Hearne: Whitney Houston Death Hardly the Surprise Characterized by Most Media

Enough already…

From CNN and MSNBC on down, media pundits have expressed shock and dismay at singer Whitney Houston‘s death at the young age of 48.

As a reluctant follower of Houston’s fall from grace in the pages of the National Enquirer though, my take is just the opposite.

I can’t believe she lasted this long!

For example the current issue of the Enquirer – which went to press just prior to Houston’s death last weekend – features a front page story and photos of her down and out in Beverly Hills, the city where she was found dead.

"Whitney Collapses!" the headline reads. "Strung Out & Broke, it’s worse than anyone thought. The shocking photos."

Now look, I know many of you take a dim view of the Enquirer, and I don’t entirely blame you.

However, as an adjunct to writing my column in the Kansas City Star years ago, I subscribed to a number of magazines – including the Enquirer – as a means of keeping my pop culture ear to the ground. Frankly, it gave me a bit more ammo and insight when reporting on national stars that visited KC and I sometimes interviewed.

And as I’ve said before here, the Enquirer is THE most legit of the tabloids, in my opinion.

People magazine is OK if you don’t mind waiting several months for them to catch up to the Enquirer.

But back to Whitney…

"Whitney Houston collapsed in a stunning public breakdown, and friends fear the troubled singer is back on drugs and facing financial ruin," the story begins. "Once worth more than $100 million, the 48-year-old star is nearly broke and battling health problems related to her longtime addictions to cocaine and marijuana, insiders say.

"Despite that, Whitney continues to party with duggie pals, sources add, and she crumpled after leaving a doctor’s office in Beverly Hills on Feb. 2."

By my anecdotal measure, I hadn’t read much news on Houston in recent years outside of her failed comeback  long after the alleged Bobby Brown beating.

So the timing on the Enquirer story this week couldn’t have been much better, outside of the fact that Houston died just before it reached the stands. Prophetic is the word that comes to mind.

That said, the story gives a lot of insight with what may have lead to her death missing from the media coverage I’ve seen elsewhere.

Take the tale of Houston walking out of L.A.’s Le Petit Four restaurant with boyfriend Ray J.

"Whitney had a big smile on her face and seemed so out of it that Ray had to buckle her seatbelt for her," a source told the Enquirer.

"A recent report decribed Whitney as ‘broke as a joke,’ claiming she called one pal to borrow $100 and would be homeless if friends weren’t supporting her," the Enquirer adds. "It’s hard to believe Whitney could burn through all that money, but nowadays she does seem desperate," another friend told the Enquirer.

The magazine reports that Houton’s most recent "rehab stint" was last May. Right before she appeared in the movie "Sparkle" with former American Idol finalist Jordin Sparks.

The telltale closing graphs of the story, combined with the photos, tell a dark, sad tale.

"Whitney needs to slow down and take better care of herself," a source told the Enquirer. "One minute she seems down and depressed and the next she’s partying like a maniac! It’s getting to the point where she’s playing Russian rouletter with her life!"

See what I mean?

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24 Responses to Hearne: Whitney Houston Death Hardly the Surprise Characterized by Most Media

  1. Dale says:

    OK I don’t get it. A few weeks ago I suggested you move on from the story of Jardeen’s, maybe cover the news of the murder in your old hood, and I’m told that story was just sad and not worth covering. So what’s the diff here?

  2. paulwilsonkc says:

    wrong again, harley…
    …readership skyrocketed in conjunction with and direct relationship to me commenting. Yes, its just that simple.


    There, I said it.

  3. harley says:

    wilson..(.notice no question mark)…you’re the king
    miss ya…come out to joco and lets have some lunch…you’re buying…did you ever close
    that deal or do i have to come and negotiate for you (lol)…i am a great negotaitor….

  4. Hearne says:

    Sorry, Harley
    But I’m not going to allow you to post bogus information about KCC claiming you have a source when I know those numbers are incorrect.

    Anybody who wants to can look us up on Alexa and get a pretty good idea of where we are in comparison to sites like KMBZ News, Greghallkc, bottomlinecom.com, etc.

    And for the record, we’ve tripled since Greg Hall left last summer. Facts are facts. Anonymous assertions are little more – in this case – than meaningless barstool chatter. Feel free to lie to that guy next to you, but you may have to buy him a drink!

  5. Super Dave says:

    We all seen this train wreck coming
    The real tragedy of this whole story is the eighteen year old kid or should we say young adult Bobbi Kristina who has to have one really messed up head. It

  6. paulwilsonkc says:

    Sadly, Harley, I live in JoCo
    Im open for lunch any time. Or, I can be found, from time to time, at Cigar and Tobac, 105/Metcalf, having a cigar. And yes, I’ll buy, cheap skate. I’ll even buy you a cigar.

  7. harley says:

    sorry wilson…don’t smoke…
    cigars.maybe you can come by prairie life at 103rd and I’ll buy you a 25 gram protein shake…
    lot healthier and it won’t kill ya….
    did you get jardines..and if not where does the deal stand…seems like you could take it
    for a few nickels and turn it into a real moneymaker..
    and i can show you my new project i’m doing in dallas…

  8. Gilbert says:

    Another uneeded article… and hearne just deletes posts that speak the truth.

  9. mike says:

    i am not surprised either
    I am not surprised Hearne is influenced by the National Enquirer. Did you also read World Weekly News?

  10. Jones says:

    agreed mike
    It is one of the lamest things I have ever heard…. “The all knowing swami Hearne” deduced this was coming LOOOOOONNNGGG AGO HOW????…….based on the infailable info which can be gleened in People magazine and the Enquirer??……that is pathetic…. and it is pathetic to disrespsect the dead.

    Hearne should be ashamed of himself. This is a totally classless story….. and but for the grace of God the dead could be a close freind of Hearne’s , then you can bet by God Hearne would allow no ill will, or stupid comments…… The fact that hearne is shit talking Whitney is pathetic, just pathetic, and sad…. but by golly no one talk shity about his buddy the coke queen Beena…. oh no!!!!….those comments will be deleted ASAP!!!

  11. mike says:

    it is not new
    Remember the Don Harman coverage here after he died?

  12. Hearne says:

    I think the facts in this story speak for themselves
    Talking shit on Whitney? Get real. She was a mess.

  13. Hearne says:

    OK, Harley…
    Email me at hearne@kcconfidntial.com and I’ll be happy to meet with you in person and go over KCC’s stats.

    Obviously we have them and by the way, Tony’s seen them. He also know what they were BEFORE our ratings tripled since last summer on Alexa…which he thinks is one of the better analytics sites.

    And since everything is relative – the Pitch didn’t even reveal its internal numbers when it made a comparison of its site traffic to TKC – I invite you and readers to compare us to other local sites, such as KMBZ, Greg Hall, KCUR, etc.

    I remember our first year, some dude kept putting up a link to some site that showed we had like 62 people following us. Which was ridiculous. We dropped out of the sky unannounced in Feb. 2009 with just under 700 unique visitors and have been growing steadily – with a few bumps here and there like when we switched formats and had some site issues – ever since.

  14. paulwilsonkc says:

    and hearne leaves out….
    MY contribution.

  15. Hearne says:

    Duly noted…
    I think

  16. tiad says:

    tiad says:

    Harley won’t get very far emailing you at the address you gave 3 posts above.

    Just sayin’….

  17. Orphan of the Road says:

    Don’t worry tiad
    jo jo/harley/j will misspell what Hearne wrote and get it right.

  18. hearne says:

    Sorry dudes, but I think he can figure it out but…
    Just in case!


  19. tiad says:

    tiad says:
    “I may not have written it correctly, but you can figure it out.”

    Coincidentally, isn’t that The Star’s new motto, too, Jr.?

  20. Hearne says:

    I doubt it but…
    My sources there tell me they make online errors and typos all the time and correct them as the calls come in. Incidentally, with rare exception (meaning I think never), they do not publish online error corrections.

  21. mark smith says:

    i will see your cracked out whitney and raise you a bloated
    Elvis. The same people expressing outrage over the treatment of huston, are the same douche nozzles that pretended we lost someone worthwhile when mike Jesus juice jackson went to that big nambla convention in the sky. Being dead doesn’t really change anything. Insipid pop tunes aside, Whitney liked puffing on the crack pipe. She also loved booze. Pills. And apparently enjoyed eating in the tub whilst soaking in olive oil and Mr. Bubbles. The people who are upset she isn’t being treated with proper dignity should move to jersey where they flew flags at half mast for someone who had it all but pissed it away. Most of those people only vote if its American idol, and can’t tell you within 500 how many servicemen were killed in the Iraq war. Fucked up people have fucked up priorities. Like harley obsessed over hearnes stats.

  22. Jeppers says:

    I think the facts in this story speak for themselves
    Hearne 08:49:13 AM – Fri. Feb 17. 2012

    Talking shit on Whitney? Get real. She was a mess.


    AND YOUR FRIEND BEENA IS NOT A MESS??? ..yet you dont allow anyone (you delete comment after comment) talking shit on her.
    If you dont appreciate people talking shit on your friiends, then maybe you should hold back talking shit on anyone else.

    Someday try to learn a sense of fair play.

  23. glenn says:

    National Enquirer Reporters
    ….used to be the highest paid of the tabloids. In Lantana work was coveted, but, no serious media outlet would hire you if your claimed NE on your CV.

    What will be the overiding legacy WH leaves? The beautiful, generous, kind woman from NJ with a voice that could wake the dead, or, the cracked-up, broke, performer who dies young leaving a young daughter to battle addictions of her own that she and that devil Bobby Brown introduced her to?

  24. Hearne says:

    Good question…
    The answer for the time being is probably both. But with the passage of time, most people will probably focus on the music and the positives.

    To the extent that anybody under like 60 remembers Judy Garland for example – other than the Wizard of Oz – I doubt many recall much if anything about her troubled life. Maybe.

    As for me piling on after Houston’s death, guess what? That’s what everybody has been doing. Remembering her for the good, the bad and the ugly.

    The point here is that the Enquirer was all over her pending self-destruction. What they wrote more than a week ago probably wouldn’t have made it into People Magazine or Star Gazing for however many months had she not died while the issue was being printed and mailed.

    They may not be the New York Times, but they are on top of many of the biggest stories long before the “mainstream media” gets half a clue. Like it or not.

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