According to the New York Times People — one of the few magazines still doing well in this economy, by the way — agreed to give Angelina Jolie and family positive coverage (no using the term Brangelina!) as part of a package deal that included photos of her newborn twins and an interview.
The stars were seeking more than the estimated $14 million they received from the deal. They also wanted a hefty slice of journalistic input — a promise that the winning magazine’s coverage would be positive, not merely in that instance but into the future.
People is categorically denying the charge, even though the Times say they have talked to “two people with knowledge of the bidding.” In the same article Bonnie Fuller says that Jolie, who does not employ a publicist or an agent, is “scary smart” about manipulating the media. The article goes on to disclose that Jolie herself has set up some paparazzi shots as a way to control her image and elicit sympathy in the aftermath of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston‘s divorce. Color us shocked! Shocked!
Who are we kidding here, stars have been manipulating their own images and the press has been somewhat compliant, knowing that it will result in strong sales, for as long as there have been stars to cover. That said, People has a great deal of credibility as far as celebrity coverage goes and one of the results is that they have also become a online go-to for reliable celebrity news. With this in mind they might do well to cut down this story forcefully, or at least run a few unflattering pictures of the Brangelina troop to prove they still have some editorial independence.