Radio, TV and that Damned Media

Russ Martin Update: Shame on You, Janet. Shame.

Ok, where were we? ... Ah-ha! Right here.

While I was out actually winning some money in Las Vega$, playing some horrible golf and getting some rest in advance of Dallas Cowboys' training camp in San Antonio, last week on vacation I did make time to catch Channel 8's "candid" and "exclusive" interview with our friend Russ Martin.

My reaction: Janet St. James, I'm embarrassed for you.

Because of his last-minute plea and other scheduling detours, my Dallas Observer cover story on Martin has been pushed back to July 30. Though not entirely "exclusive", St. James sitting down with Martin was newsy. (I was scheduled to sit down with him today until his kidney stones had other plans.)

But, seriously, it was more infomercial than investigative.  

To those of you who know Martin and his patented penchant for timing and choreography, it was as if he directed the piece himself. St. Puppet James begins with a remark about Russ' appearance that was obviously scripted for him to retort with a one-liner. In the middle he's allowed to give a tour of his mansion's kitchen and pool. And at the end, Martin tells St. James to start using a new mug shot - one he just happens to conveniently have laying on a chair in his living room.

St. James has been an award-winning reporter in this market since 1996. But, sorry Janet, after this puff piece the ShamWow guy has more credibility. In this story, she's no more than a very attractive prop.

St. James blew her one chance to actually break news.

Janet asks Martin if he touched his fiancee in any sort of aggressive way, or even at all. Martin's response:

"No. Not to my ... again, you're talking about a year ago ..."

Fine. But after then showing the Southlake Police arrest warrant and revealing photos of his fiancees injuries, how did St. James not pose the follow-up that begged to be asked:

"If you didn't lay a finger on her, how exactly did her hair get pulled out and how'd she get a bruise on her thigh?"

If and when I sit down with Martin, I'll ask that question. Maybe he has a logical explanation.

I'll also - duh - ask Martin when, if ever, he'll be back on Dallas radio.

But if it's up to St. James, we'll never know.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt