Bluff The Listener Our panelists tell three stories about a politician abroad caught in an unlikely scandal, only one of which is true.
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Bluff The Listener

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Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We are playing this week with Adam Burke, Peter Grosz and Roxanne Roberts. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you. Thank you everybody.


SAGAL: If you're thinking it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff The Listener game, you are right. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.

Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

ROBIN ZASIO: Hi, this is Dr. Robin Zasio. I'm from the "Hoarders" show. How are you?

SAGAL: I'm fine.


SAGAL: This is odd.

PETER GROSZ: Peter, this is an intervention.

SAGAL: Are you calling to diagnose me?

ZASIO: I've done that long ago.

SAGAL: So hold on, let's back up. You are Dr. Robin Zasio from the "Hoarders" show. This is - I've never seen it, I apologize. But this is the show in which - it's about the people who like to hoard things in their homes, sometimes to great excess, right?

ZASIO: That's correct.

GROSZ: I have, like, 60 of those on my DVR.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: Well, clearly your show is much more interesting than mine, and I would rather talk to you about it. I don't have time. But, Robin, it is very nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Robin's topic?

KURTIS: It's the United Nations of Deplorables.

SAGAL: Our politicians screw up all the time, as we see. But with so many things, we're no longer the world leader in that. This week, we read about a politician abroad ending up in an unusual scandal. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, you'll win our prize - Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail. Are you to play?

ZASIO: Ready.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Peter Grosz.

GROSZ: Tomas Gudmanstater (ph), the mayor of the rural hamlet of Grindavik, Iceland, wanted to build a small business park at the edge of town to attract business and boost the economy. But there was one powerful local special interest he forgot to consider - elves. Over half of all Icelanders believe in what they call Hoodoo folk, or hidden people, living inside the rocks and trees of their island nation. Elves in Iceland are kind of like the letter J in the word fjord, silently hiding but everyone just sort of knows that they're there. And the residents of Grindavik believe the - an entire community of these elves lives in the five acres of ancient volcanic rock that the mayor wanted to demolish to clear the way for his business park. So this week, Grindavickers (ph) took to the streets, marching through town, chanting three, six, nine, 12, don't destroy the homes of elves.

In public, the mayor said he respected his fellow residents' position and promised to work to find the solution. But later that night, after a few too many whatever people from Iceland drink to get drunk, he went on an extended tirade that was secretly recorded by one of his elf-loving aides and leaked to the press. In it, the mayor criticized the townsfolk as, quote, "backwoods rubes who cling to their elves and magic," and he claimed the whole town was in the pocket of something he called the big elf lobby. The next day, he claimed his remarks were taken out of context, which is hard to believe within its sustained 15-minute rant, and apologized to his townfolk saying, I didn't mean to disparage all elves. Some of them, I assume, are good elves.


SAGAL: An Icelandic mayor goes on an anti-elf rant which gets him in trouble. Your next story of a world leader becoming a world loser comes from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Last month, Typhoon Lionrock brought devastation to a region in Japan. Among the casualties - one government official's reputation. Shunsuke Mutai, who was inspecting damage from the storm, encountered a large puddle and was faced with a dilemma. Everyone else in the group was wearing rubber boots but Mutai was not.

He made a split-second decision and jumped on the back of a less senior official in what became a piggyback ride televised across the nation. Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, however, blasted Mutai for his lack of sensitivity and preparation. Quote, "he went there as head of the government investigation team, so naturally he should have brought his rubber boots to begin with," reports the BBC. A groveling Mutai was forced to apologize saying he, quote, "deeply regretted the gaffe."

SAGAL: A Japanese official gets a piggyback ride on television across a puddle on the back of one of his aides. Your last story of a political figure taking a fall comes from Adam Burke.

ADAM BURKE: Hillary Clinton isn't the only politician to get into trouble over use of her personal phone. Last month, journalists and opposition ministers in South Korea found it increasingly difficult to get hold of Kristal Yong-June (ph), the country's minister for culture and tourism, on her personal cell phone. As complaints mounted, the National Assembly launched an internal investigation involving a government official following ministry interns during work hours. The staffer was shadowed to a local park full of young people staring at their phones. Consultation with a reporter from the Seoul Herald solved the mystery. The local park was a popular pokestop for the popular mobile game Pokemon Go.

Further investigation revealed the minister had been giving staffers her phone and having them catch rare pokemon. Under intense grilling, several interns broke down sobbing, revealing that the minister had been particularly intent on catching several mankeys and dittos. But as committee meetings precluded her from doing so, she instructed them to go catch them all on her behalf. Criticism over the affair has been harsh and swift with opposition member Park Sung Yi (ph) blasting, much as igglybuff (ph) evolves into a jigglypuff, we had hoped that Korean politics had evolved past this type of self-serving cronyism. For her part, Yong-June has expressed remorse for the affair and pledged to commit herself fully to her duties as a minister, adding wryly that she hopes to be the very best like no one ever was.

SAGAL: All right, these are your choices, Robin. One of these things happened to some bore - to some poor benighted official somewhere in the world. Was it from Peter Grosz, an Icelandic mayor who got in trouble for a surreptitiously recorded anti-elf rant, from Roxanne Roberts, the story of a Japanese official who decided that he needed a piggyback ride across a puddle while surveying typhoon damage, or from Adam Burke, a South Korean minister caught sending her interns to catch pokemon for her during work hours? Which is the real story of a scandal in the week's news?

ZASIO: I'm vacillating between two and three, and I am going with Roxanne.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Roxanne's story, which is about the Japanese official and the puddle. All right, well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone familiar with this story.

JOE FULD: You had a politician, right, who was taking a ride on someone's back to get over a mud puddle, which, I would say is a no-no.


SAGAL: That was Joe Fuld, who's the president of the consulting firm Campaign Workshop, Incorporated, giving his professional opinion of how it looks when you get a piggyback ride from an aide. Congratulations, Robin, you got it right. You were, of course, correct. That was Roxanne's story. So, yay, you got it right, Roxanne gets a point and you win our prize - the voice of Carl Kasell. Congratulations.

ZASIO: Thank you. It was a blast.

SAGAL: Thank you so much, Robin.

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