Paying for stories is losing its taboo...
NEW YORK - Policies forbidding payment for news interviews increasingly seem like the network television equivalent of the 55 mph speed limit: a rule often winked at unless you’re heading into a speed trap.
Three of the past month’s accidental celebrities - Jasper Schuringa, who helped thwart an attack on a Detroit-bound plane; David Goldman, who took a custody fight for his son to Brazil; and the White House party-crashing Salahis - have either sought or received goodies from TV networks eager to hear their stories.
Schuringa gave interviews to outlets that had agreed to purchase blurry cellphone images he’d taken of a man who authorities say tried to use explosives to take down the plane. Goldman and his son accepted NBC’s offer of a ride home from Brazil on a charter airplane.
Representatives for Michaele and Tareq Salahi, who embarrassed the Obama administration by sneaking into a state dinner, were reportedly seeking six-figure bids from networks to tell their story.
“I don’t know if people would have thought of that in the past,’’ said Andy Schotz, head of the ethics committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. “But now often the first thing people think of is to get a publicist, a lawyer, and an agent and figure out how to make money’’ from instant notoriety, he said.