USA Today’s Christine Brennan does an elegant job of slapping some sense into all those who are whining about Lolo Jones’s treatment by the New York Times. “She brought a lot of this on herself,” says Brennan in an interview with Howard Kurtz on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
“A lot of this” refers primarily to the controversial Jeré Longman story, which had this to say about the star hurdler:
Jones has received far greater publicity than any other American track and field athlete competing in the London Games. This was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign. Essentially, Jones has decided she will be whatever anyone wants her to be — vixen, virgin, victim — to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses.
Kurtz called the piece “a trifle mean,” and the Times’s ombudsman said it was “particularly harsh, even unnecessarily so.” Brennan, who is right about this, said Longman made some “very valid points” and called it “fair commentary.”
That the Longman piece gained such a profile for edginess affirms its central point: Jones generated so much positive publicity that when someone finally came in with a few dissenting words, well, those words stuck out. Jones herself outlined the bubble in which she’s been living, as she whined to the “Today” show’s Savannah Guthrie that the Times published its piece two days before her competition and didn’t show the proper level of jingoism: “The fact that it was from a U.S. media — like, I mean, they should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes and instead they just ripped me to shreds.” If Jones is everything she’s hyped up to be, she’ll handle it just fine.