It’s Good To Live In A Two-Times Co. Town (Andy Rooney Edition)

From our Before They Made Him They Broke the Mold desk (apologies to S.J. Perelman):

Kissin’ cousins New York Times and Boston Globe staged a compare-and -contrastapalooza with their respective obituaries of CBS News icon Andy Rooney.

The Globe glowbit here.

The Times version here, with the (o)bits the Globe left out:

Mr. Rooney’s opinions sometimes landed him in trouble. In 1990, CBS News suspended him without pay in response to complaints that he had made remarks offensive to black and gay people.

The trigger was a December 1989 special, “A Year With Andy Rooney,” in which he said: “There was some recognition in 1989 of the fact that many of the ills which kill us are self-induced. Too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes. They’re all known to lead quite often to premature death.” He later apologized for the statement.

But the gay newspaper The Advocate subsequently quoted him as saying in an interview: “I’ve believed all along that most people are born with equal intelligence, but blacks have watered down their genes because the less intelligent ones are the ones that have the most children. They drop out of school early, do drugs and get pregnant.”

Mr. Rooney denied that he had made such a statement, and because the interview had apparently not been taped, the reporter was unable to prove that he had. “It is a know-nothing statement, which I abhor,” Mr. Rooney said.

He said that he had accepted the suspension rather than end his relationship with CBS News. He said that when he was an Army trainee, he had been arrested in the South because he insisted on riding in the back of a bus with some black soldiers who were friends of his.

Many of his colleagues rushed to his defense. “I know he is not a racist,” Walter Cronkite said.

Mr. Rooney was suspended for three months but was brought back after only one. During his absence, the ratings for “60 Minutes” declined by 20 percent and the network received thousands of letters and telephone calls from viewers who missed his commentaries.

Mr. Rooney generated more criticism in 2002, when he said in an interview on a cable sports show that women had “no business” being sideline television reporters at football games because they did not understand football.

He did it again in 2007, with a newspaper column complaining about the current state of baseball. “I know all about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but today’s baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me,” he wrote.

He subsequently acknowledged that he “probably shouldn’t have said it,” but denied that his intent had been to denigrate Latin American players.

Full disclosure: I very happily worked with Andy Rooney’s daughter Emily on WGBH’s Greater Boston for 11 years in a variety of roles – reporter, managing editor, executive producer, and correspondent for Beat the Press. During that time I encountered Andy on a number of occasions, in each of which he was unfailingly gracious, generous, and self-deprecating.

Based on that experience, I believe he would have endorsed the Times obit over the Globe’s.

Just a guess.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s