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Do Reporters Give WWE a Bum Rap?

Few segments of popular culture get more scorn in the mainstream media than professional wrestling. From the news commentators who portray wrestling fans as idiots who don't know it's fake to the reporters who blame WWE owner Vince McMahon for tragedies like the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, it's an industry that is heavily criticized when it's noticed at all.

JIm Varsallone of the Miami Herald thinks that's unfair:

when Mr. McMahon and WWE stars and staff conduct a show for the U.S. troops in Iraq, the mainstream media is AWOL.

When WWE allows Make-A-Wish Foundation kids to rule the roost backstage or even on camera at shows, the mainstream media is following the Anna Nicole Smith debacle.

When WWE suspends wrestlers for violating the drug-related Wellness Program, the mainstream media is chasing Paris Hilton. Gimme a break.

I understand where Varsallone is coming from, but at the same time, working as the WWE's public relations firm isn't the media's job. The problem with media coverage of pro wrestling isn't that reporters don't cover the positives often enough, it's that reporters don't understand the industry well enough to put the negatives in the proper context. I don't think that's going to change any time soon, though: Don't hold your breath for a daily newspaper to assign a full-time reporter to the wrestling beat.

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