By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? This year, no players were voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. There will be a ceremony in July, welcoming last year’s class, after the 2020 induction ceremony was, like much of life, COVID-canceled.
But after 400+ votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America, no nominee met the 75% threshold. Voters are instructed to look-beyond statistics, and weigh nominees’ “integrity, sportsmanship, and character.” This year’s #3 vote-getter Roger Clemens and #2 Barry Bonds are tainted by ties to performance-enhancing drugs.
#1 Curt Schilling is lionized here in Red Sox Nation for his bloody-sock World Series performance; and only 14 other pitchers have topped his 3,116 strikeouts, and 13 of them are in Cooperstown. But he’s been shunned for Tweeting support for January 6 rioters, and various other faux pas. ESPN cut him loose, and he’s on-the-hook to the State of Rhode Island for $61 million in loan guarantees for his failed video game company. And he’s had-it-up-to-here with the media…
Count me out
Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling would be on the ballot for the 10th and final time next year. And, historically, players have found support in their final year of eligibility. But Schilling, no fan of the media generally, and specifically critical of the Hall of Fame selection process, has asked not to be included.
Is this like lottery tickets, you can’t lose if you don’t play? Or, like Marlon Brando snubbing his “Godfather” Oscar, is Schilling making a bigger statement?
As that drama unfolds, Twitter banned ubiquitous (read: overexposed) MyPillow guy Mike Lindell, who’s been hollering about it to Rush Limbaugh’s guest host du jour, and on FOX News. And major retailers have stopped selling his products, after Lindell has been an outspoken voice of election fraud conspiracy theories, not-cool post-January 6.
He DID pass The Bar, right?
Rudolph Giuliani – defendant in a $1 billion-plus lawsuit by the voting machine company he says aided “the stolen election” – has been tempting his own Twitter status by posting that social media platforms deny Free Speech for banishing Trump, Lindell, and others.
Wouldn’t any attorney – let-alone The President’s Personal’ — understand that the First Amendment protects us from GOVERNMENT censorship? As Michael Harrison offered on his weekly radio show: “Unfortunately many of the points being argued under the banner of Free Speech have nothing to do with the words written in the Bill of Rights but are rather distortions thereof twisted to fit the hypocrisy-driven goals of those in government.”
And as TALKERS contributor and attorney/author/professor/ace scam-buster Steven J.J. Weisman cautions: “When something [like a social media platform] is free, YOU are the product.” So if you have a bone to pick with Twitter, why pump-up their traffic by even being there? Tell your tribe to follow you away.
“But TO WHERE?” those-who-fled-to Parler squawk, after Amazon cloud services de-platformed it. Pretzel logic-of-the-week: I spotted a blog post contending that – because big tech enjoys Section 230 protection – this IS government censorship.
Rallying on Reddit, grumpy gamers stuck-it-to The Man, over-leveraged hedge funds, sending GameStop stock through the roof. As I write this, day-after, share price swung $361 intra-day…on a stock with a 52-week low of $2.57. To understand why, Google “pump and dump.”
And Rush is ranting that Trump got canceled after getting 74 million votes, as though Biden’s 81 million wasn’t twice the margin by which Trump lost the popular vote in 2016. And the stolen-election crowd that wanted to cancel Biden’s win are the same voices crabbing about Cancel Culture. And masks, after January was the deadliest month of the pandemic, so far. Wear yours, and social-distance, or YOU could get canceled.
Canceling The Cancel Culture is making me dizzy.
Ever since that October night long-suffering Red Sox fans will never forget, there’s been a framed photo of Curt Shilling’s bloody sock on the wall at my house, despite some of the appalling things he’s said off-the-mound. Conversely, Trump supporters who cannot savor Robert DeNiro’s gift: your loss. Laughingstock Giuliani will continue to amuse, and don’t risk the rent money day-trading.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Typically, radio stations I advise are garden-variety Limbaugh/Hannity/FOX News affiliates, which we unambiguously image as safe space for the like-minded. And our advertisers get results, selling to loyal listeners, earnest God-fearin’ retail consumers who didn’t riot on January 6.
But this past week, for the first time in a year, the Department of Homeland Security used the National Terrorist Advisory System (get used to hearing “NTAS”) to warn of domestic threats “fueled by false narratives.” Chatter being monitored suggests that the U.S. Capitol riot emboldened conspirators now plotting to intercept members of Congress as they travel to/from Washington. So cancel Amazon if you will, but if pulling the plug on Parler makes it tougher on terrorists, thank you. “Integrity, sportsmanship, and character.”
Holland Cooke is the author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books (click the banner on this page). He is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. And HC hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke