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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX TUE FEB 26, 2002 19:29:02 ET XXXXX
ZUCKER STANDS BY SORKIN'S BUSH BASH; PRODUCER APOLOGIZES TO ANCHOR BROKAW
NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker on Tuesday stood by WEST WING executive producer Aaron Sorkin's wild rant on President Bush.
"Obviously we respect Aaron's right to say whatever he thinks," Zucker, who seriously considered becoming Gore's press secretary in the event of a presidential win, said in a conference call with reporters.
"We would never get in the way of his right to speak his mind."
Sorkin blasted Bush in an interview with the NEW YORKER: "It's absolutely right that at this time we're all laying off the [Bush] bubblehead jokes... but the truth is we're simply pretending to believe that Bush exhibited unspeakable courage at the World Series..., or that he, by God, showed those terrorists by going to Salt Lake City and jumbling the first line of the Olympic opening ceremony."
But while Zucker stood by Sorkin's right to speak out against Bush, he took exception to Sorkin's characterization of an NBC NEWS special hosted by anchor Tom Brokaw.
"The White House pumped up the president's schedule to show him being much busier and more engaged than he is and Tom Brokaw let it happen," Sorkin said in the article.
But Brokaw prefaced the show by saying that Bush's schedule was loaded up for the occasion.
"Aaron and Tom spoke last night," Zucker said. "Aaron apologized for getting that wrong."
Zucker's support marks a split with at least one senior executive at NBC.
Speaking to the DRUDGE REPORT on Sunday night, a top NBC executive rapped Sorkin over his NEW YORKER interview.
"Mr. Sorkin is way out of bounds, and his comments certainly do not, I repeat, do not represent the view of NBC, or anyone I know who works here, or our advertisers," said the suit, who asked not to be named.
The Battle of the West Wings Continues...
Meanwhile, a Bush Administration source revealed to the DRUDGE REPORT that Sorkin recently approached the real West Wing with a request to feature real White House players in an upcoming episode -- a request which was denied!
"He's attacked the president cause we turned him down," a White House staffer charges. "He's bitter after we closed the door on him...!"
Filed By Matt Drudge
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