“Another Exclusive” by James Jay Schifrin


image038Last week in Patronage County, Senator Mudslinger called his administrative assistant into his office. “Mr. Jackal,” the senator roared. “Go out andbuy me a reporter.”

“A reporter, sir?”

“That’s right, Jackal—every politician needs at least one reporter to call his own.”

“But, senator. The last thing you need is one more reporter digging up dirt on you. The FBI caught you red-handed. You were a star on ABSCAM Camera for weeks.”

“The best defense is a good offense. I want somebody to ask easy questions so I’ll look good in the media for a change.”

“Where are we going to find a reporter like that?”

“Television reporters are best. They’re more interested in their hair spray than digging for the facts of a story.”

“How about a woman reporter?”

“Perfect, Jackal. They’re used to being bought. You’ve seen me do it a million times.”

“Do you have somebody in mind? How about the chick that does the newsbreaks on the Nitwitness News—where she’s sitting in the news room teaching guys how to type with two fingers.”

“No, Jackal, try the station with the vulture painted on the side of its helicopter. Call Betty Flaque, the girl who starts every report with ‘Tonight for my first exclusive…Remember last month when she announced that the world was round”

“But how can she really help us, Senator? Have you forgotten the ABSCAM hearings? You got your supeona this morning. How can she possibly make you look good?”

“We’ll leak her that juicy rumor about how my opponent impersonated me accepting money from rich Arab businessmen in front of the FBI cameras.”

“Nobody’s stupid enough to believe that, Senator. The newspapers laughed at you when you tried to get them to use it.”

“That’s why I want you to call Betty Flaque. A little flattery about her work, some patronizing remark about womens’ lib, and she’ll forget everything she ever knew about reporting.”

“And if that doesn’t work, Senator?”

“Then maybe a pat on the fanny would do the job.”

This op-ed column first appeared in the Mt. Washington Press on December 10, 1980.