Friday, August 27, 2010

ABC’s Mike Benoit Interview a Missed Opportunity

The best that can be said about the piece on Chris Benoit on ABC’s Nightline Prime last night was that it added to the general inventory of stories involving occupational health and safety at Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment.

The interview with Mike Benoit, Chris’s father, did not, however, advance the scholarship of research on brain trauma in contact sports and sports entertainment; it was basically a rehash of the things Mike first started saying publicly late in 2007. For example, Nightline reporter Martin Bashir failed to add information about the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy findings on another wrestler, Andrew Martin, who had murdered no one except himself (he OD’d on prescription pharmaceuticals). And never mind the most recent wrestler deaths: Eddie Fatu, Chris Klucsarits, Lance McNaught. Television documentary coverage is just not fast enough on its feet for anything so complex.

Still, the day of accounting for the human toll of WWE’s multinational marketing empire draws nearer, and the McMahon family’s bid for electoral power draws it nearer still.

Irv Muchnick

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