Are John Negroponte, George Bush’s nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, and Nicholas Negroponte, digital guru and co-founder of the MIT Media Laboratory, related? As long as we’re asking, are National Public Radio host Linda Wertheimer and campaign-finance reform activist Fred Wertheimer related? And what about the Tagliabues–Paul the National Football League commissioner and John the New York Times foreign correspondent?
Yes, yes, and yes! John Negroponte, 61, is the older brother of Nicholas Negroponte, 57. They grew up in New York and Europe, the sons of a wealthy shipping family of Greek origin. Their last name means “black bridge” in Italian. John’s confirmation for the U.N. ambassadorship is hung up in the Senate because of questions about whether he ignored human rights abuses when he was ambassador to Honduras during the Reagan administration. He was in the government for 40 years, from posts at the National Security Council to ambassadorial positions under four presidents. Nicholas, the author of the best seller Being Digital, has been on the faculty of MIT since 1966. When the Media Laboratory was founded in 1980, its primary work was, according to the Media Lab, “helping create now-familiar areas such as digital video and multimedia.” It is now focused on, again according to the Media Lab, “how bits meet atoms: how electronic information overlaps with the everyday physical world.” Right! Explainer was not able to contact Nicholas to find out if he thinks John should be confirmed as ambassador.
Fred and Linda Cozby Wertheimer have been married for 32 years. Linda, 58, who grew up in Carlsbad, N.M., has been with public radio since 1971 and is a host of All Things Considered. Fred, 62, grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is the head of Democracy 21, a public interest organization he founded in 1997. Prior to that he was the head of Common Cause, another public interest group, for 14 years.
Paul Tagliabue, 61, is the older brother by 15 months of John Tagliabue. Both grew up in Jersey City, N. J. Paul was a Washington-based lawyer for the National Football League prior to becoming commissioner in 1989. John is a long-time foreign correspondent, most recently reporting on the Bulgarian elections for the Times. Shortly after his brother was named NFL commissioner, John was shot in Rumania while covering the overthrow of dictator Nicolae Ceausecu. But that probably didn’t hurt as much as seeing, a year later, the Times credit a story he wrote to his brother. (The Times ran a correction.) This April, John’s newspaper reported that in 1999 Paul was paid $5 million in salary by the NFL. Without even trying to reach him in Bulgaria, Explainer is asserting that John makes less than his brother.
Previously in this series, Explainer tackledthe Eskews. Explainer has also handled in “No Relation” Lawrence Kudlow, Robert Kuttner, Paul Krugman, and Robert Krulwich; Linda Chavez and Linda Chavez-Thompson; Marty Peretz and the Meretz Party; the McCulloughs and Macaulays; the Gessens, Glennys, and Kaczynskis; the Cohens(three Stephens, four Richards); the Rays(two Elizabeths); the Hirschfelds(Abe and Al); the Strausses(Robert and R. Peter); the Broders(Jonathan, John M., and David); the Moores(three Michaels); and the Samuelsons(Paul, Robert, and Larry).