The Reliable Source Live

Oct 09, 2013

Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts were online Wednesday, October 9, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the Reliable Source weekly live discussion. Some topics on our radar:


So apparently  Bruce and Kris Jenner have split up — bad time or good time to start watching their little TV show? Would we have seen it coming if we had?


Tom Clancy’s death had us recalling one of his more controversial interviews, which left our colleague Peter Carlson having a grudging respect for him if not an ounce of liking. 


Josh Duggar discusses his new life as a Beltway conservative activist.


Chelsea Clinton overshares about her reproductive plans, but maybe it’s her parents’ fault, or ours.


In other news: Why Germans love “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”. . . J-Lo. wore one heck of a dress to the HRC dinner. . .  Ladies, it’s not too late! Halle Berry has a baby. . . . Oh, and a top Obama strategist turned CNN star is expecting. . . .  Still trying to decide who Ronan Farrow’s dad is? . . . Are you Team Miley or Team Sinead? . . . And wedding bells, scheduled anyway, for Michaele Salahi and Neal Schon.


Looking forward to your questions. Take aim!

They separated?? Say it isnt true.

Tell me about it. If these two crazy kids can't make it work, just what hope do the rest of us have -- oh, hell, I can't muster the enthusiasm for my own lazy cliches. While I am sad to hear of anyone breaking up, at this point it just feels like another rote plot twist, doesn't it?

The saddest part of the Jenner break up is how I will have to face the magazine covers at the supermarket checkout: "What went wrong?" "$1,000,000,000 divorce!" "Kris moves on" "Bruce's new girlfriend" "Kris throws Bruce out" "Kim rushes to Kris's side"

Well, the tabloid editors are SO happy that they kind of cancel out your sad. 

Your column on Tuesday featured Josh Dugger and his new position with the Family Research Council. The FRC is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Their advocacy has done very, very serious harm to the LGBT community (particularly LGBT youth). Can you clarify why you would highlight this individual and the FRC in a positive way? I don't think you would do so with the Westboro Baptist Church given their hateful antics at military funerals. The FRC does basically the same thing and has the same message.

Here is the story from the Post when SPLC designated Family Research Council a hate group, which generated its own controversy. Like them or not, they are an influential lobby in Washington; to mention that someone works there hardly seems controversial, considering my National staff colleagues frequently cite FRC's spokespeople for their side of an advocacy issue. Meanwhile, I don't know -- do you WANT reporters blocking out certain voices because you don't agree with them? What if they did that to the voices you agree with?

I think people are just realizing how much Mia Farrow looks like Frank Sintara. Personally, I don't buy it. She was in a wickedly nasty custody case and if you even made a tiny bit of doubt that Woody Allen's paternity, she had brought it up back then.

You make a good point. To me, Ronan looks so much like his mom I have a hard time seeing ANY dad.

I thought one of the daughters and her husband were on the verge of splitting, too? Kinda like when Al and Tipper split and one of their daughters also ended her marriage? Maybe it's contagious?

Khole and Lamar. An American Tragedy, small screen version.

Just between us, there was a time fa few years back that I watched Keeping Up w the Ks. And Bruce/Kris seemed good for each other. Am surprised, actually that they made it this long living under the microscope of Reality TV.

Living? I'd call it performing, albeit a 21st century version that requires no talent. But they invited the cameras in -- begged, actually -- and don't seem to be throwing them out. So maybe the show had nothing to do with the split. 

What qualifications, exactly, does a 25 year old former car salesman have to become the executive director of lobbying for a large organization? He campaigned for someone and attended prayer breakfasts. Girl, please.

Since when is who-gets-jobs-in-Washington a matter of "what's fair"? Of course, his celebrity undoubtedly had a lot to do with it; FRC President Tony Perkins said last spring that beyond whatever he liked about Josh's resume, his group also wanted to tap into the constituencies that love the Duggar family clan on TV. So there you go. You probably don't have much right to complain unless you applied for that job or you gave the group money.

I haven't been able to get "Country Roads" out of my head since your piece on the German Embassy event last week. Is it just that song or are there more corney US hits that they love? Or maybe they love corney, see the Knight Rider (David Hasselhoff) example.

I think "Country Roads" is the big favorite. Chatters? Anyone know more?

RIP Tom Clancy

Yes, RIP Tom Clancy, one week later -- and thanks to the RIP'ing chatter last week who alerted us to the well-remembered quote from that 1993 story, which gave us much fodder. The one about "if $120,000 a year is the best job you’ve ever had, you haven’t really done very much.” We asked our colleague Peter Carlson about doing that interview. It was pretty funny.

I'm just LOL at all these indignant comments that you DARED to mention that a conservative young man is now working for a conservative organization! As for that person's question about Josh Duggar's qualifications, let's just say that he's about as qualified to work as a lobbyist for a conservative organization as Carolyn Kennedy is to be Ambassador to Japan. It's all in the value of the name, people.

Point well taken.Does that mean we have to make some digs at the new ambassador, just to balance things out?

In today's piece, you state that Michael Douglas is lobbying to see his son, Cameron Douglas, in prison. Apparently Cameron Douglas is in solitary confinement. Prisoners don't end up in solitary confinement with no visitors unless they are bad (they do not behave) prisoners. So I don't feel bad for him. But do you have any idea how Cameron Douglas is misbehaving behind bars?

Yes, and this has been reported extensively -- that brief sentence I gave you was just to provoke you to read further. Cameron Douglas was busted for trying to smuggle drugs behind bars, which got him a longer sentence and some time in solitary, apparently.

Does Kris and Bruce Jenner obviuosly go for marriage counseling on TV. There is no way they can do that privately.

Do they do ANYTHING privately? Just asking, because I don't watch the show.

I note that at this moment you are competing with the Post's Astrology chat with someone described as the founder of Astrology Zone. How can I take the Post seriously (and why should I?) when it promotes garbage like this?

Remember that everyone has different tastes. Some people, for example, love Reliable Source. Others don't -- although, for the life of me, I can't imagine why.   

My mother used to play the record and sing to it when we were small back to the 1970s (my ears). Okay now I feel old!

You're not old. You're...seasoned.

Since we're currently enjoying a minor lull in the conversation (you guys, we know you're there -- we can see you -- so speak up), I thought I'd catch you up on logistical details you'll need to know about going forward. While I will probably pop my head into the chats for the next few weeks, this is my last week co-running the show for The Reliable Source column. It's been a fun eight years, but what can I say, life got in the way -- having a baby in a couple months. So there's that. You'd like my new-ish husband. He's one of you, actually.

I'm not surprised based on the way they communicated with one another on the show.

But you haven't answered the question -- should I start watching? I think I once watched a few minutes of KUWTK. I might have been on a treadmill.

Is anyone in your office taking it personally that Antonin Scalia claims that he doesn't read the Washington Post?

Not me. I figure he's missing out on some great stuff.

I'm not German, but I loved "Country Roads" ever since I first heard it on an old John Denver LP (remember vinyl LPs?). I can see why it's so popular. It has a catchy, easy to sing melody, and evokes a pastoral ideal of home. Everyone has idealized memories of their old homes, regardless of whether you live in West Virginia or Germany.

Now that song will be running through my head ALL DAY. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Congrats Amy!! Does this mean we can anticipate a celebrity type, "Apple, North, Coco".

Yes, absolutely -- I'm counting on you to suggest some names.

Are we happy for the loving couple? Between the two of them the seventh time has to be the charm, right?

Yes indeed, seventh is the one that lasts.

Sorry to see you go Amy. When you're gone, can we schedule the start time of these chats to 8:30 so Roxanne will be here by 9?

9 a.m.? Her life's gonna be hard enough as it is without me.

Amy - congratulations! Please pop into the chats - the combined snark of you and Roxanne is what makes them so great!

Does that mean I don't do snark?

One of you lady's attics is on fire. But, I'll make you a deal. I'll give you gasoline if you let me light your 1st and 2nd floors on fire. This is how illogical the Republican's shutdown and debt limit threat are. Their approval rating is at an all-time low of 5%; according to a new WP poll. Why can't they see this? Is Emma Frost, the evil White Queen of the X-Men franchise warping their minds?

Did you crib that from the tweet that went viral? All these house fires are making me nervous.

Maybe now that he doesn't need to be on the show, he can let his face go back to normal.

Too late!

Apparently Josh Duggar's parents were on the Today show this morning sharing the news that they are trying for Baby Duggar #20. Does NBC own TLC? That's part of the reason I no longer watch Today -- those insufferable Duggars are on way too much!

TLC is part of Discovery, not part of NBC. . . . And it looks like they weren't on "Today" today; they were on  "Today" a few months ago talking about maybe adopting #20, but there was some Web interview today promoting the new season that suggested "well, maybe."

He's one of me? A middle-aged bald Jewish black guy?

Not exactly. But a fan of the chat, which is just one of the reasons he's a good guy.

About time you 'fessed up. You do know others scooped you on your own news, don't you?

I told everyone I needed to tell, and the Washington Post announced it to the newsroom early last month. It's not really a "story" to be scooped, unless you move in incredibly small and lame circles.

Amy you can't leave us. Please say you'll at least think about coming back once in a while. Congrats on the impending motherhood!

Pfft. The chat is her favorite part of the week. We'll drag her back for guest appearances.

How does Ava sound? That is a celebrity type name.

The problem with "Ava" is that those are my initials. Also, "Ava" is way too popular these days.

I'm due on December 20. You're a much better celebrity pregnancy buddy than my last pregnancy, which was the same as Britney Spears.

Congratulations! We both have Jennifer Love Hewitt as our pregnancy spiritual guide this time around.

With Amy leaving, where will I get her opinion on the latest with DTWS?

Here's the beauty of it: You can just make it up yourself!

I was also wondering what the reaction of the Post would be to Justice Scalia's comment that he stopped reading the Post because it had become "shrilly liberal." The Post provides government employees -- and that would include Supreme Court justices -- with a free digital account, presumably because it wants its reporting and op-ed pieces to be read by influential individuals, and you can't much more influential than a Supreme Court justice. I would like to think that the Post's management would take Justice Scalia's comments seriously, even if they don't agree with him.

I don't know -- I mean, at the end of the day, that's just one reader right there. Of course he's influential, but I don't foresee him creating case law that bans readership of the Post. I've been around long enough, to hear enough figures public or obscure complain that the Post is "too liberal" or "too conservative" to get particularly worked up about it. It's something for people to talk about.

To answer your question, in a way. I did not want to be guilty of plagarizing so I reworked it my own way. However, I do wonder if one of you ladies is Emma Frost in disguise...

If we're Emma Frost, we're not going to tell.....

So as a 30-something pregnant woman myself, I first reaction to Chelsea quote was "Are you crazy woman, don't talk about your reproduction plans until you start to show, it is nobody's business." But my mom wasn't commenting on her desire to be a grandparent to national news outlets (not that she wouldn't, she's just not famous, so no one is asking), so there is wasn't any felt need on my part to "get ahead of the story." My gut says that I would tell a reporter that asked about my reproductive plans "none of your business," but I like to pretend to be shocked and unaware that I am expecting when people inquire about my nearly due, basketball-sized belly. Still I do have sympathy for Chelsea and anyone who is in the public eye like she is.

Oh, please. She didn't have to say a word about having a baby. As for feeling sorry ---well, as we have discussed many, many times, the burdens of her public life must be weighed by the many, many, many opportunities she has received because of her family name.

Who got bumped off this week? Count on you guys for my update. Only saw a bit of the show, was surprised Snooki is on it this season, they're using her real name so didn't connect for me as I didn't watch Jersey Shore.

Richard Dawkins, the prominent British evolutionary biologist, got knocked off this week. His hokey-pokey was really not bad at all -- I'd have put it in the top six, in fact -- but atheists don't do well on this show. On the bright side, that means that Amanda Knox is still in the running.

Jeff Bezos? Now it makes sense why he bought the Post.

Ha! Jeff is already married to a lovely woman, or for sure he  would have snapped up Amy. 

Does that mean you met him in one of these chats? How did that work? (Congratulations!)

I knew him in real life first, but he's spent a lot of time in these chats picking fights with people. Don't think he's here today, though I've tried to lure him in.

You seeing any big changes now that Jeff B. is the boss? Is there a pool on how long the current senior management will last?

Nothing yet, but the official transfer of ownership just happened last week. I expect some changes after he gets a chance to spend some time researching what works and what doesn't for his vision of the future.

Wouldn't "Ava" take on your husband's last name?

Sure, it's just that I've always associated "ava" with my own initials.

We get to keep her in the custody battle, yes? (Congrats, Amy!)

I'll be around for a while, so don't panic yet.

In your link, Michael Douglas says his son has been in solitary for TWO YEARS. If that's true, that really is not the way the system is supposed to work, even as punishment for misconduct. Do you know anything more about it?

I wonder if it has anything to do with protecting him from other prisoners? Just wondering.

I lived there for a year in the mid '80's. I can't tell you how many times I saw him interviewed on German television. His death was mourned pretty hard there.

Interesting to know. I'm fascinated why some American celebrities become national icons in other countries. It always strikes me as random.

Congrats on her engagement. We will she if she even walks down the aisle.

Ooh, I love when minor celebrity news breaks while we're preoccupied with the chat and therefore I hear it from you guys first. . . . Indeed, says here she is engaged to a Ukrainian boxer, which is so hot. I am, no joke, a huge Hayden Panettiere fan, from watching "Nashville." And you know, of course, I've maintained for years that she's the next Jane Fonda.

Is your husband the one who always signs in as "Arlington Gay"?

Oh, god knows -- that's probably him too.

Seriously, did you like it? Now that I've gone and looked at the photos, I don't. It's too tight across her middle and it looks like there's some kind of fungus growing on it (yes, I know that it's supposed to look like vines, but it doesn't IMO). Maybe the color that sets me off.

It's hard to say that it was a good dress or a bad dress, but it was a DRESS.

What was Mias point in bringing the paternity up at this stage? And is Brittanys Work B**** Las vegas show tanking?

Am I already slipping? Because I don't know who you're talking about. I assume Brittany is Britney -- and her show doesn't open for another 12 weeks, so I doubt it's tanking yet -- but I have no idea who Mia is. But I'm soon about to have all kinds of lovely excuses for being clueless!

Can't believe you didn't mention that the song was originally inspired by the area around Clopper Road in northern Montgomery County (back when suburbia really didn't reach up there at all yet) and was only later changed to mention West Virginia.

Aw, you're making that up. I didn't get into this in the story, but Danoff told me (as he's said in other interviews) that he was inspired by driving around the mountains of western Massachusetts -- see, also four syllables like "West Virginia" -- as well as some scenic down I-81 to Roanoke, when he kind of cluelessly assumed that on the far side of the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge was West Virginia. Like he said, he'd never actually been to the state before he wrote the song.

Did it happen in Vegas?

Then it stays in Vegas, silly.

Growing a sequester beard in solidarity with the furloughed government workers?

Trying, but nothing's happening.

I was wondering about Cameron Douglas's length of solitary confinement, too, as usually, a prisoner would have to assault a guard to get that length of solitary confinement. It's possible that Michael Douglas meant that Cameron's been in and out of solitary confinement for two years now. It's also interesting that Cameron can't see his father; to this lawyer's ears, that sounds like the prison thinks that his father is the source of the smuggled drugs. There may be more to this than we're hearing from Michael.

There will be a book. There's ALWAYS a book, and then we'll hear another version of the story.

Are you totally leaving the Post? Thanks for everything you and Roxanne do for us. We moved across the country eight years ago for my spouse's job and you two have been my Wednesday lunch date. Thanks so much. Hope Roxanne doesn't change our lunch date without you.

No, just going on leave in a couple months (although getting off this fast-paced beat more immediately) and returning to some other more normal job next year. . . And thanks so much for the nice words! Like I said, I'll probably still hang out in the chat for the next couple weeks, this being the easiest and most enjoyable part of my week, thanks to all of you. 

I have a personal policy of not clicking on any Kardashian/Jenner stories on-line. Just can't give them that click-through. And, for the most part, I get the whole story from the headlines, tweets, re-tweets, etc. BTW, I love you two and will miss AA. Good luck and please stop in for some good snark (and to help RR out).

Right? You don't have to actually Keep Up with the Kardashians, or even read about them or watch them at all -- information about them just seeps into your bloodstream like radon. And thanks for your nice words.

can be made from the letters in "Reliable Source Live"?

Lila, Reba. Vera, Rebel, Carole, Cari, Les, Belle, Bella, Lee, Verle, Ivie, Sal, Sailor, Couer, Leroi...for a start.


Lerci? Oh, that's Leroi. Still, Lerci could work.

OK, so seriously. Who watches this? I guess someone must as it's still on, but really? Why? I woul love an explanation!

Don't look at me. I watched one episode and didn't get the appeal. My only guess is that it gives hope to people without any real talent that they can be rich and famous, too.

I think the questioner was asking about: Mia Farrow and Brittany Not sure why the person threw both names together.

OHHHH. Sorry, got confused there. Thought someone named Mia was raising questions about parentage with Britney.  Dang, you're good. . .


What was Mia's point of bringing up parentage at this time? Obviously Vanity Fair asked the question, but it was prompted by earlier eyebrown raising in a Liz Smith column, and I'm sort of assuming no one would have gone there if she weren't cool with it. . . So my answer to the quetsion of why Mia Farrow is bringing up Ronan's parentage at this time is: Because she is a minx. A world-class rascal/enchantress.

Congratulations on your happy news! We'll miss your humor, smarts, and refreshing sense of perspective, though. Thank goodness The Reliable Source will be in Roxanne's capable hands! Very best wishes to you and your family.

Thanks so much!

In my head I always thought you were both senior citizens with gray hair gossiping on couch. Like my Great Aunt (RIP). She would have been great at this. I can't get my head around the fact that at least one of you is of baby-making age. Or is this one of those medical miracles? Congrats!

Not a gray hair you could see -- that's the real miracle of science.

I came up with the name "Ocean" as a baby name for Amy.

I don't think that's been claimed by any celebrities, has it?

The invites must have gotten lost in the mail, since I wasnt able to make it. Congrats Amy!!

In hindsight, we should have figured out a way to get married inside the chat. Oh, well -- it's an idea for next time, I guess. Time to tune out here; I'll (probably) be back next week to help draw you out of your shells. Thanks for all your nice words -- and stay in touch all week at

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