Celebrity Gossip Goes Mainstream

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Jan. 15, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: America’s insatiable appetite for celebrity gossip is this week’s topic as we go beyond the Beltway. Brad Pitt (search) and Jennifer Aniston’s breakup set off a furious sprint to the newsstands for celebrity magazines. And for fans hungry for the inside scoop, the lives of the rich and famous have long been fodder for supermarket gossip rags. But this and other stories prove that celebrity journalism has gone mainstream.

So by taking up this topic, well, we proved last week that, that "The Beltway Boys" have a sports page where we solved the problem of the Bowl College Series (search ), this is our style section this week.

So you explain to me why did Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston break up? And furthermore, if you know the answer to this, what is Amber Frey (search) doing all over the place?

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Yes, well, look, one thing I’ve learned, one of the life lessons I’ve learned after all these years is, you never know what’s really going on in somebody else’s marriage. You hope you know what’s going on in yours, but you never know what’s going on in, in somebody else’s.

And, and Amber Frey’s, you know, she’s a tart, and involved in that murder trial in California. So they’re using that as an excuse to get her on and ask her how she feels about tort reform, I guess.

(LAUGHTER)

BARNES: Or maybe education reform or something like that.

Look, there is a problem here, and here’s what the problem is with all this celebrity journalism (search). It’s gotten into mainstream journalism. And as a result, a lot of stuff that is not news is covered as if it is news. And here we are talking about this celebrity stuff.

Secondly, it has, by dwelling on all this celebrity stuff, it has cheapened and trivialized real news, the mainstream news media. Look, I don’t mean to be snotty or stuffy about this, so this may sound a little that way. And then it’s created people like talentless ciphers like Paris Hilton, it’s turned these people into national figures. We don’t want that.

And, and the other thing is, it’s encouraged all these Hollywood types and musicians and so on to think that they have important political messages for America, and they don’t.

KONDRACKE: I actually think of the Jennifer Aniston-Brad Pitt thing as a kind of a cultural event.

(LAUGHTER)

KONDRACKE: Now, wait a minute. I think that the public honestly was rooting for this Hollywood couple to stay together and prove that there were certain Hollywood, you know, superstars who could actually hold a marriage together.

And I think it actually, it says something about the institution of marriage, you know, people want the institution of marriage to succeed, and therefore, it’s not in as bad shape that it could be ruined by letting gays marry. I had to get that point.

(LAUGHTER)

BARNES: You never let up. Well, there were people in my family who were vocally cheering for their marriage to work. I wasn’t one of them.

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