Before we begin, a Who’s Who in this twisted tale…
• David Shuster: Talk radio host of Take Action News
• Daniel Marans: Producer of Take Action News
• Gerry Connolly: Democratic representative of Virginia
• George Burke: Press secretary to Rep. Connolly
• Chris Perkins: Republican challenger to Connolly
The final result of booking two congressional candidates on David Shuster Take Action News radio program this weekend: Both guests backing out and one pissed off Shuster.
Last week Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and his opponent Chris Perkins (R) were scheduled for back-to-back segments on Shuster’s Saturday show. Emails between Shuster’s production team and the candidates obtained by FishbowlDC suggest all parties agreed to the appearances. But once Connolly’s press secretary George Burke learned that Perkins would be preceding Connolly, things got seriously nasty.
Burke emailed Shuster’s producer Daniel Marans on Friday to complain. “This was supposed to be a show talking about President Obama and Virginia. Now you are making it a show about our congressional race with an unknown candidate,” Burke wrote. (Marans initial email to book Connolly did say Shuster was interested in “any elected officials from Virginia willing to speak about the Obama campaign on our show.” Marans told FBDC that it is Take Action News‘ policy to invite any candidate’s opponent on the program during elections.)
Burke continued in his email, calling it a “waste of time” for Connolly to appear on Shuster’s show if his opponent would be on as well. “Frankly, you hoodwinked me,” he wrote. “I’m not sure why I should still have Connolly do this phoner.”
Marans responded to the email, warning that if Connolly cancels, the reason would be stated on air. He also passed on a word from Shuster: “Shuster told me: ‘If Rep. Connolly is so fragile he can’t handle a 10 minute interview following an interview with his opponent, he can go fuck himself.’”