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Frank DeAngelis wedges into the spotlight regarding canceled Oprah show about Columbine

Categories: Media

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Frank DeAngelis as he appeared in a subsequently canceled Columbine segment for Oprah.

Monday's blog "Is the Media Focusing Too Much on Principal Frank DeAngelis in Regard to the Columbine Anniversary?" noted that the administrator had been featured in a staggering number of reports tied to the tenth anniversary of the slayings at the Jeffco high school, locally and nationally. Among those: Oprah, which had planned to air a program on Columbine that afternoon before yanking it at the eleventh hour. Remarkably, however, the Denver Post's Joanne Ostrow essentially credits DeAngelis for Oprah Winfrey's decision not to run the segments in a column published today. She quotes DeAngelis as saying that he expressed misgivings about the tone to a producer after the taping, and thanked Winfrey on behalf of the Columbine community when she called to inform him about the change in scheduling.

Ostrow also adds this nebulous passage: "Over the weekend, the local community was buzzing with rumors, fears and general dissatisfaction at the direction Monday's show would take. A backlash was in the making." Presumably, this is a reference to complaints made by assorted Columbine parents -- among them Randy Brown, who said in another Westword blog that he and some parents of victims contacted Oprah contacted producers with concerns about guests like investigator Kate Battan. A show spokesman confirmed this contact, but insisted that the move to cancel the Columbine program was Winfrey's alone.

Perhaps DeAngelis's reservations helped influence Winfrey, too. But they certainly didn't occur in a vacuum -- and his willing participation in so many other anniversary features, in print, on radio and on television, hardly make him a poster child for media moderation despite the implications in Ostrow's column.


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