November 12, 2007
Mike Abitabile

The Devil’s Advocate:
The CNN Debacle

I told myself that I wouldn’t talk about the CNN “documentary” (and I use that term very loosely) “Death Grip” in my blog or column. I am making an exception here however. You can call me ignorant or whatever you want, but if you have read my past columns, I have never acted as if there isn’t a problem. I even stated that taking their time, doing their research and making a documentary instead of jumping to conclusions would be a better way to handle the situation than nightly slam fests on cable news stations. Well, CNN took my advice, but unfortunately, they didn’t do a very good job with it.

First of all, if you are watching a documentary called “Death Grip”, you should realize it’s going to be biased. During the documentary, there was an interesting quote by John Cena when asked if he ever used steroids. His response, which aired on the program, was “I can’t tell you that I haven’t, but you’ll never be able to prove that I have.” It confused a lot of people, and rightfully so, but more importantly, it made Cena look bad. Thankfully, WWE.com was taping the entire time with their own cameras and you can watch the entire answer to the question here instead of CNN’s biased version (which you can also watch at WWE.com). When asked if he took steroids, Cena’s answer was actually, “absolutely not.”

On one hand, Cena made the mistake of making the statement. If I were him, in the same exact situation, I would have been extremely careful with my words. I would have assumed that if I said something like “Are you expecting me to say ‘yes, I take steroids every day of my life?’ or something like that?” they would have isolated the middle part of that sentence and just played that. It’s like that old Simpsons episode where they thought Homer sexually harassed the babysitter. He went on the went on the program “Rock Bottom” to defend himself and they ended up splicing together single words from his interview to form an incriminating sentence (and the clock behind Homer even kept changing back and forth with every word). I am surprised CNN didn’t do that at this point.

Maybe I am cynical, but apparently, CNN proved people should be. Or maybe, just maybe, Cena made the statement hoping CNN would make him look bad and WWE knew all along they could post this footage, after the fact, and it would help them debunk the entire show. Ever think of that?

And now, CNN reporter Drew Griffin had made comments about the interviews with Vince McMahon and John Cena that were taken for the show. First of all, I am not sure if he is the person that interviewed Vince, but I am certain that he is not the person who interviewed John Cena. How do I know this? Well, if you go to the link I posted above from WWE.com, where they show the unedited version of Cena’s interview, you will see that the interviewer was a blond female in a pink shirt. Unless Drew has some strange habits, which would be none of our business mind you, that’s not him. So for him to comment on Cena’s comments, calling his statement (the one that aired) “ridiculous” (here) is ludicrous because he wasn’t there for the unedited version and apparently only saw the chopped up version. I would like to hear Mr. Griffin’s response to the unedited video that is currently airing on WWE.com.

Mr. Griffin also made some comments to try and push people’s buttons and paint an interesting picture of Vince McMahon saying “We were prepared for anything with a third camera that was shooting live the whole time just in case he did get up and throw a chair or do whatever” (here). Well, obviously, that didn’t happen. And, as discussed above, CNN wasn’t the only one with an independent camera filming – thankfully.

Another comment he made to try to make Vince look bad was:

“Vince McMahon asked us the same question (why the media always interviews ex-WWE wrestlers).” “I said to him ‘because if they were with you and they were critical of you, you’d kick them out’ and he laughed and said ‘well, you’re probably right” (here).

And my response to that would be, prove it. If Vince McMahon made that statement, I think it would have been included in the “documentary” because it was disparaging and that is exactly the content they wanted. Hell, they wouldn’t even have to do any creative editing for it. And since, they didn’t use it, please, post it for all to see since you had that independent third camera rolling.

If this doesn’t prove the program was a biased look at something, nothing will.

Imagine if WWE.com Did This?

Something else I wanted to hit on this week. On Saturday morning, on a trip to PWInsider.com (because I hate their biases, but don’t mind reading their actual news) I found out I can’t read their news or their biases anymore. Believe me, I don’t miss the biased commentary in the least, but I’d like to be able to see the news. The problem?

Well, it seems that they recently put a new code into their html that will not allow people to copy and paste their content, which is important because many smaller sites do just that and don’t give them credit. Apparently, the site still works on Internet Explorer, but if you are using Opera (and Firefox, which they haven’t realized yet, but I have), you can’t see the body of the story, only the headline and when it was posted.

All right, I understand you don’t want people copying and pasting your news. That’s fine. (Although, they can’t stop people from just retyping it, as I did above, and giving them credit, which I have always done). However, you have to find a way for people with every browser to see your site. You can’t tell people to “Please use Internet Explorer instead.” What if I don’t want to? Then, I can’t go to your site. Not only does this strategy end up shooting themselves in the foot, but I am left wondering what they would have to say if WWE.com wasn’t compatible with all the popular browsers. I am sure they wouldn’t like it and say WWE is losing out on customers and fans because of it.

Feedback is always welcome at figurefanatic@gmail.com or you can visit my blog here.

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