Confusion comes from the photo's caption, which mentions that the exchange took place "in the chair once used by Boss Tweed, the Bribe Baron of New York in the '90s." If this refers to the historical William M. Tweed - and there's been nothing to suggest that they're talking about a different Tweed - then this statement makes no sense, since Tweed died in 1878, well before the 1890's, to say nothing of the 1990's.
Gris spends several paragraphs singing his praise of Madison's brand of journalism.
I was stunned! What virtuosity PR had! I had never realized the headlines of this world were the products of overheated imaginations, staged events and tons of nothing! It took my breath away.
Yep, never believe anything you read in the papers, like - and this is just at random - allegations of brainwashing or harassment or other criminal activity concerning a certain religious organization. Bunch of nothing, ignore it. It's all PR folks with a grudge.
And how cunningly they had linked it up with NAMES! Nixon, Narcotici, Boss Tweed. The Whiz Kid was now positioned with criminals! How convincing! Who could doubt it?
The other papers were the same. This story would be bouncing coast to coast and even around the world. TV would be carrying that photo as a still. Radio would be spot-newsing it every hour. What coverage! An avalanche!
I minored in Journalism and never heard of "spot-newsing."
That's about it for chapter six. Gris then decides to check how Heller's handing this onslaught of bad press, and switches on the HellerVision to find him driving a cab, occasionally risking death by glancing at newspapers on the floor instead of focusing on the road. Gris declares that Heller "was PERTURBED!" I'm not sure how he can tell that based on what Heller is looking at.
Gris rewinds the tapes a bit and catches Geovani, one of Babe's main henchmen, making the paradoxical statement "You'd better get over here, kid, but I advise you not to come." When Heller reaches Babe's penthouse the doorman again suggests that he keep out, but Heller goes in anyway.
He finds Babe on her knees in front of a cross, with a sackcloth over her head. This does not prevent Heller from seeing her tears, or keep her from smearing ash on her face. So I guess she's wearing the sackcloth as a hat. She's repeating "Mia culpa. Mia magna culpa. It is my fault, it is my great fault."
And no, this isn't in response to her desecrating a corpse and profaning a church by performing a "Black Mass" on someone.
She sees Heller and groans how her own son is a traditore. I must've missed the part when she adopted him. Heller tries to explain, but Babe cuts him off and keeps him from coming closer, sobbing about "tainted blood," "stain[ing] the honor of the family," that sort of thing. Good to know she still reads the paper. Then Babe screams about how the mayor's wife was laughing at her for having a "traitor" in her midst this whole time. She ends her rant by throwing a poker at Heller and demanding that he get out, which he does.
Now, Babe has warned Heller of consorting with "criminal types like reporters," and knows that "newspapers are very bad things." She's also commented how Heller never looks anything like his photo in the papers. But when those criminal types come up with a story that links someone who doesn't look like Heller with Narcotici - whose mobsters Heller has repeatedly smashed until he's become their personal bogeyman - Babe buys it completely. And when Heller tries to explain, Babe never lets him get a word in, now or in earlier chapters.
So this plot point depends on Babe Corleone being a gullible idiot, and Heller never managing to explain that he's a victim of libel. Oh, and Narcotici had to be stupid enough to agree to present that "Most Honest Person" award to get in the photo. And this whole "death by defamation" angle is the result of Bury being unable to defeat Heller through more conventional methods.
A plot that only works because everyone involved has taken a massive hit to their IQ? Sounds like an Idiot Plot to me.
So Heller slinks away, defeated, and slowly drives away while presumably a lonely violin piece plays. Gris is jubilant.
Oh, my Gods! Madison had done it! With just a simple trick of paper and ink and newspaper influence, out of whole cloth and without even an ounce of truth, he had turned Heller's most powerful ally against him!
What a beautiful tool!
And Heller did not even suspect who was shooting at him! Or that anybody really was!
Against all expectations, and assisted by the irritating stupidity of the good guys, the forces of evil have won a victory. Truly, this is Heller's darkest h-
But this might still take a turn for the worse. Heller was tricky, too!
Way to undermine and second-guess your paltry accomplishments, Gris.
Back to Chapter Five