Deb Peterson vs. Dick Weiss: Mrrrrreeow! An Old-Fashioned Media Spat
This was generally friendly jousting, mind you, which closed with the wordsmiths bellying up to the bar elbow to elbow, and buying each other a scotch-and-soda at day's end. (See: many a Bill McClellan column.)
What'dya say, Joan Didion? Goodbye to all that.
Peterson, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's gossip columnist, had posted a Nov. 27 item entitled "Hobnobbing with the St. Louis Beacon crowd will cost ya'!" in which she said the Beacon's upcoming fund-raising event featuring opera singer Christine Brewer reminded her of a series of off-the-record salons that the Washington Post planned to host for lobbyists and Post reporters. The events were canceled after critics charged that deep-pocketed lobbyists could pay to play with Washington's most powerful scribes.
The dish sufficiently pissed off Weiss, a Beacon editor -- and former P-D employee. On air with Milhaven a few days later, Weiss called the column "snarky" and said Peterson must have been trying to appease her higher-ups -- who'd hate to be giving the Beacon any good PR. (Listen to the clip here or below.)
Pish-posh, retorted Peterson on Friday's show. Her column's characterization of the Beacon as a competitor to the P-D was "very generous," she said, before going on to call Weiss a "phony" with no reason to be "nasty" to her. (She set him up with "The McGraw Show" gig.)
The point, said Peterson, was to remind people that the Beacon is a not-for-profit with bold-faced backers, some of whom also happen to be "buddies" with its reporters and editors.
Listen to the clip here or below, and go all the way to the end for the Emily Pulitzer kicker.