May 22, 2022

Cindy Adams, the real “Gossip Girl” American queen of gossip

Job by Marc Larcher January 27, 2022

With this documentary in four episodes, we discover how a 90-year-old lady reigned supreme over American celebrities thanks to her social column page in the “New York Post”.

From “wife of” to “one who knows everything”

She was in her own way one of the most powerful women in the United States. Unknown in France, Cindy Adams, the “queen of gossip” of the American press, now in her nineties, is the subject of a documentary series in four episodes much less light than the subject would suggest. Because through it, it is all the power of the tabloid press that we see emerging. Of course, with her Rolodexes full of phone numbers and her five phone lines, she wasn’t taken quite seriously in her early days, especially since she was first the wife of a famous man and that as such she was only supposed to accompany him to social events, not tell about them. But thanks to the network of her husband, comedian Joey Adams, the former model ends up getting to know all the good New York society and will even, once installed in her post as a journalist, make it a specialty of meeting dictators from around the world. for exclusive interviews.

Kingpin of Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump

During the first episode, we understand that the success of the American tabloid “New York Post” is largely based on page 6 where the socialite columnist exercised. This daily was bought by the ultra-conservative press magnate Rupert Murdoch in the 1970s and launched into gossip, in the publication of investigations into the morals of the world of politics and sport. It’s not ethical, it’s more or less verified, it hurts those concerned, it doesn’t matter, it sells paper! And this also serves in good part the career of certain personalities, in particular that of a businessman named Donald Trump whose escapades are told by Cindy in detail. And who becomes, thanks to these, little by little a celebrity. As such, the columnist, who has become a friend of the future president, has her share of responsibility in her disastrous rise. As we discover in the 2nd episode, this profitable seam of the tabloid press will be doubled in 1986 with the creation of the television program “A Current Affair”, devoted to entertainment and scandals. Over the years, the influence of the “New York Post” increases but the media magnate must constantly confront or circumvent federal rules on the press. Supported by Richard Johnson and George Rush, in charge of the famous page 6, Cindy Adams, who provides the most spectacular information, becomes more and more powerful. The New Yorker ends up after the death of her husband by becoming a celebrity with in particular her famous huge apartment on Park Avenue and her Yorkshire terrier.

The last survivor

When the “New York Post” finds itself like other daily newspapers in bad financial shape, Rupert Murdoch saves it again. From then on, the best-known society columnists, Liz Smith and Cindy Adams, engaged in fierce competition. Fortunately for them, while the war between tabloids is raging, the Monica Lewinsky affair comes to light. Readers rush to newsstands again. Later, Cindy Adams and the New York Post grapple with another phenomenon: the emergence of social media where gossip travels faster than ever and becomes increasingly intrusive. If the newspapers are gradually losing their readership, Cindy Adams, who says she does not like the word “gossip”, is ultimately the only society columnist of the pre-digital era to do well. Among the tabloids, only the ” New York Post” survives. In contact with her for four episodes, we understand that, without faith or law, she unknowingly foreshadowed the advent of social networks where, like her, anyone can write anything about a celebrity and become one.

GOSSIP, a documentary series available on CANAL+ Docs.