President Obama’s latest round of grandstanding on World Wrestling Entertainment TV programs — which has done great damage to serious public debate — will soon be out of the way. At that point perhaps Obama can be persuaded to butt out of the Republican Senate primary in Connecticut and allow the focus of coverage of Linda McMahon’s campaign to go where it belongs: on the pandemic of death in the industry her WWE controls.
Since the president’s salary is $400,000 a year, and Federal Election Commission filings show that McMahon’s campaign manager is scraping by on a mere $280,000, that can probably be arranged.
A few bullets from the new issue of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
* If the only problem were WWE’s tacit encouragement of vast quantities of steroids, combined with dangerous performing stunts, “all to line Ms. McMahon’s pockets,” that wouldn’t be much of a story.
* However, Eddie “Umaga” Fatu is the latest of more than 60 wrestlers who have died in their 30s and 40s over a 12-year period. THAT’s a story.
* In the first steroid testing of the WWE “wellness policy” (which was 2006, following the death of wrestler Eddie Guerrero), 40 percent of the talent came up positive.
* With none of the wrestlers receiving any health-care benefits under their “independent contractor” deals, this phenomenon “becomes inexcusable,” in Meltzer’s words. He concludes:
“When the former CEO of the WWE runs for Senate with an anti-health care reform message as part of her platform, that is something that deserves much more recognition than it is getting, especially since it is the main part of the grievances against the WWE by the very wrestlers who put their lives on the line for Ms. McMahon and have nothing but a lifetime of health problems and no way to pay for proper treatment to show for it.”