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What Andie did

September 14, 2010

I don’t think I would be able to do this story justice the way Rick and Amy have on All Habs, so I’ll start by posting links to their excellent work on the topic:

First, The MSM Doth Protest Too Much, Me Thinks (Rick)

Then, MSM and New Media, Next Steps (Rick)

Then: MSM Takes One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (Rick)

Finally: The MSM Sound Check: Another Perspective (Amy)

Basically what happened was, Rick posted that first piece that rightfully called out certain members of the Montreal “mainstream” or “old” media for their attitude towards bloggers and new media (which, as you all know, is generally a disdainful, disrespectful kind of attitude, with notable exceptions). In it, he singled out a few people and their actions, including Andie Bennett of the Team990‘s flagship afternoon show with Mitch Melnick, for some extremely fair criticism. That article received a lot of attention, and a bunch of responses, including one from Julie Veilleux (you guys know her as metricjulie). You can find the comment in the first link above, but what I took it to mean was that Julie was criticizing the fact that Ms. Bennett uses her twitter account to talk AT her fans and followers as opposed to talking WITH them. Julie can clarify if that’s not what she meant.

Anyway. All was quiet for a while… until one Andie Bennett decided to flip her shit. She used actual air time on the Team990 to lash out at Rick’s article and personally attack Julie. Air time on the mainstream sports radio’s “drive home” show hosted by the most (and sadly, sometimes only) respected Team990 personality, Mitch Melnick.  She first used it to “clarify” what she meant by a disrespectful comment towards bloggers (a clarification that Rick points out is full of holes), and then to claim that Julie said what she said as a way to “step on other women to get ahead.”  She also went back to Rick’s original blog post and furiously tried to argue her case in the comments, but none of us with half a brain were having any of it.

Oh, Andie.  I don’t think she realizes just what she did. She is a female trying to build a career in the biggest “Old Boys’ Club” in the world: sports broadcasting. And her reaction to fair criticisms posted in the new media set us all back about 50 years.

I have never in my life seen someone react so hysterically to a minor criticism. Never, in my entire life. All of Andie’s actions since the blog post and comment appeared are straight out of the “Sexist Man’s Guide To Why Women Shouldn’t Be In The Sports Media” handbook.

What did Mike Boone do when Rick’s article appeared? HE POSTED IT ON HABSINSIDE OUT SO THAT THOUSANDS MORE READERS COULD SEE IT. Without a single clarification or attempt at self-defense. We initially thought it was Dave Stubbs, and applauded him, and when when Stubbs clarified that it was Boone, we applauded and respected him more.

What happens when lowly bloggers like Julie and myself get comments that are actually personal attacks and not fair criticisms? We post or retweet them for the world to see. The comments do the talking for us.

But Andie? Nope. She threw a hissy fit. She defended herself on air and attacked another woman who works on the Team990 (ironically claiming said woman was the one holding other women back).  She posted angry comments on All Habs. I am willing to bet that there was a series of internal communications that we are not privy to, too. And think about it… she planned her response to the blog into Melnick’s show. She took time that could have been used to discuss something people actually wanted to hear to defend herself about something way less people would have known about if she’d kept her mouth shut. The more she went about reacting to the issue, the more dismayed I got.

All because someone said she could use her position to benefit sports broadcasting in a more productive way. I don’t know, because I am not a member of the Old Boy’s Club, but I would think that any man who doesn’t truly believe that women belong in sports journalism would point to Andie and say that kind of hysterics is typical of women.

It’s not.

And for that, I believe Ms Andie Bennett owes not just Julie, but myself and every other woman who doesn’t get nearly enough respect for our knowledge and ability to talk and write about sports, a huge apology.

So how about it, Andie? Are you woman enough?

Two things that shouldn’t really need clarification:
1. Yes I am friends with Julie, but I’m not here to take a stand for her because she’s my friend. I’m taking a stand for all of us and she just happens to be part of that.
2. Both Rick and myself have extremely respectful and very friendly relationships with many Team990 personalities, not just Julie. You know, until Andie threatens to get them fired for not hating us or something. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2010 2:05 pm

    This Andie Bennett person seems like a female version of Damien Cox.

    • September 14, 2010 2:17 pm

      Kevin,

      If you’ve ever listened to her, you’d know that isn’t true. I think she screwed up in this case, and reacted poorly when called out. It was made worse by not being contrite. It was not a great moment for her, but hey, we’re all caught off-guard at one moment or another.

      In my opinion she’s thoughtful, intelligent and well spoken. I think she’s learning from the best in the business in Montreal with Mitch Melnick, but was caught in an alien environment (twitter/blogosphere) and didn’t know how to react when the playing field was level. This incident hasn’t really changed my opinion of her, it just highlights that rules have changed, and the MSM is no longer the only game in town.

  2. September 14, 2010 2:10 pm

    I’m pretty burnt out on this topic, yet I can’t turn away.

    This case is going down in the all time vault of “how not to respond to criticism”.

    I think it’s a natural reflex of a member of the MSM to try and use their radio waves, where they are used to controlling everything, to steer an argument, or bang a gong.

    Once Andie decided to participate in the comments section of Rick’s article, it was a series of half-truths, and non-apology apologies that the media (and us fans) constantly ridicule.

    Hopefully a little bit of education took place, and that Andie, as well as others in her profession marinated in the “we talk, you listen” mindset received a bit of an adjustment.

  3. September 14, 2010 2:11 pm

    …ho…ly shit….

    *note to self; do not attempt to piss off laura or julie.

  4. HotBranch permalink
    September 14, 2010 4:23 pm

    I think this is a case of one bad apple spoiling the entire barrel. Everything I know about this kerfuffle is through blog postings; I did not hear the original broadcast or read the rebuttal comments.

    Having met Andie a few times, I know she is a dedicated and hard working reporter/producer.

    I believe that her orginal comment that was perceived as anti-blogger was probably an attempt at a joke and intended to point out that the rumor in question could have easily come from an oft-ridiculed hockey rumor blog (rhymes with “peck lund”).

    Both the blogosphere and MSM have examples of lazy reporting with little or no vetting of facts and source confirmation. Everybody wants to be the first to break a story and you see that in all facets of news (sports, politics, etc.)

    Bloggers are new to the scene and their role is probably not fully understood by more traditional media outlets. The fact that anyone can create a blog probably taints the view of the credibility. There are, however, many bloggers who have established themselves as credible sources of information and their reliability should not be tarnished by those whose posting technique closely resembles madlibs. MSM reporters use blogs to provide exclusive online content between their regularly published articles, so the crossover is there and should help validate the co-existence of both groups.

    As for the aftermath, Andie appears to have chosen poorly for her defense/rebuttal. New media is ever-evolving and it can be hard to fully comprehend its impact and the extent of its reach, not to mention the consequences of statements made in the heat of the moment.

    The internet is immediate, and that it both a blessing and a curse, because the internet does not forget. The fact that some people use their perceived anonymity to act like bullies is unacceptable, but, for the time being, it is part and parcel of the technology.

    I’m hoping that the start of Habs training camp will provide a reset and that this can become a learning experience for others as a situation where two seperate, yet equally important, groups can move forward in a cooperative manner.

  5. December 29, 2014 6:31 pm

    Gee whiz, and I thuhgot this would be hard to find out.

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