Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Barack Obama, Boxing, Debates, Detroit News, Jake LaMotta, John Cassidy, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Leon Spinks, Mitt Romney, Muhammad Ali, New Hampshire Union Leader, Nolan Finley, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Slate, The New Yorker on October 17, 2012 |
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Writing about the second staged exchange between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley exclaims: “This is what a debate should look like — two well-matched heavyweights pounding away at each other, unable to knock each other down, but determined to keep slugging.” He then proceeds, rather lamely, to say, “In the end, who won probably depended on who you wanted to win going in.” (No need to read more of his analysis to know for whom he was rooting…)
Slate’s sampling of newspapers’ coverage of the event features headlines like “No Pulling Punches in Feisty Debate” (Las Vegas Review-Journal), “They Came out Fighting” (New Hampshire Union Leader) and “Obama, Romney Come out Swinging” (Richmond Times-Dispatch).
In his New Yorker blog, John Cassidy manages to liken Obama to both Jake LaMotta and Muhammad Ali before saying, “Enough with the boxing metaphors.” He doesn’t mean it, however. “Truly, though, it’s hard to avoid them,” he continues.
The problem is precisely how easy it is to rely on such clichés. Rather than actually saying something insightful, pundits just reach for the most obvious comparison from sports. Presidential debates are contests between two opponents, and so are boxing matches. Really? You don’t say…
Perhaps it would be worth trying a little harder.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Boxing, Daphne Merkin, Heavyweight champion, Jake LaMotta, Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, New York Times, Rocky Graziano, Rocky Marciano on March 17, 2011 |
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Perhaps when The New York Times makes the rare boxing-story assignment, it should select a journalist who knows something about the sport, or at least doesn’t display ignorance of it as a badge of honor.
In “The Suburbanization of Mike Tyson,” a Sunday magazine article posted online on March 15, Daphne Merkin writes, “I have never been particularly drawn to boxing, but there was something about the younger Mike Tyson….”
Knowing a bit more of boxing than only the former heavyweight champion’s ability to attract attention would have almost certainly kept Merkin from claiming Tyson showed her “photographs from the glory days in which he is posing with other boxers (Ali, Rocky Marciano, Jake LaMotta)…” I’d never submitted a comment to the Times website before, but I did remark (somewhat sarcastically) that since Marciano died when Tyson was three years old, it was unlikely that the two ever posed together. The paper subsequently posted the following correction: “An earlier version of this article misidentified a boxer with whom Mike Tyson posed for photographs; it was Rocky Graziano, not Rocky Marciano.” The paper fixed the online text accordingly.
Granted, the two fighters had similar nicknames and a journalist on deadline could have made a simple slip up. Still, a Times editor (like the one whose name is tacked onto Merkin’s article), fact-checker, proofreader – someone! – should have noticed this before I did.
If only the newspaper saw fit to report on the sport on a regular basis…
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