Kneepads. That’s the nickname for People magazine in the underground gossip world, a reference to the safety equipment that their writers might need when performing a special service for celebrities.
If your celebrity news came from People, Entertainment Tonight, and the Today Show, you might think that JLo can sing and that Britney was mentally stable. If you read the occasional article about the entertainment world in the New York Times or watched a segment on CNN, you might think that Selena Gomez was sober and that Meghan Markle was kind to her staff. The underground gossip scene says something different.
Entertainment “news” in all forms of traditional media, from Vogue to the Wall Street Journal, is glossy and light. The mainstream media’s failure to provide real journalism on the celebrity world is a huge blind spot, leading to disasters like Weinstein and Epstein and to the growing suspicion of traditional media. A huge underground gossip scene on Reddit, Substack, old school blogs, and even Instagram has arisen to crowd-source entertainment news.
13 thoughts on “The Gossip on Gossip: What happens when the mainstream media fails”
“The mainstream media’s failure to provide real journalism on the celebrity world is a huge blind spot, leading to disasters like Weinstein and Epstein and to the growing suspicion of traditional media. A huge underground gossip scene on Reddit, Substack, old school blogs, and even Instagram has arisen to crowd-source entertainment news.”
I don’t think this is just a celebrity world phenom: there have been some huge lacunae in MSM coverage of the non-celebrity world (Duke lacrosse, Latino movement away from Dems, evidence for lab release of Covid, race aspects of anti-Asian violence) which have also fed suspicion of MSM. On the right, there’s the line ‘Modern journalism consists of covering the important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.’
It’s dreadful for us as a national community, as people either do or don’t align with what’s in NYTimes, NPR. Moynihan said ‘Everyone gets his own opinion, but they don’t get their own facts’ but increasingly, they do get their own facts.
Of course the gossip magazines work with celebrities and their PR staff; they don’t want to be accused of slander. I would plead for less gossip, not more or better gossip. Even celebrities deserve privacy. I think the lack of privacy slowly drives many of them somewhat mad. Women seem especially vulnerable to public criticism, especially accusations of being bad people or being ugly.
Now, I do think that confidentiality agreements should not cover the sorts of things Weinstein and Epstein were doing. Both of their reigns of terror came to an end (eventually) when journalists did publish unvarnished stories about what they were doing, and when victims were willing to speak out about their injuries.
However, even in those cases, where are the charges against those who aided and abetted the abuse?
Problem is that the celebrities aren’t going to stop releasing their slanted stories and airbrushed images. That’s their bread & butter – and a big part of the reason that they make millions.
If journalists aren’t willing to challenge their slick version of ‘reality’ the celebrities get a free ride as ‘influencers’. Now, I don’t have a big problem when that influencing is around brands of jeans or footwear – or even lifestyle; but it is a significant issue when they use that platform to try to influence political or social view or issues.
And the media should absolutely be investigating them for hypocrisy: do what I say, not what I do, is a very big part of a lot of the celebrity activists.
Celebrities can, of course, have privacy. All they have to do is stop giving interviews, drip-feeding PR stories, and leaking carefully managed photo ops.
For most of them, hell will freeze over, first.
There are documented failures on the Weinstein & Epstein stories at NBC and Vanity Fair, but the Weinstein story was “doggedly” reported by Twohey & Kantor at the Times & Farrow at The New Yorker and Brown at the Miami Herald, all mainstream sources.
I think blind gossip, by its definition unsourced and unverifiable rumor, can’t be reported in main stream sites that follow journalistic ethics. The reporters who broke those stories pursued verifiable sources, found documented evidence and collaborative stories, cultivated witnesses and victims who were willing to tell their stories and trust the reporter to protect them.
W & E are examples of powerful men with powerful friends who warped the world around them to hide their crimes.
But, the run of the mill celebrity gossip we mean not crimes, but anonymous rumors that someone yelled at their kid or that their marriage is falling apart, I really don’t think we have a right to know that. No one reports on my parenting failures or the arguments I have with my spouse, but some of them would sound bad, if I were a famous person and random people thought they had a right to know everything about me.
Everyone has a right to privacy, even if some of them exploit a public persona to sell themselves. If people buy clothes I wear, do they have the right to know the state of my marriage, even if I run an instagram showing my happy family wearing my happy clothes to sell the clothes?
So there’s lots of gossip going on right now about Kim K and the sex tape that launched her and her family’s billion $ empire. The guy in the tape, Ray J, is pissed for some reason that I forgot and is blabbing. He is saying that the mom, Kris, was the one who handed the tape over to the porn company. They made a ton of money for the tape. They have always pretended that they had nothing to do with it. Ray is ready to leak a second tape that includes a golden shower – not a good look for the brand.
Okay, does that matter? On the one hand, should we care that Kim made a sex to tape with her boyfriend? No. Everything was consensual, including sending the tape to the porn company. Even if her mom is super icky for profiting from her daughter’s porn tape, is that public interest? Kim was an adult and if she and mom were in the porn business, that’s totally fine.
On the other, the Kardashians are more than just bimbos on tv. They seriously own billion dollar companies. They earn huge profits from their lip gloss, underwear, even socks. They have millions of followers on social media, where they sell idiots more garbage. They turned their bodies into silicone, bulimic, distorted, exaggerated versions of women, which totally fucks with young girls’ images of themselves. If they have an opinion on anything, they make a call to Hoda and they’re on your television the next morning. They are more than celebrities. If Kim ran for public office, she would win.
So, even dumb things like a sex tape is of the “public interest” when it concerns someone with that much soft power.
There’s also a problem when the media portrays a celebrity in glowing terms, when there is a mountain of evidence and tons of Internet buzz, which says the complete opposite. The media is supposed to pay attention when a whole lot of people are talking about something. When they are on a completely different page than very credible sources, then they look like idiots and people lose trust in them. If they publish the lies of celebrities on page six, and people know it, they won’t believe what that same paper puts on the front page.
I could go on and on. You would be very surprised at how the sausage is made.
No, I don’t think their sex tape is in the public interest, unless Kim was underage when it was made. And, if we think the sex tape launched her career, how is talking about it again going to impact her career? I’m thinking it will help make more zillions and will not impact her soft power at all.
I worry about the influence that people like K have on young women (especially with the body modifications), but I don’t think that the gossip changes that power she has at all, and, in fact, enhances it.
Yes, the NYT eventually wrote about Weinstein, but it took them a really long time, They didn’t acknowledge all the people who had already been talking about it, but that’s how the Times works. Their reporters get their angles from local papers and then never even link back to the first reporter’s work.
You know who finally broke open the Epstein case? It was a little reporter in a local paper in Florida. It wasn’t the WSJ or the NYT. Those papers thought that Epstein was an inconsequential celebrity story, so they didn’t look into it. Clearly, it wasn’t. And that story still hasn’t been completely told. There are all sorts of big names, not just Prince Andrew, who went to that island. Andrew got caught, because he’s a total moron, but others are still walking around.
One of the reason that celebrity news doesn’t get enough attention is that there just isn’t enough staff to cover major news like hurricanes and Putin. So, they don’t cover stories that appear to be small potatoes, or the editors give the stories to some 21-year old girl who just graduated from Brown.
Yes, Julie Brown, at the Miami Herald, doing main stream journalism (though at a local paper).
This was released this morning: https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2022-183
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Kim Kardashian for touting on social media a crypto asset security offered and sold by EthereumMax without disclosing the payment she received for the promotion. Kardashian agreed to settle the charges, pay $1.26 million in penalties, disgorgement, and interest, and cooperate with the Commission’s ongoing investigation.
It’s a welcome beginning–there are many other celebrities who should also be charged. This is not a victimless crime (encouraging speculation in cryptocurrency). Many people have lost their life savings.
Matt Damon should get nailed, too
Other celebrities as well:
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