RadarOnline hit with labor law violations for Octomom vids*

Don’t know all the details yet, but the state has apparently gone after RadarOnline for filming Octomom’s kids in violation of state labor laws.

Nadya Suleman, the Whittier woman who gave birth to the longest surviving set of octuplets has appeared in several RadarOnline video segments discussing her life and her kids.
Here’s a link to one video of the Octomom and her bizarre comments. You can hear incessant screaming in the background. The end of the video has a shot of one of the kids.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California authorities slapped an online site Tuesday with a series of child-labor law violations for videotaping two of Nadya Suleman’s octuplets.
State Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet said RadarOnline endangered the newborns, Noah and Isaiah Suleman, by failing to get required state permits and videotaping the infants at hours and for periods of time banned by regulations.
“These babies were put at risk and exposed to conditions that violated California labor laws,” Bradstreet said. “In this case, we are dealing with premature babies.”
Suleman had an exclusive contract with the Web site that permitted videotaping of the children, according to a copy reviewed by The Associated Press.
Chris Myers of RadarOnline said he hadn’t seen the violations and had no immediate comment. The site’s executive vice president, David Perel, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Suleman, a single mother who already had six children, gave birth to her octuplets on Jan. 26. The births set off media frenzy, with public adoration soon turning to scorn with revelations that Suleman was unemployed and had conceived all her children through in vitro fertilization

Thursday’s column ( #journalism )

Moe the Chimp and Octomom have something in common.

No. The pair is not headlining with the Amazing Bearded Lady and the Human Pin Cushion outside the pig races at a county fair somewhere.

They are part of what’s driving a huge change in local reporting around the country.

On the Internet, tales of Moe’s escape from a San Bernardino animal sanctuary last summer drove eyeballs to our Web site in amazing numbers. As a result we continued to cover the saga until it became clear Moe was no more.

As for Nadya Suleman, the La Habra woman who gave birth to the world’s longest-surviving set of octuplets, not only is she a one-woman baby machine, she is also is a force of nature on the Internet.

Our blog, Octorazzi, dedicated to Octomom’s every move, has seen so much Web traffic, it even drew attention from CNN’s Nancy Grace over the weekend.

We editors sit in our ivory tower, stroking our beards and discussing what we believe you want in the newspaper: The economy, swine flu, and city council skullduggery.

Sometimes it’s the sort of steady community-oriented coverage that afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted. Sometimes its nothing more than a story about the local Lions Club doing something nice for a blind senior.

Online you tell us you want Octomom, Moe, crime, crime and more crime.

In fact, most of this is journalism in the same way McDonald’s is food. It’s empty, tasteless and devoid of nutritional value.

The U.S. Senate took up a discussion of the future of newspaper journalism Wednesday. During a lengthy hearing before the Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee, Sen. John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, called us “challenged.”

We are in fact challenged.

Unfortunately, those challenges extend well beyond Octomom and Moe. Twitter, Facebook and Google News are all perceived as threats to traditional newspapers.

“You are whistling past the graveyard if you don’t believe that’s the wave of the future,” said one participant in the hearing.

Others taking part in Wednesday’s hearing included David Simon, a former Baltimore Sun cops reporter, who created “The Wire” for HBO and Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post.

Simon rightly pointed out that “citizen journalists” (read bloggers) will never be able to do the sort of investigative journalism that remains the hallmark of newspapers. Huffington, on the other hand, defended her blog and the citizen journalists who contribute as the absolute future of reporting.

“The day I run into a Huffington Post reporter at a Baltimore zoning board hearing is the day I believe we will have reached equilibrium.”

C-SPAN, which streamed the hearing live on the Internet, subtitled their video “Hearing to Examine the Future of Journalism.”

I guess there’s hope. Neither Moe nor Octomom were called upon to give an opinion.

Tuesday’s column (Octomom meet Octodad)

Did you catch the story about former NFL running back Travis Henry?

You might say he’s the male version of Whittier’s own Octomom – except he’s going to be paying a steeper price for fathering nine children than Nadya Suleman will ever pay for giving birth to 14.

Henry, who played for three NFL teams including the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos was recently ordered to pay $3,000 a month for one of the kids. Additionally he fell $16,000 behind in support for another.

Clearly the child support amounts were determined by the size of Henry’s final contract with the Broncos. In 2007 the team gave Henry a five-year, $25 million contract.

By the time he was cut last year, Henry had received just $6.7 million, according to the New York Times.

Because of positive drug tests and an arrest for drug trafficking, there’s little chance Henry will ever play in the NFL again.

As “baby daddy” to nine children from nine separate women, Henry went to court seeking a reduction in the amount of child support he would have to pay. Some of the “baby mommas” and their attorneys say no way. They point to the shear amounts of money Henry reportedly squandered on cars, clothes and other women.

But is he any more irresponsible than Octomom?

I say no. At least Henry appears to have made some effort to support his kids. Suleman on the other hand has been relying on taxpayers to support her and the brood.

Consider the facts:

Octomom used a combination of food stamps, disability payments and student loans to provide for her first six kids;

She lived with her mother in a home that was nearing foreclosure;

Knowing this Nayda nonetheless decided to have herself implanted with six frozen embryos and brought eight fatherless children into the world on Jan. 26.

I highly doubt she had any intention of paying for these kids on her own. After all, estimates for the monthly care of Octomom’s sickly brood run hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.

Where’s the outraged judge in this case, threatening to lock Nadya up for having kids she can’t support?

Where’s the Department of Children and Family Services that intrude into the lives of so many other Angelenos?

Nowhere of course.

Does anyone think that Dr. Phil or RadarOnline, or Gloria Allred are going to stick around once the audience dries up and the ratings dwindle?

Does anyone believe for a second when these media whores say their interest is motivated solely out of compassion for the children?

I hope not. Because you can guarantee the next time Paris or Lindsay or Britney or Rhianna or some woman who has nine babies and a brood of 15 turn up, the cameras and the money will be gone.

For now, unlike a washed up former NFL running back, the Nadya freak show makes money. But eventually (like it did in Henry’s case) the money’s going to run out and we’ll be on the hook for supporting those kids and their shiftless mother.

Let’s hear it for double standards.

Octomom’s bizarre 911 call channels Christine Collins

Was Octomom Nadya Suleman channeling Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins in the Changeling?

There are apparently some definite similarities between the two performances.

Here’s the story:

WHITTIER – Octomom Nadya Suleman became unhinged with fear last year when she thought she’d lost one of her children, telling an emergency dispatcher, “Oh God, I’m going to kill myself,” according to a recording of her 911 call released Wednesday by police.

Suleman made the call Oct. 27 after her 5-year-old son went missing from the front yard, only to find him a few minutes later after he returned from a walk.

Suleman’s repeated threats of suicide prompting a chiding from the dispatcher, who could hear children’s voices in the background. “Don’t say that in front of your other child, OK?” the dispatcher tells Suleman. “Keep yourself under control for your other child; he doesn’t need to hear that.”

Suleman, an unemployed single mother, has come under scrutiny since giving birth to octuplets Jan. 26 when she already had six other children, ages 2 to 7. Talks show hosts, celebrities and others have weighed in on the topic, with some questioning her ability to look after 14 children.

Compare for yourself:

Listen to audio of Suleman’s 911 call.

Changeling trailer

Octo-neighbor: “ever since the babies there’s been a lot of commotion”

A neighbor of Octomom Nayda Suleman used a shotgun to threaten paparazzi outside Suleman’s Whittier home, officials said Tuesday.

WHITTIER – A neighbor of Nadya Suleman, who gave birth to octuplets last month, brandished a shotgun and yelled threats last night, prompting Whittier Police to come to the cul de sac. 

<snip>

Sally Ramirez said she lives next door to the man, who she said is usually a quiet neighbor.

“He’s a nice man,” she said. “Maybe he was just trying to scare them off.”

Ramirez said the usually sleepy neighborhood has been busier and louder since the announcement that Suleman, who lives in her mother’s house at the end of the street, was adding octuplets to her brood of six children younger than 7. The family’s home on Sunrise Drive is headed toward foreclosure, according to documents.

Ramirez said Suleman told her she would soon be moving to a large house owned by a friend. She said she hopes that when her neighbor leaves, the street will be quiet again.

“Ever since she had the babies, there’s been a lot of commotion,” Ramirez said.