It's a Media Coverup

The man who brought us the wide variety of political bobblehead dolls -- including a gun-toting Arnold Schwarzenegger that Ahnuld's camp took to court -- is now bringing a "Free Matt Cooper" T-shirt to the masses.

As The Post reported yesterday, U.S. District Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan has held Cooper, Time magazine's deputy Washington bureau chief, in contempt of court and ordered his confinement for refusing to testify before a grand jury in the investigation of who leaked CIA officer Valerie Plame's name to journos. The order has been stayed pending appeal, and Cooper is free for the time being. (It's no laughing matter, we know, but certainly this T-shirt is.)

But thanks to the quick nature of the Web, and perhaps far too much free time for Dem lobbyist John Edgell, the $16.45 shirt was up and running by 10 a.m. on Zazzle.com with the description: "Matt Cooper, Time Magazine's intrepid star reporter and all-around funny guy, is currently being held under house arrest by a Federal District Judge. Net proceeds to the First Amendment Project, to defend our Constitutional Freedoms."

"It was one of those things that, you know, I figured he needed the money for his legal defense fund or pay for all those pay-per-view shows he'll watch when he's locked in his house," Edgell joked to us yesterday. Cooper didn't return our calls and Time's Washington bureau chief, Michael Duffy, had nothing to say either, so we can only wonder whether they'll wear them.

Yesterday we had Alan Keyes's sweat-stained napkin going for hundreds of dollars on the Internet (as of deadline last night bids were up to $520!!!). Today we have free-journalists T-shirts. . . . What will tomorrow bring?

Noted . . .

It's game over for former Laker Rick Fox, 35, and actress (and former Miss America) Vanessa Williams, 41, after five years of marriage. Fox -- who just last week got traded to the Boston Celtics -- filed for divorce from Williams yesterday, his spokeswoman confirmed. The couple have one daughter, 4-year-old Sasha . . . Bill Cosby's on a roll, ladies and gents. Holyoke, Mass., Police Chief Anthony Scott thought it was a practical joke when he received a phone call recently from the Cos, cheering on his progress against street crime. "I was floored," Scott recalled, adding that it took the famed comedian with the unforgettable voice around a minute to convince the chief of his identity . . . And here's a mystery for you. Lawyer Brett Kimmel -- who just forced P. Diddy to fork over a reported $35,000 a month in child custody support to ex-wife and Kimmel client Misa Hylton-Brim (they have a son, Justin) -- brags, er, tells Details mag: "I know three major Hollywood movie stars that have children that nobody knows about." Well, "nobody" seems to be pushing it.

. . . and Quoted

"I haven't gotten a hotel room yet so I'm hoping the police station will be able to accommodate me."

-- Comedian Margaret Cho, telling the New York Daily News of her plan to get arrested at the Republican National Convention.

-- Compiled by Anne Schroeder

from staff and wire reports

The Reliable Source will return next Tuesday.

Time magazine's Matt Cooper, above. Democratic lobbyist John Edgell's latest project shows he's not afraid to shirt an issue.