The Real Andy Rooney Regrets …

Apr 10, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Andy Rooney did not write “Why Older Chicks Rule.” It’s just another of the fake Rooney columns that have been chain e-mailed over the past few years. “Older Chicks” has popped up on Web sites and has made him seem to be a champion of the peri- and post-menopausal crowd.

On the other hand, Andy Rooney really did say, “I don’t know anybody at CBS News who is pleased” that Katie Couric is coming to Black Rock, during a phone call to “Imus in the Morning” last week.

Mr. Rooney would like to amend that, he told The Insider.

“I guess if I had it to say over again, I’d be a little softer with it. I like this woman, and I think she’s very good,” Mr. Rooney said.

“And my objection is probably an old fogey’s objection. I have this ancient view of CBS News as a paragon of journalistic virtue, and that time is gone,” Mr. Rooney said. What he means, he explained, is that in his mind there is only one prescribed path to the anchor desk.

“But I recognize that this is a skewed vision I have and I ought to get over it,” Mr. Rooney said. “I mean, there are people who can do television other than Walter Cronkite, and I should be ready to admit that.”

While Mr. Rooney said he is “amused by this drive to attract a younger audience,” he also said his mail indicates that his “60 Minutes” commentaries hit the funny bones of a lot of young viewers.

To which The Insider said: “Maybe funny is funny. Or grouchy is grouchy.”

To which Mr. Rooney laughed and said: “How ’bout good is good? Give me a break.”

He wouldn’t mind an end to the counterfeit columns, but when CBS lawyers tried to track down the ersatz Rooney, they got no further than a post office box in Indianapolis, Mr. Rooney said.

“Why Older Chicks Rule” has “gotten wide distribution” over the past year or more, said Mr. Rooney, rather savoring the implication that The Insider is hopelessly behind the cutting edge.

“Older Chicks” purports to be written “for guys who are scared of girls over 40,” Mr. Rooney said. “It’s embarrassing. It’s infuriating.”

Those who want to stay on his good side should never compliment him on a column he hasn’t written.

“I like it best when somebody calls me and recognizes that I didn’t write it,” he said. “These are people who know me and know my writing, and they are not confused about it. They ask me, ‘Did you realize somebody is putting out this thing with your name on it?'”

He didn’t seem to mind when The Insider asked him what his next fake column will be about. He laughed and said, “I’m having a hard enough time doing my real column. I write one a week. I can’t believe I did it three times a week for 12 years.”