Checkbook Journalism

Cal Thomas | Syndicated Columnist | Friday, June 22, 2007

Checkbook Journalism

There are a lot of things in media and culture to disgust us these days, but this story is at or near the top.

The once-proud and great National Broadcasting Company – for which I once worked – has reportedly agreed to pay as much as $1 million to Paris Hilton for her first after-jail interview. I wish I were making this up. The New York Post reports NBC plans to put it on the “Today Show.”

Sources tell the Post that the interview will be conducted by Meredith Viera the day after she gets out of jail.

ABC and Barbara Walters were close to getting the interview until NBC-Universal boss Jeff Zucker personally called Hilton’s father and made the pitch. Hilton agreed to the interview, but said she would only do it with Viera because co-host Matt Lauer had made what he, Rick Hilton, regarded as “disparaging remarks” about his daughter.

So not only do we get checkbook journalism, the subject gets to pick her interrogator. I wouldn’t watch this trash if it was the only thing on television and I hope you won’t either.


Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.

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