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Pow! My Twitter Feed Takes a Pounding from Fans of Ginger Zee
July 11, 2018  | By Ed Bark  | 2 comments
 

A full-blown “Twitterstorm” wasn’t in my Sunday night forecast when I made an opening observation about History channel’s three-hour Evel Live

Here it is verbatim: “ABC chief meteorologist Ginger Zee is official forecaster for History net’s #EvelLive. And that’s the way it is in a world where news/entertainment again are one/same. Oh well, Cronk once hosted CBS Morning News with a lion puppet named Charlemagne.”

The point -- or so I thought -- was that this blurring has been going on for a long, long time. And that even the sainted Walter Cronkite played a role in it before later becoming the gold standard of television news journalism. Namely, “The Most Trusted Man in America.”

Zee then responded: “I’m a meteorologist…what seems to be the problem? I didn’t study television or broadcasting -- only meteorology. I’m more than qualified.”

Yes, she is. (Zee & host Matt Iseman, above, from Sunday night’s 3-hour Evel Live on the History channel. Photo: Getty Images). But many of the hundred upon hundreds of responders -- we’ll get to them in just a bit -- somehow thought I had either called Zee a puppet or compared her to one.

“Wasn’t at all questioning your qualifications,” I tweeted back to her. “Just your judgment in being part of this circus. Nothing more than that.”

Zee then replied, “Ohhhhh that was unclear… the puppet comparison really threw me off…”

Here’s one last explanatory tweet from @unclebarkycom to @Ginger_Zee: “Just noting that lines between news & entertainment remain ever-blurred. And that even the iconic journalist Cronkite once worked with a puppet on a morning network news program. That was the point. Nothing to do with your abilities or gender, even if some want to make it that.”

Many wanted to make it that -- and in no uncertain terms. Here’s a sampling from the overwhelming number of tweeters who took offense after taking their cue from Zee’s first response. All are posted exactly as they appeared, with no grammatical or spelling corrections. And we’ll leave Dawn Ennis (@lifeafterdawn) until last because she’s in a league of her own in terms of both volume and umbrage. 

Brandon J. Napier (@bnapier92) : “It is ok Ginger. Ed obviously has a problem with women being in a position of power. Kinda like a puxxy grabber (not sure if he intentionally substituted x for s) in a certain house that is white. Don’t let people like him get to you. Your a great woman, meteorologist and most of all a great mom.”

Ken (@KenStonebox): “The future seems to have left Uncle in the past.”

Stephanie Johnstone (@turnbuckle112): “I would just block Aholes. They don’t deserve a response.”

Richard J Lane (@RickBDLane): “Ignore the misogynist. You are quite definitely a knowledgeable science weather reporter.”

Al Pometto (@AlbertPom): “Hey Ed, find something better to do with your time. You are a loser trying to compete with a winner. Ginger has more class in her pinky than you have in your entire body. You picked the wrong person this time jerky.”

Lynn (@Areukidding1011): “don’t let this empty Loud wagon bother you..”

Bryan McLeod (@BryanTMcLeod): “Talk about sexist.” And also: “I think you’ve gone nuts.”

Terry Pearson (@Pearsontlee): “How do you become a T.V. Critic; from the couch?”

Bob Whitney (@BobBlwjr123): “I am constantly amazed at the people who trash you because you are an attractive woman. Most could not pass a basic weather test.”

Diorah Gonzales (@DiorahGonzales): “And this is how our world is today - Competent and beautiful women who know their stuff. Get with it @unclebarkycom.

Heidi (@Heidiv40): “it seems that @unclebarkycom is a sad, bitter little man that is jealous of you! Thnk God @ginzerzee is always #happy #cheery & is a regular person that does not deserve the negative comments from the keyboard bullies on the internet. We all widh we could be Ginger!”

Paula Farmer (@paulafarmer13): “You are such a jersey to say such things about @Ginger_Zee. She is a very intelligent woman, let alone a smart Meteorologist. She most definitely is not a puppet. Women can be SCIENTISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Karen C Robert (@SchrantzKaren): ‘Ed is a jerk, bottom line.”  

ryan c (@rpcseed): “@unclebarkycom what a dirt ball grow up slime ball @Ginger_Zee is the best around.”

Cindy Huard (@ADGKKCsNana): “She was there to offer information as to weather factoring in the jumps. She did that job, and did it well. That she’s fun and beautiful is a plus for most people. Maybe you didn’t ‘mean to offend,’ but dude! That’s exactly how it came across! You. Owe. Ginger. An. Apology!” And also: “Go back under your rock, dude. You won’t be missed by many, I’d wager…” 

Patricia Martinez (@triciaonkiss): “I’m not sure how you see a ‘blurred line’ concerning a woman who has the qualifications for her position. Your insistence that you meant nothing by it is disingenuous at best, and cowardly at worst. I don’t see you questioning Al Roker’s tv appearances.”

Nicole Linsalata (@nlinsalataon7): “Since you are a writer, you should recognize that the majority of readers did not take your comment as you meant it. Therefore- your writing fell short. Own it.”

Stanley Knox (@StanleyKnox73) -- “If this many people are reading this much into your tweet, maybe you didn’t communicate your point well? Maybe some night classes on communication at the local community college would help?”

Patrick Foulks (@pfoulks): “Blurring news and entertainment? No! Really? C’mon guy that has been going on for a long time. No reason to take a cheap shot at the lovely and talented @Ginger_Zee CNN, Fox News and MSNBC do this 24/7 and all the major networks do too. Sorry that kids are stepping on your lawn.”

Guss57 (@Guss5757): “Ignore the hate! He’s just jealous!”  

Ms. Mellow (@mellowlife): “Geez how old are you unclebarky.”

A relative handful of tweeters dared to go against the tidal wave. They included:

Matt Anthony (@Mattant12): “You mentioned her impressive credentials -- chief meteorologist -- , and didn’t even mention she’s a woman. Then you compared her to someone who made the same kind of judgment call. If anyone should be offended, and no one should, it should be puppeteers.”

Jeanne Brady (@jbrady1972): “Wow this got way out of hand..I did not read your comment the way most of the people here took it..that is quite a stretch.”

Neil Gow (@Lord_Gow): “No one needs to come to his defense as he has nothing to apologize for. Maybe set aside the perpetually offended hostility for a moment & actually peruse the entire thread?” 

Kevin Jerpi (@KevinJerpi): “WTF is wrong with people. I read it as ed saying the line between news and entertainment is getting blurred. People need to grow up.”

Christy Morris (@kenpaymom): “I got it the first time. I continue to enjoy your writing, tweets, and critiques.” 

Ann Barber (@AnnBarb60317122): “I think we all may be getting a little too sensitive. I got the point and I am always for Ginger. I do believe he was joking. Come on people. Ginger is a big girl. She can handle herself.”

And now, as promised, the big finish. Dawn Ennis (@lifeafterdawn) did not mince words, nor spare them. She posted at least 40 tweets in support of Ginger Zee and in opposition to yours truly while also drawing many more times that number of retweets and “likes.” We went back and forth a lot -- and probably way too much. But in no uncertain terms, here’s her side -- and just a wee bit of mine.

“Still no apology, Ed?” she began. “What’s your degree in? Misogyny? @Ginger_Zee has the CV and the smarts as well as balancing life, work and motherhood to put you to shame. Let’s see you own your mistake with a mea culpa.”

I told her what I meant by my original tweet. This did not go over well.

“I saw,” Ennis replied. “I also saw not one person come to your defense… other than you. You compared a woman with a meteorology degree to a man with a puppet. I’m old enough to have seen & met that man. You do yourself a disservice in not apologizing. It costs you nothing. Walter would have.”

Well, I’ve also met Cronkite and interviewed him a number of times. He always lamented that his stint with the lion puppet Charlemagne basically defined his short time as anchor of CBS News’ first morning show.

Ennis fired back: “Sigh…You can read, right? I said you compared her to a man with a puppet. I wrote & produced 30+ years in broadcast news, Ed. I’m familiar with your point. Are you familiar with misogyny? Look: I’ll write it for you: ‘Ginger, sorry that my tweet was offensive.’ Cuz it was.”

I still feel no need to apologize, although Ennis is insistent about this: “C’mon, Ed. Please just say it: “Ginger Zee, I’m sorry for my offensive tweet.” She added a hashtag -- #ApologizeUncleBarky.

But let’s move on to her “misogyny” label. Ennis tweeted that she never directly said that: “I asked if your degree is in misogyny. I asked if you realized your tweet was misogynistic. There is a difference between a misogynist and someone who does or says those things. You don’t know who I am, either. What matters is: owning our mistakes. If you took offense, I apologize.” And a kicker: “See how easy that is?”

Ennis eventually signed off for the night, tweeting, “You ‘win.’ I resign.” She accompanied this with a billboard reading: “Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

But on Monday morning, she was back, urging me to “consider being kind, instead of right.”

Many more tweets followed, prompting me to assure her that she’d be prominently featured in my subsequent blog post. Ennis initially seemed to take offense: “I asked you to apologize and instead you threaten me with your blogpost,” she tweeted.

So I said I wouldn’t include her for fear of threatening her -- followed by a promise to keep her anonymous if her tweets were posted. This didn’t sit well either.

“Or are you afraid?” she asked. “Is that it? Here’s the thing: If you do try to mask my identity, ALL of your 8k followers will know the truth. That you choose to conceal my identity out of fear. It’s your call, Ed. Being public means accepting criticism. Critics are not immune.”

She then upped the ante.

“Wow, you really are a piece of work,” Ennis tweeted. “I can’t dictate to you what you put in your blog and you know this. So I’ll say it clearly and publicly: i’m ‘insisting’ you use my name and/or Twitter handle in your blogpost if you include my comments. That’s not a threat. Stop playing games.”

OK, I think we’ve reached our end game on this. I know this won’t satisfy everyone, but I’ve tried to give a fair representation of what happened Sunday night on my Twitter thread. For me it was totally unexpected. Even in these highly polarized times, I just didn’t see it coming. But it came -- like a freight train. And as of this writing, it still hasn’t stopped.

Read more at unclebarky.com (Ed Bark's original story, here.)
 
 
 
 
 
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2 Comments
 
 
Moriah
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Jul 13, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Neil
In the same decade - the Fifties - that Walter and Charlemagne did their act on the CBS Morning News, the sainted Edward R. Murrow hosted *two* prime time programs on that same CBS network: See It Now, a TV documentary series (and its radio predecessor, Hear It Now), and Person To Person, one of the first celebrity interview shows. Ed interviewed such newsmakers as Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy (and wife Jacqueline) and Fidel Castro (pre-revolution), and celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. Murrow was in a studio in an overstuffed chair, while the interviewee and the CBS cameras were in the interviewee's home. Another example was the 1950's CBS network prime-time game show What's My Line, hosted by ABC's primary news anchorman, John Charles Daly. So the blending of news and entertainment predates Walter, and has existed for as long as the medium has. Maybe if the angry, throbbing Twitter masses knew their history, they wouldn't be so quick to misread Ed.
Jul 11, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
 
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