Whopper of the Week: Sumner Redstone

“If they are treating [my autobiography] as an important book, they are doing it because they think it’s an important book–not because it’s me.”

–Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom, whose Simon & Schuster unit will release Redstone’s A Passion To Winin June, as quoted by Laurie P. Cohen in the April 5 Wall Street Journal.

“This is being treated as a big book. You want to get it right or you’ll be fired.”

Simon & Schuster publisher David Rosenthal, as quoted in the Journal story, which characterizes this as a “quip.”


“I’ll probably end up returning 10 of them. Most people have no idea who Sumner Redstone is.”

Douglas Dutton, owner of the independent bookstore Dutton’s Brentwood Books in Los Angeles, as quoted in the Journal story, which does not characterize this as a “quip.”


(Thanks to Matthew Benjamin.)

Got a whopper? Send it to To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.

Close readers of this column will note that we’ve eased up on the rules to accommodate whoppers that aren’t necessarily lies. Chatterbox still gives preference to outright fibs (such as today’s entry), but these are harder to confirm than Chatterbox previously imagined. Non-lie entries must still quote people who, it can be reasonably assumed, ought to know better.

Whopper Archive:

March 30, 2001: Spencer Abraham

March 23, 2001: George W. Bush, Rep. Jennifer Dunn, and/or the Treasury Department

March 16, 2001: George W. Bush

March 9, 2001: Russ Freyman, spokesman, National Association of Manufacturers

March 2, 2001: Paul O’Neill

Feb. 23, 2001: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Feb. 16, 2001: Oscar spokesman John Pavlik

Feb. 9, 2001: Lynne Cheney

Feb. 2, 2001: Bobby Thomson