The Cutline
  • Letterman (CNN)

    Piers Morgan is in London this week preparing for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, so CNN has lined up a string of celebrity guest hosts for interviews with other celebrities, including Seth MacFarlane--whose interview with Bill Maher will air on Wednesday--and Harvey Weinstein (who gets Oprah on Friday).

    But Tuesday's pairing--with a combined age of 145--is by far the most intriguing, with David Letterman giving a rare, mostly serious hour-long interview to Regis Philbin, who is making his first return to television as a host since leaving "Regis and Kelly."

    In excerpts of the wide-ranging interview--taped last week--released by CNN, Letterman opened up about his return to late night television less than a week after 9/11. "I remember not wanting to go back, not feeling ready to go back, but knowing we had to go back," Letterman told Philbin, his guest on the somber Sept. 17, 2001 "Late Show" episode. "And you know, my concerns were minimal compared to people who really suffered."

    Letterman also recalled his late-night idol and predecessor, Johnny Carson.

    "He was, I think, the biggest star in television," Letterman said of the late "Tonight Show" host. "And I was just a kid who has followed the beacon of his light coming out of Burbank."

    The 65-year-old Letterman recounted the last time he saw Carson, who died in 2005:

    "The way life is, you don't know that that will be the last time, but it turned out to be the last time, and it couldn't have been a lovelier evening. And I cherish that because it was unusual. It was not going to happen under any other circumstances. And it was my wife, myself, Johnny and his wife on Johnny's yacht that he had anchored in the Hudson. And it was a Friday evening and we sailed off just before sunset and went up the Hudson, up under the George Washington Bridge, which is lovely, turned around, now the sun is setting. We go out to the Statue of Liberty and see that at night, as the sky is darkening. And then you turn around and we headed up the East River, and you see the lower tip of Manhattan, and it was a sight and an experience ... You never get to see New York like that.

    Read More »from Letterman opens up about 9/11, Carson and Clinton in rare interview
  • Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC's weekend morning talk show "Up," has apologized for comments he made on Sunday about use of the word "hero" to describe fallen U.S. soldiers.

    After an interview with Lt. Col. Steve Beck, a former Marine whose job was to notify military families of the death of a loved one, Hayes described his personal discomfort with the term "hero."

    [Slideshow: Grief camp helps children of fallen soldiers cope]

    "I feel uncomfortable about the word 'hero' because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war," Hayes said. "I don't want to obviously desecrate or disrespect the memory of anyone that's fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I'm wrong about that."

    The comments, coming on the eve of Memorial Day, sparked a near-immediate backlash. On Monday, Hayes apologized.

    [Slideshow: The nation honors military on Memorial Day]

    "I don't think I lived up to the standards of rigor, respect and empathy for those affected by the issues we discuss that I've set for myself," Hayes wrote in a blog post on his show's website. "I am deeply sorry for that."

    He continued:

    As many have rightly pointed out, it's very easy for me, a TV host, to opine about the people who fight our wars, having never dodged a bullet or guarded a post or walked a mile in their boots. Of course, that is true of the overwhelming majority of our nation's citizens as a whole. One of the points made during Sunday's show was just how removed most Americans are from the wars we fight, how small a percentage of our population is asked to shoulder the entire burden and how easy it becomes to never read the names of those who are wounded and fight and die, to not ask questions about the direction of our strategy in Afghanistan, and to assuage our own collective guilt about this disconnect with a pro-forma ritual that we observe briefly before returning to our barbecues.

    But in seeking to discuss the civilian-military divide and the social distance between those who fight and those who don't, I ended up reinforcing it, conforming to a stereotype of a removed pundit whose views are not anchored in the very real and very wrenching experience of this long decade of war. And for that I am truly sorry.

    Read More »from MSNBC’s Chris Hayes apologizes for questioning use of ‘heroes’ to describe fallen soldiers
  • (FMK)

    The Daily Caller, the conservative website founded by Tucker Carlson, has launched an unusual publicity stunt to say the least: Now through Nov. 6—Election Day—the Washington, D.C.-based site will give away a handgun a week.

    The gun giveaway is part of the launch of a "Guns and Gear" section "devoted to Second Amendment issues and firearms product news and reviews."

    Each 9mm "FMK 9C1" handgun will be "engraved with the Bill of Rights." The Daily Caller, which is a Yahoo! News partner, plans to give away 25 in all.

    "Like most Americans outside Washington, D.C., New York City and most of our nation's news rooms, large numbers of Daily Caller readers love guns," Daily Caller publisher and former Dick Cheney policy adviser Neil Patel said in a release.

    [Related: Trayvon Martin's mom appears in gun control video]

    When asked by email if it was really a good idea to give away guns to readers, Carlson responded: "Seems obvious. Why wouldn't it be a good idea? We trust our readers."

    Of course, all winners "must obey all local, state and federal laws governing the lawful transfer of a firearm and meet all local, state and federal requirements for firearms ownership."

    Specifically, each "will be required to have proper identification suitable to receive a firearm in their jurisdiction and will be required to complete an ATF Form #4473 and pass a NICS background check at their local firearms retailer that holds a valid Federal Firearms License. Failure to comply with each of these requirements will result in a forfeiture of the prize."

    Read More »from Daily Caller giving away guns to readers now through Election Day

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