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Kornheiser takes the high road

Maybe you listened to Tony Kornheiser's ESPN 980 radio show Wednesday morning, hoping that Tony would respond to Mike Wise's comments on Tuesday about Kornheiser's comments on Monday. Well, if that's why you were listening, Tony was willing to briefly play along.

"We are THRILLED at the ratings lately, where we are SOARING and ZOOMING past all competition from 10-12," he began. "We're ABSOLUTELY thrilled at that. I want to begin on just a slightly personal note, and I guess a lot of people are waiting for me to do this. I want to talk about a columnist at The Washington Post, someone that I knew a little bit for a long time but I wouldn't say that I was friendly with on any level, and I want to discuss something that he had written in today's paper. So if you're tape recording this, get ready. Courtland Milloy wrote a GREAT column today...."


But you know, that was probably the right response. For whatever reason, there was a lot of interest in this bald sports columnist and radio show host vs. bald sports columnist and radio show host topic. I got several e-mails from important media persons about TK vs. Wise. Wise's station, 106.7 The Fan, was taking calls on the matter Tuesday afternoon, during someone else's program.

Even I had a great traffic day on Tuesday, thanks to these guys. Radio feuds are good for everyone, apparently. But we're smart people, and we all basically realize that this is beneath us, and that you, the reader/listener, have better things to worry about.

So even though Wise did indeed do a couple segments on Kornheiser during Wednesday's show, and even though Dave McKenna was prompted to re-tell the story about when Kornheiser got him fired from The Post, maybe it's best if we all just move on, and forget about this little episode. Especially from Kornheiser's point of view, since he's got a bigger name than Wise, and just doesn't need to bring himself down to that level.

("It was just sort of like being picked on, and picked on," Wise said on Wednesday, "and at some point, you deal with it and you move on....And I really want this thing to be done. I just want it to be over. I want to move on. It's over....I just think that people that have listened to this show deserve more than a radio feud. They deserve more thoughtful and what I would call positive behavior.")

And so, The End.

Oh wait. You know what? I almost forgot something. For any musical lovers out there, let me also transcribe this brief passage when Tony talked music Wednesday morning. Just because I thought his comments were really touching and sweet and insightful.

"This is Old Guy Radio for the day," he said. "This is Bob Dylan, and the song called Ballad of a Thin Man. Goes on and on and on and on. And we'll let it go on and on and on. Most of you have heard this song at some point or other. Good tune.

"This is a story of a journalist who thinks himself very very hip, hangs around all the major figures of his day, dresses the part, acts the part, talks the talk. Can't really walk the walk, 'cause he's a fool. And Bob Dylan, from the movie Don't Look Back, explains how foolish people like this are, when they presume that proximity to greatness rubs off on them. And all they are is the objects of scorn and derision. And the Mr. Joneses of the world just don't get it. Never gonna get it. Doesn't matter how many jobs you have, how many titles you have, what your awards are. The people who really have greatness laugh at you."

Like I said, it was touching.

"Never thought of it that way, interesting," one of the guests said.

"Well, that's what it's about," Kornheiser concluded.

(As for David Aldridge, who was on Tony's show during the initial blast, "David Aldridge isn't worth it, I'm sorry," Wise said on air Wednesday. "I'm not gonna go after anybody's sidekick. He's had a respectable career, and he's done wonderful things. I will say this to him, if he's listening: Don't cackle in the background again. It's not polite. I wouldn't do that to you. And I've had your back on a number of occasions, in different scenarios, some of which you don't even know. So it's not funny.")

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 18, 2009; 3:42 PM ET
Categories:  Media  
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There's no such thing as important media people.

Posted by: themantoyou | November 18, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Ok so TK has fits of paranoia. He's still funny and PTI remains the best sports show in tv. I'll give him a pass. Wise still needs to realize he's not as funny as he thinks himself to be

Posted by: JDP_ | November 18, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Doesn't matter how many jobs you have, how many titles you have, what your awards are. The people who really have greatness laugh at you."


To sum up my longer post from the early TK/Wise discussion, Tony is an egomanical jackass who isn't funny, isn't interesting, has a voice that's like nails on the chalkboard, and apparently is the most petty person on the planet.

Posted by: jbanks979 | November 18, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Also, is it really taking the high road when you obliquely refer to yourself as "greatness" and the guy you started the fight with as "not"?

Posted by: jbanks979 | November 18, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible that TK is referring to himself as the Thin Man?

Posted by: rjgianfortune | November 18, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

If we had never experience the sad and deadly end to the East vs. West Coast Feud this could've gotten ugly. Let us thank Biggie and 2pac for lessons learned.

Posted by: fushezzi | November 18, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The only Bald headed reporters for the post who's back I got in a media war is Steinbog.


Posted by: alex35332 | November 18, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

What a couple of idiots these two are.

Posted by: poguesmahone | November 18, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I still don't understand this whole alleged dust-up. TK's shots at Wise were really pretty tame. Wise wrote a column saying the Redskins would not win a game for the rest of the season, and they immediately won the next game. It does not seem to me to be over the line to make fun of that. Certainly some of Tony's logic (e.g. needing to be from here to know the 'Skins) and his level of glee about this seemed odd to me, but before reading the Bog's claims that this was the start of a "feud," it did not strike me as anything more than Tony being his usual grumpy self.

I am, however, getting very tired of JFK's capitalizing on the anti-Snyder fever. I hate Snyder as much as the next Washingtonian, and was relieved to have some sports talk not under The Danny's control. But at this point it just feels like their constant ripping on Snyder is no more intellectually honest than anything Vinny Cerrato puts over the air (forgive the slight overstatement). Just as listeners must be a bit suspicious of pro-Skins/pro-Snyder content coming out of stations that receive their paychecks from Snyder, it's becoming clear that JFK's plans for profit and ratings are all centered on making their station the place to go if you hate Snyder. I don't disagree that it's a smart business decision, especially for this season, but the station has gone way over the top in this regard. It struck me as more than a bit disingenuous to see other JFK personalities stepping up to defend Wise with constant references to TK drawing a paycheck from Snyder.

Posted by: mrlogical | November 18, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Tony is a dick. He doesn't write columns any more (and he was just OK at that when he did), he got bounced from MNF because he was terrible at it. I like PTI, but honestly if I didn't have anything to do but sit around and watch sports all day, I would have more interesting insights than he does. He's a personality now, not a journalist.

Posted by: 0073 | November 18, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Kornheiser is the DC sports equivalent of Larry David, Wise is the DC sports equivalent of Paul Blart.

Posted by: flipper5000 | November 18, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

let the pain end.

Posted by: nick87 | November 18, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Nice McKenna work-in. Awesome.

Please bald columnists, continue in your mutual and self-proclaimed war.

Posted by: Section117 | November 18, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

McKenna is right, TK is a mean-spirited jerk. I remember when Billy Martin died, all Kornheiser could bring himself to do was write an entire column about how he thought Martin was such a jerk because he'd told the Great Tony as a young reporter that a question he'd asked at a press conference was stupid.

It probably was.

Tony is grasping for attention now. Does anybody even LISTEN to his show anymore?

Posted by: bethesdaguy | November 18, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Tony now seems petty, sad and small. Not a good way to close it out.

Posted by: TheDubb | November 18, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Ballad of a Thin Man is about an outsider brushing against greatness. Its more about an outsider brushing against a collection of aholes who are only anything because they hold the cards . . .or something like that. Maybe Kornheiser is the geek who asks what its like to be such a freak.

Posted by: asbloom | November 18, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow, POST-WARS insider rage ...

Wonder if Robert Redford is still available to start in that movie ...

Posted by: periculum | November 18, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Kornheiser is just a sad spectacle now. He's a petty, small man hanging onto PTI for dear life.

His radio show is horrible - its ratings are tiny, mostly made up of a small band of fanatics who listen and post on their own message board during the show. It's pathetic, really.

A sad - but proper end - to Tony Kornheiser's career.

Posted by: thediesel | November 18, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I have never met Kornheiser, but I will say that as someone who worked for a local college newspaper's sports section, Mike Wise was always more than willing to help me out if I had questions about a story I was working on. He also spent three hours on a Saturday morning each year for three years to come and talk to us and answer questions. And he's damn funny.

Kornheiser, on the other hand, brags openly about being a miserable curmudgeon.

Take your pick.

Posted by: funkyfood | November 18, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Kornheiser is a dick, and always has been. Ask anyone who's ever tried to meet him in person. He's in the media, yet he still finds a way to look down on people.

The first commenter had it right - there's no such thing as important media people.

Posted by: MobileGuy | November 18, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

"Radio feuds are good for everyone, apparently. But we're smart people, and we all basically realize that this is beneath us, and that you, the reader/listener, have better things to worry about."

Why is it beneath you? Why do you think the reader/listener "worries" about ANYTHING that is produced by the parties involved? Give me a radio feud over a breakdown of the Redskins O-Line anyday..

Posted by: jeremystoll | November 18, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

aldridge is annoying

Posted by: hockeypunk | November 19, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

"Wise wrote a column saying the Redskins would not win a game for the rest of the season"


FWIW, he didn't do this. He wrote an article questioning if they would win another game. There's a difference. It was a valid quesiton, and it's one that many people in sports media, and many fans were asking as well.

I don't listen to either, so I don't have a dog in this fight, other than the fact that I listened to WJFK since I was 9, loathe that they flipped to "The Fan," and think they destroyed not only a Washington Institution, but a Talk Radio Institution as well.

Posted by: VTDuffman | November 19, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Both Kornheiser and Wise are arrogant jerks. But Kornheiser was right. What the hell does Wise know about DC sports? He's a carpetbagger. And let's face it, Wise dearly WANTS to be kornheiser, career-wise.

Posted by: poguesmahone | November 19, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Both Kornheiser and Wise are arrogant jerks. But Kornheiser was right. What the hell does Wise know about DC sports? He's a carpetbagger. And let's face it, Wise dearly WANTS to be kornheiser, career-wise.

Posted by: poguesmahone | November 19, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

So that's a good enough reason for TK to be a total d--k to the guy from the moment he came to DC? Kornheiser's collapse at the Post was already well underway when Wise got to town. This is just a matter of Kornheiser feeling threatened by Wise, and acting like a little b--ch about it. TK's radio show was once great - now he mails it in and has a roster of sycophants, a lineup of has-beens as guests, and an old and dwindling audience.

Good riddance to the guy.

Posted by: thediesel | November 19, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"But Kornheiser was right. What the hell does Wise know about DC sports? He's a carpetbagger."


As opposed to the guy who was born and raised in Long Island, and graduated from SUNY-Binghampton?

Posted by: VTDuffman | November 19, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Death to all carptebagging sports columnist. That includes Wilbon. So we eliminate them all to include Steinberg. he make a really nice meal for some good herding dogs. Check out the BARF diet Dan for your final ending.

I guess that leave Boswell as the only columnist for the WP.

Posted by: sheepherder | November 19, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in Richmond, so I'm not entirely familiar with the regions lexicon. Do people really use the word "carpetbagger" north of Fredericksburg? Does it still refer to those "north of the Mason-Dixon", and is it only used an ironic sense in the former and current capital of the union?

Wouldn't everyone who is a native of the DC region be a carpetbagger?

Posted by: jbanks979 | November 19, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

In case you haven't noticed, DC is below the Mason-Dixon. Yes, TK and Wise (and Wilbon) are out-of-towners, but Wise is a Johnny-Come-Lately. TK "grew up" under the likes of Boswell and Shirley Povich, so he's kind of a made guy. Wise doesn't seem to realize that he's a generic cost-cutting solution to the Post's former star system. TK got a buyout because the Post was cutting back. Wise being hired under those circumstances is not exactly high praise. And Dave Aldridge has had more talent than Wise since he was in high school and I know because I was there. Plus Aldridge is a DC native -- not Falls Church or Gaithersburg -- DC native. He has standing Wise doesn't, so Wise should humble himself, mind his mouth and be happy to be working in a major market with his minor appeal, such as it is.

Posted by: OmBuds4U | November 19, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Well apparently you are correct and DC and Maryland are below the Mason Dixon line, despite their status of Northern states the only time "carpetbagger" had any real context.

However, in a city with one of the most transient population bases in the country, isn't a lil ridiculous to even have "who is the most native, original, O.G. DC resident" as a basis for credibility? TK may have lived in the region longer due to his increased age, but he's no more a native of the region than Wise. Again, don't know/dont' care the entire history of TK vs. Wise, it just again speaks to TK's monumental pettiness if he holds anytype of a grudge against Wise for continuing to work for the Post.

Posted by: jbanks979 | November 19, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Courtland Milloy puts the "ass" and the "clown" in "ass-clown."

Posted by: freakzilla | November 19, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Tony is now just boring. So is PTI. So is his radio show.

Posted by: wbbradb | November 23, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

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