107.1 FM, the Twin Cities gossip station, doesn't normally make international headlines. Then again, it's not every day that a tongue-wagging incident involving a celebrity couple happens in Minnesota.
Both tabloid and mainstream media have gone into overdrive since Angelina Jolie filed for divorce earlier this week from husband Brad Pitt. Most outlets, including the Star Tribune, have reported that the split may have been triggered, in part, by Pitt's unruly behavior during an international flight that stopped in International Falls.
But 107.1 FM went a step further Friday, reporting on a juicy anecdote involving alleged bizarre, possibly criminal, behavior by the actor on the tarmac. The story has been picked up by a number of gossip sites, including Radar Online and Entertainment Daily U.K., with full credit going to the afternoon on-air team of Colleen Lindstrom and Bradley Traynor.
So why am I not jumping on the bandwagon and passing along the tale?
Because the item doesn't meet Star Tribune standards. Not even close. As Lindstrom confirmed Sunday, the information is based solely on a listener whom neither host has ever met. Second, it's a second-hand account -- she claims her friend witnessed the antics. And third, management at the Falls International Airport put out a press release earlier this week that said there have been no incidents, accidents or out of the ordinary events in the past 10 days. My colleague Pat Pheifer confirmed this stance Sunday with an airport employee.
Gossip Cop, another website that feeds off celebrity tidbits, posted Sunday morning that the 107.1 FM item is B.S.
If you think Lindstrom is going to defend the caller's account, think again.
"I'm not a journalist. We are entertainment radio and our job is to entertain," Lindstrom said Sunday by phone. "I'm not reporting this as fact by any stretch of the imagination. This is what the caller said and we are just passing it along, just like you would tell a story that you heard to your neighbor over the fence."
Despite the doubters, the 107.1 team is going full steam ahead with the story. Early in the weekend, Lindstrom taped an interview with the source, one that she plans to air around noon on Monday. She has gone so far as to disguise the caller's voice.
The account seems fishy to me, but if you must know the details, go to mytalk1071.com or catch the "Colleen & Bradley Show" from noon-3 p.m. weekdays.