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I know a guy...

For several days now I've been wanting to blog about NBC News's announcement late last week that the network had hired Luke Russert, 22-year-old son of the late NBC political guru Tim Russert, as a correspondent to cover the youth angle at the political conventions this fall.

I couldn't write about this immediately though, 'cause I wasn't quite sure how I felt.

Seriously, my feelings ranged from slight haterism, as in silent grumblings of "wish that was me!" to annoyance, as in "what the hell did he do to deserve such a gig?" to downright anger over what I initially perceived to be a big old wet kiss from the Affirmative Action Fairy.

Then it occurred to me that this technically wasn't affirmative action, 'cause affirmative action is a formal government policy whose stated goal is to give a nudge to ethnic minorities and women who might otherwise face discrimination in certain hiring and schools admissions policies.

So I came to the conclusion then that young Russert had instead been kissed by the Nepotism Fairy, paternal twin of the Affirmative Action Fairy.

While NBC News issued a straight-faced statement saying that Russert was hired because it was crucial that the youth vote be covered thoroughly at the conventions, let's be blunt. It couldn't have hurt for him to be a Russert. Also, TV news is about ratings. So, sorry NBC News. But this has ratings gimmick written all over it.

But here's the rub: While I've engaged in debate over this thing for a few days and listened to colleagues debate over it, and while I'm still sorta bugged by it, I can't be mad at Russert.

Whatever you want to call it - a form of affirmative action, a form of nepotism, simple old-fashioned back scratching/favoritism, or straightforward and above board, Russert, a recent college grad, has a unique type of experience that you just can't get in a J-school classroom. You don't grow up at the feet of arguably the best political broadcast journalist in modern times and not learn a thing or two.

Like it or not, he does have unique qualifications for the job. And what was he supposed to do, say no to the offer? I wouldn't have in his place.

Still, I understand why some of my colleagues are ticked off about his new job opportunity. Just two weeks ago, I was in Chicago for a media convention. And while it was good to catch up with old friends, it was almost depressing to see dozens, maybe hundreds of experienced, and very qualified, and in some cases YOUNG-AS-RUSSERT!!! out-of-work journalists looking for new gigs. Everywhere they turned at the convention's job fair, they were told there's nothing out there, due to the tanking economy. So, given news like that, no matter how many pearls you try to put on this pig, NBC's announcement on young Russert was an announcement of some kind of favoritism, no matter what sort of label you put on it.

Besides, favoritism in hiring is not new in this or any other country. The government may not always be involved, but I assure you the practice predates 1961, when JFK reportedly coined the term "affirmative action." Don't get me started on all the examples of it in my own industry.

But my big question is how many critics of favoritism and special treatment and fast-tracking at work will look at this hiring and finally acknowledge that it is not "mostly" a minority thing or a female thing. It is a who's best connected thing.

Need I remind you of the legacy policies at some colleges and universities that grant the children of past graduates special consideration for admission over poor schmucks whose dumb luck was to be born to parents who didn't go to college or who graduated from different schools?

I remember the first time I was confronted about workplace favoritism.

It was the early '90s, in the two years or so after I graduated high school. I was a college student at this point and was working as a civilian journeyman machinist at the now defunct Naval Aviation Depot (Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Va.) to help pay for school.

A middle-aged white guy in my machine shop approached me in the break room and asked if my hire had been the result of affirmative action or some other government aid. I knew he was attempting snark, but I kept cool and told him no, my hire was the result of me scoring well on the Civil Service Exam and passing the hands-on and classroom portions of my subsequent apprenticeship.

He was still skeptical and followed me back to my turret lathe after we ate, and he persisted, even though I over-lubed the metal I was shaping so that it would spray him with smelly grease and metal shavings. He asked if I would ever accept affirmative action or any other sort of "unearned" advantage. And he gave the example of me and a more experienced white person vying for the same job as me. He wanted to know if I was offered the job over the more experienced person, would I accept.

It was a tricky question, but only for a moment. I come from a household of parents proud of the things accomplished in this country through and as a result of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but at the same time proud of their personal work ethic and the fact that they really did scrap and claw their way into everything they ever earned, without the benefit of a government nudge or wet kisses from influential relatives or family friends.

So while I know my folks hated - and still hate - the notion that they'd ever need help to accomplish anything they wanted, I also know that they were savvy enough about workplace politics and negative "isms" to never look down on anyone who accepted an offer of help...whether from the government or the bosses of a major news organization. Why? Because it's just human nature to not look a gift horse in the mouth.

So my answer to his question was I may not aggressively seek that nudge, 'cause I know my work can sing its own praises. But if that nudge is offered, you better believe I'd take it. And don't be high and mighty. Most of you would take it too.

But if you have a vein throbbing out the side of your neck at this point, maybe your blood pressure will lower if I tell you that my feelings on this topic pretty much align with those of comedian Chris Rock: I don't think any unqualified person who is some form of minority should get a job over a qualified person who is white, just 'cause the unqualified person is black, or brown, or female, or in a wheel chair, or is from Mars, or is related to or friends with a well-connected, powerful person. But, if the black/female/wheelchair-bound-person/Martian/connected person is equally qualified to the white person, I don't have a problem with the tie going to the black/brown/white/female/wheelchair-bound-person/Martian/connected person sometimes.

All that being said, Luke, congrats on your new gig, and good luck with it.

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Ivan Fyodorovich

But, if the black/female/wheelchair-bound-person/Martian/connected person is equally qualified to the white person, I don't have a problem with the tie going to the black/brown/white/female/wheelchair-bound-person/Martian/connected person sometimes.
---
So you favor judging people sometimes by the color of their skin, rather than their merit or lack thereof?
That's racism, isn't it? Or would that only be true if you gave the tie to the white person?

James B.

Ivan, take a deep breath and go back and read it again. That paragraph talks about all those people - black, white, Martian, etc., being equally qualified.

Otherwise, there wouldn't be a tie, now would there?

So to answer your question, no, it isn't racism. And since I inserted "sometimes," you can assume that sometimes the tie will also go to the white person.

D. Wayne

I think you've drawn a very poor parallel here. Your points on affirmative action are well made. But pulling "young Russert," as you call him, into this is absurd. I don't mean that in the overused, filled with hyperbole sense. It's truly absurd - and I'm one of those many thousands who got bumped from cheap b... well, newspaper owners. I think it's naive to believe hiring Russert is going to pull in many young viewers, but it will offer a younger perspective to the current stable of views, no matter their age. And it's downright patronizing to say he caught a big wet one from the NBC bosses. You, yourself, mentioned an apprenticeship; I can't think of a better one than, as you mentioned, studying at the foot of the best political observer in the modern age. Luke surely deserves that much credit. Suffice to say if I were your editor, I would have sent this one back for a rewrite.

D. Wayne

I think you've drawn a very poor parallel here. Your points on affirmative action are well made. But pulling "young Russert," as you call him, into this is absurd. I don't mean that in the overused, filled with hyperbole sense. It's truly absurd - and I'm one of those many thousands who got bumped from cheap b... well, newspaper owners. I think it's naive to believe hiring Russert is going to pull in many young viewers, but it will offer a younger perspective to the current stable of views, no matter their age. And it's downright patronizing to say he caught a big wet one from the NBC bosses. You, yourself, mentioned an apprenticeship; I can't think of a better one than, as you mentioned, studying at the foot of the best political observer in the modern age. Luke surely deserves that much credit. Suffice to say if I were your editor, I would have sent this one back for a rewrite.

James B.

Sorry D. Wayne. We're gonna have to agree to disagree on whether this was a ratings gimmick or not. Besides, regardless of whether it was, if you read the rest of the post carefully you'll see I'm not knocking or faulting Luke Russert in any way. I said I don't blame him for accepting the assignment. And I said he is uniquely qualified. And, um, I congratulated him and wished him luck at the end of the post. The gimmick thing is my opinion, not a statement of fact. That was a minor part of this post. The larger part had to do with favoritism. But you're entitled to your opinion too, so feel free to email my editors if you don't like how I've shared mine.

nancy jean

you said what everyone was thinking. we have all had to work with these types of hires - son-in-law or whatever who suddenly appears. I don't agree he was the best choice and wish he'd continued in his radio career and come up thru the ranks the regular way. Would his dad have approved of this?

Ivan Fyodorovich

So to answer your question, no, it isn't racism. And since I inserted "sometimes," you can assume that sometimes the tie will also go to the white person.
---
Actually, my breathing is just fine, thank you. But should we also assume you don't have a problem if the tie goes sometimes to a white person? If so, isn't it fascinating that you chose not to write it that way? I wonder why.

z0l0ft

It seems more like a ratings gimmick to me than anything else. 'We got another Russet!'

This whole thing was sorta a repeat of the announcement of Jeffrey Lyons son Ben taking over the coveted spot on 'At the Movies.' Completely unqualified for that position, even more so than Russert's kid. Doesn't really smack of nepotism... gimmickism?

James B.

Ivan, you may breathe well, but you still can't acknowledge that you hadn't read my post well, 'cause if you had you'd have seen the part that said "equally qualified." You couldn't get me on the suggestion that I was rooting for "unqualified" minorities to get jobs over qualified whites ('cause I covered that ground in the blog post), so now your challenge is why didn't I speculate about the tie going to the white candidate first?

I'm not sure I have an affirmative answer for you. I can tell you what it isn't though: racism!

James B.

zO10ft, very good point. Another good example of it too.

It's one of those things that you can't get too angry at, 'cause it just happens. It's the way of the world, almost as much as breathing, walking, sleeping, etc. Still doesn't make it right sometimes.

Garbanzo

Being a member of the New York media community, do you how many folks land jobs up here because they are so-and-so's son or daughter? Andrea Koppel landed a sweet gig (at CNN, I think) shortly after graduating from Duke, even though there were a lot more experienced hands around. I worked at a magazine that hosted Anna Wintour's daughter as an intern, who clearly didn't have her mother's aptitude at anything (although she was a proficient partier). Being a former Knight Ridder person, one just has to look at Par Ridder, who ascended to the publisher's chair at two newspapers before 35, as evidence that genetics trumps ability (for those of you not in the know, Par was the son of erstwhile Knight Ridder CEO Tony Ridder, whose brother Peter also was a publisher at three papers for no good reason other than his last name). It's not fair the world works this way, but who said the world was fair.

As for the ratings gimmick piece, who cares? If people watch, they watch.

James B.

Garbanzo, well said. Again, you can't too angry about this stuff - annoyed, sure - 'cause it's the way the world works. As for the ratings gimmick, sorry. But I had to point it out, since no network would ever admit to that sort of thing.

Ivan Fyodorovich

I'm not sure I have an affirmative answer for you. I can tell you what it isn't though: racism!
---
I'll choose to believe you're a man of good will, and hope that I simply misunderstood what you wrote.

James B.

Ivan, you don't have to think I'm a good man. But seriously, I do appreciate the benefit of the doubt. I'm mildly distressed though, 'cause I thought I made it clear in this post that I don't favor any unqualified person getting a bump over a qualified person.

On the other hand, there are obvious exceptions that fit those parameters, like the commenter before you, Garbanzo, pointed out - family businesses, for example, where the folks simply want to hand down the reins to their kids. Nothing wrong with that.

Jack

The world is run on Nepotism. Just look at our illustrous President. Need I say more. The entire power structure is kept in the hands of the Super wealthy and their friends through family connections. They all go to Harvard and Yale, and they control everything. Hollywood is run the same way. Almost every movie star you know got into the business through a relative. It's how the super rich stay on top and how you and me will always be second class citizens in the big picture.

Cane75

My view on this is that the only objective NBC has, is to boost its ratings, so they will go after any gimmick or help it can get to drive their ratings. That's what Russert brings and nothing more. This debate over affirmative action or black vs white vs Martian is a useless and ignorant debate. NBC is looking out for their stockholders, period.

doug

A closer comparison would be Chelsea Clinton getting a six figure income right out of college. Fame has it's privleges!

dean

This is a non controversy. NBC is doing this simply as a publicity stunt to boost ratings. And there is nothing wrong with this - as a private business this is what they should do

dean

This is a non controversy. NBC is doing this simply as a publicity stunt to boost ratings. And there is nothing wrong with this - as a private business this is what they should do

dean

This is a non controversy. NBC is doing this simply as a publicity stunt to boost ratings. And there is nothing wrong with this - as a private business this is what they should do

Marisa

Not for anything, but did any of you see how incredibly articulate and poised Luke came across when he spoke about his father's passing only days after it happened? And not for anything, but don't many of you remember being a young college graduate (or just being a young twentysomething) eager to catch a break with respect to beginning your career? Sure, it's natural to "hate" on Luke initially because being envious is part of the human condition, but it's not as if NBC gave the post to Paris Hilton or Lindsey Lohan. By all accounts he is an intelligent, capable young man who will likely be a bit more respected on the campaign trail because of his father than some other young, wannabe journalist.

AP

Great post. Being from a low-middle income white family from rural PA originally, I always felt slighted when the better connected, richer, whoevers got the job, school, placement, etc, no matter their skin color.

But being down here in MIA for 8 years, the nepotism v. affirmative action take you provide here is an interesting concept I've never considered.

Along the same concept, I always felt MORE disadvantaged here for being white and a non-fluent spanish speaker. So if anything, can there be a racial nepotism (I'm not speaking racism)? I think if I applied to a company/business that is 80% hispanic and all things being equal with another hispanic candidate, I wouldn't get the job. But I wouldn't cry racism either. I would view it as a preference to deal with those you feel more comfortable with, whether those feelings are completely logical or not.

People throw "racist" and "racism" around all the time whenever ANY decision is made and it impacts people of different colors differently. Sometimes it is racism, and sometimes it isn't, but to claim it ad nauseum (and I'm simply taking a soapbox moment, this isn't directed to you James B.) becomes, in my opinion, race baiting and hurts peoples own awareness of other issues instead of actually thinking through the decision and saying "Wow, that was a racist decision" or "That had nothing to do with race."

Peacock Net

Glad you wrote it. When I heard the news about "Young Russ" I said to my wife, "well there you have it, to work w/ GE you have to have a family tie in." I do;t care. But if i were an NBC reported working my way up for yrs and yrs Id be pretty fn pissed off. The United States has become a joke, partly b/c of affirmative action, and now b/c it is a corporatist system organized to exploit the under-educated individual.

James B.

Jack, well said. I can't argue with you. Where the President is concerned though, nepotism only aided him prior to his second run for the White House. I'm being half facetious when I say that 'cause - and my opinion isn't a partisan one - I get that in his first run for the White House those voters who supported him got a boost from the courts. In his second run though, it appears purely voters put him over the top....though my strongly Democrat friends would say they suspect hanky panky with the Ohio votes in 2004. Another story for another day though. Thanks for the comment.

One more thing, Jack: I feel ya on the second class citizen thing. But while I know the ceiling exists, to a lesser extent with race and what not but to a much larger extent with the haves vs. have nots, I'll crack that thing wide open if I have to. Seriously, I'm prepared to bust it like a coconut shell, in order to get mine. I'm too pretty to go to jail, so it's not like I'm gonna stage a violent coup on the news biz. But I'll keep writing and being strategic with it. And I'll get mine. So pat yourself on the back, my friend. In a way, your comment helped inspire me!

Cane75, we'll have to disagree on the usefulness of this discussion. I wouldn't call it a debate, 'cause, um, we didn't mention Martians till the last paragraph of this blog post. And their mention was tongue-in-cheek, along with the reference to Chris Rock, so we could re-emphasize the fact that this is not about physical characteristics and is about who you know. Regardless, thanks for the comment.

Doug, good point. It literally does pay to be famous! Not mad about it though. If I had connections through my dad and they hooked me up, I'd accept with a smile...and hopefully humility, as Luke Russert appears to have done. So kudos to him for that. I know some young guys who'd be throwing a public party right now, flaunting that gig. He issued a statement saying he was honored and humbled. And that speaks well to his future career.

Dean, I can't argue with you. NBC, like other networks wants ratings bumps where they can find them. You're right. They do have stockholders to please. Hopefully, like all the other news orgs out there, the integrity of "good" coverage remains important to NBC too in that ratings hunt. The only knock I put on NBC was for not just admitting what this was and for trying to pretend like it was simply a strategic hire for good news judgment.

Marissa, good points. Again, I'm not knocking Luke Russert. I thought he aquitted himself excellently at his father's memorial service. And the other times I've seen him on TV he's been articulate, composed, and quick on his feet. So he got a good break. Good for him.

AP, thanks for the comment. No worries, I took no offense. Had no reason to. Thanks for the insights, and please come back and visit this blog often.

Jay

My first reaction to the hiring of Russert wasn't that it was the affirmative action fairy or the nepotism fairy, but instead it was the entitlement fairy. And I would have had the same reaction if Tim Russert had been black.

Did NBC already have this job opening when Tim died? Were they already planning this kind of coverage of the "youth" vote to be done by some new person in the News Division? If not, then was it Tim's death that made then decide to hire Luke and THEN create a position for him?

I do agree that I don't hold anything against Luke. I'd take the damn job too. In a heartbeat.

Also I live in a area still struggling with racism and resentment of minorities. Many people around this area immediately assume that a black/hispanic/woman who gets a job got it because of AA and it had nothing to do with qualification. I constantly hear people saying "What have they done to get this job/" or "They haven't paid their dues." or well you get the idea. I can understand why people ask the same questions of "Young Mr. Russert."

Just like can see Doug's point about Chelsea Clinton getting a major Wall Street position right out of college (even if that college was Oxford). Again, it certainly looks like the entitlement fairy.

Oh and I know a lot of people think the word "entitlement" only applies to the poor and to minorities. That's why I like to use it when I'm talking about rich white people. There are many different kinds of "entitlements."

James B.

Marisa, sorry I misspelled your name in my reply just now.

Peacock Net, I hear ya. Again, not mad at Luke Russert, but I can totally see how some of my broadcast friends are frustrated at this sort of thing. What are you gonna do? I have one friend, who will go nameless here, who has been a television reporter for more than 10 years. She started her career in radio in the Midwest, then went to a TV station in a tiny market in the Deep South, then worked her way to a larger station back in the Midwest, and so on and so forth. Along the way she learned all the tricks of the trade and has become a great reporter, learning to cover politics and government and so on. She's even interviewed presidential candidates and attendees at campaign rallies in her town. And yet, the reality is she'll probably never get a shot to work for the network with with her local station is affiliated. Why? She doesn't know the right people who can help her catch the eye of the big bosses who run the network's news op.

James B.

Jay, thanks for the vote of confidence.

Fernando

When I heard Luke Russert was hired by NBC, the first thing that popped up in my brain was that old saying, It is not what you know, it is who you know. So, yea I'm sure if Luke Russert was Luke Richard, I bet he wouldn't have gotten that gig.

James B.

Too true, Fernando, too true...unless there's some well connected, known journalist out there surnamed "Richard." ;>)

juliuseezer truth

Why not just buy a network and hire all blacks, you idiot!

James B.

Juliusezer Truth, you cowardly fake name user, there was a time when I was a rookie that I'd have wanted to delete a comment like yours. But my skin hasn't been that thin for a very long time. I'm gonna go against my instinct and be nice to you and gently suggest you go back and read this blog post again. You may get its point the second time around and realize that the assumptions that prompted your enlightened comment could have been avoided if you'd read more carefully the first time around.

georgemia

Well, we have a president who got where he is by what can only be described as "assisted living." Never has a man with so few qualifications made it to the presidency.

Now, let's talk about the carreer of Maria Shriver. Back when she still had a gig on network TV, I once saw her as a spokesperson for the struggles of women to get recognition in journalism. That was a disgrace to every woman who has ever fought her way up.

Or Anderson Cooper........if he weren't the son of the privileged, where would he be?

There is a French espression, "to have piston," a connection that forces you to the top, like the piston in a moter. It's a driving force in the world, no matter what industry you work in.

James B.

Georgemia, thanks for the thoughtful comment. Like I said in my post, it's the way of the world. And that's enough of a reason not to get angry at the recipients of this sort of benefit. The powers that grant them such benefits though? They're fair game.

Jim

I am afraid that you, like a lot of individuals, don't really understand what is "Affirmative Action". Affirmative Action is not hiring minorities and women. The name of the game is equal. Affirmative Action is a method of making it equal. Affirmative Action is correcting racial balances, through an Affirmative Action program. For example, the employees of the Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is over 80% minority. As such, their Affirmative Action program would not be hiring more minorities, but to hire non-minorities to correct the "racial balance".

juliuseezer truth

Obama will get 99.99% of the black vote, not because of his great senatorial career, he gets all the black votes because.........he's black! racism is alive and well in this great USA.

James B.

Jim, you are correct. I stand corrected. While the intention of affirmative action was originally to help minorities and women catch up, purely defined, the policy is about equality. So your example is right. In that scenario, County Corrections would be practicing affirmative action as it was intended by hiring whites. Good call.

James B.

Juliuseezer Truth, I'm just gonna call you Spanky, since you choose to use a fake name.

So Spanky, this may surprise you since clearly you still have not gone back and re-read this blog post, but I agree with you that racism is alive and well in this country. But, unfortunately, that isn't really what this post is about. Plus, a majority of eligible black voters backing Obama isn't the best example of racism. Had you said they're NOT backing McCain because he's white you might have gotten my attention.

But let's say your example was a valid one of racism, that wouldn't explain why black voters haven't simply remained at home in prior elections since the candidate they supported - overwhelmingly Democrats - were all white.

Again, we agree that racism is alive and well. But Obama getting most of the black vote is a weak, on-life-support example of it. Sorry.

witheld for effect and purpose!

Very good post. Being both a recipient of the benefits of nepotism (I know my last name, withheld here for obvious reasons, had a lot to do with my getting a job in both the private and public sectors many times over in Miami-Dade) and the benefits of my alma mater's 'diversity policy,' I can surely not be mad at Young Russert, especially given the unique, perhaps even lifelong internship he served out as the offspring of as you mentioned one of the most venerable political commentators of our time.
The other side is of course those hungry "YOUNG AS RUSSERT" types who don't have the pedigree to land such opportunities within the unofficial caste-system of our society. I have a friend who teaches sociology at UCONN and during one of his lectures, he asked his students how many of them ever aspired to become president of the United States. About half of the room raised their hands, he said. He then told them to put their hands down and instructed them to look around and notice that no more hands were up. He said that history demonstrates that none of them will ever become president, ever, because they attend UCONN. History demonstrates that no presidents had ever come from UCONN and that the last three presidents (and most of their opposing candidates) came from Ivy League schools. UCONN isn't exactly The University of Phoenix, it is a fairly well-renowned public institution, and as such, his students were, as he says it, 'shocked.' But his point was that there are sub-stratas of society that are in place, often unseen, whose reach is plenty and whose effects have long, deep roots.
I know I'm one to talk. I sure never turned down any of those jobs, nor my scholarship, that I may have/probably did get based on the phonetic pronunciation and origin of my last name. But then again, why should I have? If Young Russert has no trepidation about his hiring, and NBC sees only the benefits, why should I have any? I may not be the most intelligent being out there but I was plenty qualified for every one of those positions. The danger in nepotism (and to that end affirmative action), is the exclusion of potential. But of those two ideas, only one holds the ideal to correct the very same danger of which it is accused. Can you guess which one? Here's a hint: it isn't nepotism.

James B.

Withheld for Effect and Purpose!, thank you for a very deep comment. Refreshing.

Bemr

You are a PRO! Excellent assessment of what we all feel when we think nepotism or some other "wet kiss" scenario plays out in front of us. In the end, as you did, you might as well wish young Russert luck...he'll need it with all the "whispers" that will follow him on this assignment and probably the forseeable future in his young career.

john b. orlando

i've never read such a moronic story in my life. you're comparing this to racism...my what a far reach. if luke is half the journalist his late father was...maybe you can learn something, burnett. all i see is you reaching for straws. i have 2 bi-racial children...and affimative action is bullcrap. i don't want my kids getting anything "extra" because they are half black, but for their merits they create. i'm sure growing up with tim russert as a parent, luke learned more than you'll ever know. you're a waste of ink!

James B.

Bemr, thanks!

John B. Orlando, you're smoking some bad granola if you think this post is about comparing anything to racism. Did you even read this blog post, or did a colleague just mention it to you over the water cooler or something? Seriously, give it a THOROUGH read. And then comment again if you like. And, I hate to break it to you, but unless you print this post out it won't waste any ink.

THE_D

If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck, and walks like a duck, its still a duck. I'm sure there are many other more qualified inexperieced journalists fresh out of college who would do a way better job then little lucky. Did he even major in journalism. Typical ratings move by a network that is in the toilet. Oh well life is unfair. Thank god for the internet where you can follow anyone you want and read anything you desire. I just hope wolf blizter doesnt hire his kids. LOL

D. Wayne

I really thought I offered a reasoned argument, whether each of us chooses to agree to disagree. However it's clear from your comments to others - and specifically to me that I can basically piss off and write your editor if I don't like what you say, that reason has no place here. I thought - and continue to believe - some of your comments about Luke were patronizing. I thought your comment to me was downright rude - and believe me in 40 years of newspapering, I've taken guff from much harsher people than you.

PS: The word is "acquitted," although even at that, it wasn't the most precise word choice.

THE_D

If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck, and walks like a duck, its still a duck. I'm sure there are many other more qualified inexperieced journalists fresh out of college who would do a way better job then little lukie. Did he even major in journalism. Typical ratings move by a network that is in the toilet. Oh well life is unfair. Thank god for the internet where you can follow anyone you want and read anything you desire. I just hope wolf blizter doesnt hire his kids. LOL

James B.

The D., thanks for weighing in.

D. Wayne, now who's grasping at straws? BTW, thanks for pointing out my spelling error. I never run from my mistakes. If you really did read the other comments, then you know that already. Seriously, you gather from my comments that I want everyone to "piss off" and that reason has no place here? If you were right, I'd have deleted your comments for no other reason than you disagree with me.

I can count on one hand the number of commenters I've ever censored on this blog or any other I've authored. And they were "cut," because they used excessive profanity.

john b. orlando

typical journalist response..and yes i read it and laughed! with 2 masters under my belt from univ of michigan, before i was 20...it is my opinion your just another bitter black man. so what a bunch of writers can't find a job...you get ahead by hard work, as i did! and through my hard work...my children and my future grandchildren are secure in their future. you can't sit around and complain as i read in your article. burnett....what kind of cheese do you want with that whine?

James B.

John B. Orlando, thanks for alerting me to your graduate degrees, and congrats on earing them. But all I can say to the rest is bring it on. "Another bitter black man?" Please! Go back and read my archives if you have time. You are barking so far up the wrong tree in your assumptions about me. In fact, you might even be in a different forest altogether. Try as you might, you can't point to anything I've written that suggests I'm pushing for lazy people to get a leg up. You'll never read anything on this blog regarding employment that doesn't advocate hard work as the best "solution." And poke fun at the journalists - broadcasters too, not just the print folks - who've lost their jobs if you like. But remember "There but for the grace of God..." I hope your industry never goes through a bad stretch and catches you with a broadside. As for the cheese, I like Cheddar.

john b. orlando

it's earning...not earing. i'm 51, retired...employ 600 people, have 3 houses and automobiles that each far exceed your yearly income, 11 of them. i'll send the cheddar the first of next week, as, i'm heading to the pga championship. and i really like the forest i live in!!!

James B.

Oh John B. Orlando, lighten up. In heated exchanges you've never had a spelling error? My apologies. But I have to tell you, bragging about how much stuff you have and how much money you've earned is in bad form. It seems like something a rapper, not an accomplished businessman might do. But hey, you earNed it, it's your right to brag about it. I'm proud of you for being retired and having earned so much in your 51 years on earth. And thank you for the offer to send cheese, but unless you pack it in dry ice I'm afraid it could arrive in Miami melted. Seriously though, I'm glad you like the forest you live in. I like mine too. It's clear though that we like to thin out different swaths of trees in order to better see out of our respective forests. But that's what exchanges of ideas are about. I'm not sure why I anger you so much or why you've chosen to disregard the parts of this post that emphasize how much hard work has meant to me and mine. But ignoring those parts is also your right. At any rate, since you're retired and obviously have some time on your hands, if you'd like a more accurate picture of this "typical bitter black man," take my challenge and read my archives. You might find our forests are not that far apart.

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