“Diane Sawyer is facing backlash after her 2003 interview with Britney
Spears resurfaced on social media. The veteran broadcaster is known
for her stern interview approach, but with a new documentary, ‘Framing
Britney Spears,’ shining the light on the pop star’s treatment by the
media, many are condemning Sawyer for how she treated Spears.” — Newsweek
INTERVIEWER VOICE-OVER: We all know FEMALE STAR from her decades of hard work and artistry that I will now gloss over to make room for casual sexism and unfounded accusations about her personal life. This week, on an actual televised news program, I sit down with her for an exclusive interview in which nothing is held back.
INTERVIEWER: FEMALE STAR, you’re hot—that’s huge for you.
STAR: Thank you, yes, it is.
INTERVIEWER: How many eating disorders would you say got you this incredible body?
STAR: I don’t have an eating disorder. I just work out and maintain a healthy diet.
INTERVIEWER: Anorexia? Bulimia? That thing where you smoke so much crack you start eating crack instead of a balanced breakfast?
STAR: Like I said—I just eat healthy and work out. I have literally every trainer and nutritionist at my disposal.
INTERVIEWER: Interesting. So how do you justify giving every girl in America an eating disorder when you can’t even bother having one yourself?
INTERVIEWER V.O.: I’ll ask her judgmental and invasive questions about her career . . .
INTERVIEWER: Do you like your voice?
STAR: I guess so—
INTERVIEWER: [Making notes on a pad of paper.] Conceited.
STAR: I mean, there are people with better voices—
INTERVIEWER: [Sharp intake of breath.] Low self-esteem—troubling.
INTERVIEWER V.O.: . . . her childhood . . .
INTERVIEWER: This is a picture of you from before you were famous. Look at that little girl.
INTERVIEWER: Aww, indeed. Now, in this picture, you were several years younger than you are today. How do you expect your fans to feel about these drastic changes?
STAR: You mean—aging?
INTERVIEWER: What do you think that little girl would do if she saw you now? Would she be proud? Would she kill herself? My money is on kill herself.
INTERVIEWER V.O.: . . . and, of course, wildly inappropriate areas of her personal life.
INTERVIEWER: America wants, needs, and, above all, deserves to know—are you a virgin, or what’s going on down there?
STAR: I’m not going to comment on that. I just think it’s private.
INTERVIEWER: You say it’s private, and yet here you are, on the cover of a magazine, lying on a bed—the exact place that sex happens. Curious, no?
STAR: That was a fun shoot. I didn’t choose the pictures they used.
INTERVIEWER: O.K. But shouldn’t you, then a sixteen-year-old child, have had the marketing and P.R. savvy of a major corporation, as well as the personal self-possession to boss around a group of much older and mostly male professionals, until you got the exact images you wanted?
INTERVIEWER: Without being a bitch about it?
INTERVIEWER V.O.: My unearned “gotcha” moments will shock you, as this too-good-to-be-true story of an innocent young woman starts to unravel.
INTERVIEWER: What do you say to the allegations that you’ve been within the same city limits as people using hard drugs?
STAR: I can’t control what other people do.
INTERVIEWER: O.K., sure. You’re going to tell me that you have no power over adult strangers, even though we know men want to have sex with you?
STAR: Well, public presentation as a sexual object is really not the same as power in our society—
INTERVIEWER: What? Sorry, I was distracted by your breasts, which is actually your fault.
INTERVIEWER V.O.: And, yes, we will be discussing the most famous breakup ever to have occurred between two children.
INTERVIEWER: You denied having a sexual relationship with BELOVED MALE CELEBRITY. Strange, because he privately confided to a shock-jock radio host on air that, in fact, you did. So I guess my question is, Why have you refused to publicly congratulate him on getting in your pants?
STAR: I don’t think I need to—
INTERVIEWER: Literally everyone else is proud of him. He’s getting a Congressional Medal for Being the Biggest Stud.
STAR: Is that . . . real?
INTERVIEWER: [Raising eyebrows] I see we didn’t have time for civics lessons between concerts. That will make my detailed questions about the Iraq War all the more devastating.
INTERVIEWER V.O.: You won’t want to miss the stunning admissions that I brutally force out of her in a faux-intimate setting, this week, on an actual news program.
INTERVIEWER: Finally, I just want to ask you—do you think you’re deserving of love?
STAR: Yes, I think so.
INTERVIEWER: LOL, O.K. Do we say LOL in 2007?
Original posted at www.newyorker.com