Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mediots Beware: It's Hammering Hank Time!

Mediots: (ME-DE-ots) Concatenation of "Media Idiots"; those of the Media who ignore what is being said by an interviewee in order to promulgate their point of view.

As I've been harping, the Media sees what they want to see and Hank Aaron has finally came out and gave his side of the story at his local paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As I noted, even with Hank's great and inspiration video message, the media would continue to claim that Aaron in some way was protesting Bonds passing him up.

This should clarify thing greatly and, as I expected, the media is not owning up to pushing their point of view, of seeing the errors of their ways, heck, they won't even apologize for ALL THIS TIME putting words into poor Hank Aaron's mouth when he did not feel that way. They talk about how classy an individual Aaron is, doesn't he deserve a public apology from EACH AND EVERY SPORTS COLUMNIST WHO MISPOKE ON AARON'S INTENTIONS AND FEELINGS? How classy is it that the mediots misrepresented someone they view as so classy and yet are so classless to admit publicly that they were wrong?

Avoidance of the Hubbub, Not of the Chaser

Let's go through the column point by point, shall we? First off, Aaron "didn't want any part of this Bond thing, because it reminded him of that Ruth thing ,when he was an African-American player chasing the record of a white icon through a slew of death threats and hate mail." Not many remember, but Aaron when through a lot of BS (hate mail, death threats, etc.) when he was approaching Ruth's record, and when his parents went to hug him once he did it, they did it not of joy alone, but because they feared that someone might shoot him dead; not too much time had passed since JFK, RFK, and MLK were assassinated, so that was in their heads at that time.
Hank Aaron did not enjoy that period of time, much like Roger Maris didn't enjoy his time approaching then passing Ruth's single season record. The media pressure, the hate mail, the much ado about nothing as far as they were concerned. They just wanted to do their job and not be part of this circus orchestrated by the media. Just like then, he just want to live his life and not be harassed by the media.

If I were to interpret this, I would say that it appears that Aaron is saying that the media is treating Bonds the same way Aaron was treated when he was approaching the record, since Aaron is now the white media icon and Bonds is the one receiving all the hate mail. And thus Aaron shows that he sympathizes with Bonds in this regard, via his reluctance to interact with the media during the final stretch this season. Because Aaron did not enjoy that aspect of the chase, and this was giving him flashbacks to when he was the one getting the hate mail.

He's His Own Man: None of Them Know Him, Including Bonds

Hank Aaron is the strong silent type who is his own man. As he noted, "Oh, I'm tremendously relieved. I'm so glad this [Bonds' record chase] is done with, and now I can just go my own way." Along with the media scrutiny and ridicule for not making some sort of statement, apparently Bonds was upset that Aaron never called him in general or visited him when the Giants came to Atlanta.

Aaron had an answer for Bonds, any others who were acquaintances, and, ultimately, the mediots themselves:

"It really got to the point where a lot of people started wanting to give advice about what you should do, and they didn't know what the hell the situation was. I mean, these were people that you had been knowing for a long time, but they couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting involved in this thing.

Then they would come forward and say things like, 'Well, you need to do this. You need to do that.' They wanted to give you all of this advice, and they didn't know what was all involved in it, really.

That's the thing that really bothers you. Friends that you've had a long time are all of a sudden coming forth and telling you things like, 'Well, I don't understand why you aren't making comments, or why aren't you doing blah, blah, blah.'

Well, you know what? You're not suppose to understand any of it, because you're not in it."

And you know what? That's basically the way Bonds has answered some of the media's questions in the past, that they are not in it, that they can't understand, and he was viewed as arrogant for saying that.

Aaron was clearly frustrated that people, particularly those he thought were friends, couldn't see his point of view, though he understood why, and was bothered that people would still butt into his business and tell him what the right thing to do is. Like he doesn't have a brain of his own, so thus they have to give him their advice, when it was just that they themselves didn't understand his situation. He clearly had enough of these acquaintances who thought they knew what was best for him to do.

He's Old and He Don't Mind Admiting It

The next thing I thought was interesting was about where he was when Bonds passed him up. He noted that he "was asleep. It was 1 o'clock in the morning [chuckling]. Heck, I'm not going to sit up and watch a baseball game. It's just like I wasn't going to be able to travel all over the world to watch [Bonds break the record]. It wasn't being disrespectful or anything. It's just a matter of, hey, the body needed to go to sleep." The mediots just couldn't identify with a 73-year old man who, though he tries to stay fit, is mature enough to concede when his body cannot take the extended travel.

Also, he wasn't trying to ignore Bonds' chase, but he had his own life, his own schedule, his own things he felt was important to do. For example, the week before Bonds tied Aaron, he was supporting an annual event in Puerto Rico called the World Children's Baseball Fair, which had more than 4,000 kids from around the world. He's too humble to note it, but he's an important man and he has obligations, a life of his own to pursue.

And Aaron clearly did not ignore Bonds' approach of his record, as he recorded that video message to Bonds and the baseball world that played after Bonds set the new record over a month ago. The Giants management noted in a few interviews that they had approached Aaron and he agreed to do the message. They gave him some talking points that they thought he could expound on, but Aaron did it his way, the way he wanted to do it.

And, personally, I cannot imagine a better speech that could have been made, it was sincere, beautiful and heartfelt. I still cannot believe that anyone could take that and try to twist it like Aaron was still giving a negative message to Bonds. And yet the mediots persist.

He's Not Avoiding Bonds; He's Happy for Bonds

The last point I wanted to note upon was what he said after being asked if Aaron will do something with Bonds: "Eventually, if I happen to see him somewhere, I'd probably say something to him. To be honest, I'm as happy for him as anybody." He's as happy for him as anybody, there's no way to twist that in an Bonds Hating way, Hank Aaron was happy for Barry.
Who Watches the Watchmen?

Hopefully some of the mediots got Hammering Hank's message loud and clear, that he has no hard feelings against Bonds, that he is happy for him. Unfortunately, a lot of the mediots don't care to read up on the subjects they write on, they are happy to be obtuse and oblivious and ignorant, so they will miss this illuminating interview and continue to live with blinders on. And as I've written before, they don't feel the need to apologize or to point out when they provided a knee-jerk reaction or had their facts wrong, particularly regarding Barry Bonds, they just move on and ignore the facts.

And which I find ironic, since newspapers and magazines are designed to be read by people who are not any of those, people read the newspaper to be in the know, to not be obtuse, oblivious, or ignorant. I grew up admiring journalists and still love reading the newspaper everyday, but something is not right if they can go on and on about any subject but has nothing filtering them or correcting them when they are wrong. Where are their editors? Where is their conscience? Where is their journalistic integrity?

Giants Thoughts

As I have posted here before, the media has been reading Aaron's silence to mean that he was unhappy with Bonds and his linkages to steroids, using his silence as a media hammer to strike out against Barry Bonds. Clearly, from this interview with Hank Aaron (ironically enough, via the media - there are still some good eggs out there), Aaron should have dispelled any notion by the mediots that he was showing up Bonds in any way by not being there. He's old, he can't travel all over the country to wait for Bonds to hit the record breaker. To quote Aaron, "It wasn't being disrespectful or anything."

As Hank Aaron showed with this interview, he is his own man, he will live and conduct his life the way he sees fit, despite everyone's good (and bad) intentions. He's happy for Bonds and glad to move on from the hullabaloo and live his own good life. He just didn't like getting asked all sorts of questions about Bonds and the record, and was uncomfortable in the situation that the media put him in. He wasn't trying to be disrespectful, as he is as happy for Bonds as anybody, but nobody understood him, because they are not in it, like he was. Hopefully the mediots finally get that and stop bothering him. Assuming they bother to keep up with the news.

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