Saturday, February 19, 2011

Menachem Begin's Earpiece

The Washington Post, in it obituary for a television host, recounts the tale of Menacherm Begin's lost earpiece:

Bill Monroe, TV journalist and 'Meet the Press' host, dies at 90

Bill Monroe, a journalist best known for his nine-year tenure as moderator of the public-affairs talk show "Meet the Press" during the 1970s and '80s, died Feb. 17 at the ManorCare nursing home in Potomac. He was 90 and had complications from hypertension.

Starting on NBC-TV in 1947, "Meet the Press" is one of the longest-running programs in American broadcast history and a staple for many Sunday-morning viewers. Mr. Monroe had long worked for NBC News in Washington and had appeared as a panelist on "Meet the Press" before being tapped in 1975 as its moderator.

...One of the more memorable moments of Mr. Monroe's "Meet the Press" tenure had less to do with policy discussions than with the impromptu comedy of live television.

He was interviewing then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on a satellite broadcast when Begin's earpiece malfunctioned. The prime minister was given a replacement that allowed him to hear producers' behind-the-scenes chatter.

As the interview drew to a close, Begin heard a voice bark a command meant for Mr. Monroe: "Say goodbye." Begin, confused, repeated the statement as if asking a question: "Say goodbye?"

Begin "was a bit annoyed," said Betty Dukert, the program's former executive producer. "Bill laughed about it forever."

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