As neon lettering announcing bloodshed in the Middle East scrolled across News Corp’s Manhattan headquarters, media celebrities one block over swarmed Del Frisco’s for an afternoon of daydrinking and masturbatory cheer.
The clock barely hit 5:30 p.m. when Sean Hannity arrived at Geraldo Rivera’s book launch party fisting champagne, casually wearing a black button down and blue jeans. Trading in conspiracy hyped Fox News monologues for heartfelt toasts, the anchor touted Rivera’s career as a war correspondent and political virtuoso.
“This guy, as we all know, is the brother I wish I had,” boomed Hannity as camera lights flashed and the neon lettering across the street reported tragedy in Syria. “I look at him as a warrior poet.”
Published on Tuesday, The Geraldo Show: A Memoir tells Rivera’s climb from local newsman to media titan, detailing his relationships with powerful Manhattanites such as President Donald Trump and disgraced Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.
Buzzing between family members and Fox News personalities, each with their own mini entourages, the warrior poet held composure better than the other faces of the newstainment-industrial complex—at one point a publicist swiped a glass of Cabernet from the paws of Fox’s jester-in-residence Greg Gutfeld.
“This is a lot more chill than CNN’s parties,” one reporter told his colleagues drinking Chardonnay, citing Fox’s mom-and-pop-shop company culture.
Though Fox and CNN newscasters throw down on air—Hannity called CNN “the shithole fake news network” several months ago at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)—producers and reporters from both organizations crammed into the party to trade crumbs of gossip; many even worked for the rival outlet earlier in their careers.
Booze, self-worship and Rivera were the evening’s unifiers, creating an umbrella housing Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter, O.J. Simpson’s former legal counsel Alan Dershowitz and billionaire-turned-failed NYC mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis.
“Roger Ailes, my ex-boss, used to say the only thing in the middle of the road was roadkill,” Rivera told Observer. “I want to be a living testament that’s not true, that you can be a conciliator, someone for compromise.”
Earlier that day, well before conservative celebrities Kimberly Guilfoyle and Judge Jeanine Pirro vacated the restaurant for either adult responsibilities or a better after-party, Hannity warned viewers on his radio program of an impending civil war sparked by the Russia investigation.
Should such warfare break, with media executives and celebrities finally understanding firsthand the consequences of mass opinion, Del Frisco’s makes a formidable Manhattan military base—its booths are barricades and its vintage wine collection a source of nourishment for all soldiers regardless of their class affiliation.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Hannity touted civil war on his Fox News program. The remarks came during the day on Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show.