We'll Always Have Paris?

The following is a transcription of the March 3, 2007 edition of "FOX News Watch" that has been edited for clarity.

ERIC BURNS, HOST: It's time for our "Quick Takes on the Media."

Quick Take Headline Number Two:

Oh, Well, at Least They Tried

The day before Valentine's Day, the Associated Press' entertainment editor sent an e-mail to staffers. And this is what it said, "Next week, the print team is planning an unconventional experiment. We are not going to cover Paris Hilton. Barring any major, major news, we are not going to put a single word about Paris on the wire. If something does come up, big or small, we encourage discussions on whether we should write about it."

Since the e-mail was sent, the AP has written at least three stories about Ms. Hilton.


Rich, can you be the one person in America to explain her irresistibility to the media?


RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW, EDITOR: I will say this about Paris. We've seen recently how this kind of celebrity culture and obsession destroys sometime the subjects of it, Anna Nicole, Britney Spears .

BURNS: You're talking about Britney Spears ? All right.

LOWRY: Paris is the one indestructible figure who will never be destroyed. I think she's tough as nails. And rather than being exploited, she is exploiting all of this brilliantly.

JIM PINKERTON, NEWSDAY: Yes, I'm going to have to say, if you get the job as the entertainment editor at the AP, go ought to just go with the flow and say I'm here to cover these people. They are interesting. They do have soap opera stories. Paris Hilton is a major figure in the pop culture. So why fight it?

BURNS: And, Jane, Thursday of this past week was the 75th anniversary of the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, which was one of the starts, really, of the fascination with celebrities, especially when celebrities might be making negative news — or when there may be negative circumstances association with their stories.

JANE HALL, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Right. There was a great documentary that came out a few years ago where they showed novelist, like Edna Ferber and very serious people, basically picking over the bones of this case...

BURNS: The Lindbergh case?

HALL: The Lindbergh case. I have to say — let me sound like Cal Thomas. As the parent of a daughter, who reads and looks at all these celebrities I tell her to work hard, study hard and maybe you'll do well.

You know and Paris Hilton, so far, I don't think is working hard, studying hard. She does nothing to get deserve attention. It's a hard message to teach your kid.


BURNS: If you had known about this AP e-mail in advance, and you were a betting man, would you have bet the AP could have kept the promise?

NEAL GABLER, MEDIA WRITER: No, of course they couldn't. Because she's part of a repertoire company and the news needs this repertoire company. And I think what we're all saying here is it's really a matter of proportion. That's what we object to. It's not that they cover Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. It's the proportion in which they cover them which overwhelms other and more serious news.

BURNS: And that's really the problem, Rich, isn't it? What is not being covered, while this is being covered? Even on 24-hour news, you have a finite amount of time.

LOWRY: Maybe. But the Lindbergh baby case shows us there's always been an interest in scandal and crime and missing people. And now on TV, you have added incentive of b-roll.


You know, if you can show a buxom blonde, every seven few minutes or so, the ratings are going to go up!

HALL: Even if she's dead.

BURNS: We have to take one more break. We'll be back with this.

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