By KELVIN CHILDS
I find it interesting that Bill Cosby is expecting the Black media to be “neutral” when he’s been in bed with the tabloid media for decades. (Cosby now claims he was duped by the freelance reporter who quoted him saying this, and that the reporter, Stacy Brown, did not tell him the conversation was being recorded.)
A while back — in 2009, during the Tiger Woods mania — I told this listserv about an article I had read in Spy magazine about the tabloid media and how it does what it does. In that article was a mention of how the National Enquirer will strike deals with some celebrities it is reporting on. To wit: They’ll spike a story if said celebrity gives them information for other stories. Some might call that extortion; they call it “cooperation.” The article specifically cited Bill Cosby as one such celebrity who “cooperates.”
I found that article the other day; it so happens that the entire run of Spy magazine is archived on Google Books. The article, in the November/December 1995 issue, is titled “Spy vs. Spies,” and begins on page 32. The Cosby reference is on page 34.
“Blackmail is a regular activity at the tabloids- though, it’s not called that. It’s called ‘cooperation.’ Here’s how it works: The tabloids get some serious dirt on a star (a photo of him or her in a compromising position, for example). They go to the star and say, ‘We’ll kill this story, but we’d like you to cooperate with us on ten other stories.’ The star, who in many cases says yes, has now become ‘a friend’ of the tabloids. According to insiders, some tabloid ‘friends’ include Billy Graham, Bill Cosby, Kenny Rodgers, Linda Blair, and Michael Jackson.”
Since then, it has come to light that Bill Cosby “cooperated” with the National Enquirer in 2005. It had interviewed Beth Ferrier, who was accusing him of drugging and sexually assaulting her, just like all these other allegations we’ve been hearing. At the time he was facing accusations by Temple University employee Andrea Constand. Cosby admitted in a deposition that he was afraid the interview with Ferrier would bolster the case Constand was bringing. So he made a deal with the Enquirer to kill the Ferrier interview for an “exclusive” in which he gave his own spin on the Constand case. Details here in the New York Times, “Bill Cosby Gave Interview to Keep Charges Secret,” Nov. 26, 2014.
It has also come to light that, in 1989, the National Enquirer was working on a story about Bill Cosby and Sammy Davis Jr. carousing with showgirls in Las Vegas. To kill that story, Cosby gave them a different one — about how he kicked his daughter Erinn out of the house over her drug use. See here: the New York Post, Page Six column, “Cosby Leaked Story About Daughter’s Drug Problems,” Nov. 24, 2014. More details here from The Huffington Post, “Bill Cosby Allegedly Leaked Story About Daughter’s Drug Problem in 1989,” Nov. 24, 2014. l
The spin Cosby put on it was that he was engaging in “tough love,” but let’s be clear: To protect his secrets, he threw his daughter under the bus.
I don’t need any more sanctimony from Bill Cosby.
Who said the Black press wasn’t being “neutral”?
And I’m particularly insulted that he uses the mainstream press to fire a shot at the Black press.
Cosby’s definition of journalistic “integrity” is not bringing up questions he doesn’t want to be asked. What’s his definition of being “neutral”? I hope a “neutral” Black journalist connects the dots I’ve spotted.