House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, stepped up his rhetoric against NBC yesterday in an on-going feud over the use of his name in primetime television shows.
In Wednesday's season finale of Law & Order, a police officer searching for a suspect in a murder of a federal judge suggested looking for "somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt."
The latest flap was touched off by next week’s “Fear Factor” episode, which features one segment in which House Ethics Committee members are challenged to go on the record supporting an investigation into DeLay’s many scandals. Rep. DeLay, nicknamed ‘The Hammer’ for his hard-charging ways, wrote a letter in protest of the network.
“NBC is out to besmirch my good name before the Ethics Committee has the opportunity to clear me,” said DeLay, in a prepared statement. “The time will come for the TV producers responsible for this to answer for their behavior.”
One member of the House, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of losing campaign contributions, said that DeLay ought to lighten up. “He knows that none of the Republicans on the committee would pass this test,” said the member, a Republican. “If they do, he can just remove them from the committee. What’s the big deal?”
NBC had no immediate comment.
Last week, the network’s entertainment chief, Kevin Reilly, defended the Law and Order use of DeLay’s name. “It's not unusual for L & O to mention real names in its fictional stories. We're confident in our viewers' ability to distinguish between the two,” he said.
But that didn’t stop DeLay from stepping up the war of words. Caught before heading into fundraising event at a golf course, DeLay reacted with strong words about the upcoming show.
“NBC may think it is okay to use my name in a show that blurs the line between fiction and real life. But this here’s a so-called reality show. Viewers of NBC’s ‘Fear Factor’ know that show is for real. What excuse will they trot out this time?”
In an unrelated matter, DeLay’s office announced that the next congressional elections will be run under the rules of CBS's ‘Survivor’ and will be held on the Northern Marianas Islands, newly annexed into DeLay’s suburban Houston district. Democrats have asked the courts to look at the matter.
“We will vote the Democrats off the island once and for all,” the Majority Leader declared.
(Have a great Memorial Day weekend, folks. -- DD)