Washington Post and Linda McMahon: Bird-Cage-Liner Notes

The Linda McMahon profile in this morning’s Washington Post, which I slanmed in an instant analysis last night, isn’t worth the ink that it doesn’t cost to say much more about it.

The main question, both inside the Beltway and inside Connecticut, is: Will anyone pick up on the story of how Congress – the body to which McMahon now aspires – circulated a little self-serving hot air, then quietly dropped its investigation of drugs and death in her World Wrestling Entertainment?

The subject is fully covered in Chapter 13, “Congress Cuts a Promo,” of my book CHRIS & NANCY: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death. I’ll be making appearances on Thursday, March 25, at the Borders in Stamford and Saturday, March 27, at the Borders in Farmington.

I’ll send another of my postcard invitations to Jason Horowitz of the Post.  If Horowitz attended one of those pricey journalism schools, he absorbed how to write in reverse-pyramid form but little else.

***

AS OTHERS SAW IT

On his blog today, the Hartford Courant’s Rick Green correctly observes that the Post article “turns over no new ground.”

Green also points out the reporter’s most notable evidence of enterprise – again in service of the YouTube LindaMania that I consider a substantive campaign loser. The Post offers the full background on the scene in which McMahon’s daughter’s husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, shtupps a mannequin inside a coffin at a funeral home. During the shoot, auteur Vince McMahon directs Levesque to “do it harder and make more noise and stuff.”

At Pro Wrestling Torch, James Caldwell nails the story’s “unchecked and unchallenged” Linda McMahon quotes. But even the estimable Caldwell misses how the quote he cites – an argument by McMahon that steroids do not enhance performance in pro wrestling – remains unchallenged on two levels.

McMahon says, “The thing of it is, there is no competitive advantage for using steroids – it’s not going to make you jump higher, run faster, hit the ball farther or anything like that.”

So Linda not only is denying that mere cosmetic enhancement offers an advantage in wrestling (a position defied by her company’s systematic push of muscled and/or larger talent). She also seems to be claiming that they don’t work as aids in legitimate athletic endeavors, either. And the Post lets the quote just sit there.

Someone please get the descendents of Woodward and Bernstein a copy of Steroids for Dummies.

Finally, the campaign of Rob Simmons, McMahon’s main Republican opponent, is sending around excerpts of the Post profile with the claim that they show her attempting to distance herself from WWE. Good luck with that one.

***

LAST THOUGHTS

For history on a publicly traded corporation with market capitalization of a billion dollars, the Post doesn’t go out and find Lowell Weicker, a former Connecticut senator and governor, now a charter member of the WWE board of directors and living in Virginia. No, the paper goes straight to the horse’s – or animal’s – mouth:  Jim “George ‘The Animal’ Steele” Myers, a mid-card comedy character from the 1980s.

The Animal informs us that, like the original flame-throwing Sheik, who promoted in Myers’ hometown of Detroit, Vince saw the advantages of having his wife handle the business side whenever the boys stormed the office to complain about their payoffs.

Yet another sterling example, one presumes, of Linda McMahon’s qualifications for the Senate on the basis of her success “in a business that is very testosterone-loaded.”

I don’t suppose the McMahons’ lawyer, Jerry McDevitt, will be maintaining that The Animal is not current, was never an important figure in WWE, or has an axe to grind.

Irv Muchnick

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1 Response to “Washington Post and Linda McMahon: Bird-Cage-Liner Notes”


  1. 1 Keith Harris February 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    The most dismaying thing of the whole article was Jason Horowitz failing to connect the dots when that conflicted sell out Bret Hart connected them for him, despite his denials to the contrary, by being far too honest for his own good. How much simpler does it need to be made to the media when a wrestler goes on the record and says the guys with lots of muscles made lots of money? Maybe playing dumb is the price of having such intimate access to Linda’s campaign?


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