Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A late weigh-in on Hinsey-gate

By now, the whole free world seems to have visited Jossip and read the tale of the alleged firing of Carolyn Hinsey and the alleged reaction of her purportedly much-maligned staff. I was initially addicted to that thread until it became an ugly mess of forgers.

For me, five or six days after the initial release of the item, these are the four lessons I have learned.

First, there is enormous anger at the "managed" soap press. The remaining die hard viewers want more than advertising-tied fashion and beauty articles, spoilers packaged as "news", and not-very-probing Q&As (although I prefer the Q&As to the turgid profiles we used to get--still get in SOD. I think the "outings" in the Jossip thread are really much more reflective of a desire for honestly and candor. Sexuality is the most OBVIOUS way to expose the dishonesty of the soap press (and the most prurient), but it wouldn't happen if readers felt the soap press were being "straight" (forgive the pun) with them.

Second, there is still a ton of fan passion for the soaps. The unprecedented size of the Jossip thread (albeit, now, mostly due to multiple posts from a small group) and the widespread interest in the thread (on all blogs and soap sites) reveals that there IS a market out there.

Third, the truth is never in a single thing, but in the gestalt of things. As much as we are to believe "The Devil Wears Lane Bryant", the truth is that Hinsey was a passionate advocate for soaps, and did a great deal to promote them. That this ended up being bound up in some potentially unhealthy attachments to "pets", or to a payola scheme for her bar is unfortunate. What really comes across here, however, is that this was a dramatic, flamboyant, aggressive woman...and what better kind of advocate of soaps can there be? This does not excuse what she apparently did to both undermine her rivals and create a culture of fear at her magazine. Great personalities, however, usually inspire these kinds of extreme love-hate sentiments, rather than more moderate feelings.

Fourth, the Jossip thread has devolved into nonsense, as an erstwhile soap reporter publicly works out his issues with SOD/SOW (for the record, I always really enjoyed Alan Carter, and I also religiously followed his soapstarworld.com), and a phalanx of forgers ruins the thread with misinformation. Which goes to prove: We STILL need a legitimate soap press--one that verifies information--because the modern blog/message board cannot provide that. The democracy of the internet is always one heartbeat away from chaos...as Jossip now demonstrates. Where the soap press can still earn its money (and cannot be replaced) is by doing quality control on information. If only the soap press could figure out a way to join the modern world with more timely information, we'd have it made!

2 comments:

Snark said...

"What really comes across here, however, is that this was a dramatic, flamboyant, aggressive woman...and what better kind of advocate of soaps can there be?"

Someone who isn't a lying, greedy, duplicitous, insecure backstabber? Someone who has class? Someone who has morals?

I really don't understand this train of thought. I mean, if somebody wants to completely ignore the Jossip thread as unverfied rumor, that's one thing. But, there seems to be an alternate P.O.V., that "Yes, Carolyn Hinsey did do these horrible things, but she was outspoken and passionate and loved her soaps!" Never mind that these traits absolutely DON'T cancel out or even slightly redeem anything that she's been accused of--what did this woman really do for soaps?

Her columns were a study in bafling contradictions: bashing Soapnet for moving away from soaps, while SOW, the magazine which she ran, was giving cover stories to American Idol and other prime-time shows; advocating the use of veteran performers, then deciding we need to have a "come to Jesus" meeting, when ABC drops veteran performers; spreading falsehoods about male rape victims to bolster her opinion of a GH story; printing a steady steam of articles (not opinion pieces, but articles and interviews) over the past several months that are highly negative towards CBS soaps, while ABC doesn't get anywhere near the same treatment.

Soap Opera Weekly? Went further down the toilet during her run as editor.

Any lip service she paid to viewer concerns about soaps was eventually undercut by her own behavior--and that was just the easily observable Hinsey, the one we saw in print. The other Hinsey seems to be a walking trainwreck. If even half of what's been alleged about her is true, I doubt people left her presence saying, "Now there is a passionate advocate for soaps--I'm gonna start watching All My Children tomorrow!"

Sadly, I have the feeling that while Hinsey was not anything close to being an IDEAL representative for soaps, she was an accurate one. The whole industry seems to be toxic.

Anonymous said...

Rw: your hinseygate story
Who are you? Did you ever work as a real writer? Crediblr writers base their opinions on FACT. She was not a "passionate advocate." She was the unprofessional to the max of people and ruined careers. If you want to write opinions like this you must back it up with research, facts and interviews. Base your opinions on THE TRUTH