I never, ever talk about celebrity culture in this blog. Some friends tell me that’s a shortcoming, but I think of it as my own personal rejection of the Huffington Post formula. Nevertheless, I admit the news of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s very public affection at the Director’s Guild Awards last night makes me smile. Why? Because it proves once again that Jolie is the master of her own PR — and it tells you something about the right-wing media stovepipe.
Every month or two, another series of tabloid covers confronts me at the grocery store declaring the megacouple is on the verge of a breakup, and this time it’s totally for real! The “source” for most of these stories is Jolie’s brother, with whom she is close and through whom she spins marvelous stories about her personal life onto the cover of those magazines. Her permanent state of scandal is a PR masterpiece, never failing to keep her celebrity status elevated above the lesser mortals of Hollywood.
Meanwhile, she seems to be happy with her enormous family and strapping buck husband, despite the scintillating headlines.
Jolie is not the first movie star to turn the gossip media into their own personal stovepipe, though to be sure she is today the very best at this game. The system is really quite simple:
- Leak an outrageous story to eager reporters.
- Watch the tabloids outdo each other.
- Give an exclusive interview in which you complain about the coverage, citing the tabloid covers.
- Call the studio and tell them you want ten million for the sequel to Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Now consider the Dick Cheney method:
- Leak an outrageous story to Judith Miller.
- Watch the press erupt.
- Wave the New York Times headline on a Sunday talk show.
- Invade Iraq.
And now you know how the mainstream media works for the powerful and famous instead of informing you.