Muchnick Flashback: ‘Wow, That Lloyd Grove of The Daily Beast Sure Types Fast’

I have nothing but sympathy for journalists who screw up — I do it myself here and there. But I have nothing but contempt for people who don’t own up to their mistakes and correct them.

As noted in the previous post, Brian Lockhart of Hearst blew Lloyd Grove’s profile of Linda McMahon in The Daily Beast out of the water. TDB refuses to comment on or correct the story. For the full background, I reprint below my September 2 post.

***************

“The Wrestler Could Win” is the headline on Lloyd Grove’s piece about Linda McMahon at The Daily Beast, http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-09-02/linda-mcmahon-rising-in-connecticut-/.

Yes, sir. And The Daily Beast could use a bullshit detector.

As a public service, your humble blogger is providing McMahon’s story about her bankruptcy – with more holes than John Lennon’s Blackburn, Lancashire – as transcribed  by stenographer Grove (TDB), followed by an English translation (ET).

TDB: “She was married at 17 and soon pregnant.”

ET: Linda married Vince McMahon in 1966. Their first child, son Shane, was born on January 15, 1970. In fairness, I don’t know if Linda was pregnant at any other time in the intervening three-plus years.

TDB: “She was a stay-at-home mom with two little kids and Vince was working for his father, a small-time wrestling promoter, and having a hard time making a living.”

ET: As noted, Shane was born in 1970. Daughter Stephanie was born in 1976. By today’s standards, Vincent J. McMahon might be casually called a small-time promoter – but, come on, Vince Senior in the 1970s was doing big business throughout the Northeast, including in the population centers of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Baltimore. Why Vince Junior would be “having a hard time making a living” through that period is not at all clear. In 1971 young Vince replaced Ray Morgan as the host of the syndicated television programs of the World Wide Wrestling Federation, as it was then known; he became a full-time employee of his father’s company no later than 1972. In 1974, when Linda was still a stay-at-home mom with just one little kid, Vince started promoting coast-to-coast closed-circuit shows like Evel Knievel and Ali-Inoki.

TDB: “At one point, when they were living in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in the 1970s, they went bankrupt and briefly depended on food stamps.”

ET: The McMahons’ heretofore known bankruptcy filing was in Connecticut in 1976. If there was an additional earlier bankruptcy, that is huge news – as is the undocumented assertion that they were on government assistance. But you never know with TDB, which may be conflating “food stamps” with “S&H Green Stamps,” a staple of middle-class homes of that period, for which there was no social stigma whatsoever. “After our son Shane was born,” Linda tells stenographer Grove, “we saved S&H Green Stamps and actually bought a high chair and Shane’s formula with them.” Well, give that resourceful homemaker a prize!

***

Eight hours ago stenographer Grove suggested on Twitter that he would have more to say “As soon as I recover my equilibrium from that chair you hit me in the head with.” He seems still not to have recuperated from my devastating attack of electrons via the ether. Grove makes the exercise of fact-checking a piece of journalism sound more painful than the real steel chair shots to the head that have been administered to the late Shane Cade and the late Chris Kanyon, among many others of Linda McMahon’s wrestlers, both dead and not yet dead.

Irv Muchnick

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