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Jesse Kornbluth

Jesse Kornbluth

Posted: January 27, 2006 02:03 PM

Quoting Ed Rollins to slime Arianna? Why not James Frey?


In his post about Tim Russert, Richard Bradley notes that one of the ways Russert and NBC are sliming Arianna is to quote Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms, a book by Ed Rollins.

When he was an editor at George Magazine, Bradley writes, he published a story by the ghostwriter for that book, who alleged that Rollins "spins, inflates and falsifies material."

I'd like to confirm that ghostwriter's testimony.

I was probably the first writer approached by Rollins to be his collaborator.

Rollins and my agent and I had a fancy lunch, during which he --- correctly --- tried to sell me on doing the book by telling me some just-type-them-and-the-public-will-go-mad stories.

One story was about his experiences with a close friend of mine. After lunch, I called my friend to share the amusing connection.

My friend was not amused --- Rollins' account of their time together was, he said, untrue on every factual point.

I decided that Rollins was a fabulist and declined to write the book.

A few years later, Rollins and I met again. "You would have made $300,000," he told me.

"Not enough for writing fiction," I said.

He looked at me as if I were mad to care about what appears under my byline. The only thing that mattered for him: the money. One might say the same about Russert and his interest in cashing a large check to bloviate about something fictional for him --- ethics.