Well, this one's too complicated by half, but it's fun nonetheless.
Howard Fineman is a political journalist for Newsweek, with a sideline as a commentator for MSNBC's "Hardball" and various NBC shows.
'Shut up, Chris'
On "Imus in the Morning" last Friday, Fineman did a terrible thing: He spoke his mind. Said something about Chris Matthews' "Hardball" show on MSNBC not comparing well with Matthews' Sunday show, because the Sunday show producer tells Matthews to "shut up" his notorious motor-mouth, giving the panelists a chance to talk.
In his "Lowdown" column today, NY Daily News writer Lloyd Grove said Fineman was in hot water with MSNBC execs and might get his knuckles rapped, because of what Fineman had said on "Don Imus' radio show."
The ever-vigiliant, promotion-aware Imus staff pounced on this: "He didn't only make the comments on Don Imus's Radio Show," they chirped.
Namesake Don Imus chimed in: "Don Imus's Radio program is also on MSNBC, so he did it on MSNBC." In addition to a nationwide radio network, "Imus in the Morning" also is carried on the MSNBC television network -- the same one that carries "Hardball."
The I-Man continued: "So anyway then, Fineman, being a wussy, went on MSNBC.com a couple of hours later and wrote, 'Sometimes when you are tired -- when you've been yakking all week and racing from a convention hall to a political reception to an interview -- you screw up, big time, as Dick Cheney would say. Well, I did that this morning by failing to defend the best political mind on tv, [kiss, kiss] my loyal colleague and host Chris Matthews.'"
[See Howard Fineman's Digital Dispatches.]
Imus: "Well, I've now lost all respect for Fineman."
Imus' staff: "There's running away with your tail between your legs, huh?"
Imus: "God, what a wussy. He should shut up….You can't conduct your life that way.
'Torqued off' at Fineman
"His apology may have come too late, because apparently [MSNBC president] Rick Kaplan, who is our guy, by the way, and executive producer Tammy Haddad -- apparently Tammy and Rick are torqued off at poor old Fineman.
"The germane apart of the story," Imus repeated, "is that he made them [the comments] on MSNBC."
Staff: "On Chris Matthews' own network."
Imus: "… but Fineman can always appear here, of which [sic] he'll get far more attention, as Jeff Grenfield and every other person who appears on this program will acknowledge, than they do appearing on any of those programs -- or even on the Sunday shows.
"I mean, 'Hello!'"
Or, maybe, "Goodbye."