'Tony Soprano' Is A Hit, Man, At Senate ID Office

HBO has joined NBC in helping the Senate ID Office get its message across to Capitol Hill reporters.

Scribes making annual pilgrimages to renew their press passes have for several years now been greeted by framed examples of ID cards, all with the same fake name: Cosmo Kramer (the Michael Richards character in Seinfeld).

Those examples remained on display even after Richards' famous racist rant.

But on a recent trip to the ID office, another TV reference had appeared.

Posted in front of the bins holding the neck chains, covers and clips for the photo-ID cards was a sign bearing a picture of The Sopranos' Tony Soprano (portrayed by James Gandolfini).

He has a penetrating sideways glance that seems to say: "Don't cross me."

What the sign actually says, though, is: "Only one cover and lanyard please. Tony is watching ..."

Given the partisan rancor on the Hill over everything from campaign finance to healthcare to off shore drillling to financial services legislation, maybe the Senate aides should have used an image from Mad Men, Matthew Weiner's current cable hit.

Footnote: Lanyards for the press passes still have "What's your SPIN?" imprinted on them. That initially seemed a pejorative knock on journalists. But it's actually a reminder to staffers to use their Senate PIN numbers, which are being swapped in for Social Security numbers to reduce the risk of identity theft.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.