Straight Shooting - Issue #83
by Fritz Capp
August 22, 2000
There are times when I have to wonder just what is going through people's heads. Sure, we're writing stuff on the Internet and no matter how big it gets it still does not afford of the luxury of having the most credibility of the media outlets. I believe that is because most people are not held accountable for what they write. It is too easy for one week to be pro this and then the next week be totally against it only to swap back again at a later time with no explanation. There is no accountability factor involved. This is especially true when it comes to reporting on or voicing your opinion on pro wrestling and the many complexities that seem to be surrounding it anymore. What with politics, football franchise ownership, dwindling ratings, multi-million dollar contracts, merchandising, unhappy workers and the like, pro wrestling has become more than then turnbuckle to turnbuckle sports our parents once watched.
But what about the people that report on pro wrestling. Just where do they fall into the mix? Are they ardent fans? Do they use pro wrestling as a vehicle to build a name for themselves? Just what makes them tick?
For the most part, the people who report on pro wrestling are pro wrestling fans first, reporters/columnists second. Wrestling is not something that you can just jump into with having a love of the sport. (Yes, even though all powers that be have fallen into the niche of calling it sports entertainment I will still call it a sport) In fact, most people who do not like wrestling hate it. But why does it appear that even some of wrestling's own top reporters take every swipe at the sport that they can whenever they can?
This is mostly due to the fact that they, like so many in pro wrestling, believe their own press. They think that because they have their name associated with the sport that they are larger than life. They are above the normal fans because they are privy to inside information. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Two people who have made a lot of money off of reporting on pro wrestling are Dave Meltzer and Wade Keller. Both of these gentlemen have never laced up the boots, nor have they been instrumental in getting an organization or workers a payday. But yet they have made a lot of money themselves by reporting the "inside" news. Now this is all fine and dandy when they stick to the news, but lately both gentlemen and their associates have begun the process of thinking that just because they "think" it will happen that makes it news. When did their opinions become fact?
Let's take a look at a recent rambling of Wade Keller's :
"Is Vince McMahon serious when he has his announcers defending the constitution against the PTC? Whether you agree or disagree with the PTC's stance, their actions of lawfully protesting what the WWF does is a better representation of the First Amendment at work than anything the WWF presents on TV for profit reasons. The First Amendment is about freedom of expression without government intervention, not about the WWF's freedom to retain advertisers even if his product offends many of his viewers. Although for the most part the WWF's "propaganda" during Raw and Smackdown is meant to be tongue-in-cheek (at least I think it is), the "Save the 'Hos" campaign and Jim Ross's recent commentary during RTC segments is getting pretty heavy. It was late last year that McMahon was anything but tongue-in-cheek when he was publicly protesting the departure of advertisers. The new "Spotlight Article" goes back to the first commentary I wrote for this website last year critical of McMahon's ridiculous spin-doctoring."
Keller stated that Vince's product offends many of his viewers? Now if this was so wouldn't his numbers as far as viewers are concerned be a lot lower than what they are reported to be? I mean, how many people watch what they are offended by? Where did Keller get these facts? Does he have a credible source that he receives this information from or is he just assuming this and turning it into news?
Don't get me wrong I am sure McMahon wasn't happy about the exodus of sponsors from his show and I am sure that does have a bearing on what Vince is doing but there is definitely a deeper fight here. Money, while it does invade all corporate thinking, is not always the only determining factor in decisions.
Look at the facts, "Has Vince lost any money due to the sponsors pulling away from his broadcasts? No, not at all. There are other advertisers waiting in the wings to replace anyone who leaves, usually at a higher cost.
But Vince is also trying to branch out into other forms of entertainment. What the PTC establishes now could set a precedent for upcoming broadcasting outside of pro wrestling. If the PTC is allowed to continue it's current path and would become victorious in it's efforts against the WWF do you actually think they would stop there or do you think that their new found power would expand into other areas. Do we really need people telling us what is and is not good for us?
Also Keller's comment "ridiculous spin-doctoring" shows that Keller has more of an agenda then he would like to let on. When Keller used the word "ridiculous" he took the statement out of journalism and put it squarely into the "personal" column. I am also amazed at the use of the word propaganda as if this was some form of Nazi Germany leaflet campaign trying to sway the masses to a particular way of thinking. I am sorry, but I have yet to talk to anyone who believes that the PTC or government should interject themselves into what we watch on television in the privacy of our own homes. The WWF did not create this feeling, this feeling is inbred in this countries very foundation. In a previous Straight Shooting column I wrote this, "Even when you come into the realm of religion, God gave us the freedom to "choose" what we want to do with our lives. He did not force "servitude" unto him and him alone, he gave us the freedom to choose our own paths. If our countries forefathers and God himself gave us the freedom to choose, who are Media Research, the PTC and other organizations like them to decide it is up to them to make those decisions for us?" What's next Wade, are you going to come out against the WWF getting thousands of people to register to vote in the upcoming election?
The following is from Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer dated July 17, 2000 :
"A group called Wrestling Fans Against Censorship is doing a letter campaign to merchants who are involved in the PTC Marketplace program, threatening to boycott their products as long as they attempt to target advertisers on Smackdown. Thus far they've gotten two merchants, Omaha Steaks and Smoke Shop, to pull out of the PTC Marketplace program. It should be noted that the PTC itself has removed merchants from their own site, thus cutting itself off from potential money when it created the hypocritical stance for that company by making money off WWF merchandise, such as ToyRUs, ICS Collectibles and K-Tel. Obviously any group has the right to organize and pressure the PTC, since it does that itself. It also has to be noted that if anyone agrees with using those pressure tactics against the PTC and obviously the PTC has zero right to complain about it, is also by doing so endorsing the methods the PTC is using itself because the methodology of the approach is exactly the same, just coming from a divergent political agenda."
A very interesting read to say the least. In one instance Meltzer is actually giving a plug to Wrestling Fans Against Censorship and then he turns around and vilifies it for using the same methods that the PTC uses against the World Wrestling Federation. What should the wrestling fans do Dave, sit on their hands and not fight back?
I am wondering how many updates Dave has posted in his newsletter as far as the numbers of people who have dropped the program since this writing because as of this writing that marketplace is closed. I highly doubt that the PTC removed all of them themselves. While I have not heard of any follow-ups in the Observer to this newsbyte he had in one of his July editions, I believe that a follow up report should be done to show that there is more going on than what was originally reported.
Dave Meltzer acts as if Wrestling Fans Against Censorship is a new group. Far from it. Wrestling Fans Against Censorship has been around since 1999. In 1999 when Jim Ross first announced that the WWF was being targeted by the PTC, the WFAC was formed.
Now while I am sure a lot of people would just sit with Meltzer's assessment of who is doing what, I cannot allow the WFAC to take all the credit. Besides the fact that PTCSucks.com and Rock Out Censorship played a major role in getting these sponsors removed from the marketplace, it is each individual fan who has taken the time to go the websites and get involved who are the true fighters in this cause. Without each fan becoming involved, this fight against the PTC would have gone no where, and we still have a long way to go.
I would like to ask Dave Meltzer what form of pressure we should have put on the sponsors of the PTC. Should we have sat together in circles and chanted that they leave the WWF alone? Should we have set up a chat room and discussed what was happening between ourselves? Maybe started a mailing list that only circulated amongst ourselves so we could watch the PTC systematically pick off the WWF advertisers one by one while doing absolutely nothing? I am looking for a viable solution here as Dave says that we are endorsing the PTC's ways of doing things.
Do we endorse the way the PTC works? No, not at all. While I feel that it is everybody's right to have their own opinion, including the members of the PTC, they have no right to try to force that opinion on the rest of society by trying to get a show pulled off the air by having all of their advertisers/sponsors drop the programming. If one letter was sent to each company in the name of the PTC stating their viewpoints that would be considered an expression of their beliefs. But that is not what the PTC does, does it? No, they gather their forces and inundate whatever advertiser they are targeting with letters and phone calls until that particular advertiser is swayed to their opinion or forced to succumb to the threats of boycott by the PTC members. Should this just be left to run amok?
Dave Meltzer also stated that what we are doing is coming from a divergent political agenda. Political? Not at first, that I can assure you my friend. There was nothing political about it. The WFAC was started with the sole purpose to combat the PTC and it's practices solely against the WWF. We originally started by contacting the sponsors of the WWF, the ones that had dropped their advertising and their current sponsors. That was it. Also let it be noted that unlike the PTC, we did everything out in the open with no hidden political agendas or aspirations. It wasn't until we discovered exactly who we were dealing with we then decide to fight fire with fire. We did not start this, we did not want this, but we damned sure are not just going to turn our backs to it. To date we have not contacted the PTC on the behalf of any other television show they label as offensive. This was solely about wrestling, If it branches out into something more down the road that remains to be seen. It is not in our immediate plans.
Has politics entered the arena? Yes they have, again not by our doing. It is no secret that Bozell and his followers have a political agenda. They are trying to garner support for themselves in the political arena. Their current and past affiliations are documented on the Wrestling Fans Against Censorship website. This is really evident by Bozell's appearance at the Republican National Convention. There he tried to have The Rock's appearance blocked by having his followers harass the committee phone lines crying foul about The Rock being at the convention. Needless to say, those cries fell on deaf ears as The Rock did appear. As I alluded to earlier we did not ever envision being in a political arena but if that is where the fight leads us, that is where we will go.
Bryan Alvarez and Alex Marvez instantly jumped all over the WWF's numbers when they said that they had 14,000,000 potential voters that viewed WWF programming. They lambasted the WWF stating that their numbers were false and that the number was closer to 4,000,000. What I still ask is where did Alvarez and Marvez get "their" numbers? In another previous Straight Shooting I showed how ludicrous their attacks on the WWF were considering that they themselves do not know what the actual numbers are. They were coming off as being "in the know" when in fact they were making educated guesses and assuming what they thought should be construed as news.
Bryan Alvarez also recently came out giving his opinion on The Big Show going down to Ohio Valley Wrestling. Did I say opinion? I meant to say he gave the news as "he" saw it. I am glad that PWBTS's Miss Pamela, who is the OVW webmaster straightened out what Alvarez said before it spread too far as factual news.
All in all I think it is time that people start holding these so-called "top of the line" Internet and dirt sheet reporters accountable for what they say and do. It is no secret that the Internet wrestling fans hold the lesser known reporters to high standards, why not these so called giants? Why are they allowed to make their assumptions and personal views news when everyone else is held accountable for what they say and write? Double standards do not make the net go round.
On a side note that has nothing to do with what I wrote above it has been brought to my attention that once again the children of the Internet have nothing better to do with their little lives so I am once again being impersonated in chat rooms around the Internet. Sad, so sad. It is a shame that these kids have nothing better to do with their lives than to try to make someone look bad by impersonating them or bashing them in chat rooms. While I do understand that this makes the person who is doing it feel important and feel like they are getting their "revenge for whatever", it actually shows how pitiful some people's lives really are. If you run into me in a chat room or on some messenger service say hi but realize that I do not use any chat programs so you are not talking to me. Nor am I on AOL or any other of the all inclusive webhosts out there. If anyone has any transcripts of any chats supposedly with me involved send them along, I love a good laugh. Also forward me any e-mail campaigns against me because I love to read those too. I am so glad that the Internet has allowed a forum for these individuals to show the world just how pathetic they can really be. For those of you who buy into this sort of thing and believe, all I can say is you should really know better.
And with that I am outta here. Remember wrestling is nothing more than it appears to be but also remember a quote from James Billington, "Intellectual and cultural freedom is the most important single precondition for the breakdown of the kinds of tyrannical and totalitarian systems that periodically threaten us."
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