Setting the Record Straight

Hi All—

Okay, I guess I'd better start with the whole Omarosa (search) thing. As many of you know, I'm a Midwestern, friendly gal... and I hate exchanges like that! I should have known that she would go for the jugular, but I was under the impression from her handlers that Omarosa really wanted to talk about alleged racism on "The Apprentice" (search). My mistake was thinking that was the agenda — when I should have known it was furthering her 15 minutes of fame. I was expecting at least a semi-serious discussion of the inner-workings of reality TV (search); but I quickly realized that once she sneeringly called me "my friend," she was launching an ad hominem attack.

Friday was one of those days when, whether it was lack of sleep (having caught my 2 year old's cold), or something else, when a guest was rude and condescending, I took off the gloves. Omarosa threw grenades and I threw them back. Did she have it coming? Well, that's something for you all to decide. But personally, I'd far rather interview a soldier who adopted an Iraqi child (still my favorite story this whole week), than put on boxing gloves with someone like Omarosa.

The e-mail from all of you has been overwhelmingly positive, and to that I say, thank you! But some of you have also questioned my conduct and it's only fair to include that, with my answers.

E-mail No. 1:

All I have to say is IT's about time someone with credibility and staying power within the media... gave this TV superstar wanna-be a dose of her own medicine. Omarosa complains incessantly about being portrayed as the'villian' the 'b---h'. Well perhaps if she didn't ACT like the 'villain' or the 'the b---h' she would be portrayed differently.
—Nacy Havre de Grace, Maryland

E-mail No. 2:

You go Linda! You made Omarosa prove what an idiot she really is... I couldn't believe the childish behavior she demonstrated on your program! No wonder Trump fired her! I wouldn't want her working for me, or around me, for that matter...
— Tabitha Johnson, Aiken, South Carolina

E-mail No. 3:

CONGRATS for putting Omarosa in her place! She has got problems BIG TIME. She needs to see a shrink.
— Barbara Good, Louisville, Kentucky

E-mail No. 4:

I cannot believe the way Linda Vester treated Omarosa. No white guest would ever be treated that way by Ms. Vester. I am going to boycot (sic) the sponsors of DaySide.... I believe that people like Ms. Vester belong at KKK rallies rather than being on the air."
—Micheal P.

E-mail No. 5:

Linda, you're looking really bad in your catfight with Omarosa. Hosts that don't let their guests finish a sentence show their bias... temper temper Linda."
—Barbara Mercer, Atlanta, Georgia

Micheal, to be honest, I can't remember any other interview I've had where the guest was so rude. Omarosa's color had nothing to do with it. I abhor racism and racists and folks who know my personal life (though I'm very private) know I walk the walk on that. I don't just talk it.

Wait a minute...Omarosa is not the rudest guest I've ever had. She comes second to a white guy. Pierce Brosnan (search). Rest assured, I challenged him too. And Barbara, I don't like the way that discussion went either; I fell in her trap. But I interrupted Omarosa for a very simple reason. She wanted to be on our show for the very specific reason that she wanted to criticize the portrayal of blacks on "The Apprentice." What she alleges is that blacks are portrayed on the show in a consistently negative, stereotypical way. I think it's fair to call that racism. But when I mentioned this at the beginning of the interview, she claimed she had said nothing of the sort.

This is an old trick in talk TV, and I've seen other guests do it before. They tell you one thing before you go on the air, you repeat what they said, then they assert, "I said no such thing!" So when Omarosa tried to pull this, I tried to pin her down on what her agenda really was.

And let's talk for a moment about her claim of racism. I watch "The Apprentice," and I just don't see evidence of it. Trump cuts everyone down to size — white, black, purple... male or female. His firing of Michael last week (a white guy) was probably the toughest I've ever seen. He made that guy look like a buffoon. As for people's portrayal throughout the show, the dirty secret of reality TV is that they're looking for characters to be on their shows. Outrageous characters. You act like a witch or an airhead or a pompous windbag, you're going to get branded that way and it will be reinforced in the edit room. That's not about skin color.

And frankly, I think Omarosa is smart enough to know that. But I suspect she's trying to get on TV by claiming otherwise to extend her 15 minutes of fame. And she's the kind of person who likes to bait other people on TV to get people to talk about her. In a way, that's sad — that ultimately gets you nowhere in the business world.

Have a good weekend everyone — see you Monday.


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