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More “Bad Guys” Going to TV Hosts for Confessions?

by on January 30, 2013

Earlier today,  Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man allegedly behind the Manti Te’o  fake girlfriend hoax, finally got a chance to tell his side of the story through an unusual outlet: Dr. Phil McGraw. This comes just two weeks after Lance Armstrong spent over two hours discussing his PED use with Oprah Winfrey.

TV Hosts are obviously a far cry from journalists, but several times over the past decade, these “bad guys” have been opting for other outlets rather than the plain media when deciding to come clean. Frankly, people like Dr. Phil and Oprah have been successful in getting a good chunk of information out of their guests, yet I cannot help but think that someone like NBC’s  Bob Costas could do better. Why are these figures not coming to American journalists?

Personally, had I done something wrong and wanted to come clean about it, I would go to someone who can push me to give all the answers. That is, unless I wanted to hide information.

Do such figures find journalists to be too harsh and maybe too objective? Should there be some sort of change in approach so that we can be given an opportunity to get all the good stuff out?


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  1. Felicia Cohen permalink

    I would agree that that is a definite possibility, of “bad guys” finding journalists a much harsher reality than a talk show. The main people who are sitting in a talk show audience are bound to be women, as well as the viewers of the program. Therefore, the hosts often gear their questions and comments towards that audience. It is definitely going to be a more sympathetic crowd than the Internet or the front page of a newspaper.

    A talk show in this case however, may be an appropriate outlet. Tuiasosopo did not break the law, although he might be a little far-fetched. Especially in comparison to a case like Trevell Coleman, a man who admitted to committing a murder 17-years ago. That broke in the news- i personally saw his confession on the New York Times site. If you compare the two, certainly the fluffier and kinder talk show is more inclined to a confession like that made up girl friend.

  2. This is not a matter of 15-minute-celebrities choosing their outlet, it is more a matter of them selling their story. Almost every journalist in the country wanted an interview with this guy at the time, the thing that Dr. Phil or Gawker or TMZ can (or are willing to) offer is money. There was probably a bidding war for this interview, and Dr. Phil won.
    I don’t know the ethical protocol for outlets recognized more as journalists, but I would assume paying a source is frowned upon, and probably not in the budget.

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