Today was round two in the fight between Linda McMahon, ably abetted by her husband's company WWE, and the "bullying" Connecticut media.
Last month, the first punches were thrown as WWE threatened legal action against Chris Powell of the Journal Enquirer for saying that Linda McMahon's wealth "derived from the business of violence, pornography, and general raunch". Perhaps realising that such a lawsuit would likely have no chance of being successful in court, WWE hasn't followed up on their intimidatory tactics, despite no retraction being forthcoming. In fact, the Journal Enquirer fired back by filing an FEC complaint against WWE for using their power to discourage local journalists from criticising Mrs. Vince McMahon during her campaign.
The lawsuits may be out the window, but that hasn't stopped Linda McMahon's campaign team from pushing her as being a persecuted martyr by biased reporters who won't recognise her Midas touch for job creation.
Their latest target for ruthless aggression is Ray Hackett of the Norwich Bulletin, who accused Linda on Saturday of being "afraid to answer the tough questions" after refusing to do any editorial board meetings with not one local newspaper prior to the August 14th primary election. It's worth noting that all of Linda's opponents, Republican Chris Shays and Democrats Chris Murphy and Susan Bysiewicz are taking part in such Q&A sessions over the next three weeks.
In response, Linda's campaign manager Corey Bliss cut quite the promo on Hackett's temerity on the friendly territory of her website, which is worth reading in full, but here's a snippet:
I expect outrageous attacks from Linda's opponents, but not from the Norwich Bulletin. Ray Hackett's "editorial" (I put editorial in quotation marks because you can hardly call it objective journalism) is nothing more than recycled personal insults. Hackett's tirade is a result of Linda refusing to let him bully her into participating in an interview with his editorial staff. Linda is not going to let Ray Hackett, the Norwich Bulletin, or her opponents stand in the way of taking her message of creating thousands of jobs directly to the people of Connecticut.
But I wanted you to know the whole story of why we chose not to participate in Hackett's circus.
We all know that media bias exists, and that's OK. What's not OK is when that bias devolves into temper tantrums, threats and blackmail, which is exactly what happened late last week when our campaign informed Mr. Hackett that we would not be doing his editorial board before the August primary. Mr. Hackett threatened my staff with his "18 columns between now and the election," noting that he would use them any way he sees fit, implying that he would use them to attack Linda if we didn't meet his demands.
This morning's column is apparently the first of Mr. Hackett's 18-installment temper tantrum he is throwing because he didn't get his way.
Linda can't possibly speak to all two million Connecticut voters one-on-one, which suggests her avoidance of such an offer is more due to personal discomfort in an interview setting with people who know what they are talking about than a desire to run a grassroots campaign. What's grassroots about flooding the airwaves with slick advertisements and letterboxes with glossy fliers, anyway?
After the jump read part of Hackett's reaction, Cagesiders, where he claims that Bliss' "Whole Story" is as fictional as any WWE storyline Linda's husband helps to script. I know that Linda is at home with fake storylines, I'm just surprised that she doesn't know a bully when she sees one, given that her husband is still Being a STAR to Jim Ross.
Bliss titled his piece "The Whole Story." Unfortunately, he left some of it out.
Bliss' piece is another well-scripted campaign story line that tries to portray Linda as a misunderstood and targeted candidate, victimized by the liberal media. The key words are "well-scripted" and "story line."
That is exactly what the subject of my column was about - the well rehearsed and scripted campaign story line....
Bliss contends that I "threatened" and tried to "blackmail" the campaign into agreeing to an editorial board meeting.
What I told campaign spokesman Erin Isaac Thursday, and then Bliss the following day, is that we have a long standing policy that we do not endorse candidates who refuse to meet with the editorial board. They both said that was fine with them.
Bliss didn't mention that because that threatens the story line later on about how we refused to endorse Linda's candidacy because she wouldn't bow to The Bulletin's demands.
I also told them that it is certainly within their right and their decision as to whether they want to speak with us. But they needed to understand that just because they decide they're not going to speak to us, that doesn't mean that we stop writing.