My late friend Bob McElwaine was of another era for sure. Once an active Hollywood publicist with many A-list clients, Bob once peddled his memoirs to publishers. He was an excellent writer with a great sense of humor, but was told repeatedly that unless he included “dirt” on his famous friends, girl friends and clients (like Danny Kaye, Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh and Dean Martin) the book was a non-starter. Bob refused. “My clients hired me to be discrete and to keep their secrets,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if they are dead now: I’m not betraying them for a check.” (Bob did tell me some his experiences, knowing that I would not publish them. Yikes!)
Well, Bob is dead, and so is his brand of professionalism, trustworthiness and honor, as two forthcoming books demonstrate.
Stephanie Grisham, a former Trump White House press secretary of brief tenure best known for never holding a televised briefing with reporters, will have her tell-all book out next week. What a surprise: it accused President Donald J. Trump of being mean to his staff, relay embarrassing episodes and inappropriate remarks while painting herself as being trapped in a den of thieves and fools. She provides gossip about Melania’s reaction to the Stormy Daniels claims, calls colleagues names and sneers at the First Family generally. “Angling to dine with the British royals, the extended Trump family reminds a colleague of the ’60s sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies,” poised to flip the finger bowls.,” the Times reviewer,Alexandra Jacobs, writes. “She likens Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus to Oscar and Felix, the slob and neatnik roommates in “The Odd Couple.” Tending to his own flossy coif with comb, hair dryer, spray and oversize scissors, Trump is the delusional, preening Norma Desmond from one of his favorite movies, “Sunset Boulevard.”
Even the Times reviewer rates the book as little more than a petty score-settling exercise, but such books are far worse than that. They are grubby, venal betrayals. In the case of Trump White House backstage revelations, they are especially vile because the authors are counting on the Trump Hate market to cash in and make forfeiting all credibility as a professional, and I believe, an ethical human being, “worth it.”
Does Grisham comprehend the Golden Rule? How about the Principle of Universality? Let’s make it easy: do the duties of confidentiality and trust-keeping ring a bell?
She’s despicable. Anyone who hires her from this point on is a fool, and deserves what will surely be coming, and yet…
Katie Couric’s new book coming out this month, “Going There,” makes it clear that given a choice between working with Grisham and the former Today Show cutie-pie, Grisham is the safer choice. As would be a rattlesnake…
Couric mocks or insults everyone from co-workers to ex-lovers in the book. She dishes about how she sabotaged a perceived female rival.She describes embarrassing moments in dates with celebrities like Larry King (ew). Describing meeting Prince Harry at a polo match in Brazil, Katie says that the stench of cigarettes and alcohol seemed to “ooze from every pore” in his body. Nice!
One critic has opined that after this book, Couric “will never get a job at any television network or cable channel ever again because she attacks everyone. She’ll be stuck with her newsletter and Instagram stories for the rest of her working life even though the book oozes of her desperation to be back on network television hosting her own show.”
We can only how that this assessment is correct.