Friday, September 18, 2009


Budding Oprah Winfrey-esque TV mogul and former model Tyra Banks was profiled earlier this month by ABC News Nightline’s Cynthia McFadden in a piece titled “Tyra Banks – America’s Next Top Mogul.” Banks and her PR handler committed one of the worst communications Fumbles in recent memory. She was asked by McFadden about being criticized by former models Paulina Porizkova and Janice Dickenson, both of whom were once cast members on Banks’ show America’s Next Top Model. Porizkova, for example, claimed she was fired from the show on her birthday, that Banks ignored her off camera and that Banks was up to 6 hours late at times for the show’s judges’ panel. The video (here: is worth watching. Banks’ response to McFadden’s question was silence. She smiled and arched her eyebrows. Meanwhile, off camera, her publicist, Lisa Israel, is heard telling McFadden: “Lets not go there.” ABC chose to identify Israel by name on screen, although she is not seen. And with the cameras still rolling, McFadden looks over angrily and tells Israel: “Well, I am going there. I am going to go there.” This was the first mistake. Folks, never tell media how to do their job. Red flag – bull. Your job is to be prepared for any question. If this was Banks’ strategy, it was dumb. Otherwise she was simply unprepared for what was an obvious potential question. After again refusing to answer why the two former models criticized her, Banks asked McFadden: “Why do you think?” Meanwhile, Israel is heard again off camera saying: “She doesn’t want to go there.” The ABC reporter asked a question back: “Jealous? Is that what you’re saying?” Banks’ reply: “I didn’t say it. You said it. I didn’t say that word.” And it really went downhill from there, with Banks at one point calling McFadden out by name and implying that she, as a talk show host, knows how the game is played. I beg to differ. This reeked of Diva syndrome. Banks actually appeared sinister. She came across as if the criticisms of her are probably true. The exchange was so bad it was picked up by various blogs, including the Huffington Post, and has the potential to cement an image of Banks in people’s minds that could take a long time to dispel, assuming it’s even untrue. Thanks to a loyal TDF reader for suggesting this item.

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