Publicist to the stars Ken Sunshine spent a good portion of his face-time on a panel at the American Magazine Conference — entitled, naturally, “Celebs and Magazines” — blasting the blogosphere for what he called “careless” journalism and “Gotcha!”-style antics.
Sunshine also accused the unnamed blogs of blatant copyright infringement with respect to posting images.
“I wish Time Warner and others would go after them,” he said.
Sunshine didn’t limit his criticism of celebrity media to “pajama people.” He said celebrities have limited magazine journalists’ access because they’ve been burned before. In one instance in particular, Sunshine said Leonardo DiCaprio had granted unrestricted access to Time for a cover story, only to have the magazine print, among other things, his grocery bill. “You think Leo’s going to be trusting of these journalists after that?”
People group editor Martha Nelson was also critical of the rampant “misinformation and speculation” and “sheer lies” proliferated by the blogosphere. “As a news organization, [dealing with what is published on blogs] it is a big waste of time.”
Said Nelson: “They’re sitting there in their pajamas making it up.”
Sunshine pointed to his client Lance Bass‘ coming out in People as a direct response to the “unfathomable ridicule” the ex-’NSync star was receiving online.
“He came to me and said ‘What do I do?’ … He never wanted to [come out in the press],” Sunshine said. “[But] some of these bloggers are just horrific.”
Premiere editor Peter Herbst, whose magazine’s covers are often scheduled over a year in advance, had a more democratic view: “People want to see celebrities taken down a peg … it’s healthy, and complimentary to what we do.”
Herbst lamented the shrinking window of journalists’ access to celebrity. “It used to be you’d spend a week on a film set — now the writer has to describe the entree because he has 10 minutes with them.”
FishbowlNY’s AMC 2006 Coverage: