Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sober & Similar: Journalists a Political Monolith

Dumb headline, aye? What if you found out it was based on talking to just a handful of journalists. Even dumber, right? So, explain to TBM why an article written by a sitcom writer would get an above the fold, half-page display in “Florida’s Best Newspaper” with just about as much attribution – the author talking to a handful of people (two of whom couldn't speak English) including “two young women dressed in practically nothing” (St. Petersburg Times, Sunday, October 2, 2005, Perspective, Page 8P).

Here’s the actual headline and sub-head:

“Drunk but diverse"
“Beyond their shared love of beer, NASCAR crowds aren’t a political monolith.”

It’s a joke, right? Yeee hah! Would that it were true. TBM hopes the writer of the headline was sloppy, lazy, drunk or all three – meaning that he/she either didn’t read the story, didn’t understand it or was so drunk … well, you get the picture.

The story is a nice piece, actually. Well-written. Funny, with a great punch-line. (TBM won’t give it away.) It was your classic “fish out of water” scenario. You could almost hear it come up at a brain-storming sesssion: “Hey, Jack Burditt has never been to a stock car race, and he doesn’t drink beer. He’d be a great one to send to the Sony HD 500 at Fontana for a nice fluff piece about NASCAR Dads.”

Yeah, that’s probably how it happened – at the Los Angeles Times. And it would have worked, too – except that by the time the article got to the St. Petersburg Times, somebody didn’t get the joke, certainly not the headline writer:

“Drunk but diverse”

That could be said about most pro sports fans – football, basketball, baseball:

“Beyond their shared love of beer, NFL crowds aren’t a political monolith.”

“Beyond their shared love of beer, NBA crowds aren’t a political monolith.”

“Beyond their shared love of beer, MLB crowds aren’t a political monolith.”

Yep. True. True. True. Check. Check. Check.

So, what’s the point? Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out. I suppose the headline writer was using a subtle sense of humor so stealth that only really sophisticated Perspective readers got it. TBM apparently didn't . . .

Do you think NASCAR guys will get upset for being stereotyped? Nah. They’re drunk, remember? And besides, those rednecks prob-lee keent ev’n reed, henny-wayz.


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