Dissident Wrestling Journalists Tell Linda McMahon Story More Faithfully Than the Leading Ones

Dave Meltzer – who, I repeatedly emphasize, is most disappointing because he knows better – has resumed being a double-jointed joke in his coverage of the Senate campaign of former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon.

Last Friday The New York Times published a story on its front page headlined, “Scrutiny on a Run for the Senate Includes Her Pro Wrestling Hat.” I didn’t see a review of it on Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer website until the Saturday afternoon update, an eternal 36 hours after publication, and Meltzer’s analysis was bland.

Meanwhile, Cageside Seats – largely written by David Bixenspan and Keith Harris – got it right. Candidly, they got it more right than I did: I was too caught up in The Times’ inexcusable failure to discuss Chris Benoit and death counts, and gave reporters Raymond Hernandez and Joshua Brustein inadequate credit for what the article did accomplish, which was well captured by the Cageside Seats headline: “The New York Times manages to shed some light on WWE’s shady, vindictive nature despite avoiding their pink elephant Chris Benoit.”

The link to the post by Harris is http://www.cagesideseats.com/2010/7/19/1576898/the-new-york-times-manages-to-shed.

Yesterday brought more nonsense from Meltzer in his react to the Good Morning America piece focusing on Martha Hart’s lawsuit and grievances against WWE. “I don’t see the story as really hurting the campaign,” Meltzer opined, “but it was a negative on national television.” Like too much of what Meltzer says, this has the effect of simultaneously conveying everything and nothing. Usually when he writes about things that are shown on national television, his message is that image is the most important, if not the only, thing. But not when he, in his mysterious way, chooses to conclude otherwise.

Oh, I forgot: Meltzer did register GMA as “a negative” (for Linda personally? for the wrestling industry? for humanity?). So he can safely defend himself in the future, in the forums he carefully selects, against the charge – which happens never to have been made – that he is “covering up for” or “defending” the McMahons. Terms like “softpedaling” and “not reporting aggressively enough,” allowing for respectful and intelligent disagreement, are too subtle.

Irv Muchnick

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