And…It Wasn’t “Greta Cameras”

Last week, when news broke that Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston had called off their engagement, the National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez called on the media to leave Palin and Johnston alone, writing, “[P]lease, no Greta cameras this time,” (a reference to Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren, whose “cameras” have been frequent visitors in Wasilla.)

Turns out, ABC News’s cameras beat “Greta cameras” to the scene. While Good Morning America billed theirs as an “exclusive” report yesterday in which “now for the first time Bristol Palin’s former fiance is speaking out about why the couple ended their engagement,” this was decidedly not, as Jason Zengerle notes at TNR, “one of those typical morning show interviews in which some human interest story…sits down in a New York studio and bears his soul,” reveling in the media attention.

Rather, ABC News’s Neal Karlinsky “found” Levi Johnston in Wasilla, in the very same spot where the AP’s Adam Goldman located him back in October: Johnston’s driveway. Karlinsky conducted a brief, uncomfortable-to-watch interview with the young man through the window of his red pick-up truck. Watch the entire report below, in which Johnston confesses to “me not being mature enough [to get married] or somethin’” and passes Karlinsky’s are you a good father pop quiz by producing on the spot a photo of his infant son (though “just the old ultrasounds,” as Karlinsky notes). Karlinsky comes to the conclusion that, for some reason, Johnston seems “a lot more comfortable playing hockey here in his hometown of Wasilla than answering questions about his love life.”

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.