"Newsbabe" Diane Sawyer gets the story

Diane Sawyer appears as "newsbabe" in Microsoft video, then gets exclusive interview with Gates. Coincidence?

By Karen Croft

Published November 18, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

Bill Gates was living it up at Comdex, the Las Vegas computer megashow, this week. He defended his innovatively ruthless approach to capitalism, asked if anyone had any good lawyer jokes and showed a video containing humorous skits. According to a San Francisco Examiner report on the show, "One skit featured NBC's Tom Brokaw and ABC's Diane Sawyer, whom video captions identified as 'newsboy' and 'newsbabe,' having a fake duel over their computer skills. That sequence ended with Sawyer doing a shoulder shimmy in a kitchen."

Whatever a "shoulder shimmy in a kitchen" is, it apparently got the "newsbabe" the first interview with Gates since the judge's ruling. It aired Wednesday morning on "Good Morning America."

Did Sawyer trade a celebrity appearance for Microsoft for a big interview? It's actually not clear.

When I called Sawyer for a response, her publicist, Eileen Murphy, said of the video appearance: "This is something that is completely innocent. There's no connection to the interview she did with Bill Gates. You don't owe anyone anything [when you do something like appear in a company video]. She didn't violate any policy. It's completely innocent."

But then she called back an hour later to add: "Diane made that video at Sun Valley and had no idea it would be shown anywhere but at that private gathering." Sun Valley is financier Herb Allen's annual Idaho retreat for corporate bigwigs and (it seems) newsbabes as well.

Karen Croft

Karen Croft is the editor of Salon Sex.

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