Rabid Nun Infects Entire Convent : And Other Sensational Stories from a Tabloid Writer
CONFESSIONS OF A TABLOID WRITER WHO DOVE INTO THE CESSPOOL OF HIS OWN MIND AND CAME UP WITH INCREDIBLE TABLOID STORIES"Some people aspire to greatness. A combination of bad parenting and coming of age in Baltimore, Maryland, at the same time as John Waters pushed me in a different direction," writes Tom D'Antoni. After fifteen years as a journalist and broadcaster-fifteen years of going after sources and double- and triple-checking facts-D'Antoni was seduced by the dark side: a national supermarket tabloid. When he realized he could entirely make up stories and then quote people he'd just invented-and get paid (poorly) for it-he was hooked.
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November 21, 2005
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Excerpt from Rabid Nun Infects Entire Convent by Tom D'Antoni
My career as a supermarket tabloid writer ended when I was a guest on Oprah. This life-changing event (for me) took place in 1988 and a few of her formats, a few of her makeovers ago.
Oprah's producer called me. She was a drinking buddy from WJZ-TV, the station in Baltimore where she, Oprah, and I had worked. When she asked me to be a guest, I realized that after my appearance I would never be able to sit down and write "Rabid Nun Infects Entire Convent" again. Tabloids in general, The Sun in particular, would be closed to me forever.
By then, it was a relief.
* * *
The music came up; Oprah looked into the camera and said, "How many times have you looked through the stories in the tabloids and for a few seconds thought to yourself, 'That could not possibly be true.'
"My next guest says chances are, no it couldn't be. He says he wrote for a national tabloid as a freelancer, says everything he wrote was fiction, found it most interesting when a picture of the people he made up would appear with the article.
"Please meet Mr. Duntoni."
She got my name wrong, even though we both worked at the same TV station in Baltimore for five years. But then, she's Oprah, and such stumbles are often overlooked in multimillionaires.
She introduced the other two people on the segment with me, Enid Sefcovic, an ex-wife of mine who also worked for The Sun, and Leslie Savan, who was writing a column on advertising for The Village Voice at the time and once served a sentence on the staff of The National Enquirer.
She continued, "So did you all just make it up Did your editors say to you, 'Make it up' "
"Yeah," I said, "it's just made up."
Laughs from the audience at my candor.
"It's fiction. It's like wrestling. As a matter of fact, it's just like wrestling."