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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUN FEB 24, 2002 19:24:25 ET XXXXX
NBC SUITS RAP SORKIN AFTER BUSH 'COURAGE' SLAM; WHITE HOUSE: PRODUCER 'BITTER' AFTER DENIED REQUEST
WEST WING's Aaron Sorkin landed in the hotseat with NBC executives late Sunday after he mocked President's Bush courage and ripped his own network's news anchor in an interview set for release on Monday.
According to publishing sources, Sorkin has told 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."
"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 a top NBC executive from New York, who asked not to be named.
Meanwhile, a Bush Administration source reveals 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! But, quite frankly, we're preoccupied with other things these days."
NEW YORKER reporter Tad Friend has penned the high-impact Talk of the Town which features the controversial Sorkin comments.
An early rush of the story was already causing a commotion in Burbank at NBC's entertainment headquarters.
"I think Aaron would be better served focusing on the production of his show," said a source close to NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker. "I am not sure he is aware just how inappropriate and damaging this might be for us. I've already got a dozen annoying phone calls here from people screaming about 'the Mushroom Guy.' Whether he likes it or not, he does represent NBC and I know the folks over at Warner Brothers plan to sit down with Aaron to express their concerns."
The NEW YORKER names Sorkin "the country's loyal opposition" in the report set to run in the mag's March 4 editions.
Sorkin tells Friend: "It's absolutely right that at this time we're all laying off the [Bush] bubblehead jokes. But that's a far cry from what the Times and CNN and others on whom we rely for unvarnished objectivity are telling us, which is that 'My God! On September 12th he woke up as Teddy Roosevelt! He became the Rough Rider!'"
Of NBC's own look at a day in the life of the Presidency, 'The Bush White House: Inside the Real West Wing,' which aired as the lead-in to a WEST WING repeat a few weeks ago, Sorkin charges: "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 continues: "The show was a valentine to Bush. That illusion may be what we need right now, but the truth is we're simply pretending to believe that Bush exhibited unspeakable courage at the World Series by throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium, or that he, by God, showed those terrorists by going to Salt Lake City and jumbling the first line of the Olympic opening ceremony.
"The media is waving pom-poms, and the entire country is being polite," Sorkin declares.
"I just began reading Frank Bruni's campaign book AMBLING INTO HISTORY: THE UNLIKELY ODYSSEY OF GEORGE W. BUSH which begins with Candidate Bush at a service in Texas for seven people who were killed in a church by a crazy gunman. Bruni describes Bush making goofy faces at the press, and it reminds you of a junior high schooler on a museum field trip."
Sorkin tells the mag that he is planning to revisit the BUSH-GORE Florida showdown in an upcoming episode.
President Josiah Bartlet [played by actor Martin Sheen, who has called Bush a white knuckled drunk] is up for re-election this November. "Bartlet is going to be running against Governor Robert Ritchie, of Florida, who's not the sharpest tool in the box but who's raised a lot of money and is very popular with the Republican Party,? Sorkin says.
"It was frustrating watching Gore try so hard not to appear smart in the debates. Why not just say 'Here's my fucking rï¿½sumï¿½, what do you got?' We're a completely fictional, nonpolitical show, but one of our motors is doing our version of the old Mad magazine 'Scenes We'd Like to See.' And so to an extent we're going to rerun the last election and try a few different plays than the Gore campaign did."
Filed By Matt Drudge
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