If you walk past the newsstand today, you may have trouble differentiating between today’s Post and Daily News. Both have completely different stories on page one, but the black backgrounds and giant white banner heads give both papers a touch of the tabloid generic. But while the News is touting its exclusive on Roger Clemens’s alleged 10-year affair with singer Mindy McCready, the Post examines “MILEY’S SHAME,” touting a “photo exclusive” of the Hannah Montana star.
Now, this is pretty much a non-story. It’s the publicity equivalent of doing something stupid at a high-school party and walking down the halls on Monday morning. Cyrus posed for Vanity Fair photographer Annie Liebovitz. The 15-year-old pop singer is shown nearly nude, with a blanket covering her up. Apparently this does not jibe with Cyrus’s wholesome Montana image, so now the Disney publicity machine is going full force. According to the Post, which reports that she admitted in the upcoming Vanity Fair article “that the picture is ‘really artsy,’ but not ‘in a skanky way,'” Cyrus now has backpedaled, releasing the statement:
“I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic,’ and now, seeing the photographs and the story, I feel so embarrassed…I never intended for any of this to happen, and I apologize to my fans, who I care so deeply about.”
Really, is this nearly as “bad” as that 1999 Britney Spears Rolling Stone cover? The whole thing just smells of “image finetuning” and false outrage to sell magazines. Vanity Fair was already going to get many of the preteen girls who adore Hannah Montana to buy the issue, even if it does have RFK on the cover, but now the “I have no business finding this girl attractive” contingent’s curiosity is piqued as well. This is a win-win for everyone: Cyrus gets to appear somewhat “edgy,” yet apologetic, Vanity Fair sells a few more issues to people way outside their demographic, and the tabloids have a quick-and-dirty story for page one (or, in the case of the News, page 3).
The subtext here is that Cyrus is beginning her way down the path of broken teenage Lolitas. There is the hand-wringing that l’il Miley may end up the next Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan, or, even worse, like 2008-era Rolling Stone cover-girl Britney Spears. Expect a few more columns in the papers about this “controversy” in the next week.