Monday, October 11, 2010

Cirque Du Salahi: Diane Dimond Digs Deep

by Stacy Dittrich

It was the crime of the century (cough). A beautiful couple waltzes into the White House uninvited—allegedly, to pose for pictures with President Obama, posting the pictures on their Facebook page. Almost a year later, no criminal charges have ever been filed. A White House secretary lost her job, but the self-proclaimed power couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, remains untouched—by criminal charges, that is. Their public image didn’t get off quite so easily. As most people saw it, the couple barged into the White House uninvited, posed a potential threat to the President of the United States, got away with it, and wound up getting a fantastic gig on the reality TV show, “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” airing on the Bravo network.

That’s not exactly how it happened. Women in Crime Ink’s own investigative journalist, Diane Dimond, spent countless months—conducting over 70 interviews—to find the true story behind what the media dubbed “The White House Gate Crashers.” In her new book, Cirque Du Salahi: Be Careful Who You Trust, Dimond delves deep into the true chain of events that occurred on the night of November 24, 2009. She answers the questions regarding the nature of the Salahi’s “invitation” and whether or not the situation (no, not that “Situation”) was a complete cover-up by the White House. Some other interesting details uncovered by Dimond include the fact that the Bravo network was actually filming the Salahis on the night in question, and captured the entire debacle on tape—a tape that somewhat backs up the Salahis' story. However, Bravo chose to sit on the tape for almost a year as the Salahis were skewered by the court of public—and media—opinion.

Dimond’s Amazon page summarizes the book accurately:
Cirque Du Salahi: Be Careful Who You Trust tells the INSIDE STORY of Michaele and Tareq Salahithe never before revealed details of what happened before, during, and after their November 2009 appearance at the Obama administration' first state dinner. This journalistic autopsy reveals how one event can capture a ravenous media's attention, become the fodder for bogus political drama, and with razor-sharp and misplaced attention, ruin the reputation of a politically connected couple who did little more than attend a White House function for which they believed they had an invitation. Make no mistake. The copycat journalism surrounding the Salahis, which resulted in headlines like, "White House Gate-Crashers Investigated, Likely to be Indicted," could happen to any citizen who stumbles into the eye of a media storm.

But this book is about more than what happens when the unsuspecting find themselves in the crosshairs of the national media. It reveals the truth about Michaele and Tareq Salahi: where they came from; what shaped their personalities; what obstacles they overcame; and what motivates them to do what they do. It is quite simply the background of the story heard 'round the world and how this couple, from the tiny town of Hume, Virginia, was able to survive the onslaught. What happened to the Salahis is much more than any reality television show can capture. The true story about this couple should serve as a mirror held up to the media to point out the disturbing trend of trimmed-to-the-bone newsrooms overreacting and exploiting certain stories. It also offers a wake-up call to Americans who believe that their news sources of choice are still trustworthy, when in reality they are often simply parroting the poorly researched work of others. The reader will be left wondering what ever happened to good journalism but not wondering what really happened that night at the White House.”
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Salahis won’t be going away anytime soon. Most recently, the Salahis’ attorney, Lisa Bloom, fired off a letter to media outlets threatening to sue anyone who referred to her clients as “White House Gate Crashers.” This sparked Michaele’s fellow “Real Housewives” cast mates to ridicule her using the defamatory term, but with air quotes and the word “allegedly” before it.

I can attest that I had zero interest in the couple, but Dimond’s Cirque Du Salahi: Be Careful Who You Trust, is quite fascinating. If you recall, Diane Dimond is the sole reporter who broke the Michael Jackson molestation case and later wrote about it in her first book, Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. She is methodical, descriptive, and very detailed in her findings. If you think Dimond was entirely “Pro-Salahi,” think again. Although she worked with the couple during her research, she was brutally honest in formulating her conclusions and opinions. She had sole editorial control over the book.

You may not have much interest in this couple, but if you are looking for an investigative story done right, Diane Dimond’s book is it.


Anonymous said...

I for one will NOT drink Diane Dimond's PURPLE KOOLAID. She should be ashamed of herself for trying to pull the wool over the public's eyes.

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