Funny how the most obnoxious of critics often have the thinnest skins. Noah Oppenheim-the NBC producer in the news this week because he's leaving The Today Show for a production company cosy with the network-has an appetite for controversy. Unless it involves him: Oppenheim has had at least one critical article by Brian Stelter removed from Mediabistro's TV Newser website.
We don't know about the circumstances of Oppenheim's departure from the NBC morning show, where he was a lone and provocative conservative. But the abrasive young producer was pushed out of Chris Matthews' Hardball on MSNBC after claiming in an article for The Weekly Standard that supposedly fearless reporters rarely left the well-protected Green Zone in Baghdad. (NBC's then anchor, Tom Brokaw, was particularly put out.)
And at Harvard, Oppenheim clashed with campus feminists, particularly when they wouldn't sleep with him. In a final column for the Harvard Crimson, Oppenheim wrote: "Apparently, it is easy to blame the patriarchy for all of your woes, and to silence your opponents with accusations of misogyny, but it is more difficult to actually deny oneself the pleasures of cavorting with said patriarchy's handsome sons."
Those articles remain on the web notwithstanding their abuse of bad-mouthed snobbish college girls and cowardly anti-war journalists. But a 2005 article by TV Newser's Brian Stelter (now a ferociously hard-working media reporter at the New York Times) about Oppenheim-Noah Oppenheim, Part Of America's First Family (What Do Capus & Brokaw Think?)- has mysteriously disappeared from the website.
Chris Ariens, Stelter's successor, knows Oppenheim vaguely from their time together at MSNBC. On the phone, he said he removed the item neither out of friendship or in response to a legal notice. But NBC flack Megan Kopf had told him the blog post showed up high in a search for Oppenheim's name, and linked to an article that was "potentially slanderous." (Anyone have a copy?)
TV Newser's Ariens is a wimp for accomodating NBC's pressure, but forget about him. Oppenheim ought to have a higher tolerance for "potential slander", having himself doled out so much of it.
And now I'm off.