Last week, I did a post on an item in Phil Mushnick’s column about a comment he made about Donald Sterling. He wrote:
“Not everyone, at 81, should reasonably or humanely be held accountable for whatever ugly comments come out their mouths.”
Mushnick took considerable heat; some justified, some not. Nobody was in the mood to give any excuses to Sterling.
Saturday, Mushnick had another observation about Sterling. This one was about how the story broke.
How many among the morally outraged media, politicians, pro athletes and even late night TV hosts who drew laughs burying Sterling in their monologues could withstand having their private conversations recorded then publicly disseminated?
How many could survive such a thing or would come out of it looking better — or even the same — as before?
How many big-shots who demand the media “respect my privacy” have stood up to say that while Sterling’s a repugnant bigot and doddering old fool, “catching” him in such a manner seems downright un-American, unfair?
And when did “TMZ” get clearance to act like an extension of the FBI or the KGB? Or was TMZ — which specializes in ambushing the prominent, ex-prominent and hopeful prominent — just doing its part to protect America from within, a branch of Homeland Security?
But the ends justify the means. Now that Sterling, who in an instant became Public Enemy No. 1, was caught then quickly and publicly executed, we and our loved ones can feel that much safer.
I agree with Mushnick here. The TMZ factor has been underplayed in this entire saga. Somebody leaked a private conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend.
Yes, it was reprehensible, but did the end justify the means here? The whole thing felt so dirty. This certainly wasn’t journalism at its best.
Will be interesting to see if TMZ gets more inflammatory recordings from the sports world. As Mushnick warns, watch what you say everyone.