Patterico's Pontifications

5/4/2007

I Guess the Word “Immediately” Has a Different Meaning When Used by Old Media

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:05 am

The L.A. Times asks: Will Fred Thompson’s racist role have political repercussions?

Ronald Reagan became president even though he worked with chimps in B movies.

Arnold Schwarzenegger played a murderous robot, and that didn’t keep him from becoming governor.

. . . “Law & Order” actor and former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) . . . played a white supremacist, spewing anti-Semitic comments and fondling an autographed copy of “Mein Kampf” on a television drama 19 years ago.

The paper mulls over the meaning of this — and looks to conservative blogs!

His colleagues say that he was just an actor putting everything he had into playing the role of a charismatic racist, named Knox Pooley, in three episodes of CBS’ hit show “Wiseguy” in 1988. “Do you call Tom Cruise a killer because he played one in a movie?” asked show creator and writer Stephen J. Cannell.

But in the age of YouTube, this performance could raise an intriguing political question: How does a performer eyeing a presidential run deal with a video history that can be downloaded, taken out of context, chopped into embarrassing pieces and then distributed endlessly though cyberspace? Some conservative political blogs are already considering the problem.

Which conservative blogs? I’m so glad you asked!

Some conservative websites are already discussing how a potential Thompson campaign may have to deal with these scenes. People who work out their politics on the Internet understand how potentially troublesome things like this can be. Like pebbles in a pond, you can’t know where the ripples are going to stop — or what the gullible or the mean-spirited may make of them.

One website called Patterico’s Pontifications asked the question recently: “How will they trash Fred Thompson?” Several respondents immediately mentioned the “Wiseguy” performance.

They did?

It’s not always true that fact-checking an L.A. Times article is as easy as accessing the search button on my web site. When I did that, I learned that the post in question garnered 38 comments — and Thompson’s “Wiseguy” character was not mentioned until comment #35, which said:

He played neo-nazi con-man “Dr.” Knox Pooley on a five episode arc of the TV show “Wiseguy”. His character gave a couple of speeches denouncing “mud people” and similar slurs which could easily be taken out of context and posted on You Tube.

That comment was quoted in the next comment (#36) which added:

That could work both ways. If he says something bad, he could always claim he was channeling the character …

And those two comments were the first and last mention of Thompson’s “Wiseguy” character.

That’s what the L.A. Times calls “[s]everal” commenters “immediately” mentioning Thompson’s “Wiseguy” performance.

I’m happy writer Tina Daunt has seen my website and saw fit to cite it in one of the paper’s articles. But next time, she should make the citation more accurate — even if doing so tends to undercut a storyline she is promoting.

UPDATE: I think some of y’all are being unfair to Ms. Daunt. I explain here.

41 Responses to “I Guess the Word “Immediately” Has a Different Meaning When Used by Old Media”

  1. Well, if you take “immediately” to mean “as a first course of action”, it’d be accurate. Disingenuous, but accurate. 😉

    Rick Wilcox (bb4b76)

  2. The old media thinks in term of days and weeks. Anything that happens in the same day is immediate. Comment 35 and 36 happened in the same day. The internet thinks in term of minutes, so if it happens a few hours later – it isn’t immediate. Maybe we should call them The Olde Tyme Media.

    quasimodo (edc74e)

  3. As one who is fully expecting to see many on the left conjure up a full-blown case of Fred Thompson Derangement Syndrome for themselves if he runs and gets the Republican nomination (and as Poster No. 21 on the thread in question), I won’t be surprised if the few negative roles or un-PC moments Thompson’s had in his movie and TV career are excerpted on YouTube and go viral on the usual anti-Bush websites. Back in 1980, while the main focus was on deriding Reagan for his work in “Bedtime for Bonzo” (in an effort to portray him to the public as a unserious choice for president), others used his role as a mob boss in his final movie, “The Killers” to extrapolate some vague connection to that persona and Reagan rushing to blow up the world by starting a war with the Soviets as soon as he was sworn into office.

    The folks who this type of stuff are basically throwing everything at the wall and hoping it sticks, under the assumption that the American public is so stupid they can’t separate reality from fantasy, and what an actor says and does in front of a camera to what his or her statements are when they’re stating their own personal beliefs. I still expect a show like “Countdown” to try and turn some of Fred’s roles into subjects of “Is this how he really thinks?” controversy, but only people who reflexively gag at any politician with an (R) in front of their name are going to take this type of attack seriously.

    John (34537e)

  4. Once the attack ads point out that Fred Thompson’s a thespian, his political goose is cooked.

    Cooked, I tells ya.

    Cooked.

    BumperStickerist (06b3c4)

  5. This proves three things the LAT continually denies: (1) they think their readers are stupid, (2) they do read blogs, and (2) they search high and low for any iota of information that will hurt a Republican, and then they print it at a time they calculate will do him the most harm.

    They are pathetic. Hoping to brand a presidential contender a racist by one of his TV roles?? Even Sharpton’s racial sensitivities wouldn’t stretch that far.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  6. The Knox Pooley role was actually the first time I ever saw Fred Thompson perform, and he wasn’t half-bad, as I recall. You can bet some of his lines from that show will get You-tubed, just as Ronald Reagan slapping Angie Dickinson in The Killers would be were he a candidate today.

    Steve Smith (8fadae)

  7. Some say that her Google search came up with 7 hits, and the first two were yours.

    Actually, if you google ‘”fred thompson” racist’, the first 3 hits are the LA Times article and you have to scroll down a ways to find another relevant hit.

    So, it seems that the LAT is the story. I thought reporters were supposed to avoid being that.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  8. For heaven’s sake this is beyond the pale of absurd and ridiculous. Arnold in Conan the Barbarian – doesn’t get much more embarrassing and obviously it didn’t hurt him at all… this only goes to show Fred has the goods and the LAT is afraid. And they should be.

    Dana (b4a26c)

  9. I heard that he masticates, even at the dinner table, and even encourages his fellow diners to join him.

    nk (db0112)

  10. That pervert…

    He even makes his CHILDREN masticate when they all sit down to dinner…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  11. It shouldn’t be that difficult to put together a compilation of clips from far-lefty Hollywood types (Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, etc.) who were playing communists or nazis or killers or pedophiles to show how stupid this concept is.

    And the move might even backfire. There are a number of left-leaning actors/celebrities who have political aspirations of their own. They’ll have an incentive to go public reminding the people of the difference between acting and who they really are. Martin Sheen wouldn’t want most voters (well, not his base, anyway) to think of him as Capt. Willard.

    PatHMV (7f2300)

  12. Hah! Shit. That is pretty egregious.

    I think my goal for today is to get into an LAT article with such a comment.

    Russell (13a51a)

  13. Back in 1980, while the main focus was on deriding Reagan for his work in “Bedtime for Bonzo” (in an effort to portray him to the public as a unserious choice for president), others used his role as a mob boss in his final movie, “The Killers” to extrapolate some vague connection to that persona and Reagan rushing to blow up the world by starting a war with the Soviets as soon as he was sworn into office.

    It was probably the same people in both cases. When you want to smear, who cares if you are inconsistent?

    Matt Jones (250438)

  14. I can’t believe you can get paid to write this stuff for the LA Times.

    It’s like the free midnight improv show ALL THE TIME.

    Gabriel Sutherland (90b3a1)

  15. Is Sean P a regular commenter here BTW? It’s odd he knew the name of the character from some old obscure role Thompsom played. Check the IP – who knows the comment could have come from LATimes.

    Bart at Ace’s had the best observation…by the LAT’s idiotic logic it would make Jim Webb a pedophile.

    Topsecretk9 (851239)

  16. […] forsooth! Smell the fear coming off the liberal media in palpable waves, as the smear campaign begins. Smells […]

    Taking note | Cold Fury (6f4592)

  17. Patterico:

    This is the closest I have ever come to being mentioned in the LA Times because I WAS THE ONE WHO MADE THE WISEGUY REFERENCE ON THIS VERY BLOG. For the record, I made the comment because I could see it being twisted out of context on You Tube, not because I believe such an attack would be fair.

    I’ll try to dig up the quote from your comment post and email it to you. If memory serves, it was in response to a post in which you invited people to comment on potential problems/ weaknesses with a Thompson candidacy.

    Sean P (e57269)

  18. Topsekret9:

    Hi, I’m Sean P, and whether I’m a regular commentor or not depends on your definition of the word “regular”. I’ve posted on a few comments here and there. I’m not a plant for the LAT if that’s what your getting at (in fact LAT bashing is one of my favorite topics, because that paper SUCKS).

    Patterico: Nice to see you did my work for me. Thanks.

    Sean P (e57269)

  19. Topsekret9:

    And, I agree the Jim Webb/ pedophile analogy is a good one. And if anyone ever tried it on Thompson I hope it backfires. But there is a difference between writing offensive words and speaking them, and that difference is You Tube. Not a substantive difference, but a difference nonetheless.

    Sean P (e57269)

  20. Thanks SeanP – was just wondering.

    Topsecretk9 (851239)

  21. Man, talk about being stuck on stupid.

    Roger (9c7623)

  22. LA Times Writes (Stupid) Smear Piece on Fred Thompson…

    Nineteen years ago, Fred Thompson played a really bad guy on a made-for-TV movie, and the idiots at the LA Times are trying to smear him with it. This is……

    Wizbang (c36dcd)

  23. I hear the guy once committed a piscatorial act on a ship displaying the American flag.

    Xrlq (9d319c)

  24. But in the age of YouTube, this performance could raise an intriguing political question: How does a performer eyeing a presidential run deal with a video history that can be downloaded, taken out of context, chopped into embarrassing pieces and then distributed endlessly though cyberspace?

    IMHO, this sentence was written with all the honest sincerity displayed by radio chauvinist Tom Leykis when he tells his male listeners that it would be a horrible thing if they surreptitiously put keylogging software on their significant other’s computer to make sure she’s not two-timing them online. Leykis makes it very clear: Nobody should ever go to SpectorSoft.com and download that software. That would be a terrible thing to do…that is, to go to SpectorSoft.com. So don’t even think about going there…now.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  25. Isn’t Al Franken running for senator in Minnisota? Lets see his video trail.

    DingoAteMeBaby (7ae33f)

  26. Reality? We Don’t Need No Stinking Reality….

    Holy smoke. This is how low they will go to assassinate the character of a person? Seriously? The LA Times reaches the depths of sleazy behavior by saying Fred Thompson's roles as an actor – a paid performer – will be used against him pol…

    Blue Crab Boulevard (c6ff88)

  27. […] Oh, wait, yes you can! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! How desperate can the LA Times possibly be? This desperate! […]

    MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy » Blog Archive » You Can’t Make This Shit Up: Fred Thompson = “Neo-Nazi” ???? (22ef8f)

  28. How can anyone support Fred Thompson after he fired Assistant District Attorney Serena Southerlyn just because she was a lesbian?

    This could be a major issue in 2008.

    Captain Ironic (28e44b)

  29. Well, you California fruitcakes DID elect a Cyborg as Governor!

    Beth (4c11b6)

  30. ..and Reagan rushing to blow up the world by starting a war with the Soviets as soon as he was sworn into office.

    All in all, the Soviet thing turned out rather well. Maybe we should stick to actors!

    What I can’t figure out is why they released the “news” today. Must mean they expect him to announce soon.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  31. Martin Sheen wouldn’t want most voters (well, not his base, anyway) to think of him as Capt. Willard.

    Yeah, but he may very well be Greg Stillson.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  32. We can only hope that the LA Times will not investigate allegations that Fred Thompson is a known extrovert or that he has been a practicing homo sapiens for years.

    Joshua (ca2e9c)

  33. L.N. Smithee:

    Sincerity or not, it is an interesting question (I wouldn’t have posed it in the first place if I didn’t think otherwise), and the LAT never implies that the charge is fair, only that it could be effective.

    I would compare this article more to a trial balloon. Throw it out with enough plausible deniability to deflect any criticism that could fall back on you and see what happens. And that, really, is my objection to the article. Instead of pointing to a random commenter on a center/right blog with an open comment policy as evidence that the charge could have legs, they should have just throw the issue out on their own.

    Oh, and while I’m at it, if nothing else, this little dustup will hopefully cast the “Rudina” scandalette from a few months back in a different light.

    Sean P (278d58)

  34. Oh Common Sense , Common Sense ; Whereforth art thou ??? This LA Times stuff is only possible in a country where the education system has been dumded down so much that any graduate from the University of Ignorance of today is unable to determine their right from their left. Thank God for the right Wing Old School educated bloggers !! Where now their spaces are the only source`s of intelligent truthful useful news and information from the hallowed halls of Patrotic sanity !!!

    Barry Jones (f69a27)

  35. Why I bet Fred Thompson is also against banning dihydrogen monoxide!

    Robert (69b4f5)

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