Chris Matthews' Friends Are So Not Going To Sit With You At Lunch Anymore

matthews.jpgRemember our buddy Kim Eisler? We've been chatting with him a bit more lately, and it turns out he's not actually as popular among the rest of the Beltway media as he is with us. We love the guy. Others, not so much.

Kim send a letter to Time attempting to correct one of their stories about Abramoff. The letter ran to about 400 words, and, starting off by noting that the story's author incorrectly made reference (in the first graf) to Abramoff eating a decidedly unkosher meal of fried chicken, used that inaccuracy to cast doubt on the veracity of a number of other assertions in the piece. This is the letter that eventually ran in Time:

In the cover story on lobbyist Jack Abramoff [Jan. 16], TIME said he had shared some fried chicken with Indian tribal leaders when he met with them. I know Jack keeps a strictly kosher diet. I asked him about that meal, and he assured me that he did not eat nonkosher food with the leaders, as you reported.

KIM EISLER Bethesda, Md.

That summary, while succinct, doesn't actually share any language with Eisler's original letter. Now, we know editing letters to the editor down to pithy two-line comments is fairly standard practice, and really not all that devious or misleading. And despite the fact that they edited out Eisler's actual point (leaving aside the validity of that point, which we're not touching), we do think it was nice of Time to print a letter refuting a fact in one of their pieces. What we're saying is, we're glad Time printed it. Because it led to another hilarious, fantastic media moment: hate mail from Chris Matthews.

Handwritten and sent to Kim Eisler's home. Best line: "I think Time just published that letter so my friends could laugh at you."

"My friends."

This town is middle school. We love it.

Eisler reports that he was slightly concerned by the "crazy uncle in the attic aspect of the whole thing, which was a little scary, like he knows where I live and he shouts a lot." Eisler's full letter to Time, should you be interested, is after the jump.

(Full disclosure: Eisler was scheduled to appear on Matthews' show, then dropped. The line above was quoted by Eisler from memory. We also just enjoy starting shit.)

As a long time friend and acquaintance of Jack Abramoff, I was settling down to read your cover story [Jan. 16, 2006} when I was struck in the first paragraph by the statement that Jack "shared some of their fried chicken in the council room." Anyone who knows Jack, or anything about him, knows that he never, never eats unkosher fried foods, not even fried fish. To make sure, I called and asked him and he assured me he had never eaten fried chicken with the tribal leaders of the Coushattas, as you claim. If a reporter could spend that much time on a cover story about a person and not know that they keep strictly Kosher, it calls into question every other statement and contention in the article. Indeed Jack's loyalty to these Jewish traditions is his inviolable trademark. It is worth noting that if there was a motive to the crimes he has confessed to committing, it was to raise money for a Jewish school and to build and support money losing Kosher restaurants. Since the lobbying scandal in Washington broke, millions of words have been expended, most of them like those in your cover story, by people without the slightest comprehension of who or what they are writing about. The biggest lie, which has been promulgated since this story first broke is that Jack took millions of dollars from tribal clients and did nothing for them. I have covered the subject of Indian gaming for 19 years and am the author of Revenge of the Pequots, the inside story of the Indian casino empire. I am not alone in knowing that while Jack's fees and methods may be fairly subject to criticism, the idea that he took money and performed no services is simply ludicrous. Jack spent every working day trying to advance the interest of his tribal clients. And I might add, since he has been ridiculed for insulting Native-Americans in his emails, that in all the years I have known him, and in the research for my book, I never once heard him make a derogatory remark about Native Americans. And in fact, if your reporter wasn't so clueless as to think he would eat non-Kosher fried chicken, she would have learned that in 1999, and the letter exists to prove it, Jack pleaded with Washington Redskins owner Daniel M Snyder to change the name of the team, as he felt it was disrespectful to Native Americans.

Kim Eisler

Bethesda Md.


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