I bid you welcome gentle readers, and if the title of this effort sounds at all familiar, there is a reason for that, but first, allow me to congratulate you on having an amazing memory. The meat of the piece below was written in 2006, which was the final year of the first contract between NASCAR and the NBC network. I gave it a rerun early last year upon learning that NBC would be returning to complement the FOX coverage of the NASCAR season in 2015.
From many camps recently has been heard the refrain, “Thank goodness that FOX will be done soon. Bring on NBC.” I get that some folks may be tired of the sound of Waltrip squared coming from their TVs each Sunday, but there’s an old saying that goes something like, “Be careful what you wish for, lest you get it.” The on-air team that will be returning with NBC and its affiliate cable connection, NBCSN, will be brand new and will include familiar names such as Jeff Burton, Rick Allen, Steve Letarte and several others. The list of those not returning is bittersweet. No more will we be subjected to Bill Weber’s inanity, but gone too soon by far is the voice of Benny Parsons, who left us what seems like yesterday but was actually back in 2007. Rest in peace my friend…
What won’t be so different is that it is still NBC. Does it matter who runs the show when its overall reputation precedes it in such a manner as cannot be denied? As a down side, this scribe does not recall hearing of any grand shake-up or changes at the head of that corporation, so success on any level remains hazy at this reading… callously borrowed or stolen from a Crazy-8-Ball. Let’s all wish the new team well and welcome them with open arms, but let’s also keep in mind what you’ll read here in a minute, when my fingers finish walking on the keyboard.
At the first reprise of this tale of woe, we received a weighty amount of mail asking that it be rerun close on the time of NBC’s return to NASCAR. Always happy to oblige my readers, here it is again, complete with the intro from 2014, and nothing changed. This was an eye-opener in 2006, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t open eyes and raise eyebrows today as well.
Over the past few days, this scribe has fielded a myriad of questions and accusations regarding stereotypical portrayal of NASCAR fans as the bumbling boobs they are not. This site, Race Fans Forever, exists solely for the race fans, and I take a perverse pleasure in using the power of my vocabulary to put down those that seek to put down our race fans. What follows was actually written in 2006, but as I was conversing on something far more recent, this situation came immediately to mind, and since it was just sitting in an archive gathering dust, I decided to haul it out into the sunlight another time. Please read it carefully, and the next time you are quick to judge a situation and "assume" something on behalf of all NASCAR fans, think again. This proves there are some very nice folks in that group.
NASCAR fans are people. Just that... people. Like snowflakes, no two are the same. Such is the balance throughout nature. We are each one unto ourselves... nothing more, nothing less. We are not all fat, nor are we all thin. We are collectively neither short nor tall, sage nor stupid, young nor old, and on into infinity. We are individuals, with one thing in common... we like to go racing... and most of us like to talk about racing as well. When someone... anyone... states emphatically that we, the NASCAR fans, simply by virtue of being that, will respond in a certain way to any given circumstance, the hair on the back of my neck stands up, my adrenalin begins to surge and I'm ready to do battle. What follows is a battle won.
I bid you welcome gentle readers, but I must warn you up front that this writer is ticked off, torqued, steamed and any other synonym for good and dang mad that’s allowed on a family oriented site, and no, it’s not at NASCAR. In fact, the sanctioning body and I seem to be in complete agreement on this one.
As you might guess, I’m referring to the latest episode of “seeding” the news by the NBC network. If you’re not familiar with the tactics employed by NBC in order to make a story more gripping through chicanery and downright lies, let me relate just a couple to you.
Back in November 1992, Dateline NBC aired what purported to be a shocking exposé of GM trucks whose side mounted gas tanks were said to explode on side impact. The segment showed a couple such crashes, one of which was a 1977 Chevrolet pickup truck erupting into flames after a side impact delivered by a Chevy Citation. Dateline even went so far as to state that the demonstration was “unscientific” and was not presented as a random experiment. Well, the latter part was certainly true.
Yes, one of the pickups did burst into flames, but what Dateline failed to mention was that the truck had been outfitted with a non-standard gas cap that would pop off on impact. Furthermore, the actual sparks that then ignited the gas fumes came from toy remote control rockets strapped to the underpinnings of the truck. Armed with that knowledge, GM did a little exposing of their own the following February, and although NBC at first defended its actions, a public apology was soon forthcoming.
While there was nothing funny about exploding gas
tanks, what follows was a riot. Last October on the NBC Today Show, reporter
Michelle Kosinski was covering the flooding in
Unable to stifle his laughter, Today Show’s Matt Lauer quipped, “Are these Holy men, perhaps walking on top of the water?” “Gee, is your oar hitting the ground Michelle?” chimed in Katie Couric right before dissolving into laughter herself. That could only have been funnier if some quick-thinking person had cued up, “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” Humor proved to be a great way to rescue what was obviously just another attempt by NBC to bamboozle the viewing public. Exactly when did “media integrity” become an oxymoron?
Now we come to the latest effort made by NBC to manipulate and control what we used to call “News.” What follows is an email sent on March 27, 2006 by one Tarek El-Missidi, to be forwarded among Muslim groups.
I hope everyone is doing well.
I have been talking with a producer of the NBC Dateline show and he is in the process of filming a piece on anti-Muslim and anti-Arab discrimination in the USA. They are looking for some Muslim male candidates for their show who would be willing to go to non-Muslim gatherings and see if they attract any discriminatory comments or actions while being filmed.
They recently taped two turbaned Sikh men attending a football game in Arizona to see how people would treat them. They set them up with hidden microphones and cameras, etc.
They want to do the same thing 2 or 3 other times (in various parts of the USA) with one or two Muslim men in each setting. They are looking for men who actually "look Muslim.” They want a guy with no foreign accent whatsoever, a good thick beard, an outgoing personality, and someone willing to wear a kufi/skullcap during the filming.
They also want someone who is fairly well accomplished and has contributed to American society at large in some meaningful way.
That said, I'm urgently looking for someone who can be filmed this April 1st weekend at a Nascar [SIC] event (and other smaller events) in Virginia. NBC is willing to fly in someone and cover their weekend expenses. The filming would take place all day on Saturday and Sunday.
We already have a hijabi sister who will be filmed there but a Muslim is also needed to join her. I also need candidates for the other filming segments, which will take place in the following weeks.
A few weeks later, NBC will fly all the filmed participants to New York City to interview them as a group about their experience and thoughts on discrimination they've faced in America, especially in light of the times we live in (war on terror, 9-11, etc.). The show, if approved by NBC (highly likely), is expected to air sometime this summer.
What I need from interested candidates is an email with an attached clear photograph, a resume, and contact information. I also need basic information such as age, ethnic background, accomplishments, etc.
The sooner I can get this the better and please don't make emails too long. I will then submit a group of candidates to NBC so they can choose the people for the show.
Please forward this to all Muslim lists you can. Because of the upcoming filming in Virginia, this is pretty time-sensitive. My contact information is below.
Well, isn’t THAT refreshing? Remember fellow race fans, this same NBC network has held broadcast rights to our races for the past five years and will once again be broadcasting the second half of our NASCAR season before riding off into the sunset, making way for the return of ESPN. Over those five years, one can surmise that the executive types must not have chanced soiling their silk suits by actually attending a NASCAR race. I guess there was no need to do that; they know all about those bigoted redneck southerners that go to the races. Despite having carried the races for five years, I submit that they don’t know the race fans at all.
At any race this writer has ever attended, one thing that stands out is that there are no lines drawn among the fans, no color line, no religious line, no age line and no gender line. On the contrary, when we go to a race, we are merely race fans and “assume” that everyone else paying those exorbitant prices is as well.
The best part of this whole thing is that when NBC arrived, cameras at the ready and “Men who look Muslim” complete with heavy beards and kufis, no one accosted them, no one called them names and no one showed them any disrespect. Hey, we thought they were race fans! That reminds me of an old saying, “What if somebody threw a war and nobody came?”
When NASCAR learned of the subterfuge perpetrated on its fans by the supposedly friendly entity of NBC, the following statement was issued:
NASCAR said NBC's Dateline NBC confirmed it was sending Muslim-looking men to a race, along with a camera crew to film fans' reactions. The NBC crew was "apparently on site in Martinsville, Virginia, walked around and no one bothered them," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Wednesday.
"It is outrageous that a news organization of NBC's stature would stoop to the level of going out to create news instead of reporting news," Poston said.
"Any legitimate journalist in America should be embarrassed by this stunt. The obvious intent by NBC was to evoke reaction, and we are confident our fans won't take the bait," he said.
Good for Ramsey Poston and good for NASCAR! As a race
fan of over fifty years and a journalist hopefully seen as legitimate, I am
well beyond “embarrassed”; I am screaming, howling mad! Really though, when
one looks back at the record, NBC’s chicanery at
In a statement released Thursday, NBC defended its reporting tactics, saying, "There have been a lot of inaccurate comments" and that Dateline "had barely begun its reporting."
"Dateline is not planning a story about NASCAR," the statement said. "We are following up on a recent poll and other articles indicating an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. We are curious about whether that is true. The NASCAR race at Martinsville was a stop we have made in our research on this story.
"There is nothing new about the technique of witnessing the experience of someone who might be discriminated against in a public setting."
Let’s parse that just a bit, shall we? No, Dateline is not planning a story about NASCAR; what the “news” magazine attempted to do was concoct a story to make the NASCAR fans look biased, bigoted and downright stupid, but it didn’t work. Apparently, their stereotype of us was more than a bit off.
Next, someone should point out to NBC that the term “Muslim” denotes someone of the Islamic faith, not someone that appears to be of Arabic origins. The last I knew, all faiths, including Islam, are open to accepting converts, which would totally negate the term “Muslim-looking.” If I were to embrace Islam tomorrow, I would still look Irish; I’d still have brown hair and blue eyes and my beard would not magically commence to grow. Perhaps NBC should first determine with whom we are at war before attempting to initiate a second war, with a religion as the foe.
They go on to refer to the
In closing, I’d like give a hearty “Well
done” to all the fans at
And that was then, and this is now. Quite an interesting story, isn't it race fans? There are many times when I swell with pride just to be one of your number, and this one ranks right near the top of that list. Why would anyone have thought differently? If I'm at a track... any track... and you are sitting in the next seat, I automatically see you as another race fan, and considering the price each of us paid, the odds are that I'm correct in my assumption. Let's talk racing!
On second thought, let’s go now to our Classic Country Closeout, and this week we start with a song mentioned to me last week by a friend. Since it came from a guy named Matt McLaughlin, this one gets top billing. Here is The Man in Black, Johnny Cash, with one of his most memorable hits, “One Piece at a Time.” This one’s for you Matt!
As long as we’re on old cars, I couldn’t pass up a chance to play this one from Red Foley. Contrary to popular opinion, this rendition, not the one by Archie Shibley, was first to air and therefore the one that started the hot rod craze in the early 1950s. Here’s Red with “Hot Rod Race.”
There was an answer to that song, which was recorded by many Country and some not so Country singers. The original was written and recorded by Charlie Ryan, but it was never my favorite. The one that sold the most, hands down, was this one by Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen… No, really… that was the name of the group. Asleep at the Wheel did a creditable recording of this as well, but they somehow managed to screw up the lyrics in the very beginning, calling it a race between a Ford and a Lincoln. It was a Ford and a Mercury, and they lost me right there! Here then is Commander Cody with “Hot Rod Lincoln.”
Finally today, let’s hear from a guy that gets far too little recognition because everyone thinks he’s either Red Simpson or Dave Dudley, but he’s neither. He’s Junior Brown, and as you’ll see here, he’s pretty dang good at what he does. Here’s Junior doing his huge hit, “Highway Patrol.” Please enjoy… and watch your speed tonight going home.
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!