Thursday, July 21, 2005

Famous Last Words

Hollywood on the Potomac
by Janet Donovan

Celebrities and politicians "spring from the same
DNA". Jack Valenti

"I'm up here just dying", said Cooper, "but I guess I'm not alone this week."

Those were the famous last words of Matt Cooper,
Master of Ceremonies at the April 1st "Fear &
Loathing at the Press Club" comedy event in honor of the late Hunter S. Thompson.

While the context was in reference to the death of
Pope John Paul II, it was eerily prophetic of things
to come some three months later when Cooper would
have to testify before a grand jury in the Valerie

The 29th of June was an unbearably hot sticky day
in Washington, more like one we have come to
expect in August. It would have been hot despite
the weather though when Time magazine's Matt
Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller
arrived at the DC Federal Courthouse where the
media circus had been poaching for hours.

The incubation stage of the case had been in play
for so long it was difficult to remember exactly what
the fuss was all about. Craig Crawford, MSNBC's
political commentator and author of "Attack the
Messenger", paraphrased it this way: "It was a grand
jury investigation into who leaked the name of an
undercover CIA operative (Valerie Plame) that ended
with one reporter going to jail for contempt of court
(Judith Miller) and the other being released by his
anonymous source (Matt Cooper)."

The Cooper-Miller saga continues to be played out on
the stage of political partisanship; as to whether any of the other
players will be indicted is anyone's guess, but could
range from Chicago Sun Times columnist Robert Novak
to Republican political operative Karl Rove.

Betting odds: The press will be the fall guys; the made for TV rights have
already been sold; Judith Miller, incarcerated in the same Virginia prison
that houses alleged terrorist Zachariah Moussaoui, will write a best-seller
with or without her jail mate; Matt Cooper won't have to give up his day job,
although he could move on as a comic or psychic.

Famous last words: "It's fun covering Bush, "he's a man of determination and had this to say about the hurricanes: I vow to get the scums who did this." (Matt Cooper, April 1st at The Press Club) The question is: Will he?

Only winner so far is Star Limousine Service whose ominous black sedans were clustered in front of the courthouse.

Well, gotta go now, my car is that's all folks.
Photo: Matt Cooper by Neshan H. Naltchayan

Well, gotta go now, my car is that's all folks.
Photo: Matt Cooper by Neshan H. Naltchayan