Archive for July 16th, 2010

More Linda McMahon/NYT Fallout: Salon Magazine With Smug Liberal Standup Joke 27-C

What’s next? The lame Jay Leno monologue gag or the Michael Moore documentary on how only George W. Bush would be stupid enough to vote for Linda McMahon? I somehow doubt that Linda is bursting into tears at ridicule that substitutes superciliousness for real scrutiny of her business practices.

“Why a wrestling queen would be  a great GOP senator”

Irv Muchnick

How About ‘Corporate Success Story Or Death Merchant’?

In its wisdom, Connecticut Capitol Report chooses as its react link to the New York Times Linda McMahon story a blog at the Christian Science Monitor website by one Matthew Kahn, an economics professor at UCLA. Let’s not let too much actual knowledge get in the way of our thumb-sucking here. Capitol Report’s link is headlined “McMahon ‘villain’ or ‘corporate success story’?” Kahn’s blog, part of his “Green Economics” series, is headlined “The cold economics of professional wrestling.” See

Herr Professor Kahn (who, by the way, seems at best semi-literate) is advertised by the Monitor as part of its “diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there.”

Kahn says the hazards faced by pro wrestlers are all about choice, and isn’t that interesting?

In fairness to Kahn, he was working from the Times article, which performed the superhuman feat of featuring 2,300 words about Linda McMahon without once uttering either “Chris Benoit” or “death.”

Or does not even a cluster of avoidable industrial deaths qualify as a public health game-changer in bread-and-circuses America?

Irv Muchnick

Mike Benoit on The New York Times on Linda McMahon

Earlier I commented on the appallingly inadequate Linda McMahon article in today’s New York Times. Here’s more from Mike Benoit, the father of the late Chris Benoit, father-in-law of the late Nancy Benoit, and grandfather of the late Daniel Benoit:

The article in the NY Times should have the caption “Paid For By Linda McMahon.”

There are some interesting items in the article. The first one to jump out at you is their failure to talk about the Chris Benoit tragedy. WWE has banned anyone within their organization from mentioning the name. Do they also have that power over the NY Times? They also failed to mention Andrew Martin. I guess once you bring up Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, the Benoit name will follow.

Linda pats herself on the back for being responsible for the deregulation of the wrestling industry. This allowed them to script some of the extreme and very dangerous stunts into their matches. The rise in death rates within the industry coincides with deregulation. I believe that once any industry has no oversight, the first thing to go is safety.

Linda compares contract wrestlers to singers, golfers, and tennis players. I wonder if in any of the above contracts have death clauses.

Irv Muchnick

Second Mixed Martial Arts Death: Brain Hemorrhage

Mixed martial artist Michael Kirkham died of a brain hemorrhage on June 28, never reviving after being knocked unconscious two days earlier in a fight in Aiken, South Carolina. According to MMA and wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer, this was “the second known fatality in a regulated MMA event in North America.”

Meanwhile, World Wrestling Entertainment’s Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat spends his third week in a Tampa hospital recovering from bleeding on the brain that nearly killed him. The original diagnosis was a brain aneurysm. The revised diagnosis was a burst capillary – not to be confused with a brain aneurysm or brain hemorrhage. Burst capillaries, which are caused by blunt force, usually heal up on their own. It can’t be proven conclusively one way or another if the beating Steamboat took, also on June 28, on WWE’s Raw show on USA cable is related to his medical condition.

Glad we got that all straight.

Irv Muchnick

New York Times Sets a New World Record: 2,300 Words on Linda McMahon – Not One of Them ‘Benoit’ or ‘Death’

The New York Times has published its long-anticipated major piece on Linda McMahon by reporters Raymond Hernandez and Joshua Brustein: “A Senate Run Brings Professional Wrestling Into the Spotlight,”

There are quotes from people saying Linda is mean. And there are quotes from Linda saying no she isn’t.

We learn that wrestler Eddie Guerrero was found dead in 2005, possibly because of steroids and painkillers. We also learn that Chris Klucsarits (“Chris Kanyon”) was found dead earlier this year alongside a suicide note, a number of years after he was cut loose by World Wrestling Entertainment and fell into depression. That, we are given to believe, was very mean of Linda and Vince McMahon.

Two people found dead. Nowhere else in the story can you find a single use of any form of the words “dead” or “death.” There is not one reference to the pandemic of early deaths in the professional wrestling industry over which Linda and her husband preside.

Nor is there even one mention of Chris Benoit, who sensationally committed double murder/suicide in 2007, prompting an investigation by Congressman Henry Waxman’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to which The Times gives the once-over-lightly treatment. (The story says nothing at all about the federal criminal investigation and trial of Vince McMahon and the company in the 1990s.) Benoit was around the ninth of around 21 industry performers to die before their 50th birthdays that year alone, but neither that fact nor anything in that area code of information or analysis makes the cut.

This is a remarkable document, stamping The Times as the Newspaper of UnRecord. It’s like a history of slavery without being bothered by the Amistad mutiny or the Dred Scott decision.

In one of his classic Baseball Abstract annuals in the 1980s, Bill James evaluated Chicago Cubs outfielder Keith Moreland thusly: “He tries hard, throws hard, and covers more ground than the Ayatollah Khomeini.” When it comes to covering Linda McMahon, The New York Times types hard, spell-checks hard, and stretches almost nothing into nearly 2,300 words.

Linda McMahon is getting some negative press these days; presumably The Times’ entry adds to that trend, and that matters to people following the horse race. In addition, I realize that the very decision by the Gray Lady to publish at length on the theme that Connecticut’s Republican Senate candidate might be somewhat callous and ruthless makes its own kind of statement, no matter how shallow and trivial it might be. Further, Linda does herself no favors with stultifyingly prosaic corporate rhetoric in response to every close-to-the-bone allegation.

But your  humble blogger does not grade on the  curve. The Weekly Standard’s Linda McMahon profile was very nearly a bull’s eye. The Times’ is an embarrassment.

Irv Muchnick

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