Is Paris Burning?

Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, she’s free at last. A smiling, happy Paris Hilton was released this morning into a swarm of crazed photographers who chronicled every gesture in a frenzied flash of popping lights. It was a fitting end to a tortuous ordeal for our modern day St. Joan, the nation, and indeed the world.

Paris seemed to come alive in the exultant moment of liberation, bearing no signs of animosity toward her jailors. Not since Nelson Mandela walked out of prison after decades in captivity, or St. Joan chose death over renouncing her beliefs, have we seen such a brave martyr willing to suffer for our sins. 

The reports of her metamorphosis in jail – from silly little party girl to mature woman ready to better the cruel world – have set the stage for a one hour Larry King segment tomorrow night. After being caught up in the pay-for-play tussle surrounding the Paris interview, ABC backed out and Barbara Walters, not wanting to appear snubbed, took the low road. 

Walters told New York Post’s “PageSix”: “Tawdry. The whole thing somehow was beneath me. Besides, it was a no-win. If I did a tough piece and her tears started to flow, it would be, ‘Oh, there’s Barbara Walters making people cry again.’ Too soft, and I’d be criticised.”

Paris has matured in her PR approach as well. The Hilton family has retained crisis communications pitbull Mike Sitrick, a big gun who can take control of the public reformation of the beloved heiress. Sitrick released this statement over BusinessWire on behalf of Paris:

“I am thrilled that Larry King has asked me to appear on his program to discuss my experience in jail, what I have learned, how I have grown and anything else he wants to talk about. Larry King is not only a world-renown journalist, but a true American Icon. It will be an honor to do his show.”

Praise the journalist, take any questions, be happy and upbeat, lay the foundation for your renewal, control the message. Some hardball PR at work here. Paris is back in control of the show. We tune in for the next episode.

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