Dennis Rodman Isn’t An Assignment Editor

He’s not the problem here: 

Dennis Rodman is a troll. Before dedicating any more thought to his opinions and politics than you would to those of a subway evangelist, remember that. But that doesn’t stop him from being run out on TV and in interviews as an expert in North Korean affairs or racial politics in America. He may just as well start trading stock tips and forecasting weather patterns, because he knows exactly as much about those topics as he does about anything he’s actually asked to speak on with authority.

Which should preclude him from being asked to speak. Who’s doing the asking? How did their heads get so far up their asses? I will admit to as much of a sick fascination with Rodman as anyone else, mostly because I had just arrived in Chicago when his actual basketball fame was at its height, and he was the weirdest thing my Wisconsin self had ever seen.

But he’s not in charge of his media access. MEDIA are, and the bookers and producers who are putting Rodman on TV are to blame for him being on TV. It’s ridiculous to castigate Dennis Rodman for being who he is, doing what he wants, and feeding himself and his family any way he can. It requires us to pretend news judgment doesn’t exist, and Rodman appears on our televisions by magic, willed there by our supposed interest in him.

Crazy, trolly people have existed in sports and public life since time immemorial. It’s just that once upon a time maybe we thought it was possible to ignore them. Just don’t respond to their press releases, Don’t return their phone calls. Refuse to ask them any questions. Act like they don’t exist.

(You know, like you do everybody who thought the Iraq War was bullshit, bank bailouts were immoral, and raising the minimum wage isn’t tantamount to setting the polo ponies of the wealthy on fire.)


One thought on “Dennis Rodman Isn’t An Assignment Editor

  1. It is a big problem–the bookers and producers want to attract eyeballs for the advertisers, and, boy, can Rodman attract eyeballs, even if those eyeballs are rolling at him. It’s a similar problem to the perennial one of Bloody Billy Kristol’s presence on all the Sunday talk shows. Here’s a guy who’s been spectacularly wrong about everything, has done virtually nothing of note in Washington except be Dan Quayle’s chief of staff and run a wingnut welfare job shop, has the hugely gauche tendency to smile broadly as he’s recommending the dismemberment of children, and yet, there he is, week in, week out, advocating the pursuit of disaster with as cheery a countenance as Mickey Mouse at Disney World. He’s not just dangerous, he’s creepily so, but he’s always in view to provide counterbalance for the occasional sane person that gets booked.

    Once the networks decided to make their news operations into profit centers, all the hype and hysteria associated with getting and keeping advertisers and their dollars kicked in, and the producers seem to have decided that it’s more profitable to be Morton Downey, Jr., than David Brinkley.

    Fox hasn’t helped the situation, either. They’re looking more like the UBS of “Network” every day, but they’re very profitable, and that means the rest of the industry is in some way following their lead.

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