The Reliable Source Live

May 01, 2013

Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts were online Wednesday, May 1, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Good morning, and welcome back to the Reliable Source weekly web chat. We are barely recovered from the four-day weekend shift that is the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, but trying to get back to normal -- and in the meantime, much to discuss:


Robert Griffin III decides to hang out with Dan Snyder instead of the president, skipping the White House Correspondents’ dinner.


And more WHCD madness: Kevin Spacey was mayor of this town, Gabby Douglas was perfect, the swag bags were 20 pounds, the gifting suite a dud, Jill Kelley was an interesting surprise, the president gave a funny speech, Conan O’Brien told a good joke on us, and the parties were somehow bigger than the dinner.


In other news: Wizards center Jason Collins stirs some interesting reaction as he comes out of the closet.


Also: The Netherlands has a new king. Neil Diamond has made a crazy amount of money from “Sweet Caroline,” and he’s giving some to marathon victims. Will we always remember where we were when we saw Gwyneth Paltrow’s butt (and other memorable red carpet gowns)? Remembering how Adam Yauch came up with the Beastie Boys name. And R.I.P George Jones.


Looking forward to your questions. . .

What is the former very special prosecutor up to these days? Still in Chicago?

Oh, here is a blast from the past. Did this get stuck in a queue from 2006? Very Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is now 52,  has now been married for five years and has a three year-old son. He stepped down from his U.S. Attorney job about a year ago and is now in private practice, probably making crazy amounts of money for the first time in his life.

I am of the age where a book about personalities in the Las Vegas of the 1960s would be interesting, so I picked up Anka's autobiography at the library. What a mean-spirited hatchet job. If you want to see a B-lister who be leaves he's an elite A-lister trash all of his (mostly dead) contemporaries while calling them "dear friends", this is the book for you. Real scummy job.

Okay, now I'm interested.


Actually, I was a little interested before, thanks to all his deliciously nasty Frank Sinatra stories. And apparently he also kisses and tells on Annette Funicello, too. 

Ladies: thanks for following up on the wedding costs for Star-Cailin. I love it when the hard reporting shows up in the RS. Free wedding dress, discounted then paid-for catering--is anyone looking into what other benefits those young lovers managed to snag because of her father's job?

Between our amazing colleagues Laura Vozzella and Roz Helderman and the growing interest of the FBI, I have no doubt someone's looking into this. We focused today on how much the wedding as a whole would have cost, and what the remaining out-of-pocket for the couple might have been.

Rumors abounded at the Brunch that Brunch co-host Mark Ein was married to long-time fiance Sally Stiebel. Have you heard if the very private Ein stole away for a secret wedding?

I have not. Last time I heard, they were planning a fall wedding.

Who is she? I keep reading about how she was at all these WHCA dinner-related events, and is apparently some sort of big deal, but have never heard of her. Related to Michael Pare?

You know, I keep wondering the same thing. But you would think Wikipedia would mention if she were related to the great star of  "Eddie and the Cruisers"; however, it's worth noting that they appear to share Canadian blood. Who is she? I'm pretty sure that, like every other star invited to the Correspondents' dinner this year, she plays a meth-dealing zombie on that popular Edwardian swords-and-dragons Netflix miniseries, "Scandal."

"CNN's Dana Bash showed off her baby bump"?? Did she separated from John King?

Honey, you realize you're looking at a two-year-old story, don't you? (Albeit one that got a lot of traffic this weekend when Sarah Palin blasted the WHCA dinner, which prompted everyone to recall when she attended the parties in 2011 -- the date of the story you're looking at.) Yes, Bash and King are long since parted.

I took you up on your #FakeWHCD challenge. Sadly, I believe I was the only person who did so. Sorry they were so lame. At least no one pays me to write bad jokes. I hope maybe this will inspire a belated #FakeWHCD hash tag from your readers. We can still make this a reality.

Oh, that was you! Thank you so much. I promised I would laugh at whatever jokes resulted from that idea, and I saw yours, and I did.

The Washington Redtails? Seriously?

New news today, from our colleague Tim Craig:

A D.C. Council member is preparing to introduce a resolution calling on the Washington Redskins to change its name, perhaps to the Washington Redtails.

Council member David Grosso, an independent elected last year, said he plans to pursue his non-binding resolution because the current name is “a derogatory, racist name.”

. . .

In his resolution, Grosso urges the team to change its name to the Washington Redtails, noting that that was the nickname used by the Tuskegee Airmen, the pioneering aviation unit that broke the color barrier for U.S. military pilots in World War II. A plane used by the airmen recently was put in a place of honor in the Smithsonian.

Grosso said a change to the Redtails would be a relatively seamless.

“You can still sing the song and everything,” said Grosso, before singing, “Hail . . . to the . . . Redtails.”

Just as importantly, Grosso said, “you can still keep the feather.”

Read more


Roxanne: I know you weren't on the panel this past week but I was curious -- how long does the show tape? I know Peter Sagal ran the Marathon (escorting a blind runner) and was interviewed in the aftermath, but I was surprised he didn't talk about his personal experience that day. Just wondering if you think he might have, but that it was edited out when getting down to the 50-60 minute broadcast.

The taping typically run 90 minutes -- sometimes a little longer depending on the Not My Job guest. As for Peter's remarks, I'm afraid I don't know if he spoke about his experience to the audience before the taping started. But here's the thing -- the show is a weekly break from the great tragedies in the news, so it is not something we'd likely dwell on. I will say that Peter was a real pro --he finished the race just a couple minutes before the blasts, and then helped report out the story. 

Was there anything worth taking that we might see Gabby Douglas or Rosario Dawson walking around wearing?

Rosario Dawson did not actually come to the Correspondents dinner this year, which is too bad, because I had so many questions for her about "Trance," and she would have been delighted to meet someone who had seen "Trance."


The gifting suite, meanwhile, seems to have been kind of a dud. During Roxanne's visit, she saw no one else and the whole thing seemed pretty sleepy.

How dare you provide misinformation. Jeez. She won last season's Dancing With the Stars.

Breaking: I have just received an email from a co-worker informing me Jessica Pare plays Don Draper's wife on "Mad Men." Which means that . . . people at the Washington Post are reading this chat?!?! Whoa-oh.

$1,000 doesn't seem outrageous these days. Why would the salon owner give it away for free? Did she get some kind of recognition for it? Other than the negative kind that she'll get now, that is.

That's actually a modest price for a wedding gown. Business give stuff away all the time for publicity and charitable purposes. What surprised me is that the governor's daughter wasn't a little more sensitive to how that might look if it became public.

Was weird to the point of being a tad creepy. No where near as good as Jimmy Kimmel.

No one will ever be as good as Seth Meyers. I didn't think Conan was bad, but I guess he came across as way unimpressive to those watching on TV.

Really interesting how Neil Diamond is still earning a ton of cash off that one song. Curious, and not sure there are any solid statistics out there of what the most profitable song of all-time would be. Of course Happy Birthday makes a bunch of money, but I am thinking more about contemporary pop or rock & roll music -- would need to be something with lots of staying power, I would guess.

"Happy Birthday" is the leading moneymaker, followed by "White Christmas," "You've Lost That Loving Feeling," "Yesterday," and "Unchained Melody."

Do you think he has cheated on his new wife yet ?

Give the guy a break. He's got married five days ago.

So, what did you have for, you know, actual dinner?

Crab appetizer, surf and turf, meringe dessert.

I had never heard of him before a few weeks ago when I read in your column that he was spotted getting a facial at some spa a few weeks ago, and I thought how cool it was that an NBA player was getting a facial.

Honestly, that was the first time I had heard of him too -- though, granted, he had only been with the Wizards for a couple weeks at that point -- but I do remember thinking, "Wow, it's a new era, a pro athlete going out in public for a spa visit"; I also thought, "this guy seems really comfortable in his own skin -- he'll be interesting to watch." Yes, and yes. (Earlier: Hey, isn't that . . .?: Jason Collins)

That was probably the wholesale price.

Nope ---dig around and you'll find lots of Sottero dresses for under $1,000. But she's on the low end: Most wedding gowns are $2,000-$5,000.

I have a daughter getting married, and she and her fiance plan to pay for it themselves. How do I get them in on this "friends pay for everything" and "gifts to fund the wedding" thing?

You don't, and they throw the party they can afford. Saves a lot of headaches (and debt) down the road.

I was surprised by the amount of money Bill Danoff still gets from his songwriting. "Country Roads" and "Afternoon Delight" were written quite a while ago. It's also interesting that he said most of it comes from Germany. I remember him from his Bill and Taffy days - I still have a couple of albums - so it's nice to see that he's still successful. (I was also surprised that he told you how much he makes.) And I agree with your R.I.P to George Jones. The man had an amazing voice!

It is so fascinating to realize how much a songwriter can make off of a hit song, with Neil Diamond and "Sweet Caroline" being our case in point. I wish we knew more about the numbers -- like, how much was that song making for him in 1970 versus in 1980 versus 2010. I bet it's varied wildly.


And yes, I was unexpectedly sad about George Jones. I was lucky enough to see him twice -- on a dual bill with Conway Twitty in Davenport, Iowa, back in 1993-ish; and at the Frederick County Fair two years ago. And I got to shake his hand and babble at him at the Kennedy Center Honors a few years ago. What a voice.

From Sally Stiebel's hometown of Winchester, VA, where her father is still a practicing dentist, the wedding is still happening in the Fall!

Good to know -- thanks.

Some years ago former special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was the celebrity guest on an episode of "Wait Wait." Turned out he'd written in for tickets simply to attend an upcoming show in Chicago. But some sharp-eyed person in the ticket office recognized his name and drew it to the attention of the show's production folks, so they asked him if he'd be willing to do the "Not My Job" segment, since they knew he was a fan of the show. I recall that he was an amusing guest.

I was on that show. He was awesome -- and wrote in because his fiancee loves the show. It was very sweet. 

I'm sure you guys have your own chapter in the Mark Leibovich book coming out about DC that focuses on Mike Allen's thoughts about Mark Leibovich's thoughts about Mike Allen, right?

I'm hoping that Jessica Pare plays me in the Netflix miniseries.

Does anybody care?

Well, the Dutch who are the ones footing the bill. And anyone who cares about the monarchy and the role of royals in the 21st century. Plus, he seems like a nice enough guy. 

How did Amy's dress go over with everyone in attendence?

I can say she looked great.

What an amateur. Kobe would have tied up a chamber maid by day two.

Oh, the cynicism! Doesn't anyone believe in love anymore?

Photobombed someone in Central Park. Literally screamed "Photobomb!" and jumped into the picture. He just went up 50% in coolness.

Damn it, I think Kevin Spacey is starting to force me to like him. Between that and him scolding Roxanne this weekend (“It just goes to show you not to make assumptions about anybody.”)

I don't believe that story about Cafe Milano. NO ONE would willingly spend time with Dan Snyder.

Right there in the front of the restaurant. I'm sure Dan is lovely with his star quarterback.

I was SO impressed with Peter's reporting that afternoon. Refused to speculate, said he could only describe the situation as he could see it for himself and wouldn't repeated what people were saying if there was nothing to back it up. So professional!

Indeed. He was great.

How did your new dress work out Amy?

It was magnificent. And yet I think I somehow failed to get a photo of it. Which is like, what's the point?

Ladies - Your opinions on Gwyneth's dress? I thought it was ugly even without the whole see through thing. Her stylist should be smacked. Or something.

Whether the dress was ugly or attractive seems almost beside the point, right? The point is, we're talking about it.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s side-view gown: A brief history of VIP dresses designed to draw stares

I am a HUGE fan, but it does bother me that we use a name akin to a racial slur. Redtails is about as good an idea as I've heard, although I still favor "Warriors".

Anyone else have opinions, perhaps?

So the toadlike exterior matches the toadlike interior? Ugh. Is there something in the Vegas air that makes these guys literally lounge lizards?

I don't think it's healthy for anyone.

Besides, it's just in incredibly poor taste to ask potential/expected guests to pay for an event you are theoretically hosting (although, once they pay, aren't they kind of hosting??). In any event, it's supremely tacky.

A piece of unsolicted advice for all you future brides: Plan a ceremony meaningful to you and your husband, then realize that the reception is just a big party you're throwing for your friends and treat it accordingly: You're the host, providing food and drink. So do what you can afford and enjoy the fact that the people you care most about have gathered to share your happiness -- not the check.

Nothing salacious about Annette , he pretty much says that they were horny teenagers, it was diffiicult to get much intimate time due to her mother being around, and that she had a bedroom full of stuffed animals. He often calls Sinatra a mobster-wannabe, that he had some friends who you wouldn't want to cross, and an ugly drunk. Anka's worst is saved for Angie Dickinson, whose one page mention is simply deplorable. Biggest trash is about Sammy Davis Jr. and his "relationship" with Linda Lovelace.

Can you just keep live-blogging this book for us? This is incredibly helpful.

Doesn't anyone invite Robert Downey Jr. to this WHCD? That would be awesome!

Oh, he's probably been invited.

Your colleague forgot to mention the song/dance she did on Mad Men -- Zou Bisou Bisou -- that was the talk of the Internet for days. Now her character is a budding a soap star, which has Don really peeved (he likes the little woman at home). Looks wise, Jessica has those chicklet-like teeth that are all the rage in the modeling world.

The question: Will anyone recognize her name (Pare's) in 10 years?

what is the big deal about him not going to the WHCA dinner? He went to the parties. He seemed to have a good time. Is this really a story?

It's just interesting, that's all. The guy had not just an invitation to the WHCA dinner but a golden ticket to the most elite room of all that weekend -- the private reception with the president, which most stars don't get in on. And at some point -- we aren't sure whether he notified his hosts the day-of or several days before -- he decided to bail. But was still available to hang out with the ultra-fancy crowd at the Vanity Fair party. You decide what to make of that. It's just interesting, that's all.

Have next years WHCD being hosted by Ricky Gervais


mad men, right?

If you say so.

Uh, Snyder signs RGIII's paychecks, which I imagine would have a way of clarifying the mind.


So, what's up with the shortened reign for this year's Miss America? Since they're moving the pageant back to September, will she be compensated? Or maybe she's just lucky to get back to her life sooner?

Yes, apparently she gets her full salary even though she gives up her crown four months early. The reigning Miss America, Mallory Hagan, was at the WHCA festivities this weekend and I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to chat with her. She probably didn't encounter many other people in Washington who saw her crowned.

While he played for the Bullets last season, he seems to currently be a free agent. So wondering -- if he were to stay in Washington, how would your coverage of him change (or would it)? He is more a Style Section/celebrity story than he was before his announcement. So would him walking into Chipotle be worth an item now?

Well, him walking into a spa was an item four weeks ago. But he's definitely more high profile now.

Teh Google, it's your friend.

That was way back in 2009, honey.

do you have one? I (gasp) forgot it was happening, so only saw the highlights of Obama's stand-up. Even the Newt had to admit the next day that Obama's good good comedic timing.

Definitely two years ago, when the jokes about Trump were so harsh that people were standing on their chairs to see his reaction . . . . Oh, you mean this year? Nothing really stands out. Rox?

I thought the president was very good: Great delivery and timing. Lots of good lines -- I think my favorite was 

“Some folks still don’t think I spend enough time with Congress. ‘Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?’ they ask. Really? Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?”

I have one Dutch friend and based on his fb posts/pictures I would say everyone in is super excited about the new king. Their house was pretty well decorated and his son's wagon was all decked out to watch the parade. It seemed like a kind of cool reason to have a day off and a party, if you don't think about who's footing the bill.

Or maybe the Dutch (overall) are okay with footing the bill. Or okay enough, anyway.

When did Billy Crystal actually become a movie star? I was having this debate recently, where I said it was right after Soap, while my bartender was arguing he had done nothing of note before When Harry Met Sally made him a household name. There must have been something in the middle?

Funny, I was just working on a thesis about this. Billy Crystal was solidly a TV guy, but not a particularly big one -- until he did his year-long stint in 1984-85 helping Saturday Night recover, along with the help of the "Spinal Tap" guys. And then after that, he starting making movies, notably "Running Scared" in 1986 being his first serious movie lead. Now, do you want to cringe in delicious mortification? Watch the video for Michael McDonald's theme song from that movie.

You said Katy Perry was at Blue Duck, and supposedly, Emily Mortimer was at the flea market in Georgetown. Do most guests spend the day after the dinner in DC, or do they hightail it out of here bright and early?

Usually we have more sightings reported to us from Sunday. Didn't get very many this year. They may have all just holed up in their Four Seasons suites, I have no idea.

How did he come across in the room? Watching him through the magic of youtube, it seems like he was trying too hard, going too quick, adding snark in some areas where it didn't come across well and only really brought a couple big genuine laughs. But maybe it is just my internet connection . . .

Hit and miss. Like Jimmy Kimmel last year, he went on too long and his routine was all over the place -- no coherent thread, just random jokes tossed out one after the other. But then, I'm not Team Coco.

My favorite part of the WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS DINNER is how they ask reporters to stay off the red carpet and keep moving to make way for the movie stars. Can they just not invite the reporters -- would make it so much easier.

I think we're moving towards that.


Every year, I think, this is the year I'm just going to do a slow langorous walk down the red carpet on my way in. and see what happens. And then every year I shrink away from it in horror.

That was my favorite, as the camera kept switching to show Trump's reaction, and therefore kept finding Roxanne -- who was sitting near him. Looked great, Rox.

Thanks. That was awkward, and I didn't even know about the cameras. I just was trying not to laugh in his face because he wasn't amused AT ALL.

What is that?

Yo, it's the last place in the United States you can still see some really awesome baton-twirling. Though it's been years since a twirler won.

Miss New York crowned Miss America; Miss Maryland in top 10; Miss Iowa’s marijuana gaffe, 1/13/13

How does she get it to do that? Not a single strand out of place! Is it real?

Real, although I wonder how long any hair with that much product can survive.

Isn't it just a bit tacky - like skipping the wedding ceremony but going to the reception? (Also, maybe he joined Dan for dinner because the Snyders couldn't score tickets for the WHCD.)

One could make the argument you're making. I can't speculate on whether the Snyders were invited, though.

Didn't you all recently say he was aloof and kind of rude? Think at some party reception for "House of Cards". Sounds like a nice guy to me.

Oh, did you get that impression? Here's what we wrote about him at the premiere in January.

Kevin Spacey, a true Washington character yet again, in ‘House of Cards', 1/30/13

I'm with Tom Brokaw. I watched the speeches on CSPAN and found Obama and O'Brien pretty entertaining, but I found the whole celebrity thing just so over the top. I congratulate the hard working White House reporters and wish there were a way to honor them instead of have a party in their name where they are the second and third class citizens compared to movie stars and advertisers.

How about we throw a party honoring movie stars and then only invite reporters to it?

Last night I fell asleep with the "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!" theme in my head for the first time, because I'd just heard a promo for the show on my local NPR station. When is Rox going to be on next?

According to my calendar of Roxanne's days off, she'll be on at the end of next week.

He didn't really have a memorable line, although the one you published was vaguely funny. And, the Chris Christie jokes have already been done.

Overdone, really.

Thank you for posting the link to that music video. A time capsule in so many ways, not the least of which is because it is what music videos used to be when affiliated with a movie -- a bunch of clips from the movie, along with some of the actors appearing in the video, with occasional shots of the singer -- like John Parr's classic theme from St Elmo's Fire.

Yeah, remember that? When music videos were not just slick commercials for songs but ALSO slick commercials for movies at the same time? And we totally sat there and watched them like they were entertainment? Thank you for posting the John Parr video. I find it so mortifying I have to leave the room.

It seems for all the hype, that's a pretty pathetic amount to raise for journalism scholarships!

Our colleague Paul Farhi did a very nice dissection of all the money and corporate interests involved in the WHCA weekend.

I thought the catering costs for the McDonnell wedding seemed a bit low. Is $50/person standard?

I did too, but it turns out that prices in Richmond are about a third less than prices in DC/Northern Viriginia. McDonnell got a discount, but the planners I talked to said $50 a head is about right for a buffet dinner. Sit-down is more expensive -- not for the food itself, but the need for more staff to serve it.

After the story about his SWATing, it seems like he wasn't in town for the WHCD. How high up a journalist do you have to be to get invited, anyway?!?

Wolf has been there many times before, so the fact that he missed this year isn't because he couldn't get a ticket.

I think that this article by Margaret Carlson was the tipping point for me, and that I now agree with Tom Brokaw that the WHCA evening has more negatives than positives. I was not aware until this year that the New York Times no longer attends, and I think that your paper should also refrain from attending. It really does create a bad impression of sycophancy among the media, the (Democratic) president, and celebrities. Listening to the media cheer when the president mentions Obamacare tells more than I want to know about the lack of objectivity in reporting. Sorry to spoil the fun. BTW, how much does the Post actually spend on the nerd prom anyway?

Thanks for sharing -- I hadn't seen that story. She makes the smart point that the real critique of the event should be financial, not political. The sycophancy criticism has never really held water for me: The truth is that reporters have always taken their government sources to lunch or dinner, and they should, in hopes of getting them to give up useful information. (The problem is when the sources are treating the reporters.) It looks weird in the setting of this big dinner, but at heart, it's just an extension of that source-cultivating thing we all must do . . . . The Post generally doesn't throw in in a big way to the revelry of the weekend. We don't sponsor a big party, nor partner up with a corporate sponsor to do so. The pre-dinner reception is basically a meeting place, same as every other media organization does -- and, frankly, there wasn't even any food there when I swung by (maybe that changed).

He was only 34 years old in that video. I am older than 34. Please don't tell me that I look at old as Michael McDonald did in that video.

Warning: If you grew a beard at this age, it might come in silver, and then you would look like Michael McDonald.

I'm sure Mr T is available if needed.

I seem to recall that when Newt was campaigning, someone wrote in to the RS chat to say they spotted her on a plane flying back to the DC area to get her hair-helmet done in NoVa.

Who knows. There is clearly a heroic amount of maintenance going on.

and now I"m looking at Maggie Sotero wedding dresses online. They're so pretty. And so many have straps/sleeves. Of course, my browser will be sending me all kinds of wedding prep ads for weeks....

Ha! That's how it starts...pretty soon you're picking out bridesmaids dresses. Careful.

Chatters, thanks for another lively hour. Send your tips and sightings to And enjoy this beautiful May Day.


Wasn't there plenty of audience sycophancy at the WHCD back in Ronald Reagan's Presidential days, since he could deliver a one-liner as well as anyone?

It's really about the same from administration to administration. They're all surprisingly good joke-tellers.

I just went through the photo gallery from his coronation, and had three thoughts. His wife and daughters are beautiful; I wonder if Queen Bea is regretting her decision; and doesn't Prince Charles look jealous?

Ha. Okay, we're really outta here now. Thanks for joining!

Recent Chats
  • Next: