Friday, July 31, 2015

Scott and Tessa are still "Tessa and Scott"

Tessa and Scott, presented by the W Network.
Partnership venture with the NY Times to follow?
This post takes a winding road to the subject of Tessa and Scott:
And to other reporters: Democracy is not a game. It is not a means of getting our names on the front page or setting the world abuzz about our latest scoop. It is about providing information so that an electorate can make decisions based on reality. It is about being fair and being accurate. This despicable Times story was neither.
Journalist Kurt Eichenwald, for Newsweek. He says “Democracy”, but for me, the point is journalism is not a means of self-promotion and self-positioning for the individual journalist, and all other considerations can fuck off. But as times have evolved, that’s all journalism has mostly become.

The block quote opening this blog post is a summing up from an old school, veteran investigative journalist writing about last week’s New York Times’ rushing into above-the-fold print a “criminal referral into Hillary Clinton’s handling of emails” story based upon a document that turned out to not concern Hillary Clinton and not be a criminal inquiry. The document dealt with a dispute between the U.S. State Department and the Office of the Inspector General over the classification of emails currently being reviewed for release in response to the Freedom of Information Act. The IG office is saying to State: “We disagree with your classification process/criteria” and the State Department is saying, “Fuck off, this is our turf.”

So, Pulitzers all around, and throw that uppity witch in jail. In a separate interview, Eichenwald mentioned that one of the Times reporters on the story has a reputation as a hype artist, and had bungled a non-political 2009 story, an event that seemingly did not stick in the NY Times institutional memory. The paper appears happy to employ and promote witless morons.

While a whole bunch of commentators are deriding the Times, and calling for accountability, the Times is shrugging it off. It even reasserted how proud it is of its “aggressive”, if factually inaccurate, faked up political reporting. Critics are just jellus.

I just put this here for anyone wondering why the sports and entertainment media is blithe about telling us whatever Scott and Tessa want said about them, or for anyone insisting that the media would blow Scott and Tessa's cover if they were lying. There’s no accountability at the presumptive highest level of journalism, and there certainly is none among the bottom feeders (sports, entertainment and all soft “news” programs) and talking heads.

The title of the document upon which the Times story purported to be based, a public document as easily obtained as a press release, was "Potential Issues Identified by the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Concerning the Department of State’s Process for the Review of Former Secretary Clinton’s Emails under the Freedom of Information Act (ESP-15-05).” This was somehow interpreted by the Times and its source(s) as: “Office of the Inspector General Hereby Makes a Criminal Referral into the Actions of Hillary Clinton vis a vis her Emails while Secretary of State.”

This happened because neither the reporters, nor the individual widely believed to be their source:

Draco Malfoy*
had seen or read the easily obtained document that formed the basis of the Times’ blockbuster scoop.

That’s a lot here above in this post about stuff that’s not directly related to Tessa and Scott. It relates to media accountability at what some consider the highest level. As we can see, when tested, there isn’t any. Write what you want. Lie your face off. I think the cultural change over the past decade is the media no longer even pays lip service to what the consumer thinks. They’re sort of flaunting the fact that credibility is a non-issue, because "we" don’t factor into their process. I think a lot of those in media are having a sustained tantrum over the reality that, vis a vis social media, the public has a direct voice, and that fact has made “legit” media hostile to the public. One of the reasons the blog started in the first place was to reassert that the public has a voice through social media, and social media doesn’t have a hierarchy. Virtue and Moir were using social media as a one-way street. “We’re the celebrities, we tell you what’s true, you shut up and pretend to believe it, while we entertain ourselves mocking you for believing it.” IOW, “we’re somebody, y’all are nobody.” When the blog began, it was because I didn’t see any reason why skating fans shouldn’t join the members of the public that push back on assumptions like that one.

Today, journalism is just a job to leverage the “journalist” into celebrity. That’s the agenda behind the decisions made by many many people in media. It has nothing to do with delivering information, or even (setting the bar low) accurately promoting something. The only thing most journalists are interested in promoting is themselves. Don’t get in the way, public.


I did my monthly twitter review and found nothing of interest, except that Tessa and Scott continue to spend way more time together on non-skating appearances than that other famously compatible platonic pair, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto managed post Vancouver. If there are more freeze-frame style canoodling instagram images of Kaitlyn and Scott, I can’t wait to see them.**

I looked at some of Tessa and Scott’s promotion rounds on youtube, including their downright painfully stale TEDxyouth appearance last spring. Awkward, recycled, zero points for effort, with a side of cattiness and pandering bitchery. Kudos to the young Toronto audience for its palpable collective uncertainty, and for the "This is really WTF, but I don’t want to be impolite” ambience with which it received Scott and Tessa’s nuggets of self-referential wisdom (arcane “wisdom” applicable only to Scott and Tessa if the content of Scott and Tessa's remarks were true, but as it’s lies and backstabbing, it's applicable to nobody). I don’t understand how Scott can recite the same lies for going on the second decade, zero variation, yet at one point lose his place and train of thought while he fumbles his index cards. His tells used to be endearing, now I think they’re calculated. “I hate lying so much, I get clumsy and conspicuously uncomfortable when I do it.”  Except it’s bullshit.

Tessa and Scott use the TEDxyouth talk (from the TEDxYouth website: “TEDxYouth events are fun, imaginative, and smart TEDx events designed for, and often organized by, young people. They bring ideas worth spreading to all ages.”) to recycle stale circa 2010 fake biography talking points, including Tessa’s fan fiction about the compartment syndrome rift, and much cattiness and side eye about Canton. Throughout, Tessa’s voice quavered and Scott fidgeted. Tessa continued her nervous habit of smiling while catty, which I think made the audience uncomfortable. Virtue and Moir did basically nothing to help the audience go from micro (Tessa and Scott's particular experience) to macro (takeaways the audience could apply to their own challenges). They were lazy.

According to Tessa, when they trained in Waterloo, they were enveloped in support and warmth, an environment which helped them sustain some normalcy, such as going to an actual school in a real building. But when exiled in the United States among a bunch of Russians and Americans, things sure changed. They were forced to take classes on line. Michigan didn’t allow them to physically attend school in an actual building. This had nothing to do with the schedule of a couple of elite, high performance athletes training for Olympic competition, and everything to do with Michigan’s hostile environment towards soft-hearted Canadians. The coaches were inapproachable, cold bitches, Scott and Tessa were separately forced to room with high strung competitor skaters out to get them. They had to sleep with one eye open. There were no responsible adults in sight. 

I know some of us were under the impression, based on what, I’m certainly not sure, that Kate Virtue moved first to Waterloo, and then to Michigan, to room with her vulnerable daughter, and were further under the impression that Kate Virtue publicized this after Vancouver so that none of us could speculate that Scott Moir ever had the slightest opportunity to take Tessa’s virginity.

Apart from “Try to adapt, as we did, if, during your training for the ice dance Olympics, your partner develops compartment syndrome”, and “Be glad you’re Canadian, because the US is full of nasty, backstabbing Americans and cold, inapproachable Russians who might pretend to support your goals but will undermine them at every step.” – there wasn’t much of the typical TED talk: “Here is my specific experience, and now let me pull back, open the aperture, develop context, cite other people’s experience, reference research, and draw connections in a way that you could apply to your own life/goals”. Tessa and Scott’s TED talk reaffirms that they have a very shaky concept of “others". At their most low-maintenance, well-groomed and polite, they still think it’s about their story. Them. Even in a TED talk, it’s not about finding ways (you know, giving some real thought to the experience of other people) for their story to reach out and help people with their own challenges.