I just have to stop watching CNN is the morning, because it places everyone in my house at risk for head shrapnel.
The main danger is the smug, biased, ethically-jumbled Carol Costello, CNN’s late morning anchor after the New York governor’s telegenic brother has finished indoctrinating us into his view of the world. Today, Costello was taking a victory lap, implying that she helped get Stephen A. Smith suspended by ESPN for daring to suggest that women bear some responsibility for avoiding placing themselves within range of an abuser’s fists. (Interestingly, Costello had no similar directives for ABC, which quietly allowed Whoopie Goldberg to make the same (valid) point on “The View” with no adverse actions whatsoever. See, a woman is allowed to state some uncomfortable truths, but the same truth in the mouth of a man is offensive. Learn the rules, for heaven’s sake!) Then Costello played a clip of her earlier argument why ESPN was wrong not to suspend Smith. She said …
“It’s nice that Smith apologized, but I wonder if the network will do what it ought to do and suspend Smith. Look, in 2012, the management of ESPN expressed outrage when two employees used the phrase “a chink in the armor” when referencing Jeremy Linn, the Asian Basketball player. One employee was suspended for 30 days and the other was fired. So why is ESPN giving Smith a pass?”
This is an incompetent and misleading misrepresentation of what occurred in several ways. I wrote about the incident here. The employee who was fired was a low-level internet employee who indeed used “chink” as a racial slur, and he was properly terminated. But ESPN’s suspended reporter Max Bretos for not merely an innocent remark, but a completely appropriate one that was pounced on by race-bullies, was unfair, cowardly, irresponsible, harmful and really, really idiotic. To remind you of this fiasco, which I had mercifully forgotten until Costello cited it approvingly (God, she is awful!), Jeremy Linn, who is an Asian-American, was then playing out of his mind for the Knicks. Bretos asked former Knicks legend Walt Frazier this question…
“If there is a chink in the armor, where can he improve his game?”
Please note—Bretos did not refer to Linn as a “chink” in the Knicks’ armor. He used the idiom, which has no more to do with Asians than “niggardly” has to do with African Americans, properly, appropriately, and innocently. Never mind: political correctness hounds and race bullies assailed him and the network, which suspended Bretos for a month. Horrible. I wrote…
“So, in order to satisfy the offended, ESPN decided that it had to humiliate and dock the salary of a completely innocent, unbiased, responsible employee, while encouraging the absurd conversion of a 500-year old, useful, non-offensive idiom into a societal taboo….And this is why Americans may never get to a point where, as Martin Luther King dreamed, a man is not judged by the color of his skin…because it is dangerous in America to forget about the color of a man’s skin. The race bullies won’t let us forget, and organizations like ESPN don’t have the integrity or the loyalty to stand up to screams for sacrifices on the altar of political correctness and self-censorship.”
Costello unfairly paired Bretos with the fired employee, when Bretos has done nothing wrong whatsoever. She also mischaracterized the context of the allegedly offensive idiom in Bretos’s case. It is also important to point out that ESPN’s management wasn’t “outraged” as Costello said—it reacted defensively to the outrage of activists. Journalists are supposed to report the facts, not spin them to fit their own agendas. True, Costello is only a journalist in the technical sense of the word.
But I digress. Carol Costello cited Bretos’s unjust suspension, a low point in political correctness employee abuse, as a controlling precedent for suspending Smith! Suspending Bretos made sense to her! She thinks it was fair, and right-–not only that, she believes that it creates an obligation to suspend other reporters who venture into topics that feminists, or LGBT militants, or Al Sharpton or other political correctness censors deem harmful to their delicate sensibilities. It is true that Smith’s statement was more legitimately controversial than Bretos’s harmless question, but then, what isn’t? Never mind: Costello’s “logic” (Did I mention that she is unbelievably awful?) appears to be that because of its mistreatment of Max Bretos, ESPN is locked into a standard that mandates suspending reporters for even rumors of political incorrectness. Thus we have “The Costello Rule Of Unethical Consistency”: One egregious unethical suspension obligates an employer to make unethical suspensions when the political correctness bullies howl policy.
Or maybe it’s simpler than that.
Maybe it’s just “two wrongs make a right.”