Archive for March 11th, 2010

Full Story on WWE, Bret Hart, and Lloyd’s of London

Keith Harris posted a comment on our item yesterday, “Did Bret Hart Get Lloyd’s of London Insurance for WrestleMania?”

At Cageside Seats, the blog he writes along with David Bixenspan, Harris gives the complete background in a post headlined “Lloyd’s of London causes WWE headaches over Bret Hart coming out of retirement.” See

Harris explains that this is actually an old insurance policy of Hart’s. In fact, he had to sue Lloyd’s to collect on a claim for his career-ending concussion, which led to his stroke and disability. (Hart was awarded $800,000 in damages in 2005.)

And here, against all odds, is Hart back with WWE and headlining WrestleMania. Wrestling, Harris observes ruefully, “is a strange business where even a badly concussed, stroke sufferer who was screwed over by the biggest wrestling promoter in the world can’t be guaranteed to stay retired.”

I still want to see who plays the Lloyd’s claims adjuster in the TV commercial.

Irv Muchnick

Linda McMahon Coverage Getting Tougher, But Media Still Need to Flip Their Priorities

A story in today’s Manchester Journal Inquirer continues the recent trend of more substantive coverage of Linda McMahon’s U.S. Senate bid. The beginning of the piece by Don Michak, “McMahon Vows To Spend More, Force Primary If She Doesn’t Win Party’s Nomination,” is at, but the full text is available only to paid subscribers.

The article zeroes in on two areas of controversy for McMahon: the TV programming content of World Wrestling Entertainment, and the lax drug-testing and other health and safety standards of the pro wrestling industry, which her billion-dollar publicly traded company largely controls.

When Connecticut journalists start consistently reversing the order of priority of the questions in those two areas, my outsider’s mission will have been accomplished.

To the Journal Inquirer reporter, McMahon “dismissed what has been perhaps the complaint most frequently made against her by her opponent — that as the top executive at WWE, she authorized and personally profited from its questionable programming.” I agree that this is “perhaps the complaint most frequently made” — by the media as well as by Republican opponent Rob Simmons — but I hope that won’t always be the case.

McMahon also acknowledged that “some WWE wrestlers had used steroids, but insisted the company’s anti-drug policy is effective. Steroids can provide a competitive advantage to athletes, she said, but no such advantage is required in WWE programming in which characterization, costuming, and the ‘soap opera’ script is paramount.”

Let’s start putting some more Truth Squad resources into that whopper, folks. People are dying, and it isn’t funny.

Irv Muchnick

Linda McMahon Strongly Denies That She Is a Kevin Rennie Mouthpiece

Hearst newspapers in Connecticut will have a story in Sunday editions highlighting the wealth of major gubernatorial and senatorial candidates this year.

On his blog yesterday, Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie, a former Republican state legislator, runs down the 16-item questionnaire Hearst gave each of the candidates. See “Will Anyone Answer, ‘The Bada Bing'”?,

And in truth and on their face, about 14 of the 16 questions seem pretty silly. No. 10 is “How much do you pay for a haircut/hairstyling? Where do you go?”  Rennie’s blog commenter “George” logs in with this: “Sounds like a questionnaire Robin Leach might use to qualify guests for his TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Sadly, this is what passes for journalism in CT today.”

On his own blog today, Hearst reporter Brian Lockhart gives this upcoming high-minded exercise a little context. See “Complain all you want. You know you’re going to read about the candidates’ $$$,” He points out that “those candidates with money in particular want to downplay their wealth, even as they’re paradoxically relying on their fortunes to run for office during a particularly populist, ‘let’s burn those high-paid, big-bonus-earning suits at the stake!’ period in this country’s history.”

As always, I believe readers are capable of processing all this for themselves in a couple of days. Two weeks ago Lockhart was the first in-state reporter to break away meaningfully from the YouTube journalism on Linda McMahon’s Senate campaign, via an investigation of the stalled and forgotten Congressional investigations of World Wrestling Entertainment drug-testing policies in the wake of the 2007 Chris Benoit double murder/suicide. So he already put some, ahem, “political capitol” in the bank, if this piece turns out to be not deemed worthy of passing around Monday morning at high school civics classes throughout the Nutmeg State.

Mischief-maker that I am, however, I can’t help focusing on something else altogether. On his blog, Lockhart notes that “someone” leaked the questions (to Rennie). “My money’s on a disgruntled candidate” as the source of that leak, he adds parenthetically.

Hmmm … Kevin Rennie … Phony populist narratives of the mega-rich …

I’ve got it! Warren Mosler, you old fox!

Irv Muchnick

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March 2010