Wednesday, January 12, 2005

CNN's website has an interesting report on the Great Tabloid Brad/Jen Breakup Feeding Frenzy of 2005. Apparently, the real news is fascinated that non-news providers had to work overtime to get their in-depth analysis of intense idle speculation and unfounded rumor-mongering to The People:

"In the world of celebrities and those who love them, the Jennifer Aniston-Brad Pitt breakup was like the fall of the Berlin Wall.

That sent celebrity magazines hurtling into a race to be first in the biggest breakup story of, well, the year.

'It's the biggest story since Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck broke up,' Us Weekly Editor in Chief Janice Min said Tuesday.

Us Weekly, which typically closes its issue by midnight Monday, went into overdrive after Friday's announcement, which stated 'our separation is not the result of any of the speculation reported by the tabloid media.'

Min said her staff 'came in all weekend' and moved up production by 24 hours.

The situation was similar at People, which usually doesn't close its edition until Tuesday.

'We launched all boats to figure out what went wrong,' said People Deputy Managing Editor Larry Hackett. 'It's a mix of a number of things: issues about when to start a family, how she was feeling about her husband ... I think, like most adults, it wasn't one thing or another.'

Both magazines hit newsstands Tuesday. Using cultivated sources, the glossies crafted multidimensional stories exploring details about the breakup including Aniston and Pitt's recent Caribbean vacation itinerary, their family values and their division of assets.

The official separation announcement from Aniston and Pitt's publicist was first reported by People's Web site and later picked up by other news organizations and local tabloids, such as the New York Post and New York Daily News.

But unlike news organizations that have prepared obituaries for when somebody dies, Min said, 'We don't have relationship obituaries ready to go.'

Us devoted 31 pages to Aniston and Pitt; People 12. Both magazines had sidebars titled 'The Angelina Factor,' citing rumors that Pitt may have had an extramarital affair with "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" co-star Angelina Jolie.

Said People's Hackett: 'We treat this stuff as if we're reporting on arms negotiation treaties or sports or politics. That's the way we tell a story.'

Not every celebrity-driven magazine jumped on the Brad-and-Jen quick-to-print breakup bandwagon. Tabloid-turned-glossy Star magazine's current issue proclaims, "Brad and Jen Back On! IT'S BABY TIME."

The magazines have been filled with stories featuring Angelina Jolie -- here with Pitt in the upcoming "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" -- as the "other woman."

Bonnie Fuller, editorial director of Star parent company American Media, said her company decided to spend their energy on more reporting instead of going to press early. But she insists Star was the first to report on the shattered relationship last month in the December 13 'MARRIAGE CRISIS!' cover story and the December 20 follow-up 'Brad & Jen's SEPARATE LIVES!'

'What we believe happened is that they took this vacation, encouraged by their close friends Courteney Cox and David Arquette, to try and really put it back together, to try for the miracle reconciliation,' Fuller said. 'Then something happened. We believe they had a final fight and realized they were too far apart.'

Fuller revealed Star's next chapter in the breakup saga is a cover story titled 'Brad & Angelina: THE REAL TRUTH.'"

Ahh, good ole Evil Editrix Bonnie Fuller. I LOVE how she defends Star's "IT'S BABY TIME!" cover by saying her staff was busy too busy "reporting" on the state of the Pitts' marriage to notice that they had broken up. That is CHUTZPAH, lady, CHUTZPAH!

I also like the analogies that compare the dissolution of a Hollywood marriage to that of "arms negotations treaties," the collapse of the Berlin Wall, obituaries, and "sports." AWESOME.

I would almost feel sorry for all these hard-working reporters--after all, your humble Felt Up blogette didn't have to do much extra work except make a post on the weekend--but then I remember: I DON'T GET PAID AND THEY DO.

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