Most interesting revelation of “Today”’s interview Friday morning with Tareq Salahi: The Virginia wine-country scandal figure has Matt Lauer’s personal digits. The morning-show host notes, at the start of his deadpan interview, that when Michaele Salahi ran off last week, he got frantic text-messages about it from Tareq. (see video. . . )

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(Video: NBC: Tareq Salahi on “Today”)

In this nine-minute segment, NBC treats this week’s Salahi gossip-blog soap opera as dead-serious news. Lauer gravely dissects micro-scoops trickled out on TMZ — Michaele caught backstage at a Journey show, the band posting signs to bar Tareq from concerts, the death of the Salahi dog — and asks these kinds of earnest questions:

You didn’t have any clue there were issues?

You knew 15 years ago she was dating him?

Would you take her back?

Wait, there’s another he’s forgetting. It’s on the tip of our tongue… (Oh yeah: “Is this a publicity stunt?”) We have to wait almost eight minutes, as Tareq chokes back tears, then finally...

“I apologize for being blunt here,” Lauer says, “but there are probably people watching who are thinking, these people became famous for all the wrong reasons… they then tried to stretch that 15 minutes of fame for as long as they possibly could, and that this is not an unexpected turn of events in what is in some ways a slow-motion trainwreck called the Salahis — how would you respond to that?”

(That’s blunt?)

Says Tareq: “This is not a publicity stunt.”

Read earlier: Tareq and Michaele Salahi — a reality-show life, just not on TV, 9/18/11

Michaele Salahi wasn’t kidnapped; she ran off with Journey’s Neal Schon, 9/14/11