Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The absolute worst sports column ever written (in case you missed it)

Really slow on posting this, as I am wont to lag. But it is certainly worth your attention (if you've not already granted it) to check out this column written by Mark Whicker of the OC Register.

You've probably already heard about it -- meat-head in Orange County writes a column ostensibly addressed to kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard running down all the sporting events he can think of that she has missed out on during the 18 years of her incarceration. It is an embarrassment to letters and words and really anything else decent in the world, and indeed has been roundly condemned on these here interwebs. Hard to have any other reaction.

Whicker is obviously completely tone deaf to even conceive of such a thing, but his editors deserve just as much blame for giving his schlock the green light. It's strange, too, because not one week earlier the same newspaper ran an exclusive and very moving interview with Jaycee's aunt, Tina Dugard, who recounted her and her family's experience getting re-acquainted with Jaycee. It's heartfelt and tender, but Whicker's follow-up commentary bashes all those warm fuzzies with a baseball bat.

Whicker has apologized for "disconnect[ing] that bond" with readers who were offended by the column. But in an interview with Poynter Online, he sure doesn't seem all that sorry. "I vehemently believe I wasn't insensitive about the fact that she was kidnapped," he told the website. Hmm...

Seems it's a conceit Whicker's used before, as Poynter points out, having written almost the exact same article in 1991 when hostage Terry Anderson was released from captivity in Lebanon. At least those who fall victim to lunatics have someone keeping track of the sports world for them.

1 comment:

Zuri said...

I wholeheartedly agree. As a journalist, there's always a propensity to conceptualize stories and column ideas. The thing is, you vet your own ideas and usually there's an editor/colleague/family member around to bounce off these things. Looks like this columnist failed to talk it out, and his editors failed to question him. The backlash is Zuri approved.