| The Reliable Source|
Hosted by Lloyd Grove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 30, 2003; 11:00 a.m. ET
Got a rumor to dispel or confirm? Looking for dirt on your favorite or most-hated Washington celebrity? Ask "The Reliable Source" columnist Lloyd Grove.
Grove, a 20-year veteran of The Washington Post, has been writing The Reliable Source column in the Style section since May 1999.
Grove grew up in Los Angeles and Greenwich, Conn. He was an English major at Yale and worked for the Kansas City Times (now defunct, we think), the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and the Dallas Morning News before joining the Post on the Weekend section, where for a few years he reviewed practically every live theater show that opened in D.C., including a few in church basements.
From there, he joined Style as a general assignment writer with a special interest in politics, and spent a year and a half covering the 1988 presidential campaign for the National staff. In 1991 -- after an ill-advised book leave -- he returned to Style and served as a political reporter, with occasional detours into television and movie coverage. He also has written extensively for Vanity Fair magazine.
A transcript follows.
Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.
Lloyd Grove: Good morning, people. I am amazed that a short week could seem so endless, but here we are for another of our hugely entertaining yet spiritually healing live online shows. Let us begin!
Washington, D.C.: Bob Dole rocks! This just confirms what he have known -- on the one hand, he can truly be a hatchet man on occasion, but on the other hand he has a wickedly funny sense of humor.
Clinton, on the other hand, comes across as a nice guy but in reality is rather humorless about himself.
Lloyd Grove: I laughed out loud when I read the Dole script. Your assessment of Clinton sounds spot-on to me.
Plano, Tex.: Is Laura Bush packing a few more pounds of late? What is the story there?
Lloyd Grove: I haven't noticed, but maybe he has quit smoking--wink wink.
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.: Lloyd,
Why are Darryl Hannah and Corben Bernsen in town? My sister works at a hotel downtown and she says they've been here since Wed.
Lloyd Grove: Dunno -- which hotel is that? Better yet, e-mail me at email@example.com with the info and I'll check it and perhaps put something in Sunday's column. Are they staying in the same room?
Alexandria, Va.: Lloyd, today's Dole-Clinton piece was a stitch. You must indeed have incredible sources. How were you able to get such a nugget as the Dole script?
Lloyd Grove: Sources and methods, my friend, are super-secret. But thanks much for your kind words.
Something fishy is going on: With the Jessica Lynch story. Don'cha think? She hasn't given any interviews. Her Dad's doing all the talking. It's strange.
Lloyd Grove: Well, the BBC did claim her rescue was some sort of Hollywood undertaking. But it's also possible that she's young, in a state of post traumatic shock, and just doesn't want to deal with the media hordes.
Long Beach, Calif.: Lloyd, do you have any moles in Tel Aviv? I was curious about the spiritual vacation of Bobby Brown and Whitney Kingston, I mean, Houston. I know it's their prerogative, but what is up?
Lloyd Grove: I don't have any Tel Aviv moles that I know of, alas. Whitney is just being Whitney, which means she's an unreconstructed weirdo. The so-called Black Hebrews are a cult, and an occasional pain in the butt to Israeli authorities, but I'm not surprised that she and her husband is mixed up with them. At least if Bobby Brown has one of his episodes in Israel, he'll get good medical attention.
Re: Jessica Lynch: Wow. How cynical have we become when we are suspicious of someone who is NOT trying to cash in and make a quick buck.
Maybe she just wants to get back to her life.
Lloyd Grove: Pretty cynical, I'd say.
Washington, D.C.: What, no Bill Bennett follow-ups? When do you think he'll be back on Hannity, bashing liberal and the non "virtuous"? (Not including himself).
Lloyd Grove: We just might circle around and land on Bill again in the near future.
Seattle, Wash.: Dearest Lloyd,
If I didn't know that your heart belonged to another, I would think that Kirstie Alley's requirements for her next husband had been deliberately tailored to make you the number one candidate. Each and every item she listed fits you to a tee! Please say it ain't so. I would be devastated by such a betrayal. I know that being the gentleman you are, you would cringe at having your most intimate moments announced at the Emmys. So crass ...
Lloyd Grove: Yes, I'm a children's rights activist, not a psychiatrist and not at least this morning on any mind-altering drugs (with the exception of caffeine), so I might be in Kirstie's ballpark. Alas, I have yet to be inducted into the Church of Scientology.
Washington, D.C.: Are you prohibited from indulging in, or at least publishing, gossip about your fellow Posties?
Lloyd Grove: Nope. Why? You got some?
Takoma Park, Md.: The military has well-defined and developed post-POW debriefings and therapy. Perhaps Pvt. Lynch is not talking because she's still in those therapy-debriefings or because she's been advised for her mental health not to constantly re-live her captivity by talking to the press about it.
Lloyd Grove: Good point.
Re: BBC Lynch story: The Chicago Tribune also did an expose on the Jessica Lynch "fable"; it was mentioned in Gwen Ifell's chat yesterday and she provided a link.
Lloyd Grove: I for one have not done my due diligence on this one, so I remain to be convinced that the BBC is right about it.
Washington, D.C.: "Why are Darryl Hannah and Corben Bernsen in town?"
This is a joke right? B-list has-been actors check into a hotel: big freakin' deal! What is this town, Bug Tussle? Get a life.
Lloyd Grove: It might not be a big freakin' deal, but it would nice fill some white space.
12th Floor Metro Center: So Richard Chamberlain finally comes out of the closet on Sunday's "Dateline." Shocking! Next thing you know, Richard Simmons will out himself.
Lloyd Grove: LOL!
Harrisburg, Pa.: I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States. I plan to have two friends present at my announcement: therefore, I may claim to have twice the strength of Carol Mosley Braun in this race. What is the story with her running? Can she at least pretend to be running? I sure she appreciates being invited to the debates, but certainly she is aware she should at least make the pretense of creating a campaign.
Lloyd Grove: Well, she is obviously getting the kind of attention she craves, so it might be as simple as that.
Washington, D.C.: Re: Post gossip. No, I don't have any. I just wondered why you never seem to print any. Are you all really that boring?
Come on, you've at least got to have something on Wilbon and Kornheiser. Or the famous Levey-Weingarten hate-fest.
Lloyd Grove: Have you not been following my exclusive reports on Richard Leiby's Iraqi copper tray? This is gossip gold-standard stuff!!
Kensington, Md.: Lloyd, In my opinion, Cindy Adams' response, "Political joke coming!?" was a little off. Jay Leno doesn't have to say that because he is a comedian. She is a columnist. Big difference.
Lloyd Grove: She's pretty darned funny, though, you have to give her that.
Washington, D.C.: The "Black Hebrews" are called the Hebrew Israelites I believe. Cult or not, they have some good vegetarian cafes around (one on Ga. Avenue and one in PG County ... but I'm betting YOU don't get to either area that often).
Lloyd Grove: You're right, 'cause I don't have wheels.
Silver Spring, Md.: Can Cindy Adams be that clueless? Jay Leno is a comedian, she is supposed to be something approximating a journalist, or at least not someone entitled to lie in print.
Lloyd Grove: From here on, it might be prudent to all of us loyal Cindy Adams readers to assume that EVERYTHING in her column is a joke.
Capitol Hill: So, Lloyd, now that your girlfriend is a flak for Sen. Maj. Leader Frist, does that mean he's off-limits for your column? Oh, well, you were never one to gossip about the Repubs anyway ... enjoy the Big Apple!
Lloyd Grove: My girlfriend is not a flak for the Senate Majority Leader (contrary to erroneous reports in certain publications), she's a policy adviser. Your second assertion is equally idiotic. And if I do go to the Big Apple--by no means decided--I would plan to enjoy it.
Virginia: Lloydster -- Not to make any kind of BIG STATEMENT ABOUT SOCIETY, but just maybe Jessica Lynch doesn't feel a compulsion to blather on endlessly to every reporter who calls ... unlike most residents of D.C.
Lloyd Grove: Another mark in her favor.
Washington, D.C.: Any truth to the report in U.S. News & World Report this week that Rep. Linda Sanchez was tipsy and ran out of a House vote to throw up on a balcony as a doorman held her? Her rep said she fell and bruised her back causing her to be nauseous and dizzy.
Lloyd don't fail us now!
Lloyd Grove: News to me. I wish somebody had called ME with that report -- and I congratulate U.S. News for getting it. I'd be careful with the "tipsy" stuff though. Her rep might be right.
Arlington, Va.: Is Cindy Adams a real person?
Sure, she's a gossip columnist, NOT a satire columnist, so when she attributes things in print to the VPOTUS, she'd better be prepared for some blowback.
Lloyd Grove: She is very real. Her husband was the late great Joey Adams, a comedian who in his latter years tended to fall off stages into the orchestra pit. I am continually amazed and impressed to find Cindy at parties, pen and notebook at the ready, peppering her fellow celebs with questions. Bless her!!!
Clinton/Dole Script: So who got the Dole Clinton Script first? You or Richard Johnson? Or did your great source just leak it to everyone?
Lloyd Grove: I have been spending my morning attempting to get the answer to just THAT question. I think I know who the evildoer is. I fear for his wellbeing.
Virginia: So Dowd cut off Bush's quote?
Lloyd Grove: She used ellipses ... in what I thought was an entirely fair manner, and then Zev Chafetz made a whole magillah out of it in the NY Daily News.
Washington, D.C.: What's with Hillary and Bill's books? Are they omitting Monica?
Lloyd Grove: I can't imagine Hillary will do that. This book launch has been the most disciplined media juggernaut I've ever seen, and not a word from the book has leaked. The Bush White House couldn't have done it better.
St. Mary's City, Md.: Doesn't Tom Ridge look like he could have served in the Nixon White House? His facial expressions and his hair style remind me of the photos from Woodward and Bernstein's books on Watergate.
Lloyd Grove: Possibly. But he looks like he could have served in any number of White Houses -- he has that commanding look of authority, yes?
1st St. NE: So, Lloyd, just what was Judge Starr saying in today's piece? I found his little sound bite a little confusing -- but it has such potential I just had to ask ...
Lloyd Grove: I think he's saying that he was misquoted by his dinner guest, and taken back that said guest spilled to the NY Post.
Geraldo Rivera: Have you heard from any Jews as to whether they need him right now?
Lloyd Grove: As I told Geraldo earlier this week during a phone chat about this that and the other, he should consider me one Jew who DOES need him.
"Yes, I was thinking of you when I said it," said he.
Arlington, Va. -- re: Sanchez: Oh what fun! Washington has reached a new low. Celebrity vomiting is gossip now! It used to be when women were caught losing their lunch, pregnancy rumors circled. This is all enough to make be nauseous and dizzy too.
Lloyd Grove: Celebrity Vomiting.
I like it.
Washington, D.C.: Re: the Cindy Adams dust up. I find it hard to believe that ANYBODY would take ANYTHING seriously that is written in a gossip column. It's supposed to be frivolous by its very nature. Sounds like Cheney and Co. have even less of a sense of humor than Clinton.
Lloyd Grove: Well, speaking for this column, I make every effort to make sure that what I put in there is true, or if it's a joke or a satire, to make that clear as well.
Shirlington, Va.: Lloyd,
Have to beg to differ with you on your assessment of Maureen Dowd's shameful misrepresentation of President Bush's quote. She deleted a portion which deliberately and entirely changed the meaning of what he said, simply in order to make him look bad. Unprofessional, uncalled for, sleazy, inexcusable.
Lloyd Grove: I guess we do different on whether Maureen's deletion changed the import of Bush's quote. In any case, the online version of her column contains the entire quote. You might attach some sinister motive to Ms. Dowd's ellipsis, but I have often found myself cutting and ellipsing because of space considerations. Anyhow, I think this is a story with no legs.
Washington, D.C.: Ken Starr complaining about loss of privacy? It is to laugh.
Lloyd Grove: That's what I'm here for.
New York, N.Y.: Well, Cindy Adams does write for a slightly less reputable paper than does Lloyd.
Lloyd Grove: The NY Post is a great tabloid, and hugely entertaining, though yes, they haven't won any Pulitzer's lately.
Whitney in Israel: Just when we thought she couldn't get any weirder. Did you see the various clips of her shouting "This is MY land!" to reporters in Israel. Dude, she creeps me out.
Lloyd Grove: I wonder what the IDF thought of her sudden annexation of their country.
Washington, D.C.: Are you leaving the Post soon?
Lloyd Grove: Nothing decided.
Seattle, Wash.: It occurs to me that we have a so called liberal press because the liberals provide so much more juicy gossip. If it weren't for Hillary's book coming out what titillating stories would we all have to enjoy this summer.
If Bill gets his way about term limits, we could be treated to alternating terms with the Clintons until, well I hate to think ... picture the demise of Nelson Rockefeller. Not pretty, but it would fill a lot of columns for a lot of years.
Lloyd Grove: From your mouth to God's ear!
Southside: A semi-serious question: Is the New York Times debacle churning up as much comment among the Beltway insiders as it is in the journalism industry and in New York proper? It is the newspaper of record to the D.C. power elite, even if it's based five hours away. Or does D.C. have bigger fish to fry? Thanks, Lloyd.
Lloyd Grove: Obviously, it's still Topic A in the journalism biz, but I can honestly say that I haven't detected much glee (except perhaps as it applies to the controversial Howell Raines) among my non-Times colleagues in Washington. Frankly, it's a sad situation, and many excellent and ethical journalists at the Times have been tarnished by this sorry episode. But this, too, shall pass, and the Times will rediscover its footing in due course, I confidently predict.
Washington, D.C.: Whoa ... you don't think Maureen Dowd did anything wrong when she truncated President Bush's speech? She took his words completely out of context.
That might be fair game for comedians but not Pulitzer Prize winning columnists at the nation's newspaper of record.
Lloyd Grove: We obviously disagree as to the impact of her ellipsis.
Boston, Mass.: Do you have any hope at all that Leiby will recover his beloved tray?
I, for one, hope he does.
Lloyd Grove: I will not rest until Leiby's tray is liberated!
Other POW's went before the Cameras: LIVE soon as they hit Ramstein? They made statements, etc. So what's the diff between those guys and Jessica?
Lloyd Grove: They wanted to, she didn't. Simplest answer, I guess.
New York, N.Y.: Sorry, but your wrong about Dowd's use of the ellipsis, it changed the entire meaning of the quote and was improper. For instance, in response to the earlier comment in this chat about your possible move to New York would it be fair for me to characterize your comment as "I. . . plan to enjoy it."
Lloyd Grove: I suppose, because the ellipsis does indicate that something is missing, material or not. Here's my take: Bush was saying they were making great strides against al Qaeda, and we have much less to worry about. Maureen quoted him, disapprovingly to be sure, as saying we are making great strides against al Qaeda and we have much less to worry about. There's a dropped nuance, yes, but I don't think this is a journalistic crime. Possibly a minor misdemeanor at worst. If Bush was known to be a precise and careful communicator, maybe it would be a bigger deal.
Annapolis, Md.: What's up with the Bush Administration shelving a budget report that said the tax cut wasn't such a great idea? Did the Bushies do it because it came from O'Neill's shop and was thus suspect? And why did we have to hear about it from those whiners at the FN??
Lloyd Grove: Talk to Paul Blustein or one of this great newspaper's other policy professionals. I am not qualified to engage in tax-cut gossip, alas.
1st St. NE: Yes, yes, I understand he was PO'd that someone spilled the beans, but what was the substance of his comment -- that he'd like to break bread with the lying perjurer, but not with Hillary?
Lloyd Grove: Yes.
Washington, D.C.: Bob Levey and Gene Weingarten don't like each other? What does Gene drive an SUV and use his cell phone on the Mertro?
Lloyd Grove: And you think I am going to get in the middle?
Washington, D.C.: Great column today, Lloyd. Starr's quote was breathtaking. How do people in this city become so blatantly un-self aware?
Lloyd Grove: It is a long and complicated process, I would think, though I must say Starr is a surprisingly self-aware fellow. When I talked to him yesterday, he was laughing about all this.
Arlington, Va.: How can you honestly, and with a straight face, say that changing Bush's quote from meaning "all of al-Qaeda is no longer a problem" to "those senior leaders of al-Qaeda who have been captured or killed or no longer a problem" is not a substantive change? I'm not a Bush sympathizer, but come on ...
Lloyd Grove: Listen, you are excerpting part of the quote to serve your purposes, but there was an introductory statement that was much broader. That being said, I am getting really really really sleepy .... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
New Mexico: Bill Richardson is not going to run for President in '04.
In case anybody cares.
Lloyd Grove: Good to know, Gov. Richardson!
Friendship Heights, Washington, D.C.: Am I crazy, or did I spot Maggie Gyllenhaal in the FH Borders a couple of weeks ago?
Lloyd Grove: Are these mutually exclusive?
Ballston, Va.: More about Cindy Adams -- But jeez, that soup kitchen quote really does sound like something Cheney would say.
Lloyd Grove: On Saturday Night Live.
Bob Dole: I heard much more funnier from him.
Lloyd Grove: This wasn't bad though.
Somewhere, USA: Thank you, Mr. Lloyd. I was feeling blue today until I saw Starr's quote. That was absolutely hilarious. Starr complaining about a lack of privacy is like the cat complaining about a lack of mice (which it just ate)!
Lloyd Grove: There you go. I won't try to parse your simile, though, don't want to risk a headache.
Robin Givhan: If we are ever gonna have any Post gossip, I'd like to know why Robin Givhan is so grumpy. She never likes anything. Did Judy Nathan's silly tiara really deserve a half page of the Style Section. Yeah, it was dumb. But lots of brides display questionable taste.
Lloyd Grove: Robin is paid to be grumpy. In person she's always very chirpy, though.
Rockville, Md.: Lloyd - I submitted earlier, but don't know if it got through -- A few months ago you announced former Reagan aide Ken Duberstein's engagement. I heard the wedding was last weekend with an unbelievable guest list. Any gossip on the guests or the event itself?
Lloyd Grove: I wasn't invited to either the Duberstein wedding or to Howie Kurtz's wedding out in Marina del Rey.
If you go to New York...: Go see "Hairspray" before Harvey Fierstein departs. It's a blast.
Lloyd Grove: Will do.
Re: From your mouth to God's ear!: Wow, I haven't heard that since Abner Mikva retired. You really are Jewish!
Lloyd Grove: What, Abner Mikva doesn't say it anymore?
L Street: "NY Times will recover it's footing?" Spoken like a true flak. You're being much too polite! I love the NY Times; I grew up on it. But this is hubris at it's finest, in what is becoming the year of hurbis! Good luck in your future direction, whichever.
Lloyd Grove: Well here's the deal -- I know a lot of Times people who are not afflicted in the least by the hubris virus. Institutionally, they do seem infected -- which is perhaps a fair accusation about The Washington Post from time to time. On rare, extremely rare, occasions. Usually, we are brilliant, judicious, courteous and wise.
Monica Lewinsky: Did you manage to catch any episodes of the "reality" dating show she hosted? She's lookin' mighty purdy these days.
Lloyd Grove: She reminded me of Glinda Good Witch of the North (as a brunette).
Oxford, UK: Lloyd, don't you have a source at the DHS that can verify Tom DeLay's attempts to use the department to find Texas democratic legislators? How about Nick Kristof's column on disgruntled spies? You've been shamed on the really good gossip, the administration-breaking kind.
Lloyd Grove: Has the administration been broken? Do tell!
Gossip = Pulitzer: I don't think so
Lloyd Grove: You need more imagination.
Arlington, Va.: Saw Bill O'Reilly complaining to Tim Russert about you not doing due diligence in your story about him. You really hurt his feelings. Who knew such a "tough" guy is so sensitive?
Lloyd Grove: That was quite a rant, and they keep rerunning it over and over. Actually, Bill was in nearly every detail wrong and I believe he needs to be sent to reeducation camp (the kind where they teach out reading comprehension).
Springfield, Va.: Re: Cynical about Jessica Lynch
We're not cynical about her at all. She supposedly remembers next to nothing. It's the Pentagon spin machine that we're extremely cynical about and that side of it is starting to get a lot of play -- the BBC was first, but there have been lots of follow up reports. Pay attention, please!
Lloyd Grove: Okay. I'll try.
Oxford, UK: The administration will be broken if we all join together in this noble cause. Gee, if you were a real gossip columnist, you'd find the stuff somewhere. (nudge nudge wink wink)
Lloyd Grove: Is your wife a "goer"? Nudge nudge, wink wink.
Please don't, GO: Lloyd -- You have to stay put! If you're off to NYC what Post columnist will I secretly covet? Exactly. Stay put for me, 'kay? Oh, all right. If you decide to leave, best of luck. We'll miss you.
Lloyd Grove: I will factor in your comments. Many thanks.
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.: I don't think I've ever seen a dead tree edition of the NY Post, so kindly enlighten as to how the text was laid out -- did Cindy Adams have the quote printed amongst other real-life quotes, or was in some sort of a box indicating that it was a joke?
If she did it with no warning, such that she reported it as though the Veep actually said it, it strikes me she's guilty of fabricating a quote.
This is Jayson Blair territory.
Lloyd Grove: It was just there, sandwiched between items on Phyllis Diller and Kiefer Sutherland, as I reported this morning. But maybe Cindy's regular loyal readers, those attuned to every nuance, if that's the right word, of her ouevre, immediately understood her satirical intent.
Passing over Lloyd Grove: "Lloyd Grove has gone Gefilte Fishing"
I saw the sign outside your office.
Am I not right?
Hey, I was walkin' here!
Lloyd Grove: Oy.
Washington, D.C.: Ever since Michael Jordan and Abe Pollin had their public spat, the man who was responsible for getting Jordan here, Ted Leonsis, has been AWOL. Where is he?
Lloyd Grove: Good question. Keeping quiet, I suspect, and seething privately perhaps.
Alexandria, Va.: Please count this Jew as one who can do without Geraldo Rivera. As well as Mike Wallace, Michael Kinsley, Richard Cohen and Bob Levey. But I cannot fathom media without Lloyd Grove or Charles Krauthammer.
Lloyd Grove: This conversation has sure taken an unexpected turn. I must say, I like ALL the folks mentioned above, and wouldn't want to do without ANY of them.
Hot gossip...: Dick Cheney sandwiched in between Phyllis Diller and Keifer Sutherland! Now THERE'S a story!
Lloyd Grove: LOL!
Bill O'Reilly is NEVER wrong: Didn't you know that?
Lloyd Grove: C'mon, gimme a break. As O'Reilly always says.
Teddy L.: I imagine he is helping Jagr with his multi-million dollar tax troubles.
Lloyd Grove: I hope that won't negatively affect the stock price of AOL.
Adams Morgan: Candid, candid photography? Say no more, say no more. A nod's as good as a wink to a bind bat...
Lloyd Grove: We seem to be having a Monty Python festival.
Oxford: My wife? Do you have someone in mind? I'm nineteen, 5'10'', and I study Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. I want to be in the Air force when I grow up.
Lloyd Grove: Do you have any Ementhaler cheese then?
Downtown D.C.: Hey, right-wing apologists, give Clinton a break. I think his spokesman would have been a little less stiff if Dole (or, rather, Dole's scriptwriter) had included even ONE self-deprecating jab, instead of needling the former president -- a title Dole doubtless never forgets he can't claim -- about the same things that the humorless, vengeful, vicious conservative media attacked him for during his two terms in office and, indeed, ever since. Be honest: would you find that at all amusing, if you were in Clinton's place?
Lloyd Grove: I have often thought about what I would and would not find amusing if I were in Clinton's place and it's a dry hole for me. Anyhow, on to the rest of our Friday, folks! Have a fab weekend, and I am looking forward to seeing you here Friday next, same time same place. Bye.
That wraps up today's show. Thanks to everyone who joined the discussion.
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