Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Diane & Katie: The latest lies from network news

No wonder people don't believe network news anymore. They lie through their teeth. They lie about their biases. They pretend "anchormen" and "anchorwomen" run their newscasts write their books and blogs and they pretend they don't pay for exclusives or agree to groundrules in exchange for exclusive interviews.

The latest, and by far one of the most egregious whoppers in recent days, comes from Jim Murphy, executive producer of ABC's Good Morning America after his host and personality Diane Sawyer interviewed Katie Holmes about her new movie, without asking anything about the huge news story Holmes is enmeshed in-- the new book by Andrew Morton that says lots of scurrilous things about her husband Tom Cruise and her marriage to him. Sawyer stuck with the fluff questions. Obviously so. Sickeningly so. Corruptly so.

And when asked about it by our pals at the New York Post's Page Six, Murphy insisted "there was no agreement to avoid the touchy subject.

"He told The Post's Don Kaplan he'd planned for the segment to delve into the personal lives of Cruise and Holmes, but after nearly eight minutes of light banter, didn't know when Sawyer was going to get to it and called for the segment to end.

"'It was one of those bad calls on my part,' Murphy said. 'Diane doesn't generally get angry, but was she disappointed in how I handled it, yes.'

"Murphy said Sawyer was going to get into personal issues but, '[she] was looking for the right place to do that. She knew we wanted to be fair and deal with [Holmes' new] movie and she wanted to talk about her life because Diane likes to produce a well-produced segment and bring something special to it when you get somebody that you don't see often on live television - but we had a time issue.'"

Producer takes the fall! How noble! And what a liar! Murphy has worked for network news since he was a teen (he spent the best years of his life in the CBS News fishbowl). He needs to get out there and stop treating the audience like we're stupid. It's obvious to everyone who got to place Katie Holmes in front of a camera agreed in advance not to touch the personal issues. That's how the game is played. We don't mind that GMA made a deal for a softball interview. Sawyer only embarrassed herself. We're just surprised they lied about it.

And while we're at it... one more thing about Tom Cruise and Scientology...

Cruise is featured in a members- only Scientology promo tape getting lots of play- and ridicule- on the Internet today. We say it's interesting. It's strange.

And it's his religion. So lay off the guy!

This was America last time we checked. We've met Cruise a couple of times and he's always been a very nice guy. Same with Travolta.  Whatever gets you through the night, we say. Go after the priests. Or the news networks...

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