The Weekly Media Monitor 01.15.04

Sports & Legal News: The Limbaugh/Clemens Connection

In the media:

The top story on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown (MSNBC, weeknights 8:00-9:00 pm EST) this past Monday featured the latest hypocritical maneuverings by two prestigious stars who have proven that they relish themselves and the media spotlight more than anyone or anything else. Both on TV and online, Olbermann noted how the previously divergent paths of Roger Clemens and Rush Limbaugh reached a similar crossroads this week:

“There are two names in the news that, to our knowledge, have never before been linked: Roger Clemens and Rush Limbaugh.

Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens is the baseball pitcher, future Hall of Famer, six-time winner of the game’s highest accolade for his craft, the Cy Young Award.

Before the 2003 season, he announced that it would be his last. That he sought only one more goal—to achieve 300 career victories. This he did in June. Everything after that was a valedictory.

In New York, each Clemens appearance was a love-fest. Beyond the ceremonies and the special Hum-Vee, he was accorded a priceless gift, as baseball people figure it: the Yankees let him be the “manager” for the last game of the regular season.

And away from his home stadium, it all became a victory lap, a farewell tour, a moveable feast. It was most emotional in Boston, a city which still loathed him because he left their beloved Red Sox after the 1996 season, a city which loathed him more because he wound up pitching for its hated rival, New York. In the middle of a vicious playoff series, Boston fans—who had once torn a poster of Clemens from the walls of their stadium—now stood as one, and roared, because he was making his last appearance in their stadium.

And when Clemens made his last major league appearance in Game Four of the 2003 World Series, at Miami, even the accolades in Boston were overshadowed. Not only did the fans on foreign ground cheer him, the rival players and even the manager cheered him in the middle of a World Series game.

Because that would be all we would see of him.

The Rocket was going out on top, erasing years in which he was viewed as a great pitcher but an irresponsible person—disdainful of the fans and even his own teammates and unconcerned by the safety of opponents. He was considered a great pitcher, a perfect retirement, a man of his word, who said he was giving up the game and going home to be with his kids—getting out at the peak of his professional and personal success.

Yesterday, Roger Clemens signed a one-year contract to pitch for the Houston Astros in 2004.

His retirement lasted exactly 80 days.

Rush Limbaugh

Of Limbaugh’s many targets, it is hard to pick a favorite. But if you enter “Rush Limbaugh” and “American Civil Liberties Union” or ACLU into an Internet search engine, you’ll get 8600 results.

Sample items taken from Mr. Limbaugh’s own website:

September 12th, 2003:

“If this guy had burned that flag,” Limbaugh said, “the ACLU and countless other groups would be down there supporting this guy’s right to desecrate old glory. But because he’s flying the American flag respectfully, none of the so-called civil libertarians makes a peep.”

September 23rd, 2003:

“The ACLU has decided they’re not going to appeal the Ninth Circuit’s decision to reinstate the California re-call election… They must not really care all that much about you stupid minorities and poor people.”

December 23rd, 2003:

“Where have all these so-called civil libertarians gone, the ACLU and the rest of them, claiming our government is overreaching?”

Maybe I’m over-reaching, but I don’t think Mr. Limbaugh likes the ACLU. And something else he has shown an antipathy to—the right to privacy. Again, from his own website:

August 22nd, 2003:

“I warned you about this ever-broadening interpretation of the so-called right to privacy. It’s not a ‘right’ specifically enumerated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.”

A quote that makes an odd preface to this next one:

December 23rd, 2003:

“Now they need my medical records, my private medical records to find out if I’ve committed a crime called doctor shopping? They now have to invade my privacy to learn whether I have broken the law?

Yesterday, the ACLU filed a friend-of-the court brief supporting Mr. Limbaugh’s argument that the seizure of his private medical records was illegal, and Limbaugh gratefully accepted the ACLU’s help.

His attorney Roy Black said he and Limbaugh quote “are pleased that the ACLU has filed a motion” and added the seizure was, “also a threat to everyone’s fundamental right to privacy.”

To say nothing of (as Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Clemens would tell you—if they were talking about somebody besides themselves) everyone’s fundamental right to change their opinions on a dime, and contradict months and even years of their own conduct and beliefs – these demonstrate everyone’s fundamental right , the un-generous among us might call, to hypocrisy.

Check, please!”

Credit: This was the No. 1 story on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, which airs on MSNBC weeknights at 8 pm EST.

Chris’ Commentary:

The above piece is so well crafted and organized by Olbermann that I really don’t have much else to say about the Limbaugh-Clemens connection. All I can add regarding Rush and the Rocket is that while I never really warmed up to either two personalities, at the very least I respected Roger Clemens for his athletic prowess, as well as for his decision to spend time with U.S. troops over the past two baseball off-seasons.

With that said, I feel like Clemens has the id of a Bill Parcells, with no superego to balance out his avarice for money and media attention. Clemens could have stayed in Boston for his whole career, carried them to a championship and become even more of a legend than he already sees himself to be. Instead, he let free agency exile him to Toronto until George Steinbrenner came knocking, and while the Rocket secured two World Series rings and his 300th career victory with the Yankees, he also achieved a level of vanity that overshadows some of his on-the-field accomplishments.

I have never respected Rush Limbaugh because I feel like he has preached the same right-wing shtick to the same ignorant flock every day on the radio since his career began, only to find himself nowadays in a tight legal corner, begging for the help of an organization (the ACLU) he has trashed for years. Furthermore, Rush showed his true colors when he slammed the sports media for supposedly propping up Donovan McNabb on a pedestal simply for being an African-American quarterback, thereby ignoring McNabb’s superb talents (regardless of color) and cementing his place as an irreverent buffoon in the broadcast journalism community.

Finally, I give props to Olbermann for keeping it real in the news the same way he used to hold it down tight on Sports Center all those years ago. (I don’t even know what that last sentence means, but it sounded hot, didn’t it?)

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Entertainment & Hip-hop News: Brooklyn-born Rapper World-Wise Speaks Out on the Hip-Hop Community, Makes Shocking Allegations About Jay-Z, Fifty Cent, Russell Simmons, and Just About Everyone Else

In the media:

On Monday’s edition of the New York City-based radio show The Wendy Williams Experience – which airs weekdays from 2:00-6:00 pm EST on WBLS 107.5 FM – Ms. Williams delivered a controversial (and somewhat outlandish) interview with a little-known Brooklyn-based rapper whose claim to mainstream fame thus far was being Li’l Kim’s ex-flame.

The rapper’s name is World-Wise, and during this interview he had some seriously extreme things to say about virtually everyone in the hip-hop community. World, who has enormous street connections and is a self-proclaimed messenger for the Islamic community, called out Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Russell Simmons, Fifty Cent, P. Diddy, Busta Rhymes and LL Cool J, among others, for belonging to a secret society in the hip-hop community called “The Masons”, which covers up rampant homosexuality in the rap world. World even went as far as to claim that the feud between Ja Rule and Fifty Cent started over a man, that Tupac was still alive, and that the power in the hip-hop community is controlled by people as far up on the food chain as the president of the United States.

Furthermore, World-Wise also called out the females in the hip-hop world, most notably his ex Kim and Missy Elliot, for belonging to the “Eastern Stars”, a group that promotes lesbianism.

Chris’ Commentary:

This, my friends, was not a radio prank, but rather one of two things: a pathetic attempt to make a name for oneself; or a stupid attempt to make a name for oneself. If you think about it, World-Wise must have a lot of street connections, because after an interview like this, he will need to tap every source he has just to stay alive. The interview, of course, was pre-recorded, leaving no possibility for World-Wise to be jumped at the WBLS studio.

Now, while I disagree with just about everything World-Wise threw on the table, I will go as far to say that I have heard this theory about homosexual hip-hop stars before. In fact, Wendy Williams was kicked off the Metropolitan area airwaves and exiled to Philadelphia for three years allegedly for making similar claims on-air about Puff Daddy.

I don’t think that all of these rappers are in fact homosexual, and even if they were I don’t think it would be a big deal, as we live in the Post-Ellen era of popular culture. All I know is that both World-Wise and Wendy Williams better watch out, because something tells me that this interview will not sit very well with the powerful people who were specifically named.

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Chris’ Wild Card Commentary:

The Countdown Begins: Christopher B’s Top Ten Live Journal Posts of All-Time

Entry #10: This kid Matt from Binghamton f*cked a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

Posted: November 19, 2001, 1:03 pm

I was thinking about all of the memories I have collected over the past few years in Binghamton, and one that truly resonates with me is this story regarding my friend/acquaintance Matt, who went by the radio name Sonofadrunk.

Matt was the type of guy who lit up a room during get-togethers because he always had interesting stories to share with the rest of the group. Some of these stories were more outrageous than others – and I don’t know if I can believe all of them – but there was one that was so outlandish that I just have to think it happened.

That’s right folks, my friend Matt from Binghamton once f*cked a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle … when he was 12 year-old!

One night, Matt and I were hanging out at Denny’s with some other friends, and the topic of conversation, for one reason or another, turned towards people’s first experiences with masturbation.

Well, needless to say, Matt’s eyes LIT up at the prospect of telling us all about his exploits when he was 7, 8, 9 years old, and then, all of a sudden, he blurted out, “I f*cked a teenage mutant ninja turtle when I was 12!”

Matt then went on to tell us (in detail, unfortunately) how his stuffed TMNT doll had a rampant hole in the crotch area, and how he lathered it up and just went with it.

To this day, I still don’t know what’s scarier: hearing that story with a visual reenactment; or knowing that this one was probably complete fact.

Your thoughts?
-Christopher B.

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As always, you can drop me a line or two about this column or anything else in the world of current events and popular culture by emailing chris411wrestling@yahoo.com.

That’s all for now PEACE.

-Chris Biscuiti

Chris Biscuiti is also a columnist for the 411mania wrestling zone and for moodspins.