Jock Pretends To Try And Out Seacrest. Newspaper Falls For Gag
At first blush it sounded like a good story.
The impossibly peripatetic Ryan Seacrest was at a popular New Jersey radio show, "The Jersey Guys" on New Jersey 101.5. to talk about the highest profile of his zillion projects, hosting "American Idol."
But as The Trentonian, a raggy little tabloid reported, co-host cum yabbo Craig Carton wasted little time quizzing Seacrest about which team he played for.
"Ryan," Carton said, "Are you gay?
"Ryan, are you a homosexual?
"With that, Seacrest was headed for the door."I can’t stay here, man," Seacrest said. "I gotta jet."
I posted this story yesterday on the New York Radio Message Board, after spotting it on Gawker. That was followed by a lively debate on the idiocy that passes for a radio show courtesy of Carton and his guilty-by-association partner Ray Rossi.
But then there were whispers that Seacrest wasn't even in the studio, although the Jersey Guys made it seem like he was. Then came word that it was all a set-up. A bit. Somebody pretending to be Seacrest. Ha-ha.
Which prompted an unusual bylined article in today's Trentonian from editor Carl Barbatti, that starts: "We were scammed."
So, what went wrong? Maybe it was a matter of trust. The usual Jersey Guys patter involves talking about the news of the day rather than schmoozing with celebrities. Take them for what they are, but at least they didn't have a rep for faking news and interviews.
You could say The Trentonian should have exercised some due diligence. What the hell would Seacrest be doing in the middle of Jersey when he also does a top-rated morning drive radio show in Los Angeles, has "Idol" duties, tapes "American Top 40" and is now the first face of the "E" network.
Even Seacrest would appear to have his limits, and a radio station in central Jersey would likely be one of them.
But then again, NJ101.5 FM is a respected, high-rated talk station that hosts the "Ask The Governor" program. If it's good enough for Jon Corzine, then why not Seacrest?
Which means this goes beyond radio shtick. Listeners had no reason but to assume Seacrest was in the studio while Carton desperately tried to out him. Does NJ101.5 FM care enough about its credibility to discipline Carton and his producer for duping The Trentonian and other media outlets?
Maybe not enough to detract from management enjoying the notoriety. After all, you might tune in to hear what those wacky Jersey Guys do next.
And don't expect Carton to be repentant anytime soon. As he said on the air yesterday:
"It's mind-boggling to me that this many people give a damn about the sexual preferences of Ryan Seacrest."
Of course, this defense came only after the station was flooded with angry calls, including one that called him a "hate-mongering Jew."
The better course: Carton, Out(ta here).