Chris Harrison blasts media after Bachelor in Paradise scandal — but why?

Chris HarrisonWell, this is certainly a familiar narrative in 2017 — someone attacking the media. This time around, it’s Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison.

In a new interview with Variety, Harrison makes his thoughts very clear (uncomfortably so) on the subject of how some of the media handled the Bachelor in Paradise incident with Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. He doesn’t hold anything back:

“What really astounded me was the level of incompetence — things that were said and printed by quote-unquote reputable media, and reputable print, and even TV … It was incredible to me the things that were said out loud about Corinne, about DeMario, about the show that were so outlandish, so false, and completely fabricated. There are people’s lives in the balance that could have easily been destroyed. The fact that you can clearly see that journalism is dead, and long gone on every level — whether it’s the network, whether it’s print … it’s really sad. To see it firsthand it really is amazing.”

Here’s the thing with Harrison’s remarks: On some level, he’s right in that there are some garbage publications out there. We’ve seen some attack the character of both DeMario and Corinne, while others decided to pass along blame to various people involved without knowing the full story. There were many who exploited the story for website clicks. There were also some honest publications who made mistakes — this was a complicated story with a lot of different sources saying a lot of different things. There were many writers who did their best to get the story right without passing judgment.

For Harrison to lump every form of journalism into the same boat is incredibly disappointing. What Harrison is doing is effectively saying that all food is terrible because he went to McDonald’s and someone burned his cheeseburger. It’s also gut-wrenching to hear him say this in an era where many journalists are out there risking their lives to bring readers information — granted, none of these said journalists are covering Bachelor in Paradise, but attacking journalists on some level furthers along this fake-news narrative that we’ve unfortunately heard so many times already over the past year. Any time that a high-profile person makes such a generalization, it hurts the industry a little bit more — including some of those people putting themselves in harm’s way.

Also, Harrison should probably remember that ABC themselves made mistakes in the handling of this scandal. The first promo for Bachelor in Paradise 4 blatantly sensationalized the scandal and the reaction to it was that programming head Channing Dungey admitted to removing it at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour. This is also a franchise that has been known for sensationalizing many things during their own episodes — they’ve exaggerated fights and medical crises many times over, and turned people into caricatures during the editing process after the fact. (There’s a real why UnREAL exists.) None of their misrepresentations are as serious as what the DeMario / Corinne incident could’ve turned into, but Bachelor Nation is built almost entirely on hype, and they often don’t care if it’s good or bad.

Here’s what we would say at the end of all this when it comes to Bachelor in Paradise — rather than assign specific blame or proclaim that an entire industry is “dead,” can we all just admit to imperfections and move forward? We like Harrison — he’s a great host who shares our love of Texas. We just don’t see why he needed to take things to this level.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this piece in the comments. Meanwhile, head over to the link here in the event you want some other Bachelor in Paradise news. (Photo: ABC.)

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