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Wednesday, April 4, 2007 07:30 pm

Ignoring Paris

The world can survive without news of glamourpuss

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Untitled Document Stop the presses! There’s been a stunning breakthrough in news coverage by America’s establishment media. In a bold journalistic experiment, the Associated Press, which feeds stories 24/7 to thousands of media outlets, recently did the unthinkable: It imposed a one-week ban on any stories about Paris Hilton. Yes, the media phenomenon was to be ignored — for a week! Could the AP stick with it?  Would the earth wobble on its axis if this heiress to the Hilton hotel fortune did not get her daily dose of glamour coverage? Would anyone care? Or even notice? During Paris Blackout Week, the AP courageously let Hilton’s 26th birthday pass with nary a mention. She had a fab birthday bash in Las Vegas, but, uh-uh, not one word about it issued from this brave news source. Then Paris had a second birthday blowout at a Beverly Hills restaurant, where one of her friends got ejected for insulting Paula Abdul and Courtney Love — yet the AP stoically let it pass, refusing to rise to the bait of this delicious celebrity gossip. Interestingly, AP editors report that during their Paris-free week, not one of its worldwide media customers begged for a Hilton story or inquired about the lack of same. Not that this “celebutante,” as she’s called, got zero coverage that week, because other media outlets maintained their all-Paris-all-the-time focus. For example, U.S. Weekly has an item or photo of Hilton in practically every issue. “People now come to expect to see pictures of her,” says an editor of this celeb magazine. “People are fascinated by [her].”
People? I’m not fascinated. Are you?  
The AP’s ban was only for a week, but it does offer hope that if the media coverage were to go away, maybe she would, too.
Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, columnist, and author.
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