Clash Of The Titan…Egos
Nothing like waking up on a Monday to find that Clash of the Titan Egos is in full swing. (H/T to pontificator for the heads up on this one.) Seems that Judith Regan, conservative screed Gal Friday, is smarting from the pink slip that she got from Harper Collins — after finding out that it was Rupert Murdoch himself who personally ordered her canned. (Not, mind you, for the putrid OJ "How I Might Have Killed My Ex-Wife Wink Wink Nudge Nudge But I'm Not Saying I Did It" book, but because she allegedly made antisemitic remarks to a company lawyer, according to the NYTimes.)
So Regan has gotten herself a lawyer. Yep, it's civil suit time.
To understand the potential import of this, let's review who our players are. First, Judith Regan: what sort of gal is she? I'll let someone who knew her growing up set the stage:
Like Monica, she puts herself in harm's way to great narrative effect. Judith — like Monica on the telephone — is also a great monologuist on the subject of her personal dramas. For Judith, there is her divorce from her money-manager husband — in court for six years — which the New York Times has described as among "the most hoary and bitter on the docket." A conversation with her can quickly become a near-violent screed against her husband, men in general, her lawyers (including, at one point, my wife's law firm), and the legal system as a whole. Monica's Untold Story acknowledges "the inspiration provided by every pig lawyer in America."
There is the father of her oldest son, a convicted drug smuggler, who was sentenced to a long prison term. And then there are her business battles, her personal vendettas, and her domestic issues (the details of which she seems quite ready to share with anyone she is talking to), almost all of which have at one time or another become publicity grist.
While victimhood is certainly a big theme for her, she adds a twist by being an avenger too. She may be the most combative victim in history.
Once, shortly after she joined Simon & Schuster, she entered into a dispute with the police who had stopped the cab she'd just hailed. The dispute put her in jail for the evening, and the story — the Times ran a Madonna-like portrait of her — immediately became an if-it-could-happen-to-her-it-could-happen-to-anybody cautionary tale. (Indeed, all charges were dropped.) As the story of the incident was being discussed around town the next day, a good liberal friend asked if I'd heard what the police did to the young editor.
I said: "That wasn't just an editor, you know. That was Judy."
"Oh," our mutual friend said, shaking his head, "those poor police."
And, just in case you've been in a coma the last few years, what sort of person is Murdoch? Well, I'll let Robert Greenwald do the honors on this one, talking about the sort of dreck that he had to wade through on Faux News, owned by Murdoch:
Making films can certainly take a toll on one's physical and mental health. I don't know how to describe the pain of watching hours and hours of Fox news. For myself and our great media monitors around the country, and the dedicated crew working on the film, it actually became physically painful as the hours of watching turned into weeks and then months. The combination of abrasive attack mode all the time, fear mongering 24/7 and gross amounts of overstatement and bias… well, it was no picnic.
Now, allow me to set the scene on this. Regan sues. Murdoch countersues. And litigation begins, with each side dragging in every piece of leverage they can against the other — because neither of these giant egos can back down an inch or allow themselves to be seen as bending toward the other in any way, now can they?
And, since both of these people have spent their entire professional lives specializing in digging up dirt and dreck on their enemies, smearing the folks who disagree with them and just generally being awful to anyone who gets in their way…well, there is only one thing to say:
Don't know about you guys, but if this thing pans out as a full-blown lawsuit with all the trimmings, I think Robert Greenwald may have himself a sequel to "Outfoxed."
I'd like to propose a title: "Dirty Laundry." Boo-yah.