Feel My Power, Colin!


More fun fallout today from Slate's mining of the Kissinger tapes to reveal embarrassing ass-smoochery from serial journalism-lecturers like Marvin Kalb and Ted Koppel. The New York Times gets reaction shots from the principals, and they are hilarious:

Mr. Kalb said he was bedridden with back problems and heavily medicated when he made his cheer-up call to Mr. Kissinger. […]

"I didn't think Kissinger would be so duplicitous — you can underscore that word — as to record my conversations for his future exploitation," said Mr. Kalb, 74, now a senior fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard. […]

Mr. Kalb said he believed Washington's press culture was so contentious today that the Kissinger approach to handling the media was unimaginable.

"The reporter today would say, 'This s.o.b. wants to spin me,'" Mr. Kalb says. "We felt we were covering a piece of history. And we were not suffused with the cynicism of today."

Them dang kids!! Koppel, meanwhile, performs an even nimbler act of above-it-all turnabout:

"Am I shocked by the notion that people were sucking up to a very powerful official they relied on for information? … Frankly, no."

Though, unlike Kalb, Koppel thinks the Beltway sixty-nining may still be going on:

He noted that Mr. Kissinger's current successor at the State Department, Colin L. Powell, was no slouch at cultivating the press.

"There are always people who are perceived as friendly to an administration and who have more access," Mr. Koppel said. "I think if you got the transcripts of yesterday's press phone calls, you'd find the same things."

Or perhaps a transcript of yesterday's Colin Powell speech, which unearths this creepy little nugget about … Ted Koppel!

Every couple of years, Ted will come by my house on the spur of the moment and we'll sit in the back yard and have a cup of coffee. And he's usually driving one of his hot cars. He always has a fast car of some kind. And so about, oh, four or five years ago, he came by the house and he had this real muscle car, and after we had a cup of coffee and chatted for a while, he says, "You've got to take it out and drive it, Colin. You've just got to drive this thing. I want you to feel that power."