Here’s how she accomplished it.
Monday morning, Babs gave Lohan top billing on her ABC daytime talker “The View’s” Hot Topics chatter — ahead of the story of resigned CIA chief Gen David Patraeus. This was so that Babs could unveil footage she’d already shot for her famously aborted interview with La Lohan on the eve of the actress/popwreck’s comeback role in the Lifetime bioflick “Liz & Dick.”
“Barbara, I feel you need to take care of some business… right now!” ‘The View’ air-traffic-controller Whoopi Goldberg said at the top of Monday's show, warming up the crowd for Babs.
Babs sets the scene: “I like Lindsay a lot…known her for years… since she was a child star… very vulnerable…said whenever she did an interview she would sit down and do it with me…at some time and expense I flew to Los Angeles….I had done many interviews with Elizabeth Taylor…wanted to talk about the comparisons.”
Sense of aggrievement having been clearly established, Babs gets down to business.
“We took a little footage — take a look!”
Roll footage of Lohan dolled up as Liz, chatting with Babs about tabloid reports of her antics while shooting the biopic, including lateness showing up to the set, blah, blah, blah:
“It’s…my first time back and I want to keep working… I’m a survivor,” Lohan says, well-rehearsedly.
Babs was seen politely reminding Lohan of the “little trouble” she had waking up one day in a hotel room during shooting, which caused some panicked person to call paramedics. “Was that just exhaustion?” Babs was seen asking, innocently.
“I think I was just honestly tired. I needed a nap for 15 minutes and then there were seven paramedics in the room. So imagine how I felt,” Lohan said.
With a straight face.
End of clip. Back to Babs, who told us her Lohan interview shoulda been the crowning achievement of an upcoming edition of ABC primetime newsmag “20/20,” and how she’d done soooo much homework for the interview, including having actually sat throug the Lifetime movie, as she waved a binder full of Lohan facts.
“And then, her longtime press agent resigned,” Babs said dramatically. Next thing Babs knew, Lohan’s new publicist phoned last Friday to say Lohan “doesn’t feel up to it.”
Then, Monday morning, Babs said, she read press reports Lohan had been booked to do an interview — with Jay Leno.
Leno is, of course, king of the non-tough questions.
“You are a very different kind of interviewer…and I feel very strongly her new [PR] people probably said [to Lohan], ‘You know what, WE are not up for you to do with interview you will be doing with Barbara – you are going to do Jay and get your [movie promotion] obligation out of the way,” Whoopi speculated.
“I couldn’t agree more,” Babs said. “If they’d said to me, ‘She is not up to the kind of questions you might ask’ — though most of them were comparing her to Elizabeth Taylor: child stars…both aggressive mothers, etc….if they had told me that, I wouldn’t feel quite as disappointed as I do today.”
“Let me stroke you baby,” Whoopi said to Babs. Which seemed odd at the time, since she’d already stroked Babs pretty vigorously.
Anyway, she reminded Babs that since she met with Lohan in Los Angeles, Lohan has had “several other issues” that Babs could not have avoided also asking the star about.
Babs agreed, but stuck with her “they owed me a more honest explanation” story.
Then, demonstrating how Babs has survived in an industry that doesn’t usually tolerate female octogenarians, she added sweetly, “ I hope she feels well, and as far as Jay goes — I love Jay” — immediately after which she took dead aim at both:
“To go on Jay Leno and be adorable and amusing — there’s still all the problems with her.”
Babs made no mention Monday’s “The View” of Sunday’s episode of Minaj’s E! reality series, “Nicki Minaj: My Truth,” in which she attacked Walters.
Because, being the old campaigner she is, Walters knows prime self-promotion material like this should not be blown all in one broadcast, but parsed out over the course of a November sweep week.
In Sunday’s second episode of “My Truth,” Minaj, harkening back to last month’s verbal battle/publicity stunt with fellow new “American Idol” judge Mariah Carey, blasted Walters for having allegedly never contacted her before reporting on “The View” that Carey had hired extra security for herself and her twins after the fracas/stunt.
Walters chatted with “friend” Carey on the phone after video “leaked” to TMZ of the verbal “brawl” between the two divas, at the end of which, Carey claimed she was told by staffers, Minaj stormed off the set while mumbling something about using a gun if she’d had one.
“Am I not good enough for you to get my side, because I’m a little black girl that raps?” Minaj said on her show Sunday, addressing Walters, who wasn’t there.
“If I was JLo you would have called J-Lo’s camp — so are we not good enough for you?” Minaj asked.
“I hear that Mariah went to Barbara Walters with more fabrications which even the producers said I never said,” Minaj explained for the sake of her fans who’ve never seen “The View,” or maybe even heard of Walters — all to the good, for Walters.
“I’ve never in my life said anything regarding a gun.”
“I’m happy that Mariah’s on the panel,” she continued. “You got one of the best singers who ever sung on the world.”
But, she also insisted Carey had been trying to get her booted from the show. And, in maybe the most contradictory statement ever made on reality TV, which is saying a lot, Minaj added, “We’re having a great time on ‘Idol’ — no one going to run me off that mother [expletive] show.”