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POTS VS. KETTLES: The many news executives and TV personalities gathered at the Four Seasons Tuesday night were only interested in talking about one thing: Dan Rather’s memo misfire. Rupert Murdoch, who was there to toast the partnership of his New York Post with Parade magazine (a unit of Advance Publications Inc., parent of WWD) was unsparing in his judgment of CBS. “If it had happened at Fox, the people that were responsible would have been fired instantly,” the News Corp. chairman said. “I’m not saying it was Dan or whomever. But with a mistake of that magnitude, someone has to pay.” (Never mind that no heads rolled when the Post erroneously tagged Richard Gephardt as John Kerry’s running mate.) Geraldo Rivera was, not surprisingly, somewhat more forgiving. “Dan’s a friend of mine and I feel very badly for him,” he said. “We all make mistakes. The unfortunate thing is it’s in the context of the presidential election.” Asked who he thought would win in November, Rivera said, “I think the commander-in-chief is ahead.” Tina Brown, who spent much of the party discussing Rathergate with Murdoch and others, offered her own assessment of the presidential race. “I think Kerry’s regrouping — and not a moment too soon.” — Jeff Bercovici

This story first appeared in the September 23, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.