This morning the White House crashers, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, took their fame-n-shame tour to the Today show, where they told Matt Lauer that they were in fact invited guests at last month’s state dinner and revealed that… um, that someday they would reveal something. But man, when they’re ready to reveal it, it will so change your minds about them!
Maybe the most interesting question of the interview was the first, in which Lauer acknowledged one controversy swirling around the famehounds by asking them to aver that NBC had not paid them for the interview. (NBC has maintained that all along, despite reports that the Salahis were asking six figures for their first media appearance. The morning shows have policies not to pay for interviews, though in the past they’ve stretched the definition of “paying,” for instance, by offering generous “licensing” fees for personal photos, as in a 2007 controversy involving Paris Hilton’s first post-jail sitdown.)
Beyond that, the Salahis, in hazy monotones, switched off between claims of victimhood and various riffs on the phrase “no comment.” Were they invited? Absolutely. Could they show an invitation, show any documentation, name any names? Um, they had to respect the Secret Service investigation’s “timeline,” but they’d be glad to come back and do so someday. Was it true that they also crashed a Congressional Black Caucus fundraiser and had to be escorted out? Of course not. How did they feel. “Devastated,” said Michaele. “Our homes have been invaded,” said Tareq.
All in all, it was more like watching a producer’s pre-interview for a TV sitdown, not a TV interview itself. No one gained much from it, either in information or reputation, except the Today show’s booker. And perhaps the Salahis, in the sense that, by being so parsimonious with the facts, they remain a catch for the next interviewer to book them. Matt Lauer essentially got nothing out of the Salahis this morning. But he got it before anyone else!