Insight For The Modern Man

Bill Funt
Staff Writer

With all the talk about “fake news” these days, it may be interesting to have an inside look at how the tabloids work. I should know. I was right there a couple decades ago.

For those of you who don’t know, my father was Allen Funt, creator and host of Candid Camera. About 25 years ago my dad, still a celebrity whom everybody knew about, had a stroke and was in the middle of a long hospital stay. Of course the Enquirer immediately printed an “Allen Funt Battles Back From The Brink Of Death” story.

It was a highly dramatic version of what actually happened: the family all joining hands till the magical moment when Dad opened his eyes and came out of a coma versus the actual event of Dad flickering on and off with no circle of family members gathered around his bed.

Here’s what I learned from reading that story. When you see a quote from someone in such a story that ends with, “so and so told The Enquirer (or Star or Us …)” then someone actually said it. If the quote is followed by “so and so told a source” or “a source revealed” then it is likely BS. How did I figure this out? The Enquirer spoke to my mother and sister, and they each had a sentence or two of what they said printed, with their sentences all ending with “told the Enquirer.”

The most quoted person in the story was me … and I didn’t speak to them for five seconds. Every quote they attributed to me ended with “he revealed to a source” and did not contain a word that I actually said to anybody. The one that annoyingly amused me was that I spearheaded the hand-holding vigil and called it Operation Bring Back Dad. I assure you I would have come up with something more interesting than that.

Some of you will respond to this with “That must be so infuriating Bill.” You know what … it’s not. No harm came of it whatsoever and there is something about the whole process that entertained me more than offended me.

It’s just Chinatown folks; it’s just Chinatown.