reilly's mug on his best-selling book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" — was clearly torn when I asked him Thursday about all the seamy hoopla surrounding the cable television star. "No comment — we're taking the high road here at the O'Franken Factor," Franken told me. Never mind that O'Reilly is quoted in Fox News staffer Andrea Mackris' sexual harassment suit as predicting bad things for his antagonist at the hands of Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes: "Look at Al Franken, one day he's going to get a knock on his door and life as he's known it will change forever. That day will happen, trust me." On Thursday, Franken told me: "The man is entitled to his day in court. That's what I'm going to say. It seems like a sad thing." When I suggested to Franken that I didn't believe him and that he must be having his own little schadenfreude festival — a reference to the German term for reveling in the misfortune of others — he conceded: "Well, if this is true, there'll be enough schadenfreude to fuel . . . uh, no comment, no comment!"


ARTFUL PANDER: Fashionistas gathered at Milk Studios Wednesday night to raise money for John Kerry, and Sen. Hillary Clinton clearly knew her audience. "For creative and artistic people, the last four years have been a challenge!" thundered New York's junior senator while Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Zac Posen and Alvin Valley shivered with delight. "If we don't get a new president, the next four years will be a burden that will fall upon so many Americans and particularly Americans who are free thinkers, who are creative, who want the freedom to be able to do what they see and feel in their hearts is their destiny and dream!"



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© 2003, Creators Syndicate