For the Love of Dirty Laundry

Even when the room is full it’s empty.

This was not prompted by any event specific event being bandied about on the television, on the radio or online.   Think of this as a primal scream from a particularly dark night of the soul.   No single event set me off.  It’s more of a cumulative effect of overexposure to too much raw bullshit being passed off as “news.”

I’ve come to a realization.   It isn’t original or even profound.  It just took me a while to recognize it even when I was having my nose rubbed in it.

The Washington press are lapdogs to power and privilege, starved for the newest “scandal,” live on the table scraps from their favorite insiders like John McCain and Newt Gingrich and do a lousy job of investigative journalism, interviewing and simple reporting.

As time goes by, I have less and less regard for the incestuous insider relationship between Washington-based “journalists” and the political power hub they slavishly bend the knee to.

If a Washington-based talking head tells you it’s freezing outside and there’s a snowstorm coming, open all your windows, put on a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses and plan for a picnic at the beach. They lie, they deceive and they mislead.

What attracted me to journalism in the first place was I believed in how it was the unofficial Fourth Estate that served as part overseeing the Presidency, Judiciary and Legislative branches.

The press loves to quote Thomas Jefferson’s “…were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter” because it make them feel good about themselves.  What the press prefers to forget is Joseph Pulitzer’s admonishment that “A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself.”

If we’re not there yet, we’re well on the way to getting there, folks.

As just another cash-feeder to their corporate owners (CNN, Fox, MSNBC and the three network news programs, I’m looking at you) the first thing to go in these sleek, but stripped down to little more than fancy studio sets and movie special effects is foreign bureaus because who cares about what’s going on in Asia or Africa?  The next is anything that smacks of investigative reporting and documentaries.   The last and most obvious is even the thinnest pretext of objectivity.

We’re not mad as hell, but they’re trying to drive us mad as hell.

Coming from someone as opinionated as I am and as distrustful of the protestations from the press of their “impartiality” that might sound funny, but there’s nothing amusing about it.  As a calling I don’t know anyone still with a job feeling real comfortable about it.   As a craft, journalism is killing itself with its own unprofessionalism and sloppiness.  Reference CNN’s absolutely abysmal coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing where mistake after mistake after mistake was made for the evidence of  this.    I’ve had it up to here with the whole “get it first now and we’ll get it right later” mindset.

When the most sensible “journalist” is Jon Stewart that is a sure sign how lousy the profession of journalism is because  typically I cannot stand Jon Stewart.

At this time, I’m struggling not to give in to the prevailing sentiment that what we laughingly call “the mainstream media” is only concerned about superficiality, scandal, sex, sleaze, celebrity and mindless amusement of the masses while the critical, complicated and difficult decisions and issues go ignored and unreported.  And I’m losing that struggle.

I’ve never been more unhappy about the state of journalism or more depressed to be a journalist.   I hate to think that Sarah Palin was right.  About anything.   But she wasn’t all wrong when she dubbed the press “the lamestream media.”

We call it news, but only because that’s better than calling it what it has become; infotainment on a level that Network could only hint at.  Once upon a time  Paddy Chayefsky‘s Network was hailed as dark satire.   Now it’s  Monday night programming on cable news.

Not a real journalist but more respected than those who are.

I make my living off the Evening News
Just give me something-something I can use
People love it when you lose,
They love dirty laundry

Well, I coulda been an actor, but I wound up here
I just have to look good, I don’t have to be clear
Come and whisper in my ear
Give us dirty laundry

Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em all around

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who
comes on at five
She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam
in her eye
It’s interesting when people die-
Give us dirty laundry

Can we film the operation?
Is the head dead yet?
You know, the boys in the newsroom got a
running bet
Get the widow on the set!
We need dirty laundry

You don’t really need to find out what’s going on
You don’t really want to know just how far it’s gone
Just leave well enough alone
Eat your dirty laundry

Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down

Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re stiff
Kick ’em all around

Dirty little secrets
Dirty little lies
We got our dirty little fingers in everybody’s pie
We love to cut you down to size
We love dirty laundry

We can do “The Innuendo”
We can dance and sing
When it’s said and done we haven’t told you a thing
We all know that Crap is King
Give us dirty laundry!

~ “Dirty Laundry” by Don Henley & Danny Kortchmar

No Love from the Patriots for Kyle Love’s Diabetes.

“I lose 20 pounds and you’re cutting me? What’s up with that?”

If May is such as slow month for the NFL why am I riffing about it twice this week?  Mostly because when one of the league’s premier franchises decides they want to do Evil just to be Evil, it really works my nerves.  Especially when it hits me in a personal way.

Two weeks after he was diagnosed with diabetes, former New England Patriots defensive tackle Kyle Love was released by the team via a non-football injury designation.

Okay.  Now that’s just wrong.

“This comes on the heels of Kyle having been diagnosed within the past two weeks with Type-2 diabetes,” Richard Kopelman, Love’s agent, told ESPN. “Naturally, we are disappointed that the Patriots decided to part ways with Kyle, especially in light of the fact that a number of elite professional athletes with diabetes – both Type-1, which is known to be far more difficult to manage than Type-2 diabetes – have had very successful careers in professional football, hockey, baseball and basketball.”

“Prior to the diagnosis, Kyle recently experienced unexplained weight loss, but since being diagnosed and having altered his diet, Kyle has regained most of the weight he lost, is in good health, and was not limited in any way during offseason workouts in which he was engaged up until being told he would be released.”

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has Type 1 diabetes which is much harder to control, but it’s easier to cut a starting defensive tackle than a quarterback.  Love has lost 20 pounds while dealing with his Type-2 diabetes.   The Patriots cut Love loose for trying to get healthy.  How cold of a move is it to kick a guy to the curb because he is trying to save his life?

At 6-foot-1, 315-pounds, Love is a big man, but the NFL is full of big men who are sloppy fat. Others are almost freakishly fast and strong even while carrying over 300 pounds.   Many football players develop diabetes and other chronic diseases when they retire from the game.  It seems to me Love is being penalized by the Pats for putting his immediate health first and they didn’t even give him a shot to see if his on-field performance suffered any drop-off.   Forget about Tim Tebow.  THIS is what being blackballed looks like.

“Mumble…mumble…wonder if they’ll have soup tonight at the shelter…mumble…”

Like 28 million other Americans who suffer from diabetes,  I am a Type 2, insulin-dependent diabetic and it bothers me that a NFL team can cut a player loose for sharing my sickness.  The thought that my employer would up and fire me because I have a disease sends a cold chill down my spine.   If you have diabetes and you’re a NFL player, you might want to keep that to yourself.   You might be  better off coming out as gay than a diabetic.

I’m hopeful some other team not as coldly ruthless as the Patsies will give Love a change to renew his career.  He should get a shot somewhere.  Love has played in 41 regular-season games over the last three seasons, with 25 starts, and was credited with 36 tackles and 5.5 sacks.  Love has flourished as a space-eater in 3-4 defenses where he frees up linebackers to make plays.  I’d love to see Love wearing 49er crimson-and-gold, but I would bet some other team with a worse record signs him off the street first.

“Having consulted with leading authorities on the effects of Type-2 diabetes, we have every reason to believe that Kyle will, in the immediate future, be at 100 percent, and will be prepared to participate in training camp in a couple of months,” Kopelman said. As Kyle said, ‘there is no way something like this is going to stand between me and a long and successful NFL career.’”

On the off chance he doesn’t have a long and successful NFL career because nobody picks him up after he clears waivers, Love might consider looking at suing the Patriots for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.   At the very least, the NFLPA should step in for Love and sue the living snot out of the Patriots over this dick move.  If they don’t, the players should disband their union because it is as useless as it is impotent. Deadspin read the EEOC regulations just to be sure:

Diabetes also is a disability when it causes side effects or complications that substantially limit a major life activity. Even if diabetes is not currently substantially limiting because it is controlled by diet, exercise, oral medication, and/or insulin, and there are no serious side effects, the condition may be a disability because it was substantially limiting in the past (i.e., before it was diagnosed and adequately treated). Finally, diabetes is a disability when it does not significantly affect a person’s everyday activities, but the employer treats the individual as if it does. For example, an employer may assume that a person is totally unable to work because he has diabetes.

I ‘ll add this to the reasons I hate the Patriots.  I already hate Bill Belichick for being a slob who dresses like a homeless person, cheats and is an arrogant asshole.  I already hate Lady Tom Brady for being compared to Joe Montana and being the biggest crybaby and a bit of a punk (I haven’t forgotten the play where he dropped into a slide with his spikes up and gouge Ed Reed in the man package).  I already hated their owner Robert Kraft for all those years I ate Kraft Macaroni and Cheese when I was a poor, starving college student.

Now I can hate the Patriots for being discriminatory dicks as well.   Best of luck to Mr. Love with both next season and the rest of his life.

“Kyle Love? Jeff Winbush wrote about you too?