MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

How Ugly Will It Get?

Sadly, I seem to be spending more and more time gagging on the tabloidization of the entertainment media. We’ve always been a whorehouse, but every hour wasn’t spent trying broadcast the tv-safe version of the Dirty Sanchez.
Now this, in defense of the memory of Heath Ledger, who the publicists have no financial benefit in protecting, only the opportunity to stop vomiting for a moment as the media becomes even more abusive that the most abusive personal publicist ever considered being…
Tonight Entertainment Tonight/The Insider are previewing an extremely distasteful segment regarding Heath Ledger. The segment centers around a two-year old video ET purchased for a large sum of money in the hopes of stirring up a salacious and exploitive story about Heath, which would win them big ratings on the first day of sweeps. The two outlets did not even have the courtesy to wait until after Heath

Be Sociable, Share!

15 Responses to “How Ugly Will It Get?”

  1. hendhogan says:

    actually, that was mussolini.
    in a poll last year a majority of journalists answered that they believed it was the duty to interpret the news, not just report it (i don’t have exact details at hand, but can post later if anyone really cares). so, i’m not surprised at this at all.

  2. I just asked this question to a friend the other day and this reminded me…
    If I’m shooting a doc or some kind of footage, I have to get signed waivers from everyone on camera OR put up a sign that says if you enter this area, you may get filmed. If I accidentally get someone on tape and they didn’t agree-I have to blur out their face.
    Why does the paparazzi have the right to shoot celebs and air tapes like this Ledger drug use one without express written consent from the subject? Is there implied consent because they’re celebs or is it just a law that gets trampled on??
    Any ideas or reasons why would be GREAT!

  3. hendhogan says:

    celebs are considering a part of public domain. the reason for a waiver is because of a person’s right to privacy. a famous person waives that right as a result of being a celebrity. it’s about reasonable expectation of privacy.

  4. Alex Keen says:

    ET is scum. Digg this.

  5. LYT says:

    Petaluma — I don’t think news journalists are required to get waivers from everyone they film; if they did, we could never film a war. I suspect the “news” definition has been stretched and distorted to include entertainment news. But movies, even docs, are categorized as entertainment (as are TV shows like COPS, which blur out perps’ faces even though local newspapers and TV news may show them), and have different rules than “news.”
    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but that seems like a plausible explanation.

  6. Aris P says:

    Couldnt agree more. I’m forwarding those 2 emails to everyone I know. Also, I love how Nikki Finke got thrown into that verbal “fuck” fest. Keep up the amazing work David.

  7. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Shameful is pulling out the old Holocaust analogies to hammer a point home. Is it just me or is there complete double standards when it comes to our perception of a famous person.
    Anna Nicole’s labia being sold on ebay before she’s cold won’t raise an eyebrow…but an introverted talent pills-out and the same coverage via Hollywood hacks since the 1950s suddenly causes blogging piques.
    Nothing has changed Dave. There were no good old days. I understand your anger but the only thing that’s really changed is the speed of delivery.
    The scum covering the same old ground, still smells the same to me. Its not right but it’s the place where you butter your bread Dave.
    So swallow the contempt and have another sandwich big guy.

  8. Roman says:

    Is it known how long ET was sitting on that video? In any case, David is right – these people have no shame or soul. It’s sad that another one of the bad side effects of the WGA strike so far has been that the already tiny standards of the journalist community have been lowered even farther.

  9. This is the show that went from a piece about Heath Ledger on moment to a piece on Jessica Alba’s increasing bust-size the next. So…

  10. Marqueeman says:

    So well written, David…I paraphrase John Lennon as far as the tabloid approach of so-called “entertainment” shows nowadays….How do they sleep at night?

  11. LexG says:

    Was ET *always* scummy?
    I seem to remember that in its early days, it was harmless puff-piece B-roll with Burt pimping his latest, or the cast of Dynasty getting lobbed softballs, presided over by innocuous Mary Hart.
    Last I paid any attention to it, they seemed to be milking the Anna Nicole story for months and months and interviewing plastic surgery freakshows.
    Leonard Maltin is still on there? Whatever his flaws as a (squeamish, stuffy) critic, he’s a reputable film historian and smart, likable guy… Shame some good people are still sticking around on a show that’s nearly hitting TMZ levels.

  12. Tofu says:

    Yes, this net schlock must’ve changed the game for E.T.
    They used to be a simple venue to promote the latest stars and flicks coming out (with a few Cindy Crawford stories thrown in), but now they appear to be the worst of the worst.

  13. Lex, generally it’s just as you described it except instead of Dynasty it’s their constant “exclusive” on the set of Desperate Housewives and harmless puff pieces presided over by Mary Hart (she’s still there).
    And then there’s Cojo. A man/woman who is like nails on a chalkboard. Has he actually become so effeminite that he’s now technically a woman?
    Of course they now take person tragedy and make it into like a sick competition. It happened with Anna Nicole and then Britney and now Heath and it’ll continue.

  14. Chucky in Jersey says:

    The campaign to lean on Paramount worked. AP (via NY Daily News) says “Entertainment Tonight” will not air that Heath Ledger video.
    Then again “ET” might not have aired the tape tonight thanks to Ms. Spears being committed.

  15. David Poland says:

    You couldn’t be more wrong, JBD.
    It’s not the same. Traditional Media is lowering its bar.
    Increased ease of access to immoral things is not nothing. And yes, there is a tendency in the world to feel all ancient and think the sky is falling.
    Issues like video sharing are complex and “immoral” versus “it’s the future, dude” need to be discussed and debated seriously over years as technology evolves. But watching the car wreck on the side of the road will always be the same.
    And you, jumping on the last sentence of a long post to try to win the day is cheap and avoids of any real discussion.
    I’m not pining for the controlled “good ol’ days,” but this is not “same as it ever was” and your cynical apathy is pathetic.

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon