In reporting the denial of a big photo deal between People magazine and Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, Associated Press reporter Rachel D’Oro and Anchorage Daily News reporter Kyle Hopkins can’t seem to avoid sleazy suggestion and bozo analysis.
D’Oro and Hopkins raise questions about an MSNBC story on a $300,000 deal for photos of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston with newborn son Tripp.
According to People’s managing editor Larry Hackett:
“the magazine has had ‘conversations’ about photos with a Palin representative but no deal has been made and no money has been given to the Palins.”
“‘Would we pay for a picture of her and her kid? I don't know. It's something I would consider. It's not something I would rule out of hand,’ he said.”
So, though People magazine has not closed a deal with Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, the clear implication is that a deal is in the works.
Incredibly, after having just proved the MSNBC story to be flawed, D’Oro and Hopkins go on to unquestioningly repeat details of the same MSNBC story as fact. They even reference the story’s “unnamed sources” as though the same sources wrong about whether a deal even exists are right on the reasoning behind specific money amounts.
"MSNBC's report quoted unnamed sources saying bidding for the baby photos began at $100,000 and increased after Johnston's mother Sherry was arrested on felony drug charges this month involving OxyContin, a potentially addictive prescription painkiller. MSNBC said estimates of the deal were in the $300,000 range."
Why Sherry Johnston’s arrest would triple the value of the photos of her grandson is never explained. D’Oro and Hopkins never try to find the “unnamed sources” nor do they bother to question MSNBC about it. Just credulously pass it on.
The sleaze comes in while questioning Paul Harris, who works with an entertainment photo agency, on the value of the photos.
"The $300,000 figure would be appropriate for a sit-down portrait session of the newborn and his parents -- but only if it includes Sarah Palin, said Paul Harris with Pacific Coast News, an entertainment photo agency based in Los Angeles.
"And unless Alaska's Republican governor is a presidential contender in 2012, Harris doesn't anticipate escalating interest in paying big money for street photos of her grandson and his teenage mother.
"'Maybe if the father left her and went off with Angelina Jolie, but that might not happen,' he said."
The idea of Levi Johnston running off with Angelina Jolie is a sleazy joke. It adds nothing to the story, but lets D’Oro and Hopkins slyly slime Johnston and the Palin family. The reason for including it (that Palin will not be a presidential contender in 2012) shows Paul Harris (and D’Oro and Hopkins for relying on his judgment) as being a bit of a bozo on who is politically “hot”.
Harris maintains that street photos of Tripp will not be in demand unless Palin is a presidential contender in 2012. It’s a strange comment given that 54% of Republicans say they would choose Palin as their party’s nominee.
From now until 2012, Palin is not only a presidential contender but the preferred Republican presidential contender. Apparently street photos of her grandson are going to be worth big bucks.