If you were outraged when you heard about the "Botox mom," the woman who claimed to shoot her 8-year-old daughter with regular Botox injections, imagine how ABC and Good Morning America feel now that the truth has come to light. Originally claiming her name was Kerry Campbell, it turns out the needle-happy mama is actually one Sheena Upton, who now says the whole story was a hoax for moolah. Now, The Hollywood Reporter says ABC is refusing to pay up for the story.
An ABC spokesman said GMA had "agreed to pay a $10,000 licensing fee to a U.K. freelancer for the pictures ... Obviously in light of everything that's happened, zero money has been sent that way."
Although Upton narrowly escaped losing custody of her daughter, it's still unclear whether she's lying that it was a hoax or The Sun reporter is lying that she saw the mom give her daughter the injections of her own accord. Either way, I'm siding with ABC on the money issue.
If only because I feel like no one associated with the original production of this filthy story deserves compensation. And ABC bought it under the assumption that it was legit, but no matter who the liar is (Upton or The Sun), the story was a scam. Just like a customer shouldn't have to pay for faulty merchandise, maybe ABC shouldn't pony up for a fake story.
However, at the same time, ABC better learn their lesson from this whole mess. This is what happens when you don't do original reporting. It's what happens when you find some sensationalistic trash from a tabloid newspaper and opt to regurgitate it as "news." Come on, ABC -- we deserve better.
Currently, the network says it is "vigorously investigating" Upton's story, as well as how its original news team did not catch the fraud. But it's not exactly rocket science ... I'd blame laziness, an appetite for ratings over accuracy, the fact that the more information we seem to be able to consume, the less we question it. (Flashback to Sue Sylvester's lesson on muckraking on Glee a couple of weeks ago!)
Obviously, a wake-up call is in order here. These quick, easy, ratings-nabbing stories may initially seem like winners for network news stations, but in the long run, they'll lose their credibility, viewers, and money. It doesn't seem worth it. Overall, getting those lazy reporters out on the street to push up their sleeves and do some original reporting will serve both the network and us the viewers best.
Do you think ABC & GMA should pay up for the "Botox mom" story or do they deserve a pass since it seems like a hoax?
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