The erstwhile diva of the local gossip columns was keeping an uncharacteristically low profile--even going so far as to become engaged to a portly Long Island plastic surgeon (that'll be Hubby Number Three, for those of you who keep score)--when from way out of left field came Kenneth Starr. Along about halfway through Starr's 445-page inquisition came the tale of "The Northwest Gate Incident": Monica Lewinsky's alleged December 1997 hissy fit outside the White House when a Secret Service officer told her that Another Woman (our Eleanor) was "in the Oval." Predictably, the instant the Starr report was released, the Mondale connection bobbed to the surface of the national media bog like a bloated carp. Whereupon Eleanor did what any right-thinking native Minnesotan would do: She declined all requests for interviews and issued a minimalist press release that denied any, er, entanglement with the Leader of the Free World. Detritus from the debacle continues to ooze forth: The politician's daughter, who was once dubbed "Wild Child" by Mpls. St. Paul magazine was the subject of a titillating February feature in George; and if you plumb the bowels of the Web sufficiently, you might still find gems like the Ultimate Eleanor Mondale Fan Page (
). Finally, as if to prove that low-rent controversy truly does dog this poor woman like a bad smell, when she took a job last month at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, media critics assailed the segment she was hired to anchor, the "Blockbuster Entertainment Report," as more disturbing evidence of advertising's intrusion into news programming.


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