The Fix

Reporter who broke Bush 1976 drunk-driving arrest story gets the boot, Prince accused of unnecessary roughness, and "The Passion" breaks records in Italy.


Salon Staff
April 8, 2004 1:12PM (UTC)

Afternoon Briefing:
Reporter who did Bush DWI story fired: A brouhaha is brewing over the axing of Portland Press Herald's Ted Cohen, who in July 2000 unearthed the story about George W. Bush's 1976 drunken-driving arrest in Kennebunkport, Maine. His bosses spiked the story at the time (though it later found its way into print) and now say he's a disgruntled employee. Cohen says he's up for a fight. (Portland Phoenix)

Trump doesn't fall for flirts: George Ross, one of The Donald's sidekicks on "The Apprentice," says his boss loves and surrounds himself with beautiful women, but that saying he succumbs to their wily ways is "like making one plus one equal seven." (TV Guide)

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Peeved at Prince: A college student is suing rock star Prince and his bodyguard for allegedly roughing him up after he took Prince's picture in an airport last December. Anthony Fitzgerald says Prince's guard lunged at him "in an aggressive, threatening manner," grabbed his digital camera, and left him "stunned and humiliated." (KHBS)

"The Passion" stirs Italians: Mel's movie broke all records when it opened Wednesday in Italy and took in $1.5 million. The previous record was "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King," which took in $1.11 million on its first day. (Reuters)

The latest on Becks and Posh: Victoria Beckham is reportedly on her way to Spain to meet David amid rumors that the woman he allegedly had an affair with is about to tell her side of things (for a bit of cash). Meanwhile, David has a football game to play on Sunday. (Sky News)

Reality roulette: A British man who may have been out in the noonday sun a bit too long has sold all of his worldly possessions and will bet his net worth (about $138,000) on one spin of the wheel in Vegas on Sunday. Sky One television will be there to film what might be the shortest reality show yet. (Reuters)

-- Karen Croft

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Turn On:
Will she be asked the tough questions about 9/11? After Condoleezza Rice's testimony today (which you can download and listen to here after 2 p.m. ET), catch Sens. John Warner, Dianne Feinstein and others weighing in on "Larry King Live" (9 p.m. ET: CNN). British shock-doc artist Nick Broomfield's 1998 film "Kurt and Courtney" (9 p.m. ET; Trio) explores many of the same theories as the newly released and briefly ubiquitous "Love and Death," but it's worth watching solely for the brief, disturbing interview with El Duce, the man who was once allegedly approached by Courtney Love to murder Cobain and who was killed by a train shortly after meeting with Broomfield.

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Cat burglar: A reclusive, 110-pound, 44-year-old Brooklyn woman named Catherine Kaczanowski was apprehended after a bank-robbing spree apparently spurred by her desire to get her pet orange tabby, Smoochie, a necessary operation to remove a tumor. "But robbing from the rich to give to the purrrr apparently gave Kaczanowski a taste for easy cash," according to the New York Post. The woman hit four banks in all, with a total take of $7,500. She would simply enter the bank and pass a note to the bank teller; there are no reports that the woman was ever armed. (N.Y. Post)

Breslin bites back: Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin swears the Rev. Lou Sheldon, the chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, did say the things he said he said about homosexuality in a column published yesterday, even though Sheldon says he never said them, and denies having met with Breslin. "Who the hell could make that [expletive] stuff up?" Breslin, who calls Sheldon a "fruitcake" in the column, told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz. Breslin says he spoke with Sheldon back in 1992, something his editor at Newsday admits might have been made clearer in the piece, and says of Sheldon's startling comments, "Of course he said it. I'm going to let that go? I don't make things up." (Washington Post)

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The fear factor: The day the judge declared a mistrial in the Tyco case, he met behind closed doors with now-infamous Juror No. 4, one Ruth Jordan, who denies reports that she flashed the defense the OK sign. According to transcripts of that meeting, Jordan told the judge that after she received a menacing note in her mailbox, she felt "very, very scared" and admitted that her decision in the case might be affected by that fear. "I do feel a concern that my life is permanently changed, and I'm going to look like some kind of pariah in some people's minds ... I think there is news out there and it is about me and it is bad," she said. (N.Y. Daily News)

Fired up: Former "Apprentice" contestant Ereka Vetrini, who insists she never called fellow contestant Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth "the N-word," is upset over the way she was treated during an appearance alongside Manigault-Stallworth, Trump and various other "Apprentice" cast members on "Oprah." She felt she wasn't given adequate time to defend herself, and is now considering filing a slander suit against Omarosa, who she insists is just trying to stir up controversy to snag a book deal. The "Oprah" show was "unfair," she says, adding, "I love Oprah, but I was disappointed about the way this show was produced. [Racism] is a very serious subject for me." (Rush and Molloy)

Gray matter: President Bush upset a woman attending a town hall-style meeting in El Dorado, Ark., on Tuesday, saying, "You and my mother go to the same hair-dye person." The audience laughed, but the woman didn't. "President Bush, I'm a natural blond," said she. Bush backed off, saying, "Oh, yes. I couldn't help myself. Sorry." (Rush and Molloy)

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Bummed Rush: Rush Limbaugh's lawyer contends that his client's privacy rights were violated when investigators seized his medical records from one of his doctors' offices without notifying him. Prosecutors say that giving Limbaugh notice would have impeded them in their efforts to prove that the conservative radio host was doctor-shopping to get multiple prescriptions. The investigation into possible Limbaugh wrongdoing cannot move forward until the medical records issue is resolved by the court. (N.Y. Daily News)

Kill Bond? Quentin Tarantino is making a play to direct Pierce Brosnan in the actor's next (and last) James Bond flick. But he wants to convince the producers to do it the low-budget way. "I don't see that they have anything to lose at all," Tarantino told Sci Fi Wire. "Wouldn't it be great to have a James Bond movie that didn't cost $115 million and only cost $40 million or something like that? You know it's going to make its money back, and we would all do good. Maybe we win the critics this time, then you're back in business the way you were before." (Page Six)

-- Amy Reiter and Kerry Lauerman

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