Barbara Walters is scrupulous in the drudgery of fame maintenance.
The secret of her success is her mastery of the subtle, ceaseless game of collecting friends, trading favors, and dispensing the rare but well-aimed swift kick to keep her place at the top of the pile.
She’s had a lifetime of making the right friends.
I’ve received my share of handwritten thank-you notes on her embossed personal stationery and polite typed missives on the official ABC News letterhead.
Once, at my request, Walters spent five minutes on the phone giving career advice to an aspiring pundit I was dating.
Another time, I repeated to Walters something 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt had told me — that he’d never seriously tried to steal her away from ABC, despite press accounts to the contrary.
The next day, a courier from Walters’s office arrived with a photocopy of Hewitt’s letter of apology to her.
“Barbara has the exterior of a debutante,” her friend Dan Rather notes, “but the heart of an assassin. She can brush off slights but if you do real damage, to Barbara, it can be twenty years later, and you may have forgotten what it is, but she will find a way to get back at you. Conversely, if you do something nice for Barbara, she’ll never forget that either, and twenty years later, she’ll come out of nowhere and will do something incredibly good and kind and helpful.”
“Be careful, Barbara has a lot of friends,” Adams cautioned me. “If you chop her a lot of people will come out of the woodwork.”
“What I like about her is she will bring you chicken soup,” Jordan tells me. “When I was shot I was in New York Hospital for 88 days, and Barbara would come to visit me every Friday. She will be with you in the good times, and she will be with you in the bad times.”
“Barbara is not duplicitous,” Bloomberg assures me. “She says what she believes. But she’s politic. If she didn’t like your outfit, she probably wouldn’t tell you.”
The article goes on to explain how BW tripped up.
She was caught in a lie when she denied that Star Jones was fired from her show.
She was also caught saying nasty things about Rosie O'Donnell privately to Donald Trump who blabbed.
Trump claimed that she was out of her league when dealing with loud-mouthed brawlers like Rosie and him.
“Barbara’s never had anything like this. She was always supposed to be above the fray. I’ve seen great boxers become old in one night. It happens to every one of them and they never expect it to happen. The guy gets knocked out or knocked down. You see it, and you say, ‘Wow. It’s over for that fighter!’ ”
That was five years ago and she's still around so I guess that he was wrong.