7 Media Stories From 2013 We Would Be Lucky to Never Hear About Again

Media frenzies are now the norm. There’s no use complaining about them; we can only grade them.

With something like the Boston Marathon bombing or the Newtown school shooting, a certain amount and type of news coverage is obviously justified.  But with the following media stories, I would say they were worth a Bret Baier Grapevine segment at most, but many made top 10 lists of the year’s media stories.


The Phil Robertson kerfluffle didn’t make this list—yet.  I’ve only watched Duck Dynasty once. I thought it was better than I expected, but not appointment TV.  But I like their family a lot.  Robertson made some substantive points—and the one that everyone says was “gross” is something that has crossed every straight male’s mind at some point.  And I mean every one.

Also, the discussion has been valuable—even when some of the commentary is not—as a Rorschach test for the pop culture and a measure of how many Americans are following the party line.

The rest of these, I would argue, don’t come close to that standard.

Via Instagram / http://instagram.com/p/irOWreEyXT/

Via Instagram / http://instagram.com/p/irOWreEyXT/

7.  Paula Deen

Paul Deen is getting referenced again in the controversy around Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty.  Yeah, let’s compare apples and cinder blocks.

Paula Deen, if it’s a story, is a story about lawsuit abuse.  It’s a story about the media feeding frenzy.  But Paula Deen herself should sell cookbooks and stay out of my newscasts.

Granted, she didn’t try to get there.  She was minding her own business on the Cooking Channel (which was why I had never heard of her) when some former employees sued her.  They lost the lawsuit in slam dunk fashion, but not before Mrs. Deen fell all over herself in a deposition in which she had to answer questions about whether she (or her hiring practices) was racist.

Not that I’m condoning perjury, but what special kind of fool blurts out something in a deposition that only a spouse could sell them out on—especially since doing so would hurt the spouse financially in equal measure? Did Paula really think that if a lawyer asked her husband if she said “ni**er” a lot, he would say, “Hmmmm, well back 20 years ago after she was mugged, I think she called that guy bad names…”?

Paula Deen then proceeded to show up on morning shows and give tearful apologies that would make Tammy Faye Bakker cringe.

But other than being really bad at being in the national spotlight outside her cooking show bubble, I can’t for the life of me think of what Paula Deen did wrong—or why anyone should care.


6.  Rob Ford

Rob Ford is the crack-smoking, hard-drinking, can’t-control-himself-in-front-of-a-camera mayor of Toronto.  So what?  Who in America cares who the mayor of Toronto is?

If a mayor of Toronto does not smoke crack, insult women, or do any number of out-of-control things, is there any chance anyone in the United States will notice him?  Can any amount of good policies get him one minute of cable news?  Doubtful.  Did you know Stephen Harper is prime minister of Canada?

It matters who is mayor of New York City.  Maybe Chicago.  Toronto?  Nah.  Montreal.  Get out of here.

I smell a book deal.  If he gets one, look for more Canadian politicians to get their chance to star in Mayors Gone Wild.

Meanwhile, the fact that we have a communist who is mayor of New York City, whose own personal life is interesting to say the least, is largely not commented on in the major media.

via instagram

via instagram

5.  Jodi Arias

The great suspense novelist Stephen Hunter once said, “A newspaper story about a gun is something with a mistake in it.”  And as we have seen in every mass-shooting—or attempted mass-shooting–story, that goes double for cable news.

But let me take it a step farther: A national story about a local crime is always wrong.

Whether it’s Matthew Shepard, George Zimmerman, or the Ohio high school football players involved with a possible rape, national coverage of a local crime is always more circus than cerebral.  Usually, this only happens if the media thinks there is a racial spin to it—or some other kind of civil rights or gun control angle.

Why should we care about Jody Arias?  Oops, I mean Jodi.  Just looked it up.  That’s how much I care.

How many hundreds of murders of boyfriends by girlfriends were there last year in the U.S.?  Probably fewer than there should have been.  How many involved sex?  Probably all of them.


I mean, if Jodi were a great looking woman, I could see why this was made for TV.  I actually heard someone call her telegenic.  That guy needs to get out more—or at least watch more TV.  Maybe she’s above the median for murderers?  They say politics is show biz for the ugly; maybe that’s true of crime stories, too.

And the fact that a defense attorney thought it was a good idea for her to prattle on about her sex life and a judge had no control over his court room might be a story about them—but not about her.

But even if she escapes prison by use of a homemade glider, I don’t want to hear about it.

4. Mr. Gabby Giffords

The Left seems to have a Regarding Henry complex.  All you need to do is be shot in the head to become not only a human interest story, but a full-fledged martyr/hero/symbol of something larger.

Gabby Giffords was an unremarkable congresswoman who was largely ignored by the media mainly because she was a bit of a Blue Dog Democrat.

Then a nutbag shot her in the head, and she became a symbol of how horrible our public discourse had become, even though there hadn’t been any particularly tough language aimed at her, merely because Sarah Palin had used the age-old metaphor of “targeting” at her election campaign.

Still, a congresswoman being shot, and her fight to regain a normal life, or even a public one, is a news story, even if pretty much everything she is being used as a symbol for is bogus.


But I really don’t need to hear her husband, Navy veteran and astronaut Mark Kelly, every time somebody wants to talk about gun control or civil discourse.

Pretty much every time Kelly is invited to talk, nothing he says or is proposing has anything to do with what really happened that day, or would have had any effect on what happened that day.

And while the media likes to pump up the Gabby Giffords story, I think what they really like is finding a vet who will talk gun control.

Federal Judge John Roll died heroically that day, shot in the back while shielding the body of Giffords’ staffer. Nobody is asking his wife for anniversary interviews.


3. Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin is a yeller.  So what?

He’s a mid-list star with a hair trigger.  And if he hadn’t had some on-air insult battles with Sean Hannity, I wonder how much we would hear about it.  He would be in the Sean Penn-class of on air discussion about his temper.

Fox News personalities (with the notable exception of the great Greg Gutfeld) like to haul out the elder Baldwin to prove a media double standard—if Paula Deen and Phil Robertson are going to be hung from the nearest yardarm by the Lamestream Media for their comments, why isn’t Alec Baldwin being drawn and quartered, they wonder.

Okay, for one thing, calling someone a c**ksu**er in my neighborhood was not considered a homophobic remark to be taken in a wider context on gays in general.  But then in my neighborhood… okay, never mind.  But while it may not be the most appropriate insult in the world, the only one offended should be the person it was hurled at—who in this case would probably say, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Should ET be taken off the shelves, should Steven Spielberg be ostracized?  After all, in that beloved family film, our young hero, whose tolerance for others extends even to interstellar levels, calls his brother “penis breath” as an insult. Then after Spielberg released an edited version of the film—because of parents’ groups, not GLAAD—he said that he regretted the edit.


But back to Baldwin:  clashing with the paparazzi is okay by me.  As long as nobody dies.  I mean, seriously, a guy should be able to get in and out of his car.

But here’s my biggest beef: Hauling out the horrible rant Baldwin left for his daughter on the answering machine at every excuse.  I think I was subject to it for a majority of the Hannity shows I happened to tune into for at least a week.  Maybe more.  It seemed like a month.

We have this audio because Baldwin’s ex put it out there to discredit him.  At the time, people thought less of her because of what playing it in public subjected her daughter to.

Hey, Sean, this was a horrible thing that didn’t happen to you; it happened to a little girl.  Yes, it proves your point that Alec Baldwin can be a really bad guy.

But what’s worse? His leaving it on an answering machine in a fit of (chemically assisted?) rage, or you putting it out there on a nightly basis?  There was a victim here.  And you make her one again every time you want to score points on Alec Baldwin or the liberal media.

Not to mention, I can’t see how any human being can sit and listen to it over and over again.  I know I can’t.  Thank God for TV remotes.

2.  Anthony Weiner

It’s tempting right here to just say “enough said,” like the trailer for Sharknado.

Yes, it’s irresistible that the former congressman who flashed his package online is named Weiner.  Yes, it’s funny how clueless he is about how people react to that, and how he continued to conduct himself in public.  And the news conference with the guy behind him peeking over the cubicle was priceless.

But my bet is that a majority of the people reading this have to be reminded of the name of the communist who actually WON the New York City mayor’s race.


And when I say communist in this context, it’s not a rhetorical flourish.  Bill de Blasio makes Barack Obama look like Ed Koch.

And yes, Bloomberg is an insufferable busy-body, but he was okay in the issue of Big Governing, even while he took the nanny aspects of Big Government way too far.  Yeah, he wanted to protect people from themselves, but he also wanted to protect the law-abiding from criminals.

So while the possibly single most important city in the world is going to be governed by a communist who will be in charge of Wall Street, and hundreds more minorities, gays, whites—and everyone—are murdered by thugs, I wonder if a year from now, Anthony Weiner will still have a higher name ID than the current mayor.

I guess only Carlos Danger knows for sure.

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1. Santa’s Skin Color

Thank God for Phil Robertson. The Duck Dynasty star, if nothing else, gave cultural commentators something to talk about other than whether or not Santa Claus is white.


This all became a cable news kerfluffle because Megyn Kelly decided to discuss a pretty stupid Salon.com piece in which the writer claimed to have suffered anguish over seeing white Santas everywhere, and suggested the new symbol for Christmas be a penguin because penguins are both black and white.

Then an under-the-weather Megyn Kelly flippantly said to a guest:

“So, in Slate, they have a piece, .com, Santa Claus shouldn’t be a white man anymore. And when I saw this headline, I kind of laugh and so I said, this is so ridiculous yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa. You know? And by the way, for all the kids watching at home, Santa just is white but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But you know, Santa is what he is and just so, you know, we are just debating this because someone wrote about it kids. OK. I want to get that straight.”


Okay, that was probably dumb, and a bit of a head scratcher. [SPOILER ALERT] Santa Claus is made up.  In fact, Santa Claus is your Dad if you have one, or your Mom. In that way, Santa probably is whatever color you are.

Megyn also went on to assert that Jesus was also “white,” which wasn’t part of the discussion.

When Al Sharpton led the riots against Jewish “interlopers” in Crown Heights, I’m pretty sure he was content to have Jews considered white people.  And yes, despite all the remarks about “Mediterranians” that followed, Jews are considered to be Caucasians.

Frankly, I don’t think this even rated an apology from Kelly, who thankfully didn’t offer one.  Claiming to be the victim of race-baiters was also a little over the top.

But why Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh got into this is a mystery to me. Kelly was in no danger of losing her job, and this was going to be a minor hiccup on her way to a very—deservedly—successful career.

But before Kelly’s defenders could really help make this story more than a minor sideline, along came Phil Robertson to really ignite the culture wars.

And that was a Christmas miracle.



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