Topic: Society

Barbara Walters
(January 2007)

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive…"

     Sir Walter Scott

Barbara Walters has placed herself squarely in the cross-fire of the exceedingly nasty, silly and trivial Donald Trump-Rosie O'Donnell feud by apparently abandoning her ethical duties as an employer (she produces "The View," the coffee klatch daytime show that Rosie uses to launch her mouth-bombs and pump up ratings) and trying to suck up to both adversaries…a dangerous tactic with normal people, but certifiably nuts when dealing with vipers like O'Donnell and Trump.

Who is Barbara lying to? Probably Trump, probably Rosie, probably her audience…who knows, and really, who cares, except that Walters once was a respected journalist, and journalism is supposed to be a profession governed by integrity. Barbara Walters' conduct in this matter just shows her to be feckless and untrustworthy for friends, employees, contacts and viewers.

When O'Donnell, unprovoked, insulted Trump's character and business skills in the wake of his Miss USA publicity stunt, Trump went bananas and returned fire well below the belt, describing O'Donnell in vicious terms. Walters publicly, if tepidly, pronounced her support for Rosie, but according to "The Donald," called him and apologized (it is a good idea in Barbara's business not to get on the bad side of well-connected, media savvy tycoons). She also told him that working with Rosie was "hell" (this seems credible) and cautioned Trump, clearly alluding to Rosie (whom the gentlemanly Trump had earlier called a "pigface") to "never get in the mud with pigs."

This kind of bad-mouthing behind an employee's back is thoroughly despicable and unethical, of course, but doing so with a gutter-fighter like Trump is plain, old-fashioned stupidity. Being a skunk rather than a pig, Trump betrayed his "friend" Walters by telling the world on "The Larry King Show" what Walters had said about Rosie, and his words had the desired effect: when Rosie returned from a holiday vacation, she subjected Walters to a well-reported screaming tirade in "The View's" green room. Seizing his opportunity after reading about the incident ("Mwaa-hahahaha! I've got you now!"), Trump sent Rosie a letter describing what Walters had told him in detail, and concluding that "Barbara lied to both of us." He also made sure its was leaked to the press--- you'll be able to read it for a while at www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/Rosieletter.pdf

One can only imagine how Rosie rose to this bait, but whatever she did, said or threw caused Walters to deal with the mess by telling "The View" audience that Trump was "pathetic" and implying that he was a liar.

This may well be true, but at least Trump's good at it. By professing her support for Rosie and then undermining her to Trump, and then reversing field once again to take Rosie's side while denigrating Trump, Barbara Walters managed to pull off a nearly impossible feat---she made herself look less admirable than either Rosie O'Donnell or Donald Trump! As Barbara clearly does not believe in being up-front and honest for ethical reasons, she would do well to heed the wise words of playwright David Mamet, who said, "Always tell the truth; it's easier to remember." Meanwhile, Donald Trump is demonstrating how skilled he is at the ruthless in-fighting that too much of the high-stakes business world confuses with acumen. He seems to be making good on his pledge to destroy O'Donnell's career, using Walters as his primary weapon. This would normally invite sympathy for her, except that all she had to do to avoid her fate was to be direct and honest: tell O'Donnell that she had crossed the line with her first gratuitous attack on Trump, apologize to Trump on Rosie's behalf, and keep any criticism of her employee and "View" colleague between her and O'Donnell. Instead, she chose to act like the characters in "Mean Girls."

This is why Barbra Walters is the Scoreboard's David Manning Liar of the Month. Now please, for your own good, forget about everything else in the sordid tale above. Surely there is a better use for those brain cells---lyrics to Victor Herbert operettas, perhaps, or the lifetime statistics of the players on the 1963 Pittsburgh Pirates. Entries in the diaries of James K. Polk.

Anything, really.

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