Saturday, May 29, 2010

When childishness backfires

Greta Van Susteren, Fox News talking head and Sarah Palin's BFF, got some hate mail the other day. Someone named Brian wrote to say "if you put a pea in your skull it would rattle around like a BB in a boxcar." Okay, that was pretty childish and the joke is old. Susteren, maintaining the professional dignity that we've come to expect from Fox News, ran to her the blog on her show's site and wrote this, "Why does Brian watch if he thinks I am so stupid? How stupid is that????" Not content with merely mocking Brian, she added a poll:

Who is dumber?


Brian for spending his time watching someone he thinks is dumb

As you can see, that's the exact punctuation used on her site, four question marks in the intro, and that weird extra question mark after her name. Okay, you're probably thinking that Greta doesn't really write her own blog, that she has an underpaid staffer to do that for her. But who has she hired for her staff, thirteen year old mean girls? The responsibility for the behavior of her staff rests solidly on her shoulders. She has been a journalist for about fifteen years; is this the first silly piece of hate mail she's ever received? Does she react to all of them this way?

The results of the poll are about as can be expected. Bloggers on both sides of the spectrum have sent their flying monkeys to crash the poll. As I write this, almost fifty thousand people have visited and voted. Seventy-six percent think Greta is the dumber). That's exactly what would happen to any public figure who did something this childish. If Keith Olbermann put up a poll asking "who's dumber, me or some schmoe I've randomly picked out of the mail pile for public humiliation?" you can bet the results would say "you are, Keith, for being such a petty crybaby." The same thing would happen to Beck, Maddow, Limbaugh, or me (though I would get far fewer responses).


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