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Two-fisted journalism
November 3, 2009 8:11 AM   Subscribe

A fistfight in the Washington Post newsroom inspires this reaction from MeFi favorite Gene Weingarten: Hooray.
posted by Methylviolet (40 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I liked it better when reporters covered the news rather than each other.
posted by MarshallPoe at 8:18 AM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Back when I got into journalism, the idea that a fistfight in a newsroom would turn into a news story was unthinkable," Allen said when reached Monday evening. "The guys in the sports department at the New York Daily News, they had so many, you wouldn’t even look up."
...which, you know, makes it alright to lose your cookies on a colleague in 2009. (Or did I miss the part where scientists discovered that the truth-value of a story is partially determined by who's got the better right hook?)
posted by lodurr at 8:28 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is how you have a fistfight in a newsroom.
posted by permafrost at 8:29 AM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


For all of Gene's starry eyed hero worship, he almost omits the fact that fight was about criticism of a Style piece from doe-eye bleatrix Monica Hesse. Not over the type of laudatory work that he gushes over; no daring bravado in a war zone, no dangerous infiltration of the mob. He even treads the laziest of journalism cliches and turns the incident into an excuse to present his Top Worst Story nomination.

Go take a nap, the lot of you.
posted by boo_radley at 8:32 AM on November 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Funny how Politico censors a key phrase as "c---sucker," while Huffington uses "cocks-----." Wait, wait, I think I can piece it together now!
posted by echo target at 8:34 AM on November 3, 2009 [11 favorites]


It's okay for effete old people to fight, nobody really gets hurt. Besides, it's just like Mad Men amrite, which makes it totally awesome!
posted by The Straightener at 8:39 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


When you can't even have a fair fistfight without some trail of hyena lawyers in tow, there is something wrong with your society.
posted by four panels at 8:40 AM on November 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Useless without video.
posted by the cuban at 8:42 AM on November 3, 2009


They still have newsrooms?
posted by jbickers at 8:50 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


They also used to let people smoke in newsrooms and once and edition went to bed the booze came out! This is why newspapers are dying!
posted by cjorgensen at 8:51 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm watching the final season of The Wire right now and the newsroom stuff is about the only thing I'm enjoying.
posted by ODiV at 9:14 AM on November 3, 2009


What the fuck is with this glorification of workplace violence?
posted by odinsdream at 9:14 AM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Calling something "the second worst story I have seen in Style in 43 years" is pretty harsh once you recognize that the second best story in the WaPo Style section would still be an embarrassment. You know, almost as big an embarrassment as Monica Hesse herself. Of course, we can fully expect a blathering piece from her on how the recession is affecting the exchange rate of fisticuffs.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:15 AM on November 3, 2009


"i'm gonna write like a butterfly and sting like a bee"
posted by pyramid termite at 9:17 AM on November 3, 2009


Imagine”, says US academic Robert McChesney, “the federal government had issued an edict demanding that there be a sharp reduction in international journalism, or that local newsrooms be closed or their staffs and budgets slashed. Imagine if the president had issued an order that news media concentrate upon celebrities and trivia, rather than rigorously investigate and pursue scandals and lawbreaking in the White House… Professors of journalism and communication would have gone on hunger strikes… entire universities would have shut down in protest. Yet, when quasi-monopolistic commercial interests effectively do pretty much the same thing, and leave our society as impoverished culturally… it passes with only minor protest in most journalism and communication programmes”
posted by Joe Beese at 9:21 AM on November 3, 2009 [11 favorites]


wait, are there people here who are actually and legitimately offended by this? two old dudes went at it and neither are the worse for wear. another guy who knows them finds it refreshing, and nobody is in a worse position for it. what's the problem? it's not like anybody is going to take a swing at you tomorrow in the break room because of it. jesus christ. lighten up a little. enjoy the story. it's fun.
posted by shmegegge at 9:35 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey, Gene. We used to have slaves. We used to expect women to stay home and raise kids barefoot. We used to smoke like chimneys, beat our children and settle every dispute with violence instead of consideration and thoughtfulness. We used to do a lot of stuff that we don't do any more. I used to give a shit about what you wrote, too. Thankfully, these days are past and we can get on with our civilization, where passion, which is what I think you are speaking to, really, is for everyone... not just those with fists.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:37 AM on November 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


I still want to see the worst story.

Especially since this is the Washington Post. It must be the worst thing ever.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:47 AM on November 3, 2009


If this brings us any closer to a new subscriber feature, to be adopted across the industry, where you can go to your personal page at the newspaper website and like "click here" to send someone across the newsroom to suckerpunch the op-ed commentator of your choice for the drivel you just had to read, I'm all for it.
posted by gompa at 9:55 AM on November 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


another guy who knows them finds it refreshing

"Refreshing" is probably an accurate take on his attitude, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what the hell he thinks is refreshing. It's hard to conceive of the "passion" he alludes to being anything more than the bottled frustration of small stakes.

AFAICS, this is a case of a couple of guys caught in the same nutwringer as everyone else at WaPo, and one of them redirects the rage at someone more proximate than "change."

It's not something to get all wrung-out over, IMO. But thinking it's cool is pretty much equivalent to being a fan of cripple-fights.
posted by lodurr at 10:03 AM on November 3, 2009


Amatures. It's not a real fight until someone gets stabbed through the heart with a trident.
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:05 AM on November 3, 2009


wait, are there people here who are actually and legitimately offended by this?

I wouldn't use the word "offended" at all. I am however surprised by people saying it's anything but pathetic. Much less "cool" or "refreshing." I'm also surprised that "whether or not punching your coworkers" is up for debate. What decade is this again?
posted by odinsdream at 10:20 AM on November 3, 2009


odinsdream: "I'm also surprised that "whether or not punching your coworkers" is up for debate."

it's not. it's just something that happened. again, we're not deciding the rules of workplace etiquette, here. we're just enjoying a story that, according even to the people involved, more closely resembles the newsrooms of yesteryear than your typical clearly-over-the-line workplace violence. sure, he shouldn't have done it. but it was done, and nobody's hurt, except apparently for a few mefites.
posted by shmegegge at 10:23 AM on November 3, 2009


"Back when I got into journalism, the idea that a fistfight in a newsroom would turn into a news story was unthinkable," Allen said when reached Monday evening. "The guys in the sports department at the New York Daily News, they had so many, you wouldn’t even look up."

Umm, yeah. I saw fistfights in the sports department. We used to take bets on who would set who swinging. But usually it was about unpaid food runs and arcane fantasy baseball rules.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:25 AM on November 3, 2009


the newsroom stuff is about the only thing I'm enjoying

Meh. That sucked just slightly less than everything else in Season 5.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:27 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah. That's about the size of it. I've been meaning to post an AskMe for new TV to watch, but I'm so damn picky it'd take awhile to nail down what I really like and dislike.
posted by ODiV at 10:35 AM on November 3, 2009


Woah, woah. I will PUNCH anyone who says anything bad about The Wire.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:43 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can relate to this. After all, there are many days when I just want to come into work and punch the crap out of a couple of co-workers, especially today because I was watching the Saints game last night and drank too much and I don't really need to hear all about how you are going to Disney World for the 7th time and you are staying at whatever freaking resort and, and, and...sorry, I'll go now.
posted by govtdrone at 10:46 AM on November 3, 2009


When someone says "ruh-roh" in a "charticle", that's worth a punch in the face.
posted by jefbla at 10:54 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Washington Post has a "Style" Section?
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 12:23 PM on November 3, 2009


Point: Fuck you!
Counterpoint: Fuck you!

Allen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor who already took a buyout, has just three weeks left on his contract, said "I'm getting too old for this shit" before later jumping over a flaming auto wreck.

Multiple Post sources independently confirmed to POLITICO that Roig-Franzia got hit while defending suicidal colleague Monica Hesse from harsh criticism: "Hesse's a good cop"
posted by Smedleyman at 12:31 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Style piece from doe-eye bleatrix Monica Hesse.

I'm not sure what a 'bleatrix' is, but apparently she defended that article by pointing out how much she likes the ladies.
posted by delmoi at 1:11 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, back in the days when news reporters were men, anyone of color was serving food or shining shoes, and there was whiskey in each hard boiled reporter's drawer. Those were sure the good times.
posted by bearwife at 1:21 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the fuck is with this glorification of workplace violence?

I take it you don't have kids.
posted by speicus at 1:41 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the fuck is with this glorification of workplace violence?

I say there isn't enough workplace violence.

"Want a raise? Fight me for it."

From the loudspeaker:
"Attention all employees. Accounts Receivable Manager Martins has challenged CFO O'Hanrahan for a raise. The Employee Review will be held in the conference room at 2:30pm. All wagers will be handled, as usual, by the Comptroller, and no wagers will be accepted after 2pm."

At least it would liven up the afternoon at the corporate office.
posted by chambers at 7:13 PM on November 3, 2009


Gene Weingarten is a cock.

And the Washington Post can't die soon enough. I wouldn't wipe my ass with it these days.
posted by bardic at 8:00 PM on November 3, 2009


Woah, woah. I will PUNCH anyone who says anything bad about The Wire.

Hey, I'm just glad that the whole 'McNulty fakes a serial killer' plot managed to find an appreciative audience -- and impressed that one of them was able to learn how to type to boot.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:20 AM on November 4, 2009


I read this the other day and am still laughing. Especially at the comments discussion about whether ''cock------'' or ''----sucker'' is the best way to write what was said before the punches started flying.

Also, I've only ever done short stints subbing and copy-editing, but my sympathy is totally with the editor here. I have seriously wanted to slap people who consistently file unreadable garbage, for whatever reason. The longer you do the job, the harder it must be to resist the impulse. Especially if they call you a cocksucker.
posted by t0astie at 1:02 AM on November 4, 2009


Hey, I'm just glad that the whole 'McNulty fakes a serial killer' plot managed to find an appreciative audience -- and impressed that one of them was able to learn how to type to boot.
posted by PeterMcDermott


Shut your mouth, I just scream into a mic hooked up to Dragon Naturally Speaking (tm) whilst rewatching your least favorite episodes on repeat. Luckily it corrects my auditory spelling errors and the transliteration is dingo monkey twice the octopi for tango man.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:21 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Video re-enactment by the Washington City Paper staff. This video is a lot longer than I want it to be, but I'm glad somebody has fun at the workplace. (This is not to say I don't; I just don't put it on youtube.)
posted by knile at 8:23 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


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