I KNEW WHEN I INVITED your paper to send a reporter to the taping of my cable-TV quiz show that I would wind up writing one of those “your-reporter-is-nasty-and-got-the-facts-wrong” letters that your paper so frequently has to publish (“This Is Your Life?,” The District Line, 6/23). However, I expected only to have to defend myself, since I was the one who put myself on the line by courting publicity. Somehow, the worst I got called was “balding.” Instead, your associate editor, Clara Jeffery, saw fit to insult the hell out of my contestants with no provocation. So here goes:
Your reporter is nasty. All of the players on the shows Jeffery watched are extremely knowledgeable and intelligent people. Her repeated assertions that she is smarter than them were childish and absurd. As noted in the article, several of these people have passed the very difficult Jeopardy test, an accomplishment a tad more impressive than Jeffery’s almost being asked to be on her high school’s It’s Academic team.
Your reporter got the facts wrong. The missed-cue incident referred to was my fault, not the director’s, and I said so at the time. I was also misquoted in an attempt to make it appear that I shared Jeffery’s pompous disdain for one of the players. My statements in regard to that person were “I don’t want to have to bring you back again” (meaning, “I hope I didn’t make another error to your detriment”) and “There’s just something about that guy. Every time he plays, I make a mistake.” As for the “People Over Age 50” category, it neither was used as a tiebreaker nor contained the name “Jimmy Albert” as an answer. The listed people were all former child stars; Jimmy Albert is the studio operations manager at Montgomery Community Television, whose name I suggested Jeffery should jot down as the ace who solved the missed-cue problem. (I guess she saw his name on her pad, and knowing, “as everyone knows,” that he wasn’t one of Henry VIII’s wives, figured he must have been listed in another category. In her own words—“duh!”)
I offer a public apology to the players and their guests whom I unwittingly subjected to Jeffery’s verbal abuse. And, I challenge Jeffery to come see how much of her vast and superior knowledge she can recall under the bright lights at our next taping. Anyone who wants to take her on can write to Local Quizine, Box 1391, Rockville, MD 20849.