Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mitch Perry Report, 1.17.13: Caught up in the illusions of the rich and/or famous

Posted by on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 7:55 AM

While some of the anticipation of Lance Armstrong's bid for forgiveness on Oprah Winfrey's network (by the way, anyone know what channel OWN is on the Verizon FIOS dial?) has been sucked up by the bizarre tale about Notre Dame start linebacker Manti Te'o's fantasy girlfriend, there's still great interest in seeing the former Tour De France champ begin his long road to redemption over the next couple of nights on cable television.

Everyone has an opinion about Armstrong, like they do on Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and others who werea ccused of using performance enhancing drugs, and strongly denied it over the years. But as has been extensively reported in the past few weeks, neither Bonds, nor Clemens, nor anyone involved in PED's throughout the last two decades has been on such a mission to personally destroy his detractors as has Armstrong.

My favorite media tale of those sucked into Armstrong's world of lies is Philadelphia-based journalist Buzz Bissinger, best known as the author of the acclaimed book Friday Night Lights. You might recall back in August, Bissinger penned a provocative Newsweek cover story (as most were in the final months of that legendary publication's print life) where, despite overwhelming evidence even at that time, he called Armstrong a "hero."

Essentially he sort of made a fool of himself, yet with the imprimatur of a powerful media brand behind him.

Earlier this week, with the news that Armstrong had deceived everyone, Bissinger came out with a post on the Daily Beast's website where he confesses that his August story was "the worst piece of opinion I have ever written. I did disservice to myself. More important I did a disservice to readers."

Points for public contrition, but really, what else can you say and still be taken seriously? Put Bissinger next to Dick Morris as public figures who should never be taken seriously again.

A new poll released yesterday shows Charlie Crist ascending, and Rick Scott in serious trouble — including within the GOP.

A national animal rights organization has given Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo major demerits for its housing of four African elephants.

One of the leading national advocates in trying to end the U.S. embargo on Cuba, Tampa's Al Fox, tells CL that he's not surprised at all that flights from Tampa to Cuba are being cut.

And that interview we were promoting in yesterday's MPR with a former member of Scientology was posted last night.

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