Nonstory with an agenda

Nonstory with an agenda

: A ludicrous nonstory with a halon-obvious agenda tucked into today’s New York Times entertainment section:

Because Linda Rondstadt “causeda revolt among some of her audience” in a Vegas casino after dedicating a song to Michael Moore, Jason Zinoman asks whether Broadway’s Avenue Q will have trouble there when it opens its exclusive Vegas run.

If dedicating a song to Mr. Moore could send fans fleeing to the exit doors there, as was widely reported, imagine what might happen when a musical in which puppets have sex onstage, sing about masturbating to Internet porn and take potshots at President Bush comes to the city without clocks.

it is doubtful that [Avenue Q] would pass muster at the Aladdin Casino, where Ms. Ronstadt’s political comments inspired angry crowds to tear down her posters and demand their money back.

First, it’s a nonstory because no one except The Times suggested that there is any parallel between a sputtering propagandist and a bunch of funny puppets.

Second, this reeks of agenda as it makes it seem as if anyone who doesn’t like Moore and his movie are obviously (a) homophobic, (b) puritanical, (c) right-wing.

What a crock o’ crap.

Linda Ronstadt can say or sing whatever she wants. Michael Moore can film whatever he wants. But the audience can also sit and listen or watch or not and leave loudly if they please.

It is insulting to the rest of America [there is a world beyond Eighth Avenue, Timesman] to lump us all into your caveman demographic if we happen to disagree with your agenda.

And it’s shameful journalism to make up such a story out of nothing and to play it in what is supposed to be a paragon of papers without the slightest excuse for news in it.

For shame, Times, for shame.

If you were a singer and this were Vegas, I’d storm out myself.

  • Angelos

    Sputtering propagandist? Wow. She liked the movie, and dedicated a song to it. Not that I give a damn about Ronstadt or Moore, but calm down.
    The funny part, of course, is that the “near riot” never happened. Some people booed, some people cheered. Check out eye-witness reports. You might find them on that interweb thingy.
    But let’s say it did. Does that say more about Linda, or about the whining ninnies that took offense?
    Are right-wingnuts really THAT afraid of anyone who disagrees with them?

  • chuck

    I’ll bet the Timesman just thought he was stating the obvious and making a funny joke. Parochial little snot for sure.
    No, we aren’t afraid. Like you, we just think the opposition are total morons.

  • William

    Keep in mind that it was the audience that was reportedly ‘rioting’ here yet Ronstadt got banned from the casino.

  • daudder

    I read an account that the song was one of her encores, and the “storming out” was the theatre emptying out.
    In any event, the whole thing is silly…

  • Chappie

    A lot of the fact seem to have dropped out of the narrative here. To add them back:
    – Ronstadt repeatedely dissed Vegas, the hotel she sang at, and it’s managers
    – Ronstadt refused to perform most of her popular works (as had been advertised), and bad-mouthed the audience for expecting her to do so
    – And finally, she preformed very poorly
    None of this exuses abusive behavior on the part of the audience. But it followed an evening of her abusive behavior of them. Frankly, I’m surprised that she lasted long enough on stage to dedicate a song to anybody at all.
    I’m NOT surprised that this story has been massaged into a dishonest morality play by the usual suspects at the Times.
    Right on, Jeff!

  • shark

    If dedicating a song to Mr. Moore could send fans fleeing to the exit doors there, as was widely reported, imagine what might happen when a musical in which puppets have sex onstage, sing about masturbating to Internet porn and take potshots at President Bush comes to the city without clocks.
    The difference is, of course that people going to see this show will probably have an idea of what to expect, and can choose to not see it. The people listening to Linda Rondstadt were subjected to an annoying political agenda they didn’t pay for.
    And Angelos, you say this: Are right-wingnuts really THAT afraid of anyone who disagrees with them? but I give you this: It’s a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I’d rather not know.”
    Who’s the hypocritical wingnut again??

  • Ryan

    This appears to be her “stump” speech
    No “riots” in San Diego but jeers vs. cheers.
    What’s truly disturbing is Michael Moore claiming that every American loves the song Desparado. (hattip: Michele at

  • Montana Wildhack

    Back in the olden days, we were taught not to discuss politics or religion in public (that is, with people you didn’t know, in order not to offend). Now, the CW is to shove your views onto everyone, friend, foe or stranger, and if they protest, whine that your First Amendment rights have been violated. Is this really progress?

  • Michael

    Whether it’s Linda Rondstadt, Doonesbury, or Howard Stern, the Right is out to silence opposing political expression, wherever and whenever it can. They do it directly or indirectly, honestly or dishonestly, blatantly or surreptitiously

  • Sydney Carton

    Take your medication. Criticism is not censorship, you moron.
    Liberals love to be victims. sheesh.

  • Wow. Do you suppose if you go up to Michael and do that “I’m crushing your head!” thing with your thumb and forefinger he’ll flinch and whine “stop it!”

  • Bob

    They paid to see and here her sing, not listen to her political stand on the war or President George W. Bush. As far as violating her right to free speech. It wasn’t free! The audience paid to hear her sing, not talk.

  • Bob

    that’s “hear her sing”

  • James Stephenson

    How is Audience members getting up and booing or leaving considered a First Amendment Right violation. All of you people saying those people had no right to do what they did are essentially doing the same thing.
    Those people had no right to voice their displeasure at what she said? They certainly did, as a matter of fact they had more right than she did. They paid their money, they were the customer, and “The Customer is always right”.
    But for some reason people think they can say anything without worrying about what happens. The French are mad because we have sort of Boycotted their products. It was nothing the Government did or said. Linda and the Dixie Chicks are mad because Americans voiced their displeasure. The Government did not. Not one left wing moonbat has been arrested for speaking out about the government.
    If that were the Case Moore would have been arrested and sent to Gitmo. This did not happen. You know why, because there has been no loss of Free Speech, sure you can not say the 7 dirty words on TV, but that was there before Bush and will be there After. Sure you can not show your tit to half of America on Broadcast TV, that was there before Bush and will be there after.
    The only cold wind I see blowing is from the Left. Where they wish to silence Americans from voicing their opinion because they do not agree with it. To me Moore can say what he wants, but he should not be saying his work is honest and truthful.

  • Mike

    The people who pay to see Avenue Q are not going to protest that it is Avenue Q.
    The people who pay to hear Linda Ronstadt sing are not going to protest if she sings.
    The people who pay to hear her sing are going to protest if she doesn’t and instead gives them a political speech. The hotel will fire her if she does not do what she is hired to do. This is surprising…why? This is a violation of her rights…how? This is an example of right-wing neanderthalism…in what way?

  • syn

    There is something wrong when an audience is forced to either accept the message or sit in silence everytime an “artist” wishes to expresses their political opinion.
    Actually Michael, from my own personal experience in the entertainment industry, it is Hollywood which behaves in a Fascistic manner. If you are an “artist” who does not toe-the-Michael-Moore-line, you are banished from working, ridiculed, harrassed, and basically shut out from any opportunity for freedom of expression.
    I mean, just how many pro-Bush statements and themes have you heard coming from Hollywood’s sitcom and movie venues lately?
    If the governement were really controlling our Right to Free Speech, Michael Moore’s movie would never have been seen. Duh!
    But go ahead and succumb to the Fascists in Hollywood, it is your right as an American.

  • Andy Freeman

    Before her concert, Ronstadt had laughingly told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she hoped that the casino performance would be her last.
    “I keep hoping that if I’m annoying enough to them, they won’t hire me back,” she was quoted as telling the newspaper.
    Remind me – how was she wronged?

  • Michael

    Andrea Harris:
    “Do you suppose if you go up to Michael and do that “I’m crushing your head!” thing with your thumb and forefinger he’ll flinch and whine “stop it!””
    That would be the biggest mistake of your life.

  • Mike

    “The biggest mistake of your life.”
    Geez, Michael, get a grip. It was a snarky little comment, not a mailed fist to the snot-locker. Quit taking yourself so darn seriously because I, at least, certainly can’t.

  • Ethan
  • Mike

    Ethan: The short answer is no.
    The long answer is that Disney had told Mr. Moore many months previous to his movie’s release that they would not be distributing it. Mr. Moore had arranged for distribution before he pulled his publicity stunt. It was well-timed to raise the movie’s profile before the crowd it was aimed at.
    Ms. Ronstadt has many venues in which to get her speech out: paid advertising, letter-to-the-editor, press release, weblog. Using her concert as the venue was inappropriate. She was paid to sing, not give a speech.
    You apparently are of the belief that Disney should be forced to endorse a message that they do not approve of. I do not know why you think that, sir, but that sounds a little bit dictatorial to me. Disney has the right to speak or not speak, same as Mr. Moore. I do not see why his right to speak somehow takes precedence over Disney’s right not to. There was no contract signed for Disney to distribute the film. There is no way to force it to do so.
    By the way, censorship, in terms of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, applies only to government action.* It does not apply to private action. You cannot ring the bell for the Salvation Army on private property without getting permission, and you cannot force the property owner to let you. You can ring it on public property (subject to permits to make sure that you are not a scam artist) and the government cannot prevent you..
    No one has been censored here, in fact with the press coverage these people have had their message spread even wider than it normally would have. No, our problem is not censorship; our problem is these people won’t ever put a sock in it!
    *I am not addressing reasonable time and place and manner restrictions – obviously there is no right to protest on an Army base and you can’t use mega loudspeakers in a residential area at 1:00 a.m.

  • Jack Tanner

    ‘Whether it’s Linda Rondstadt, Doonesbury, or Howard Stern, the Right is out to silence opposing political expression, wherever and whenever it can.’
    As if. I guess the entertainment manager saying you’re fired, get lost was really an RNC operative. The thing about all the people you mention is that they are in the entertainment market and people are free to cheer, boo or tell them to go screw. Like they say in the movie ‘It’s called show BUSINESS’ and if your audience objects then your employers may react.

  • Michael

    Jack Tanner:
    Good point, I agree that audiences are and should be free to reject the performance or comments of an entertainer for any or no reason.
    In fact, I would expand that statement to: people are and should be free to reject the assertions, proposals and comments of any person for any or no reason.

  • I wonder what Michael thought I was suggesting. (I take it he’s never seen any Kids in the Hall episodes.)
    Well, I’ll help. Example One. Example Two.

  • Mike

    I guess Jack and Michael are beyond reason. They both “know” the right is out to silence opinions.
    No facts presented, no reasons, no logic, no structured argument. Just an a priori statement. Well, I’m done. You can jabber all you want guys, but until you have something constructive to say, you’re dismissed.
    Andrea: Michael wouldn’t understand. Humor is lost amongst the perpetually outraged.

  • Michael

    Andrea Harris:
    “I wonder what Michael thought I was suggesting. (I take it he’s never seen any Kids in the Hall episodes.)”
    I was wrong. I apologize for taking offense to your post and posting a completely inappropriate and truly offensive remark (under any circumstances). I hope you will forgive me.
    And you’re right, I never seen Kids in the Hall. Never heard of it in fact. I don’t watch any television at all. (I actually have three children between the ages of 6 and 14 who we home school and they have never watch TV either).

  • James Stephenson

    So basically Ethan, if you had an employeee spouting KKK slogans and propaganda you would not fire this person?
    What is the difference? That employee is just using her first amendment rights. And in the process running off Customers. You do know what customers are right? They purchase a product. In this case they purchase some singing, it is still a product. But when they got something else, they complained. The manager saw customers upset at his product. So he took steps. The right steps. The Customer is always right.
    What Linda did was get fired for spouting something her customers did not want to hear. Our Employee would get fired if she were to start spouting Propaganda from the KKK right? Or would you as a manager let her speak her mind?
    Answer me Ethan. Answer me truly. It is ok, everyone here knows I got ya.

  • Ethan

    Dearest James,
    Wow, are you ever angry for no reason.
    First of all, yes. I would fire that employee. For spouting off KKK crap? No. I would fire them for harassing customer like a good boss should.
    Secondly, I don’t think I made my point very well (as judged by the responses). I was only trying to point out that this has nothing to do with the audience reaction. Yes, they are fully entitled to walk out. As far as the hotel is concerned, they ended up giving her the opposite of what they wanted. They helped get her message out. The point I was TRYING to make (and Mike, I think we are actually on the same side on this) is that she did not lose her freedom of speech because she was fired. She has pleanty of places she can get the word out. Just like your Klan example. If I fired him, he can still spout off somewhere else.
    And lastly, those customers paid to see her performance. Her speech was part of that performance. If it were a speech for the opposite side, you would have different people walking out complaining, but they all paid to see the same show. You can’t please all of the people all of the time.
    Now, Mike…
    What I was trying to say about Disney was that when they attempted to hold on to that film so it didn’t get out, that was an attempt to censor MM. They did not want to have a negative film put out about the brother of the man who gives them massive tax breaks in FLA. Do they have to preach his (MM’s) message to the world if they don’t agree? No. Should they have just let him take it somewhere else without making a HUGE deal of it? Yes. This only added to his publicity, as you said. It was their holding of the film, and not allowing him to take it elsewhere (which is the way it was originally reported) that I call an attempt to censor him.
    You guys are very quick to jump on someone without clearification first. Re-read my above comments now, and see if it makes more sense. I think we are actually on the same side on this issue.

  • Ethan, I’m sorry, but that’s not exactly how it went down. Miramax, in conjunction with Moore’s own shingle, produced “Fahrenheit.” Miramax is partly owned by Disney, which ordinarily (though not always) distributes their films. Disney told Miramax and Moore about a year ago that, okay, you can produce Fahrenheit, but we won’t distribute it. It was disingenuous at the very least for Moore to imply in the kerfuffle leading up to his film’s release that Disney had yanked distribution at the last minute after seeing the film. It was also misleading in the extreme for Moore to claim that he was having a hard time looking for a distributor for his film. He had Miramax waiting in the wings all along, which has a special expertise in putting together independent distribution deals. They waited an appropriate period of time for the manufactured “controversy” to reach its peak, then they announced, lo and behold, we’ve got a distribution deal. And look who put it together? Miramax.
    What I don’t get is why are leftists always so ready to believe in the most cynical and elaborate conspiratorial machinations by conservatives and corporations, but when it comes to one of their own pet multi-millionaires, suddenly they become as naive and accepting as newborn pups?
    Disney is perfectly within its rights to decide to distribute this or that film. They nix distribution for movies all the time. Sometimes it’s for reasons as frivolous as the lead actress won’t sleep with the studio exec. What do leftists propose doing about this — form a government commission that would look over the shoulders of movie studios, deciding which movies they must distribute and what they can’t? We’ve seen that before; it’s called the (former, thankfully) Soviet Union.
    As Mike so astutely points out, censorship by definition can only be conducted by a governmental entity. This cannot be emphasized enough. There is a world of difference between an individual or company deciding, for whatever reason, not to do business with this or that individual or product, which the purveyor is free to take elsewhere, and the Gestapo or KGB throwing you in prison or shooting you for saying something the government doesn’t like.