Ted Venetoulis—politician, newsman, and media exec—can now add a new hyphen to his name: novelist. So is his book, about a revenge-seeking First Lady, actually about Hillary Clinton? Read on . . .
What book or film most changed your life? Hail to the Cheat. It's a humorous political novel about a First Lady who catches her husband in a compromising position in the Oval Office and throws him out of the White House. I loved it. . . . I also wrote it.
Who are your favorite Baltimoreans, living or dead? Former Mayor Tommy D'Alesandro III and my wife, Lynn.
What's the bravest thing you've ever done? Covering the war in El Salvador.
What is the best advice you ever got? When my wife said, "Let's adopt a little girl from Guatemala."
What is the biggest mistake you've ever made? Running for Governor in '78 instead of waiting until '82.
What is the greatest problem facing Baltimore today? That we don't have about 10 SEED schools.
When were you most tempted to leave Baltimore? Watching the sunset in Santorini.
Who would play you in the movie of your life? I think George Clooney, but my wife suggested Zero Mostel.
What are newspapers going to look like five years from now? Nonprofit, primarily local news and information, and mostly online with strong Sunday paper editions.
So, do you still want to buy The Sun? Yes.
Your novel reads like a Hillary Clinton revenge fantasy. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Why do you think powerful men risk everything to cheat on their wives—sometimes in spectacularly stupid fashion? Because some powerful men are spectacularly stupid.
Do you think a little corruption is inevitable in politics? Yes, along with most everything in which humans are involved.
What's your take on the highly polarized political climate out there? I don't envy anyone trying to govern right now because it's so darn hard to get anything done.
How does the Web factor into this climate? A lot of media—Internet-based and broadcast—exacerbate the problem by saying or printing hype to influence rather than educate people. We need investigative journalism and unbiased analysis, not "debates" between mouthpieces for the right and left.