”[Vince] would like you to call [Dr. George] Zahorian to tell him not to come to any more of our events and to also clue him in on any action that the Justice Department is thinking of taking [emphasis added].”
Linda McMahon “CONFIDENTIAL INTEROFFICE MEMO” to Pat Patterson, December 1, 1989
Again, hats off to Ted Mann of New London’s The Day for his breakthrough report “McMahon warned steroid doctor of investigation,” http://www.theday.com/article/20100409/NWS12/100409727/1017.
I want to dispose quickly of the best information we have on the inside baseball of the publication of this story on Saturday rather than Sunday.
Most likely Linda McMahon operatives knew they faced bad news that could turn horrendous, and being the feisty “outsiders” that we all know they are, they turned to one of the oldest tricks in the Beltway playbook: the “Friday evening news dump.” You initiate release of the story at the onset of the weekend, when journalists are already checked out; by the time the non-witless get their wits, the short attention span of the witless has carried the day.
Whether the leak came from the McMahon camp or someone else, The Day’s hand was forced after Glenn Thrush and Politico.com beat Mann late Friday afternoon with an inferior version of the same story. See “Memo: McMahon tipped steroid doctor,” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/35599.html.
(By the way, Congressman Henry Waxman used a variation of the same trick when he chose Friday, January 2, 2009, as the day to punt to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy his voluminous findings on the inadequacies of World Wrestling Entertainment drug policies.)
In the age of the Internet and the 24/7 news cycle, I’m not so sure the Friday bad-news dump is a gambit that works as well as it used to.
Anyway, we’re all about to find out.
NEXT: Part 3 – The Wrestling Media Know Where Linda McMahon’s Bodies Are Buried