Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nashville singer Luke Bryan's managers refuse to back up his "Heimlich choking rescue" story -- and an invitation to reporters to slice this baloney

UPDATE: Via The Grand Vision of Dr. Heimlich, After the Maneuver Limelight by Lindsay Abrams, The Atlantic,
On his blog, (Peter Heimlich) urges journalists to investigate potentially fraudulent stories about the maneuver being successfully used -- was country star Luke Bryan telling People Country magazine the truth about an errant piece of flatbread pizza?
Instead of trying to trivialize my interest in determining if Bryan fabricated the choking rescue story, why didn't Ms. Abrams ask him or his representatives to back up the dubious claim? 

If it's bogus, The Atlantic might have snagged a nice headline about one of country music's most popular singers telling tales and that Cynthia Sanz, People Country's editor, refused to fact-check the story her magazine published. 

On the other hand, if Bryan's story turns out to be bona fide, then I'd have to eat crow and she'd have a legitimate reason to take a dig at me.

Anyway, if there are any good reporters reading this, my original January 29, 2013 item below is a road map to the story. 


Is there an ambitious reporter out there who wants to help move this story forward?

Possible headline: 
"Top country music star may have pulled a mini Manti T'eo."
It starts with this interview in People Country magazine's October 2012 issue:

The dramatic lifesaving event got picked up reporter Alison Bonaguro for Country Music Television and dozens of other web sites that report about the country music scene.

But, as I've reported, when I asked Team Bryan to supply the who/what/were/when details, they all gave me the silent treatment.

The singer, his publicist, his managers -- even Luke's mother -- wouldn't cough up any facts to substantiate his claim.

Why so shy? Why isn't Luke praising his friend who may have saved his life, and posing with him in Billboard or the Nashville Tennessean?

Could it be that -- say it ain't so, Luke -- the story's baloney?

Flyer that accompanied a credit card bill I received this week

Bryan recently started his first major tour as a headline act and, according to his website, he's booked all over the country through most of this year. So I've been casually pitching the story to reporters in towns and cities where he's slated to perform.

A few weeks ago I got a bite from a game young reporter.

She sent my who/what/where/questions to Zach Peters, assistant to Coran Capshaw, founder/president of Red Light Management, "the largest independent management firm in the world, with roughly 60 managers representing close to 200 acts, including Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Alecia Keys, Miley Cyrus, Luke Bryan, Kool & the Gang, R. Kelley, Steve Angelo, and many others," according to Billboard.

Per my previous item, Zach promised to answer my questions, but then disappeared.

As you can see, game young reporter managed to get a reply from Zach. But, minus an explanation, he informed her the barn door had closed on questions about Luke's "Heimlich rescue."

Game young reporter then wrote me that her editor decided to drop the story. (Unlike her editor, she deserves an A for effort, so as a courtesy, I redacted her name and the name of the paper.)

Her loss, another scribbler's gain?

That depends on whether anyone else considers it newsworthy -- and is willing to report -- that a popular rising star may have fabricated a choking rescue story.

Cynthia Sanz (source)

Here's another peg for media hounds.

Per a previous item, when I asked People Country editor Cynthia Sanz to fact-check the story and to provide me with the name of the reporter who conducted the interview, she refused.

People Country may not be the New Yorker, but it's a Time Inc. property and according to Time's website (my emphasis):
Finally, above all else, Time Inc. stands for journalistic integrity. Time Inc.'s founder Henry Luce wrote that Time Inc. is "principally a journalistic enterprise and, as such, an enterprise to be operated in the public interest as well as in the interest of its stockholders." This commitment is still carried throughout all of Time Inc.'s journalism today, providing unbiased reporting and trusted editing in each of our approximately 125 titles.
Click here to download a copy of Time's most recent editorial guidelines.

Sports Illustrated, another Time-owned publication, had to wipe major egg off its face because of the Manti T'eo hoax. 

Will Ms. Sanz's refusal to fact-check Bryan's dubious story turn out to be another embarrassment for the parent company?

If anyone wants to ask contact her or other Time executives, click here and go to page 7. 

This item has been revised.