Confronting an absurdly credible U.S. Senate candidate, the mainstream media are starting to get their footwork down.
Today, on Morning Joe, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell had a lively exchange with Linda McMahon about drugs and death in her World Wrestling Entertainment. The YouTube video is flying around but I can’t find the link. Here’s the video file: http://muchnick.net/lindaonmsnbc.wmv.
A couple of comments from Hartford Courant columnists/bloggers, followed by my own.
Colin McEnroe called it “Kabuki” (http://blogs.courant.com/colin_mcenroe_to_wit/2010/02/kabuki.html): “This would have been a little better if O’Donnell had a tiny bit of substance — which, heaven knows, is available — to back up his bluster. In fact, O’Donnell’s challenge to McMahon had a paradoxically glandular, brainless WWE quality. Oh well. Somebody else will do a better job.”
Rick Green called it “LindaVision” (http://blogs.courant.com/rick_green/2010/02/lindavision-on-morning-joe-uns.html): “What’s most revealing about this is that everybody’s getting a big chuckle talking about drug abuse. Score a big one for Linda McMahon.”
As someone who has had a ringside seat for McMahon-enabling cynicism for a generation, I’m a little more sanguine on this one.
To McEnroe, I would point out that cable gum-flapping is what it is — but take a look at how far we’ve come in this discussion.
To Green, I would agree that the other panelists may be getting “a big chuckle” — but Linda McMahon isn’t one of them. She’s busy regurgitating her glib response, which rambles across everything up to and including the pads WWE installed outside the ring to protect wrestlers taking big “bumps.”
To everyone, I would urge you to notice what she doesn’t try to get away with saying any more. She no longer begins this rehearsed sound bite by maintaining that “only” five wrestlers have met early death on WWE’s watch. Heck, 11 performers for one WrestleMania show alone (in 1991) went on to die before age 50. [See “The Question: Linda McMahon (Still) Can’t Answer It (complete 7-part series as a single post),” January 10, 2010, http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/%E2%80%98the-question%E2%80%99-%E2%80%93-senate-candidate-linda-mcmahon-still-can%E2%80%99t-answer-it-complete-7-part-series-as-a-single-post/.]
Today’s edition of Morning Joe, and Rick Green’s thoughtful column in today’s Courant, “Mean-Spirited Fiction, That’s a Fact,” http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-green_mcmahon_0212.artfeb12,0,6958559.column, are invaluable companion pieces as the campaign proceeds to strip the fluoropolymers off Teflon Linda.