This Day in Death

7.28.14: NPR Journalist Margot Adler – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 1:46 am July 30, 2014

MARGOT_ADLERPfft! Speak for yourself, sign; I always pictured myself as more of a werewolf fan, mainly because all that body hair would really go a long way towards covering up a pretty unmanageable outbreak of chest acne. Plus, I bet nobody gives werewolves shit about eating pigeon meat.


Being a journalist is hard, not least of all because nobody takes my fedora with an index card labeled “PRESS” on it seriously. It’s an endless cycle of gathering information and writing it down and then changing it all because it turns out you made most of it up and your boss isn’t cool with that for whatever reason. It’s why I like doing this blog all by myself; Sometimes you just know a story’s true, and no cartoonish caricature of what I assume an editor looks like can shake that faith. Although I will admit that, after 300-plus posts, there may have been, like, maybe two or three pieces of information I possibly reported without vigorously fact-checking. Sorry about that. However, when I stated that getting a crown put on your tooth legally makes that tooth the king of your mouth… well, I’ll stand by that one til the day I die.

Oh yeah! Dying! It turns out that Margot Adler, journalist for NPR since the late 70s, has done just that. Died, I mean. See, haters? I can journalist!

Margot joined the NPR staff as a general assignment reporter in 1979. She went on to cover everything from the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic to confrontations involving the Ku Klux Klan in Greensboro, N.C., to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

I’m just gonna note here that it seems awfully suspicious that she was always around when these terrible things went down. I’m just saying. Moving on.

Margot had a long-standing interest in the occult. “Margot was not only a brilliant reporter, she was also a Wiccan priestess and a leader in the Pagan community,” Low Smith notes. “That was deeply important to her, and she wrote a seminal book about that world: Drawing Down the Moon. She also wrote a memoir called Heretic’s Heart.”

It may seem startling that someone in an industry as traditional as broadcasting would be so deeply invested in the counterculture, but keep in mind that Edward R. Murrow used to be the High Priest of the Church of Satan (alright, fine: that’s four things I haven’t looked up). I’ve also heard rumors that Sam Donaldson’s face is made of Silly Putty, but that’s not really relevant so I’m going to go back and edit that part out later if I don’t forget.

Source: NPR

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8.31.13: Sir David Frost – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:42 am September 4, 2013

DAVID_FROSTHey, guess who I never knew had been knighted: Bill Gates. Of course, it was rescinded following the release of Windows Vista, but for three glorious months that man got free luxury shampooing at any car wash in the greater Yorkshire area.


Journalist, comedian and author Sir David Frost is dead this week after suffering a heart attack while on a cruise ship, proving what I’ve always said: Shuffleboard is entirely too stimulating. All those disks sliding every which way, who wouldn’t get a bit of a contact high?

Frost is perhaps best known for his 1977 series of interviews with former President Richard Nixon, which became increasingly contentious and, on the final day of taping, actually devolved into a hand-tied knife fight, a la the “Beat It” music video. Unfortunately television stations in the UK chose not to air that part and instead opted for a marathon of British comedy series A Right Cracking Dobber. It was no What’s All This, Then?, but it had its moments.

There are plenty of talk show hosts today who are quick witted and convivial, and there are still a few who do long, serious interviews about world affairs with statesmen, not just starlets.

Mr. Frost did it all, on both sides of the ocean, and made it seem effortless.

A true talent and a sad loss. But this does, however, bump me up the list of most esteemed living journalists who also tell jokes (or at least manufacture a joke-like paste in blog form). You’re next in my sights, Stewart, Colbert, and whoever’s currently hosting Weekend Update! Wait, it’s not Bobby Moynihan, is it? I really don’t know what to do about that guy’s face anymore. Stop making me think I saw John Belushi out of my periphery, kid!


Source: The NY Times

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7.20.13: Helen Thomas – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:14 pm July 22, 2013


PEOPLE-HELENTHOMAS/Woe was the soul of anyone foolish enough to sit within a five foot radius of Helen “Chili Powder” Thomas.


Over her nearly six decade career in journalism, Helen Thomas was a leading journalistic voice in American politics, reporting on and often gaining access to the inner circle of every President since Kennedy (Carter was the grabbiest). Sadly, Thomas passed away on Friday and will not be able to cover the inevitable 2016 election of P.R.E.Z.B.O.T., our first openly gay robot president. Oh sure, the religious right are gonna have a field day, but he can’t help the way he was programmed.

Her career, however, came to an end under a cloud of controversy.

Thomas, then working for the media conglomerate Hearst as a syndicated columnist, was blasted for comments she made regarding Jewish people.

In 2010, a YouTube video surfaced showing her saying that Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine,” and that the Jewish people should go home to “Poland, Germany … and America and everywhere else.”

That’s an unfortunate way to end such a distinguished career, and I hope the criticisms didn’t darken her spirits in her last days. You really can’t let your critics get to you like that. For instance, growing up everyone told me I was emotionally distant and unlovable on a basic human level, but you’d be hard pressed to get any of the cats in my apartment to agree with that.

Source: CNN

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1.7.13: Journalist Richard Ben Cramer – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:22 pm January 9, 2013

RICHARD_BEN_CRAMERCramer begins his physical transformation in preparation of going deep undercover as a member of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.


Whenever I solemnly put on my trenchcoat and fedora it usually just means I’m planning to expose myself to single mothers on the bus again. But today I’m doing it for a less sexy reason; as a tribute to reporter Richard Ben Cramer, who died due to complications from lung cancer on Monday. I might still do the bus thing later today, though.

Before the Geraldoization of America, serious journalists like me and Richard Ben Cramer dug deep to get the hard truths about the world we live in, sitting down with those in power to ask the burning questions, like “why do you guys act like such anal prolapses about everything?” or “I didn’t do any research, can you tell me who you are?” or “have you read my blog? It’s super funny, I bet you’d like it.” You know, the kinds of things real Americans want answers to.

Perhaps the most unorthodox thing in any of Mr. Cramer’s books appears — or, more precisely, does not appear — at the end of [Cramer’s book about 1988 presidential election] “What It Takes.” The book has no index, an omission insisted upon, in a kind of gleeful malice aforethought, by Mr. Cramer himself.

“For years I watched all these Washington jerks, all these Capitol Hill, executive-branch, agency wiseguys and reporters go into, say, Trover bookstore, take a political book off the shelf, look up their names, glance at the page and put the book back,” Mr. Cramer told The New York Times in 1992. “Washington reads by index, and I wanted those people to read the damn thing.”

That’s pretty clever, but you have to be careful when messing with people’s expectations like that. When I thought I wasn’t given any credit in Diary of a Wimpy Kid I was *this close* to pipe bombing that B. Dalton’s on the spot. Just decimating everything and everyone in there. But then I saw that I was mentioned in the dedication and I just laughed and laughed. It really was your classic story of overcoming adversity. Hey! That would make a good book, too! Writing is easy!


Source: The New York Times

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6.17.12: Financial Reporter Dan Dorfman – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:21 am June 19, 2012

I even wanna give his *picture* a wedgie.


As I’ve told my increasingly-hostile student loan officer multiple times, if I understood how money works I wouldn’t have traded all of mine for these magic x-ray specs. So I can’t really comment on the career of financial columnist and professional nerdlinger Dan Dorfman, who passed away on Sunday due to a heart condition. Instead, I wonder if Forbes has a slightly dickish way to honor his work. I sure hope so, or I’ll have to rewrite that last sentence, and Daddy isn’t a big fan of that kind of effort. Also, I’m not 100% on where the ‘backspace’ key is.

If you want to see the depths to which news fact checking has fallen in the United States, be amused that the first reporter to post an article about Dan Dorfman’s passing on June 17th, incorrectly reported his age as 82. That error has been repeated at more than two dozen other publications from coast to coast.  Dan was born on October 24, 1931. By my calculations he was 80 when he died, a simple reporting  mistake he would never have made.

AWWWWWWWWWW YEAH, SON!  Financial journalists be beefin’! Joan E. Lappin isn’t shoveling any more of what AP reporter Jennifer Saba is dropping! And don’t think you’re getting off easy, editor Marguerita Choy! There’s gonna be plenty of dropped grammatical ‘bows to go around! It’s the Pound Down in Noun Town! The Brawl Fleet of Wall Street! The Fists of Rage on the Fiscal Page! Oh God this is boring. Is there anything… baller… about any of this?

…his editor at Money [Magazine], Frank Lalli, demanded that Dorfman reveal sources for some of his articles. Like the true journalist he was, think the Valerie Plame case when you read this, he refused to divulge his sources. He was canned.

Hey, Lil’ Kim basically went to jail for that. So you could say that Dorfman represented Stop Snitchin’: Wall Street. That would explain the teardrop tattoos, at least.

And that’s it. Come back tomorrow when I once again try, and almost certainly fail, to make another guy in an ugly tie seem interesting. Fuck you, my life does *SO* have meaning!


Source: Forbes

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4.7.12: Mike Wallace – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:41 am April 10, 2012

Wallace, seen here in 1965 interviewing a microphone. Viewers assumed he was insane, but three intense hours later that microphone confessed to the murder of Kitty Genovese.


Legendary 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace passed away on Saturday at the age of 93. He was eaten by a snow leopard. No, that was just a joke. You see, it’s extremely unlikely that a man of Wallace’s age and background would be in such close proximity to an animal as dangerous as a snow leopard. There simply would be no logical reason for it. And even on the off chance that he was around one, the encounter would no doubt be strictly supervised by trained professionals, dramatically decreasing the likelihood of injury during an already doubtful scenario. Therefore, the surprise registered as a result of the juxtaposition of your perception of him with the idea that he was, in fact, eaten by a snow leopard is humorous. Okay, I’ve warmed them up for you, New York Times. Take it away!

A reporter with the presence of a performer, Mr. Wallace went head to head with chiefs of state, celebrities and con artists for more than 50 years, living for when “you forget the lights, the cameras, everything else, and you’re really talking to each other,” he said in an interview with The New York Times videotaped in July 2006 and released on his death as part of the online feature “Last Word.”

Mr. Wallace created enough such moments to become a paragon of television journalism in the heyday of network news. As he grilled his subjects, he said, he walked “a fine line between sadism and intellectual curiosity.”

Hang on, he… he meant that “sadistic grilling” thing as a metaphor, right? Because otherwise we all missed a Seven-level confession there. We should get someone to ask some questions about that. Hey! How about Mike Wallace?! Oh wait. Nevermind.

Mr. Wallace invented his hard-boiled persona on a program called “Night Beat.” Television was black and white, and so was the discourse, when the show went on in 1956, weeknights at 11, on the New York affiliate of the short-lived DuMont television network.

“We had lighting that was warts-and-all close-ups,” he remembered. The camera closed in tighter and tighter on the guests. The smoke from Mr. Wallace’s cigarette swirled between him and his quarry. Sweat beaded on his subject’s brows.

“I was asking tough questions,” he said. “And I had found my bliss.” He had become Mike Wallace.

And now with Wallace gone it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to be stepping up to ask the tough questions about the real issues that affect this country, like why the hell Netflix sent me Friday After Next before sending me Next Friday. I stopped watching as soon as I realized the mistake, but by then it was halfway over and the damage was already done.


Source: The New York Times

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