The Political History of the World

the history of the nineties – The Tabloid Decade – Part I


On 5/19/1992 a senior at Kennedy high school in Merrick New York went to see the school nurse claiming she was sick. She was given a pass to leave school early. Instead of going home the girl had a male friend driver to a modern waterfront home in Massapequa New York. 

This was the home of her 36 year old lover his wife and his 2 children. The doorbell rang just after 11:00 AM standing on the front porch wearing cutoff jeans and a T. shirt was an attractive teenage girl and she wanted to talk. The wife of petite blonde 37 year old stay at home mom stood in the doorway she was confused the girl told her that her husband had been having an affair with her younger sister. 

As the 2 women leaned on opposite railings on the front porch on Long Island so sure. The team held up an extra large T. shirt from the auto body shop the husband ran as proof of the affair. But the girl was lying she didn’t have a younger sister she was the one having the affair. The wife kept her composure and told the girl she didn’t believe her she turned to go back inside the house she wanted to call her husband and clear everything up.

She didn’t make it through the front door. With a loaded 25 caliber pistol in her hand the teenager hit the wife in the back of the head. She went to hit her again and that’s when the gun went off. The wife fell on top of the high school senior the teenager pushed her off and ran back to the waiting Sundarbans. Neighbors heard the shots and the wife was rushed to hospital by a helicopter. 

She wasn’t expected to survive because the bullet severed the carotid artery in her neck shattered the base of her skull and it ripped through her right ear drum.

The motive for the attack was as mysterious as the identity of the would be killer. But after 8:00 hours of surgery and in a surprise to everyone the wife spoke up she described her attacker to police. Detectives relayed the information to her husband. Adding to police he broke down and told them the description matched a teenage girl that he’d been having an affair with. Within days he would change his story and deny the affair but for now he gave them Amy Fisher’s name and address. 

Police told the media that Joey Buttafuoco had met Amy Fisher when she was 16 he ran his dad’s auto body shop and Amy and her parents had bought a car there for repair. 36 year old Joey who usually dressed in tight jeans with a massive belt buckle and pointed snakeskin cowboy boots had a big huge head of curly brown hair and the physique of an out of shape body builder. 

Detectives believe that Amy shot Mary Jo but if you go because Joe we had wanted to end their 18 month relationship. They said that for Amy it was a near fatal attraction. Amy was arrested at her parents home and she was charged with attempted murder illegal possession of a weapon and several assault charges. The incident didn’t make the news for 4 days and even then it received only a bit of attention but slowly over the next few weeks the shooting of Mary Jo Buttafuoco ignited the media.

It was the New York tabloid newspaper the Daily News that actually labeled the teen the Long Island Lolita. All 3 New York City print tabloids had a field day with the story the wall to wall coverage spread to mainstream media to. You’re familiar with the style of newspaper you know the ones like the national Enquirer which often have an emphasis on sensational crime stories astrology celebrity gossip and television. This type of media coverage was pretty common in the nineties just think Lorena Bobbitt tenure Harding Anna Nicole and Pam Anderson entering to stress about virtually all these nineties tabloid Easter is that we’re talking about is that in the grand scheme of things inconsequential you should do their sex on the on the lives of most of this. That’s David camp he’s a Vanity Fair contributing editor and has profiled such monumental figures as Johnny Cash sly stone and John Hughes.

In 1999 he wrote about this type of coverage he called it the tabloid decade. A about climate change your stories in the nineties about the savings and loan crisis those things. You know they might seem boring dissect everyone’s lives. The stores were inconsequential and that they really didn’t affect us except. And test with them don’t worry that you know previous consumers of media previous ordinary Americans are not so concerned for him media coverage started to go downhill with the arrest of Paul Reubens in 1991. 

The actor who played pee wee Herman was picked up for indecent exposure and tabloid media went crazy over the story can’t believe there was something so weirdly out of proportion in the coverage of that case. Victimless crime that the Snake River actor with a beard Chitty chat your TD show persona is arrested for indecent exposure in accordance. It’s kind of funny I can see the irony of it or or just a 3 song of ridiculous this is a funny story but that’d be chambers prolonged. Our multi day or multi story with the message on the irresistible I guess because it looks like you need her minute long hair and a good team and this guy needs to consistently smiling person certainly has this baleful sad look on his face.

So disproportionate to the importance of the story which became kind of the moral of the story. In the Amy Fisher case the Daily News in New York ran the story on the front page for more than 10 days straight when it first broke. She was depicted as an obsessed out of control teen who decided if she couldn’t have Joey no one else could. Her parents hired lawyer Eric naiburg to handle in these case Nyberg would later become part of the reason the story stayed in the news. But initially he seemed like he was looking out for his client’s best interest. Nyberg finally said what we were all thinking. What the heck was a 36 year old man doing with a 17 year old girl. 

The media had painted Amy as an obsessed teen but should Joe we have some responsibility in the shooting to. Regardless of what happened he had taken advantage of a minor with her face hidden by her long red hair 17 year old Amy Fisher declined to answer questions while being taken to court for arraignment it will soon be up to a jury to decide what story to believe about Amy Fisher whether she is an attempted murderer as the prosecutors say for a victim as her defense attorney maintains Joseph but if you go remain tight lipped today declining to comment on allegations he was having an affair with Amy Fisher as appetite for the Long Island Lolita grew so did the media coverage coverage that started in prince led to prime time TV and in the early nineties 3 main tabloid TV shows reigned supreme a current affair hosted by Maury Povich yes that same one with a lie detector test inside edition hosted by bill O.

Reilly that’s correct same guy this is how he got started and of course hard copy. Branch of service in the late eighties but kind of reached critical mass in the early nineties there were tabloid TV shows and they were basically getting 13 shoes that were sort of world. New features but they weren’t like classy shows like 60 minutes later they were young much more I can sing rock you know reading a. Have breaking news paper and not even like a big city New York Post newspaper Molex I’m here reading in the clover the Enquirer supermarket tabloid hard copy it was the first to get an exclusive interview in the Amy Fisher story 8 days after the shooting hardcopy ran an interview with Annie’s classmate and friend.

The girl who was only identified as Jennifer said that Amy had confided in her about the relationship with Joey. She said that Amy had spent time with his 2 children who called her aunt Amy and that Joey was going to leave Mary Jo Jennifer also said that in his parents knew about the affair.

Some of the details that Jennifer provided were pretty salacious but what happened next will it blew that interview right out of the water. A competing tabloid news show inside edition was going to portions of a videotape that showed Amy in a hotel room having sex with a man who said the teenager was a high priced escort. The unidentified man said he had 3 dates with Amy and he secretly videotaped the second encounter he sold the tape to inside edition for 7500 Bucks. The tape which became known as the leader tape was peddled by inside edition to reporters before it was played on the show this led to extensive coverage in newspapers and other media outlets before it even aired. This could have been a huge ratings boom for fox but there was one small glitch.

Inside edition was scooped by hard copy the same show that interviewed Amy’s classmate Jennifer. On the day inside edition was scheduled to air the tape hard copy read a portion of the tape on their show which aired a half hour before inside edition. Inside edition producers were furious and accused hard copy of stealing the video by picking it up from a satellite signal. There was a feeding frenzy for this story and it seemed profit over product was the key for the tabloids. Amy Fisher was composed when she walked into court she is presumed. As the media frenzy increased so did the drama in the courtroom.

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The Political History of the World