Linda McMahon Mingles Among the People, With Whom Her ‘Image’ Remains Good

Ted Mann of The Day in New London today has a passable piece of boilerplate coverage of the Linda McMahon campaign. See “McMahon gets warm welcome at Sailfest,” http://www.theday.com/article/20100710/NWS01/307109899/1044.

McMahon indeed exhibits a certain facility for retail politics along with her saturation mass-media buys. Her Democratic opponent, Richard Blumenthal, indeed has the burden of proving that his sloppy and hyped accounts of his military service don’t disqualify him before the voters. And it is indeed a crazy political year in which insiders posing as outsiders have an advantage over run-of-the mill insiders.

But is boilerplate good enough? It is a question worth putting politely to Mann, a good reporter whose earlier coverage kicked open the door on one of the most explosive elements of McMahon’s record as a businesswoman: what any reasonable reader might conclude was her obstruction of justice when her pro wrestling company was under federal criminal investigation in the 1990s.

The Day kicked that door open. However, it hasn’t tried to close the loop on the story of how McMahon passed along a tip allegedly originating with a U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania. Nor has it touched at all the story of how the McMahon family’s trial lawyer’s husband later leaked smears of government prosecutors and tried to suborn the testimony of Vince McMahon’s ex-Playboy model secretary.

In a passage that makes today’s story read more like he’s covering his ass with both hands than like he’s telling two sides of a story, Mann writes: “If Democrats are hoping that McMahon’s Republican bid for the U.S. Senate will be undone by the controversies over steroids and the premature deaths of the wrestlers who have worked for the company on which she and her husband have built a fortune and entertainment empire, the candidate’s visit to New London on the opening afternoon of Sailfest was the other side of that coin.”

Oh really? Please show me where anyone in the Connecticut media has given substantial attention to “the premature deaths of the wrestlers who have worked” for WWE. From where I sit, the acceptable language in mainstream media to this point remains something along the lines that WWE says a grand total of five performers have died under contract, while a pesky critic or two are believed to maintain that the toll is worse than that.

A “controversy,” you see.

Give Mann and The Day a gentleman’s C. We’re not even at midterms yet, so there’s hope they’ll get their marks up.

Irv Muchnick

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