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Brokaw Distorts Tenet's Phrase: 'War Against Iraq Was Slam Dunk' --4/30/2007


1. Brokaw Distorts Tenet's Phrase: 'War Against Iraq Was Slam Dunk'
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, former anchor Tom Brokaw ridiculously implied that conservatives who have cited former CIA director George Tenet's "slam dunk" comment about WMD in Iraq had in fact claimed that the comment was a prediction that the war itself against Iraq would be a "slam dunk." The former NBC anchor filed a report detailing Tenet's criticisms of the Bush administration from Tenet's newly released book At the Center of the Storm. After the pre-recorded report had covered some of Tenet's criticisms of Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Richard Perle, Brokaw turned to Tenet's claim that his "slam dunk" comment was taken out of context by Bush defenders. After a a clip of Cheney claiming that Tenet said "the case against Saddam on weapons of mass destruction" was a "slam dunk," Brokaw appeared live to conclude his report, and delivered his own distortion of how conservatives have used the quote. Brokaw: "Former director Tenet ...insists that he was talking about assembling a stronger case to take to the public so it would have a better understanding of what the CIA believed to be true. He was not, he says, saying that a war against Iraq was a slam dunk."

2. CNN's Softball Cleland Interview, Bush with 'Blood on Hands'
On Friday's The Situation Room, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer gave former Democratic Senator Max Cleland a forum to rail against the Bush administration's Iraq policy, during which the former Georgia Senator charged that President Bush would be "signing in blood" his expected veto of the Democratic plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. While Blitzer did ask a few mildly challenging questions, the CNN anchor did not question some of Cleland's more dubious assertions, including his claim that half a million Iraqis had been killed, and that Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss had called Cleland "un-American" and "unpatriotic" in the past. While the interview originally ran live during the 5 p.m. hour of The Situation Room, it was repeated during the 7 p.m. hour, which gave Blitzer the opportunity to plug the interview, quoting the former Democratic Senator's charge that Bush would be signing his veto "in blood." Blitzer: "Tonight, the former U.S. Senator, Max Cleland, charges Mr. Bush will be signing that veto in blood." Blitzer later plugged: "Vietnam War veteran and former Senator Max Cleland says President Bush could wind up with blood on his hands."

3. NPR Anchor Asks If Viet Cong Spy at Time Mag Cost American Lives
Pham Xuan Am served on the staff of Time magazine during the Vietnam War -- and he also served as a communist spy for the Viet Cong. This should have been the cause of great embarrassment for liberal media outlets like Time. Instead, in 1990, former Time reporter H.D.S. Greenway wasn't irate at his colleague, but expressed his anger in the Washington Post at the "right-wingers [who] seized on the An story to say that the press had fallen victim to a fiendish disinformation plot." On Saturday's Weekend Edition, NPR anchor Scott Simon interviewed Larry Berman, author of a new book on Pham Xuan Am called "Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent." Simon might have been trying to help the author out, but the question he asked seemed like a no-brainer: "Did he give information that resulted in the deaths of South Vietnamese or American soldiers?"

4. Access Hollywood Speculates NBC Hiring O'Donnell for Today Show
With "Today Show Bound?" as the on-screen header under video of Rosie O'Donnell, Access Hollywood co-anchor Nancy O'Dell on Friday advanced idle speculation about how "we have new information about her possibly joining the Today show." But the "new information" was that she won't, though Today co-host Matt Lauer thought O'Donnell on the show "might work well for us." Setting up a soundbite from Lauer at a Thursday event at the Museum of the Moving Image, O'Dell asserted: "And you can forget about Rosie being on NBC's fourth hour of Today beginning in September." Viewers of the NBC-produced nightly entertainment news show then heard from Lauer: "Being a news show, we do have to walk a little bit of a tighter line than she's used to walking and so it might work well for us, but I don't know how well it would work for Rosie."


Brokaw Distorts Tenet's Phrase: 'War
Against Iraq Was Slam Dunk'

On Friday's NBC Nightly News, former anchor Tom Brokaw ridiculously implied that conservatives who have cited former CIA director George Tenet's "slam dunk" comment about WMD in Iraq had in fact claimed that the comment was a prediction that the war itself against Iraq would be a "slam dunk." The former NBC anchor filed a report detailing Tenet's criticisms of the Bush administration from Tenet's newly released book At the Center of the Storm.

After the pre-recorded report had covered some of Tenet's criticisms of Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Richard Perle, Brokaw turned to Tenet's claim that his "slam dunk" comment was taken out of context by Bush defenders. After a a clip of Cheney claiming that Tenet said "the case against Saddam on weapons of mass destruction" was a "slam dunk," Brokaw appeared live to conclude his report, and delivered his own distortion of how conservatives have used the quote. Brokaw: "Former director Tenet ...insists that he was talking about assembling a stronger case to take to the public so it would have a better understanding of what the CIA believed to be true. He was not, he says, saying that a war against Iraq was a slam dunk."

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Below is a transcript of relevant portions from the Friday April 27 NBC Nightly News:

Tom Brokaw: "Tenet is especially angry about the quote that he'll live with for the rest of his life: 'slam dunk.' Rice and Cheney in effect blaming him for the decision to go to war."
Dick Cheney: "George Tenet sat in the Oval Office, and the President of the United States asked him directly, he said, 'George, how good is the case against Saddam on weapons of mass destruction?' And the director of the CIA said, 'It's a slam dunk, Mr. President, it's a slam dunk.'"
Brokaw: "Former director Tenet, who will give us his first live interview Monday morning on Today, insists that he was talking about assembling a stronger case to take to the public so it would have a better understanding of what the CIA believed to be true. He was not, he says, saying that a war against Iraq was a slam dunk."

CNN's Softball Cleland Interview, Bush
with 'Blood on Hands'

On Friday's The Situation Room, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer gave former Democratic Senator Max Cleland a forum to rail against the Bush administration's Iraq policy, during which the former Georgia Senator charged that President Bush would be "signing in blood" his expected veto of the Democratic plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. While Blitzer did ask a few mildly challenging questions, the CNN anchor did not question some of Cleland's more dubious assertions, including his claim that half a million Iraqis had been killed, and that Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss had called Cleland "un-American" and "unpatriotic" in the past.

While the interview originally ran live during the 5 p.m. hour of The Situation Room, it was repeated during the 7 p.m. hour, which gave Blitzer the opportunity to plug the interview, quoting the former Democratic Senator's charge that Bush would be signing his veto "in blood." Blitzer: "Tonight, the former U.S. Senator, Max Cleland, charges Mr. Bush will be signing that veto in blood." Blitzer later plugged: "Vietnam War veteran and former Senator Max Cleland says President Bush could wind up with blood on his hands."

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Saturday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

At about 5:26pm EDT, and again at about 7:36pm, to his credit, Blitzer ran a story that featured an Iraqi general who "is appealing to the United States not to leave yet." The story, filed by correspondent Hugh Riminton, looked at the challenges of and progress in training the Iraqi Army, noting that in the past two years, the number of Iraqi divisions has increased from two to ten. After the report, Blitzer moved on to the Cleland interview and started off by inviting Cleland to express his "frustration" that the training is taking so long.

Cleland argued that the Iraq situation reminds him of Vietnam, but then bizarrely theorized that Iraqis would be more successful in defending their country if American troops leave, as if that worked for the South Vietnamese, as he contended that "it's not until we get out will they really take it upon themselves to defend themselves, particularly against al-Qaeda."

Blitzer then played a clip of President Bush promising to veto the Democratic troop withdrawal plan and asked for Cleland's response, which soon led to Cleland's "blood on the hands" charge. Cleland: "He may have his, he may have his day on this, but when he signs that veto early next week, he will sign it in blood because he's just guaranteeing the death of more Americans in Iraq."

Blitzer moved on to quote Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, who unseated Cleland in 2002, and quoted Chambliss as having said it is "almost un-American to come out and tell the enemy that they've won and lost," asking for a response from Cleland. The former Democratic Senator took the opportunity to repeat the canard that a controversial campaign ad by Chambliss from 2002 had challenged Cleland's "patriotism." Cleland: "I've been called un-American and unpatriotic by the Senator before. It wasn't true then, not true now." Video of the ad can be viewed on Youtube: www.youtube.com

Blitzer then asked two mildly challenging questions, one about the effect of the political debate on troop morale and one about General David Petraeus's "appeal for patience" to "see if this new strategy can work." During his response, Cleland cited a controversial estimate that "over half a million Iraqis have died," without any dispute from Blitzer. Notably, the very next day on the program CNN Saturday Morning, a story filed by Joshua Levs discussed the dispute between the United Nations and the Iraqi government over how many Iraqi civilians were killed in 2006. For that one year, the United Nations reported 35,000 while the government reported 12,000. Even the higher 35,000 figure in one year is inconsistent with a four-year estimate as high as 500,000. Page A18 of the Saturday April 28 Washington Post lists estimates of total Iraqi civilian deaths as ranging from a minimum of 62,570 to a high estimate of 655,000.

Below is a complete transcript of the interview with Cleland from the Friday April 27 The Situation Room:

7:00 p.m.
Wolf Blitzer, in opening teaser: "Also this hour, President Bush sticks to his guns about vetoing a troop withdrawal timetable. Tonight, the former U.S. Senator, Max Cleland, charges Mr. Bush will be signing that veto in blood. Cleland is our guest."
...

7:20 p.m.
Blitzer, before commercial break: "Up ahead, a former U.S. Senator and wounded war veteran comes out firing."

Former Senator Max Cleland (D-GA): "Well, it reminds me of the Vietnam, quite frankly, the essence of what we're seeing in Iraq is what we saw in Vietnam."

Blitzer: "Max Cleland here in The Situation Room. Find out what he says to those who call opposition to the war 'un-American.'"
...

7:25 p.m.
Cleland: "Just ahead, who's to blame for the troubled U.S. mission in Iraq? Truth of the matter is there is no strategy that the President is telling the generals to do. You see, that's the problem."

Blitzer: "Vietnam War veteran and former Senator Max Cleland says President Bush could wind up with blood on his hands. Max Cleland, here on The Situation Room."
...

7:26 p.m.
Blitzer: "The death toll mounts for U.S. troops in Iraq, and one of Iraq's top generals says his country will never forget the sacrifices of coalition forces and their families. But he is appealing to the United States not to leave yet. CNN's Hugh Riminton visited an Iraqi Army training ground center. Hugh?"
Hugh Riminton: "Wolf, the question is: Are the Iraqi security forces ready to stand up so that coalition forces can stand down? The answer is no, no and no. No from the Iraqi government, no from the top reaches of the Iraqi Army and no from the U.S. general who most closely watches the training of Iraqi troops. While America debates troop withdrawal, the men with the most intimate knowledge of Iraq's ability to secure itself are on this helicopter. The commander of the coalition's Iraq Assistance Group, Brigadier General Dana Pittard, has joined the head of Iraqi ground forces, General Ali Ghidan-Majeed, to visit a dusty base north of Baghdad. They have come to see this. Under the eye of Americans, these men are learning how to survive and prevail in a dirty war. By the end of this week, these men and 1,500 others will be deployed in Baghdad. What is the standard of these guys by the time they leave here for the job ahead?"
Captain Mark Tomola, U.S. Army: "The standard is, obviously, we don't hold them to quite the same standard I would hold an American unit to."
Riminton: "The training attempts to give the Iraqi soldiers real answers in fighting an insidious enemy. They train on this range for the sorts of conditions that Iraqi Army soldiers will meet every day. There is a highway just over here, and that is for convoy training. As they pass a village, a typical rural setting in Iraq. Suddenly, there are the men with the guns. There are the men with the rocket-propelled grenades. General Ali says Iraq still needs help, but he acknowledges the price. 'The sacrifice of U.S. soldiers and the families of soldiers, it's incredible,' he says. 'In Iraq, we will never forget them.' General Pittard says progress is being made. There were just two Iraqi divisions two years ago. Now, he says, there are 10."
Brigadier General Dana Pittard, Iraq Assistance Group: "We cannot leave Iraq in disarray. I mean, we came here in 2003. We cannot leave here, leave this nation as a failed state in disarray."
Riminton: "A direct appeal to the politicians thousands of miles away. Hugh Riminton, CNN, Besmia (sp?), Iraq."
Blitzer: "And all of this comes as the battle over Iraq continues here in Washington, funding for the war and a timeline for withdrawal raging here in Washington, that debate with Congress and the White House at an impasse. Joining us now, the Vietnam War veteran, the former Democratic Senator, Max Cleland. Senator, thanks very much for joining us. Let me get your quick reaction to that piece we just heard. It's been, what, four years. The U.S. has been training thousands of Iraqi troops, but they're still not ready. How frustrated are you that it's taking so long to get these Iraqi troops ready to defend their own country?"
Former Senator Max Cleland (D-GA): "Well, it reminds me of the Vietnam, quite frankly. The essence of what we're seeing in Iraq is what we saw in Vietnam, that unless you have the political support of the people there, they're not going to support really fighting for their own country. It's not until we get out will they really take it upon themselves to defend themselves, particularly against al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is just now using them and coming in and attacking Americans, as they did when they killed those nine soldiers from the 82nd Airborne. So, we are part of the problem, not part of the solution. That's why, after five years of war, it's painfully obvious that there is no strategy to win. There is no strategy to end this war. And so the war is essentially unwinnable and untenable militarily. And that's why we have to get out. But the Iraqis must ultimately take care of their own country. And that's what we need to leave them to do."
Blitzer: "Here's what the President said today about the Democrats' desires to include a timeline for withdrawal in the war funding bill. Listen to the President."
George W. Bush clip #1: "If the Congress wants to test my will as to whether or not I'll accept a timetable for withdrawal, I won't accept one. I just don't think it's in the interests of our troops."
Bush clip #2: "I really think it's a mistake for Congress to try to tell generals, our military experts, how to conduct a war."
Blitzer: "All right. What do you say to the President?"
Cleland: "Well, this is not a test of the President's will, you know? And Congress is not trying to tell the generals what to do. The truth of the matter is, there is no strategy that the President is telling the generals to do. You see, that's the problem. I mean, more and more, generals are coming out of the military, particularly the Army, and saying the war is unwinnable militarily. It is essentially a political war that we're going into. And we're on the wrong side of it. We're trying to occupy a nation that doesn't want us there. Secondly, we're going after the wrong enemy here. Al-Qaeda is morphing around the world. They morphed most recently into North Africa. And George Tenet's book just coming out in the next few days says his concern is still about al-Qaeda in the United States. So, we need to withdraw from Iraq, withdraw our ground forces from there, because we are not part of the problem, I mean solution. We're part of the problem there. And this is not a test of the President's, this is not a test of the President's will. He may have his, he may have his day on this, but when he signs that veto early next week, he will sign it in blood because he's just guaranteeing the death of more Americans in Iraq."
Blitzer: "Saxby Chambliss, the man who beat you in your run for re-election the last time around in Georgia, he says, and I'm quoting now, 'It's almost un-American, un-American to come out and tell the enemy that they've won and lost.' Listen to this little clip of what he said on the Senate floor yesterday. Listen to this."
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): "Men and women of the 3rd ID simply don't agree with the Democrats who want to tuck tail and run. Georgians don't want to do that, the military does not want to do that."
Blitzer: "All right. He says Democrats are almost un-American for what they're trying to do. What do you say to Senator Chambliss?"
Cleland: "Well, first of all, I've been called un-American and unpatriotic by the Senator before. It wasn't true then, not true now. And secondly, I don't take my advice on war from somebody, Mr. Chambliss, who tucked his tail and ran from the war of his generation. He got out of going to Vietnam with a trick knee. So I'm not going to follow anybody's advice on that, and I'm certainly not going to back off my view that it's time to protect Americans, it's time to bring our young Americans home, and it is time to set a timetable. That's what the Congress is voting on, and has voted successfully on. It is now time to change strategy, change policy. If the President won't change, ultimately we will see more Americans die, and ultimately we will get out of Iraq, but after he's gone."
Blitzer: "You fought in Vietnam at a time of serious debate here in the United States over what U.S. troops were doing there in Vietnam. You know the impact on morale to fighting men and women. What about the impact on the battlefield right now in Iraq as a result of this very serious debate under way here in the United States?"
Cleland: "Well, you feel like, a young French lieutenant in the French Indochina War in Vietnam said it felt like he was shot in the stomach and kicked in the rear end. And I'm sure that members of the armed forces in Iraq feel that way. I know that's the way I felt in Vietnam when the massive unrest in the United States broke out in '67 and '68. But the worst morale problem is to commit young Americans to a cause that is not winnable and is ultimately untenable and unsupported by the United States people, people in America. So, the best thing we can do is to make sure we have as good an exit as possible. And the President, if he vetoes this bill, will give up the last opportunity he has to make a bipartisan exit from Iraq. Ultimately, it's going to be ultimately on his head and shoulders, and he'll be signing that veto pen in blood because more young Americans are going to die when he vetoes this bill."
Blitzer: "Senator Cleland, the current U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, has been in Washington all week. He's appealing to everyone for patience, to give him some time, to see if this new strategy can work, at least through September or so. He says at that point, he and the U.S. ambassador, Ryan Crocker, would have a better sense of whether or not it's working. He promises that if it's not working, he'll tell the American people the truth. Why not give the general some more time to see if he can make it, make it better?"
Cleland: "Time? This is the fifth year of this war. As a matter of fact, next Tuesday is the anniversary of President Bush standing up on an aircraft carrier, playing dress-up with his flight suit, which he never wore in combat, trying to be the war hero he never was, and saying major combat over, mission accomplished. And later on he said, 'Bring 'em on.' Well, they came on, surprise, surprise, and have killed over 3,300 young Americans and wounded over 30,000, and over half a million Iraqis have died. I don't want that kind of patience. It's five years into this thing now. It's time to end it, and it's time to move on and worry about al-Qaeda. That's the real threat to this country."
Blitzer: "We're going to leave it there. Senator Cleland, as usual, thanks for joining us here in The Situation Room."
Cleland: "Thank you."

NPR Anchor Asks If Viet Cong Spy at Time
Mag Cost American Lives

Pham Xuan Am served on the staff of Time magazine during the Vietnam War -- and he also served as a communist spy for the Viet Cong. This should have been the cause of great embarrassment for liberal media outlets like Time. Instead, in 1990, former Time reporter H.D.S. Greenway wasn't irate at his colleague, but expressed his anger in the Washington Post at the "right-wingers [who] seized on the An story to say that the press had fallen victim to a fiendish disinformation plot." See: www.mrc.org

On Saturday's Weekend Edition, NPR anchor Scott Simon interviewed Larry Berman, author of a new book on Pham Xuan Am called "Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent." Simon might have been trying to help the author out, but the question he asked seemed like a no-brainer: "Did he give information that resulted in the deaths of South Vietnamese or American soldiers?"

[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

It came in this exchange about how this perfect spying scenario developed:
Simon: "As Pham Xuan An began to supply information of the North Vietnamese while working for Time and for Reuters, what kind of access did he have? What did the job give him?"
Berman: "An was actually hired as one of the consultants for the creation of this South Vietnamese CIO. The South Vietnamese Central Intelligence Organization, which was patterned after our CIA. An would get his information from the Vietnamese intelligence organization, from his contacts in the South Vietnamese government.
"He never had to steal a single document, and the reason for that was people were always giving it to him and asking him for his analysis because he was so good at disentangling complex ideas. The South Vietnamese needed An to explain the Americans to them. And the Americans needed An to explain the Vietnamese. And he was in this perfect position. He was just the recipient of all this information. And then at night, he would go home and write a secret reports. Eventually his reports would reach Hanoi."
Simon: "Is there blood on his hands? Did he give information that resulted in the deaths of South Vietnamese or American soldiers?"
Prof. Berman: "An insisted to his last day, and I tried to develop this in the book, that he never could have hurt anyone. That is, he could have never shot a gun, which is true. He could have never killed anyone. And indeed he went out of his way to save the lives of several prominent anti-communists and American journalist Robert Sam Anson.
"And also at the last days of April 1975, one of the leading anti-communists who, if he had been captured, would have certainly been killed and An helped get him out. But absolutely, during the Tet offensive in which thousands have died, that his reports, his recommendations led to deaths of both Americans and South Vietnamese, not only in Saigon but in way and all throughout Vietnam."

Simon began by noting: "Pham Xuan An served as the eyes, ears and voice for some of the best-known Americans reporting from Vietnam in the 1960s. He worked as an interpreter, correspondent and resource for Reuters and Time magazine. He befriended the likes of David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, Morley Safer, Robert Shaplen, Robert Sam Anson." It was noticeable that when he asked about people feeling betrayed, Berman talked only about how the South Vietnamese felt betrayed, he asked nothing about how American journalists reacted. Simon did not follow up:

Simon: "When his story began to come out and some people, obviously, began to know what -- that even in the 1980s when he was declared a national hero, it seems to me there were people on both sides who felt betrayed."
Berman: "Certainly, the South Vietnamese who have fled the country and living in America felt betrayed, and then his South Vietnamese, quote, "brothers." His brother enemies in the South felt betrayed, yes. And An felt very uncomfortable about that because, of course, he understood what he had done. He had not only deceived the Americans, but he had deceived millions of South Vietnamese.
"And that is why he became part of this broader reconciliation process. I think the only way to look at An's life is to view on this part of the reconciliation between former enemies that is, you know, the United States and Vietnam, between he and his - and those he had betrayed. But it's still a very, very much of a sore spot, particularly amongst the Vietnamese-American community in this country today."

Halberstam, like many other journalists either betrayed by indifferent to his spy friend's agenda, is hailed as a brilliant man, the kind we would never see again. But if a journalist can be so easily bamboozled, how is he a journalist for the ages? NPR has dwelled for days on tributes to Halberstam, so emblematic of the Quagmire Corps that made the world safe for communism. Within the same show, Simon delivered a eulogy to Halberstam's last speech to journalism students and acknowledged that Halberstam was "a mentor and friend to me for more than 25 years." Simon exclaimed:
"He never quite shook his image as the tough young reporter stalking through the swamps of Vietnam; didn't really want to. But David Halberstam was elegant, a man of impeccable manners and handsome bearing in what's often taken to be a rumpled profession.
"And in a business that abounds in snide asides and outright backstabbing, David Halberstam was a man of astonishing generosity. David read, watched and listened. He wrote encouraging notes, rave reviews, and quotable blurbs. He gave warm advice and always reached for the check.

When Simon turned on Saturday morning to NPR analyst Daniel Schorr, he sang the same song: "David Halberstam was -- simply typified a generation of journalists that we'll not see again. He's thought of [as leading] this country on his way out of Vietnam. No other reporter I've ever known could say that I was the first instrumental person in ending a war."

On Sunday, one of Halberstam's NPR eulogists was none other than his Vietnam colleague and Iraq journalistic embarrassment Peter Arnett: "He was a giant of contemporary journalism, and David Halberstam really was the brightest light of the Vietnam reporting generation."

Access Hollywood Speculates NBC Hiring
O'Donnell for Today Show

With "Today Show Bound?" as the on-screen header under video of Rosie O'Donnell, Access Hollywood co-anchor Nancy O'Dell on Friday advanced idle speculation about how "we have new information about her possibly joining the Today show." But the "new information" was that she won't, though Today co-host Matt Lauer thought O'Donnell on the show "might work well for us." Setting up a soundbite from Lauer at a Thursday event at the Museum of the Moving Image, O'Dell asserted: "And you can forget about Rosie being on NBC's fourth hour of Today beginning in September." Viewers of the NBC-produced nightly entertainment news show then heard from Lauer: "Being a news show, we do have to walk a little bit of a tighter line than she's used to walking and so it might work well for us, but I don't know how well it would work for Rosie."

[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The AccessHollywood.com version of the story reported:
"When asked about possibility of O'Donnell joining NBC in September, as they extend the Today show with a fourth hour, Lauer added, 'I think she may be a little controversial for the fourth hour of the Today show. With a new show, we kind of have to walk a little bit of a tighter line than she's used to walking. It might work well for us; I don't know how well it would work for Rosie.'" See: www.accesshollywood.com

A transcript of the segment on the April 27 Access Hollywood:

Nancy O'Dell: "Rosie O'Donnell, we have new information about her possibly joining the Today show, along with the first reaction from another one of her verbal sparring partners, Star Jones."
Star Jones: "You know what? It was funny. I actually found out on the plane."
O'Dell: "A slim and trim Star Jones, who was fired from The View last June, heard the surprising Rosie news from her plane seat mate."
Jones: "I had no idea. And then when I landed, of course, I found out that she announced it. I wish her the very best in what she's doing next as I do for all ladies over there. I know whatever they do next is going to be great."
O'Dell: "Star joined former View moderator Meredith Vieira last night as the Museum of the Moving Image honored her new man, Matt Lauer."
Meredith Vieira: "I actually was surprised. I had heard rumblings in the past that she might not stay beyond the one year, but as she says it's show biz."
Lauer: "She may be a little controversial for the fourth hour of the Today show."
O'Dell: "And you can forget about Rosie being on NBC's fourth hour of Today beginning in September."
Lauer: "Being a news show, we do have to walk a little bit of a tighter line than she's used to walking and so it might work well for us, but I don't know how well it would work for Rosie."

-- Brent Baker