The LA Weekly did a great dig-deep journalism piece on Tom Cruise.
I found out a few amazing facts.
- On the infamous Oprah episode, nothing was out of the ordinary until the video hit the web, in it’s carefully and cunningly crafted 15 second soundbite version. The live audience loved his appearance and were as rambunctious as Tom, if not more. The “Couch Jumping” was actually prompted by Oprah, and it was standing for three seconds—not jumping. She told Cruise that she loved his enthusiasm at her Legends Ball where he stood on his chair honoring Rosa Parks! The couch thing began with him standing up in tribute to Rosa Parks, for Pete’s sakes! The “buzz” and gossip around that show began by making something out of nothing.
- When War of the Worlds opened to $64.9 million — Cruise’s biggest opening ever — which became his most successful film of all time, the web was saturated with the “fact” was that Tom Cruise had killed his career —Yeah right! This was said as part of the aftermath of the Oprah episode.
- Paramount Pictures Boss Sumner Redstone, gave this comment when ending the company’s business relationship with Tom. “His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount… we don’t think that someone who …costs the company revenue should be on the lot.” Even though Cruise was hitting the top of the box office. According to the article, Cruise’s movies had made 32 percent of Paramount’s revenue in the prior six years.
- Tabloids had been sued (with won or settled disputes, in Tom’s favor) for spreading this litany of lies about Cruise: Claiming Cruise was sterile, that he and Kidman hired sex coaches and that he’d seduced a male porn star.
- That there are still journalists with integrity, such as Amy Nicholson
I included the a teaser for the article here on my blog.
How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star
It was Jason Tugman’s first day of work. Almost a decade later, he still remembers the screams.
A former circus fire-eater, he’d taken a job as a lighting technician for The Oprah Winfrey Show after burning off a chunk of his tongue. The pay was $32 an hour and he didn’t want to screw it up. But as Tugman carefully hung black curtains in Studio B, directly behind the orange set where Oprah taped, those screams wouldn’t stop. The crowd sounded as if it was going to tear the building down.
“I could just hear the audience going absolutely apeshit,” Tugman says. “Just the absolute losing of minds.” He glanced at a monitor that transmitted a silent, live feed. Tom Cruise was on a couch.
You’ve seen it, too. You can probably picture it in your head: Tom Cruise, dressed in head-to-toe black, looming over a cowering Oprah as he jumps up and down on the buttermilk-colored couch like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Cruise bouncing on that couch is one of the touchstones of the last decade, the punchline every time someone writes about his career.
There’s just one catch: It never happened.
Like Humphrey Bogart saying, “Play it again, Sam,” Tom Cruise jumping on a couch is one of our mass hallucinations. But there’s a difference. Bogart’s mythological Casablanca catchphrase got embedded in the culture before we could replay the video and fact-check. Thanks to the Internet, we have video at our fingertips. Yet rather than correct the record, the video perpetuated the delusion.
In May 2005, the same month that Cruise went on Oprah, the world of celebrity changed. Perez Hilton and the Huffington Post launched, with TMZ right behind them, and the rise of the gossip sites pressured the print tabloids to joining them in a 24-hour Internet frenzy. Camera phones finally outsold brick phones, turning civilians into paparazzi. YouTube was a week old, and for the first time a video could go viral overnight.
The Internet finally had the tools to feed us an endless buffet of fluff, chopping up real events to flashy — and sometimes false — moments that warped our cultural memory. The first star to stumble in front of the knives was the biggest actor in the world — and the one who’d tried the hardest not to trip….”
Read the article on the original site here. I also want to give some serious props to the writer, Amy Nicholson. This piece shows that people are learning to look past the bias media’s version of a story and look at what really happened.