Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sarah Thomson's 'offer' to Conrad Black not new to journalism

TORONTO - So here I am, stuck for a column idea and wondering whom I can sleep with to get one, as usual.

Hey, Justin, you free tonight?

Then I read about Sarah Thomson’s offer to boink Conrad Black.

Conrad’s lady, Barbara Amiel, Baroness Black of Crossharbour, tattled in Maclean’s magazine:

“Around 2002, publisher Thomson offered, using normal scatology, to ‘bed’ my husband in return for him granting an interview to her newspaper.”

I looked up scatology. So I think Thomson used a racier word for “bed.”

“Though the proposition did not intrigue him,” continued Amiel, “Conrad found it very enterprising and endorsed her for mayor in the last election.”

Ms. Thomson, city hall gadfly and Women’s Post publisher, says she was joking, as many people claim when they are rebuffed.

But it’s another nail in the coffin of the Rosenthal Rule, as prescribed by legendary New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal.

“I don’t care if my reporters f--- an elephant, as long as they don’t cover the circus,” said Abe.

In other words, don’t sleep with sources.

But the news business is tougher and dirtier since Abe died and we need every journalistic weapon we can lay our hands on.

If Thomson needs to sleep with Lord Black to get a scoop, bully for her.

Give me a nice merlot, a couple of candles and a night with B.C. Premier Christy Clark and I’ll get to the bottom of the Ethnicsgate scandal.

I’d hit on Hillary Clinton, too, if she’d tell me what really happened in Libya.

It would strike a blow for the greater good. And I’m guessing Hillary’s husband won’t mind.

Bill Clinton was “bedded” by Arkansas TV reporter Gennifer Flowers, or vice versa, in 1977. I doubt Flowers got a scoop, but she later made a bundle on her tell-all book.

I was kidding about Justin Trudeau, though he’s in town campaigning. Justin’s cute, but not my type. Too liberal. Let some other newshound sleep with him.

Other examples of getting it from the source abound in fact and fiction.

I assume Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane got her hands on the Man of Steel’s manly steel.

In the new Netflix series House of Cards, female reporters trade sex willy-nilly for exclusives from Washington pols.

“We’ve all done it,” says one jaded journo. “I used to suck, screw, and jerk anything that moved just to get a story.”

Ahh, the good old days. A bit of Hollywood hyperbole, maybe, but hardly alien to real life. Why do you think they call sources “Deep Throat?”

A couple of lower cases:

Journalist Paula Broadwell, who polished Gen. David Patraeus’s stars.

And Wall Street Journal correspondent Gina Chon, dumped last year over her affair with envoy Brett McGurk, who also withdrew his nomination as ambassador to Iraq. The two later married, though by then nobody cared.

Surprise, surprise, it is rarer for male reporters to bunk with female sources. Not because we don’t want to. Frankly, there are still fewer high-ranking female sources with whom to canoodle.

Also because most male reporters look like me.

If you were, say, German chancellor Angela Merkel, you wouldn’t sleep with me, either, would you.

Well, what if I looked like Mel Gibson.

In The Year of Living Dangerously, a great 1982 flick, Mel’s a dashing reporter who gets a post-coital tip from diplomat Sigourney Weaver.

Sigourney, from one pillow: “You can’t use this.” (Referring to the tip.)

Mel, from the other pillow: “Then you shouldn’t have told me.”

Funny, I can’t shake an image of Sarah Thomson and Conrad Black, tete-a-tete.

Sarah, smoking a cigarette: “So, m’lord, what’s the scoop on your new TV show?”

Lord Black, chewing a cigar: “Rub my tummy and I’ll tell you.”

Yikes. This, by the bye, is the same Sarah Thomson who accused Mayor Rob Ford of groping her bum.

On the other hand, I can’t talk. I’m often accused of being in bed with Rob Ford.
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