In a April 13, 2010, NPR story about an unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey, NPR’s Karen Grigsby Bates reported at least one news outlet declined to interview (and thus implicitly promote) the book’s well-known and well-read author, Kitty Kelly, suggesting motives other than quality of the product:
Kelley did do a two-part interview with Matt Lauer on Monday and this morning on the "Today Show." But David Drake, spokesman for her publisher, Crown Books, a division of Random House, says rumors that other media outlets have declined interviews are true. Drake won’t name names but reportedly, ABC is one of them. ABC’s parent company, Disney, is partnering with Winfrey in several of the new shows she’ll present on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik followed this with a quotable statement on the interconnectedness and potential lack of autonomy of media:
If they’re deciding the merits of a book’s newsworthiness on the basis of whether or not it might offend one of their corporate partners, it’s an abdication of the primacy of letting the news value dictate the news.