Britney's image control | EW.com

Music

Britney's image control

The strict terms set by Spears' camp ruffle a few feathers

It isn’t hard to find Britney Spears these days: One need only turn on the TV (see: high-profile stints on Good Morning America and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, plus her own half-hour MTV special) or walk to a magazine stand to catch her promoting her new album, Femme Fatale.

What’s most interesting about her recent media appearances, though, is what’s missing from them: namely, any spontaneous, unexpurgated access to the singer herself.

Many outlets have agreed to the strict terms set by Spears’ camp — pretaped performances in place of live; questions asked over email rather than in person — though one potential interviewer last week notably did not.

”I was jst TOLD my @britneyspears interview tomm…MUST b pre-recorded & submitted 4 approval by HER mgmt b4 it can air!” Carson Daly tweeted on March 28. ”Even when I interviewed Michael Jackson, it wasn’t anything like this.”

While Daly, the MTV VJ-turned-late-late-night talk-show host, seems an unlikely activist for truth in journalism, he may have a point: How much image control — even for an infamously troubled star — is too much?

Crisis expert Matthew Hiltzik, who’s worked with Alec Baldwin, Katie Couric, and Don Imus, posits that the lockdown strategy may help more than it hurts. ”There could be much more backlash if she would say the wrong things,” Hiltzik explains. ”It’s better to have controversy about saying too little than saying too much.” Carson Daly, take note.