Arianna Huffington and Her Mysterious Private Eye Enrage Chris Matthews

MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews apparently takes blog mogul Arianna Huffington's criticisms a little too seriously! "I will not be in the same fucking picture as Arianna Huffington!! Not a chance of that!" he allegedly screamed during a photoshoot for Portfolio at MSNBC's DC studio Tuesday. Then he stormed out. Oh, and Tucker Carlson was there. More odd and totally unsubstantiated stories from the shoot (Chris is angry because Arianna hired to PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR to spy on... someone!), below. [Updated! We found the target of her mysterious investigation!]

The tale comes from a blogger who witnessed the shoot, and he's posted what look like authentic photos, so, you know. This is why Chris is so mad:

"I want you to know that she hired a Private Investigator to spy on one of my colleagues; someone in the media." Tucker walks in at that point and I'm literally writing down what he just said on a paper towel so I'd remember that quote. Oh yeah, so Tucker walks in and says, "Yup, he's right, she did hire someone and nobody really talks about it, but I really like her so it doesn't bother me."

Arianna Huffington and Her Mysterious Private Eye Enrage Chris Matthews

Well. Who on Earth would Arianna be spying on? Russert? That would make Chris very, very mad, because he hearts Little Big Tim v v much. But jeez, what is there to even spy on with Russert? Who cares?

Anyway, Chris continued to be more or less a pain, though he came back and apologized for the outburst. And Tucker was apparently a real charmer! Friendly and joking! We've long known him to be an idiotic pain-in-the-ass, but sociopathic narcissists are often totally fun dudes when they've no reason to feel threatened or challenged. Unlike constantly self-doubting Chris, Tucker loves himself.

So the best thing Tucker said to me, after he said, "I eat at least one steak a day...I don't eat bread." He followed that quote with this, "There are three things I love. Cookies, alcohol, and Marlboro Reds."

Not sure if we're buying this anymore! But:

Another kinda funny thing that Tuck did (I'm gonna call him Tuck from now on) was he got a phone call from his publicist or someone, and he answers, "Hello!?!? Oh hey. No - what photo shoot? Oh fuck! I'm still in what's her name's hotel room, I'm tremendously hungover and I'm looking for my boxer shorts - I'll be there soon..."

Then started laughing and said, "I'm just kidding Jack...I'm actually hungover but I'm here with the photo crew..."

Sounds plausible. So who knows!

Update: The rumored private eye was supposedly hired to stalk Tim Russert, after Russert's wife Maureen Orth wrote mean things about Arianna and her gay Republican husband in Vanity Fair. This was back in 1994. Arianna has denied it for years, but apparently Chris Matthews still holds a grudge. Weird.

UPDATE 2 OMG:

So! Tucker denies saying any of the things he is quoted as saying! He emailed Nick (and not your humble day editor, sigh) to set the record "straight":

Nick,

I just read your Gawker item that describes a photo shoot Chris Matthews and I did yesterday morning at NBC in Washington. I have no idea who wrote it, but it's filled with completely false quotes attributed to me. Here's one: I'm described as saying I love cookies, alcohol and cigarettes. Except that I don't smoke and haven't had a drink in six years.

This is my good e-mail address. Please send warning next time you plan to libel me.

Thanks,

Tucker Carlson

One of the things that is kind of funny about Tucker is that he obsessively reads everything written about him on the internet and responds, personally. He once emailed Wonkette to clarify that he doesn't eat at McDonalds, ever. We take him at his word that he said none of these things, but we are actually pretty sure we saw him have a drink at a White House Correspondents Dinner reception once? We could be wrong!

BUT! The guy who published the report from the kid who witnessed the shoot (who has taken the post down) stands by every word of the story, and says the original author doesn't misquote people.

No one said the session was off-record. And [redacted] never signed anything saying it was confidential. Seeing that it was a Conde Nast shoot, Matthews and Carlson were likely just playing their off-screen acts for a magazine. Now everyone is demanding apologies and making threat upon threat. Should [redacted] have written a word for word account? Probably not, but it seems an honest mistake.

FURTHERMORE! Arianna sez Tucker sez he never said anything about the private eye that SHE sez she never hired! It's an ancient rumor that she claims is wholly made up.

And now you know the rest of the story! It's all confused and insane! Nobody knows ANYTHING, as William Goldman used to say about Hollywood.