ABC News had to deny rumors, apparently started by someone inside the White House, that Barbara Walters will be retiring next year, in an affair this afternoon that raises many rather fun questions. TMZ first wrote the thin report that Barbara Walters, during an interview taking place at the White House, told Barack Obama during a commercial break about her retirement plan. So then, questions we have: Who exactly is doing the interviewing here? In TMZ's telling, Walters was speaking into a live microphone, where plenty of people heard it, so of course, this report has some people wondering: Who at the White House is leaking celebrity gossip to TMZ? (Fingers crossed it's Obama. But actually, TMZ doesn't say it was someone who works there, so we guess it could be someone from ABC News.) ABC News has denied the TMZ story with this statement:
“Barbara has joked that she is retiring every year since the Clinton Administration," said ABC News EVP Jeff Schneider in a statement. "Anyone who just did a day trip to Syria and a 90 minute primetime special and interview with the President and First Lady hardly sounds like someone retiring from anything."
Silly White House leaker, you didn't mishear her, you just don't understand Walters's ability to disarm presidents by bringing the conversation around to her AARP status thus forcing them to grant more interviews. ("What? Retire? A young girl like you? Let's schedule something next week. [Nervous laugh.]") Of course, ABC's statement is sort of a non-denial denial, which makes sense since they should probably leave the door open should their legendary anchor later decide to call it quits. She is, after all, 82 years old! Anyway, things we've learned from all this: Obama may be scooping celebrity gossip news, and an 82 year old woman may decide to retire when she's 83. Good work, everyone.