Barbara Walters must think that if you wait for everyone to forget, you can trot out an old affair and tout it as news. The media world is buzzing softly (very softly) over Walters’ revelation that she had an affair with then-senator Ed Brooke in the 1970s. She is, of course, peddling a book.
Maybe it’s because I’m old, but my first reaction was: “I knew that.” It sounded very familiar to me when we talked about it on “Beat the Press” yesterday on WGBH-TV (Channel 2). When I started searching, I found this line from a March 5, 2000, Globe profile of Brooke by staff writer Sally Jacobs, referring to his life in the ’70s: “A regular at the lavish parties at the Iranian Embassy, he did the hustle with Elizabeth Taylor and squired Barbara Walters about town.”
There’s also this, from a Feb. 17, 1980, story on Walters by then-staffer Marian Christy:
Walters has dated Alexis Lichine, the wine expert who was once married to Arlene Dahl. She used to count among her friends former Sen. Ed Brooke and Secretary General of the Organization of American States Alex Orfila. Both Brooke and Orfila are married now and, for some years, Walters’ closest friend has been Alan Greenspan, the financial wizard.
Do we not understand the plain meaning of this? Especially that Brooke became a “former” friend of Walters after he got married?
Unfortunately, the Globe’s online archives only go back to 1980, and this isn’t exactly worth an afternoon in the microfilm room. But these two tidbits make me think I’m not hallucinating about having seen gossip items in the papers during the 1970s, when the Walters-Brooke affair took place.
I don’t recall people as caring much back then. I can’t imagine anyone cares now.