August 30, 2010
NYT vs. Linda McMahon: Sex, Drugs...and $44 Sea BassBy Stuart Schwartz
Sex. Drugs. Violence...and $44 sea bass. It's a fight for the ages, brought to you by the New York Times as it struggles to keep the nation safe for the ruling class. Call it Sarah Palin, The Sequel. Except we're talking about the Republican senatorial candidate in Connecticut, Linda McMahon.
You can say the same thing about McMahon that Charles Hurt of the New York Post said about Palin, "that one of the most appealing things about [her] is the people who hate her." From the moment McMahon announced her run for the United States Senate, the New York Times has led the Northeast political and media elites in an effort to stop the self-made millionaire and former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO from winning the Republican primary and then, now that she has won, stop her from succeeding in her quest to replace retiring Democratic Senator Chris Dodd in Connecticut.
The media and political elites, led by the New York Times, hate her -- this...this...this "Yankee Doodle Daffy," this "truly humiliating" excuse for a political wannabe who dares to challenge the Times and its Connecticut cohorts with ideas originating from a lifetime spent successfully building a company and creating jobs. She created and built WWE into a $1.1-billion cable entertainment powerhouse. As she tells American Thinker, "I know what it's like to earn a living, to create jobs, to run a company. More and more people are realizing that we need real people who have worked in real businesses in Washington."
But not at the influential New York Times. Times columnist Gail Collins explains the view from media and insider central: McMahon's entrepreneurial savvy is good only for its "entertainment value," as business experience means nothing when it comes to public service. What's the big deal about a billion dollars, Times writers ask? After all, Times publisher and chairman Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger moved that and billions more in shareholder value, too, although in the other direction. Sure, she "made a mint," but off...wrestling?! "Seedy and small-town," Collins declares.
Besides, McMahon is running against a New York Times darling: Richard Blumenthal, an ultra-liberal Democrat whom the Wall Street Journal labeled an "aggressively anti-business" state attorney general, a graduate of both Harvard and Yale who prides himself on being a "big, from-Washington-to-Hartford, I-know-them-all insider," and an activist who has used the courts to push a global warming agenda. Just what Connecticut needs in the U.S. Senate, Times writers enthuse: an insider with transformative ideas who has spent his life in government.
"I believe in people keeping their own money," McMahon tells American Thinker from her campaign headquarters outside -- and not inside -- the state capitol. "I believe that, if left alone, people will build businesses, create jobs, and provide employment. We need to keep government off their backs -- it's their money, their lives."
Keep their own money? This is about what you'd expect from a "millionaire" purveyor of "sleaze," sneers Collins in the Times. She says that McMahon -- with money earned in the marketplace -- can't possibly understand the needs of The Street, of Real People, as Blumenthal does, as she does, as her colleagues do. We have the common touch, she says. Witness co-columnist David Brooks, who has admitted that he can occasionally be seen "happily chewing on a Twizzler." This is Times-speak for "I'm down with the struggle."
She wrote this, of course, as the Times was celebrating the addition to her Upper West Side Manhattan neighborhood of two towers marked by the feel of an "expensive resort." Collins lives smack in the middle of one of the highest concentrations of multimillion-dollar condominiums in the nation, home to numerous Times executives and writers, including columnist Bob Herbert, who has made a career of decrying poverty in America from his $4-million Trump Place perch five stories above the Hudson River.
Keep their own money? Ridiculous, says the New York Times, which has traditionally used the money McMahon wants taxpayers to keep -- you know, the dollars extracted from plumbers in Queens, bodega operators in Brooklyn, hairdressers in Manhattan -- to fund the building of its luxurious headquarters, or extra safety and sanitation services for the West Side residences of its executives. There, the added tax subsidies go to keeping the streets safe for the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Yoko Ono and Julia Roberts, to name a few of the downtrodden neighbors of Times executives and staff.
And so the New York Times has gone to war against McMahon. She is Sarah Palin redux, a "joke," and "fatal cancer" who threatens the Northeast elites. Since McMahon's entry into the race, the New York Times has offered a variety of stories illustrating the threat of wrestling to public welfare. The civilized world has no room for McMahon, Collins maintains, whose executive experience involves entertainment with "heavy doses of sex...spectacular violence and a raw tone that border(s) on pornography."
However, the civilized world may no longer include Connecticut, where its citizens both reject the Times characterization of wrestling and its contempt for McMahon. Polls show dramatically increasing support for McMahon, bringing her from almost thirty points to seven points behind in two months. But she's so sleazy, screams Collins!
Collins, of course, knows sleaze when she sees it: her common-touch columns are accessed by the majority of her readers through the Times digital editions, which are headed by Sulzberger nephew David Perpich. Five generations of Sulzberger blood helped him succeed in the longest-held employment of his 33 years, promoting the "gangsta" culture to impressionable urban youth. As head of marketing for a venture started by the murdered hip hop impresario Jam Master Jay, Perpich has spent most of his working adult life promoting a culture of drugs, rape, and "thuggin'" ("pickin' up welfare checks at the baby mama's house") to inner city schools and youth groups.
But, what the hey -- that's not sleaze, that's family, "Pinch" family! And so, Collins and the Times continue to attack the outsider to their north, the successful executive who is in the battle because the New York Times, the me-too media, and Washington are "stealing my grandchildren's future." They are using "other people's money" to enrich themselves, she says, passion animating her voice, and impoverish "our grandchildren."
But "other people's money" is what it's all about for the Times. That's why Collins, when McMahon asked to meet with her and "just let her know more about me," insisted that McMahon drive down from Connecticut and meet her at a restaurant just on the other side Central Park from her home.
As Bart Simpson says, "Woo Hoo!" Sistina, where each week they "fly in most of our ingredients directly from Italy and the Mediterranean, where the wine cellars feature "the most prestigious labels in the world." Home of the $44 sea bass, the $27 meatball (singular) appetizer, and $100 wine. Times shareholders fed Collins...well, very well. That's what they do at the Times. Expense accounts, you know, other people's money -- it's a ruling class thing.
And they say wrestling is sleazy.
Stuart Schwartz, a former media and retail executive, is on the School of Communication faculty at Liberty University in Virginia.