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What the heck is in that Trimspa stuff, anyway?

pkamens Icon Posted by Paula Kamen

February 22nd, 2007

A 39-year old celebrity mysteriously dies. She was the high-profile spokesperson for a diet pill that she claimed made her lose 70 pounds in a very short time. The media covers the aftermath of the death day and night but doesn’t ask one major question:

What was in those diet pills?

And, in the nonstop coverage of model and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith’s death, other bigger questions have not been asked, such as: about the source of her desperation to lose that much weight so quickly, interactions of diet pills with prescription drugs, and about the shadiness of the industry in general. That seems obvious, especially because Anna Nicole Smith and Trimspa were sued the day before her death, in early February, for deceptive business practices. And her dramatic weight loss allegedly with the pills in 2004 was big news.

(I’d also like to see issues of possible postpartum depression — she had given birth months before — as an exacerbating factor investigated.)

Instead, major news channels, such as CNN, are focusing only on theatrics, such as in today’s high courtroom drama over the destiny of her remains. Right after today’s broadcasted live verdict (to let her baby’s legal guardian decide), the CNN’s non-stop coverage became even more vapid with an interiew of, all people, Larry King (!), who didn’t seem to understand what was going on.

The explanation for Larry King’s prominently placed interview today was that he had interviewed and gotten to know Smith in the past. But his past coverage of her, and CNN’s use of it, is not very redeeming. A story on CNN about Smiths’ death printed on its website on Feb. 9 links to a 2004 interview with Smith in which you can “watch Larry King say Smith’s weight issues led to her depression.” In reality, in the interview, Smith says it was the repeated trials she went through about her late husband’s inheritance that caused her depression — NOT her weight gain. CNN did have a separate feature on Trimspa on February 8, but only in terms of the company’s future, not consumer safety.

Ironically, giving more in-depth coverage of her obvious earlier health problems was the tabloid show Access Hollywood, which in the days after her death broadcast a yet-unaired recent interview with Smith that was too strange to every air earlier. In the video, Anna Nicole lacks strength to stand, looks clearly drugged, and she has to do the interview sitting on the floor.

I’m not surprised by superficial coverage of this story. Smith has been an easy source of entertainment, in print and on TV, for a long time, glorifying her as a sex symbol in her Playboy days, and then lambasting her as a has-been after she gained weight. But I’d expect at least some “issue” stories to accompany the hours and hours of coverage on major networks.

Indeed, the Trimspa pils were major news — for making her no longer fat — before her death. In 2004, Smith went triumphantly on the CBS Early Show about exactly two years ago, which lauded her as “looking great.”

Ironically, at that interview, Smith discussed pressure from others in this decision to take this dramatic step, which may have been a factor in the early loss of her life:

Asked why she decided to lose weight in the first place, since for a while she seemed comfortable in her own skin, Smith says, “I wasn’t unhappy at all until just everybody just started ridiculing me so bad. I just got to the point that it was just like, ‘My God, you know. Just shut up, everybody. What is the big deal?’ And then I just looked in the mirror. I’m like, ‘I am fat!’”

2 Responses to “What the heck is in that Trimspa stuff, anyway?”

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