The echo effect: McMahon’s defense of WWE reverberates on cable

U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s defense Sunday of World Wrestling Entertainment and its depiction of women reverberated Monday in the media echo chamber.

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” harshly dissected comments McMahon’s made on ABC’s This Week, highlighting why candidates often go to extremes to say nothing new.

In defending WWE’s programming, including an episode where her husband, Vince McMahon, commanded a female wrestler to get on all fours and bark like a dog, McMahon offered no regrets about the wrestling company she oversaw as chief executive.

McMahon told Christiane Amanpour in an interview broadcast Sunday that she is a believer in free-speech rights and that viewers had a choice not to watch.

“To me, I think she’s got to take responsibility for that and not throw it off as a business decision,” Mika Brzezinski said Monday on Morning Joe. “It’s bad for our society and for our kids to have that crap available to them. It’s awful.”

Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman and her co-host, said he also thought McMahon erred in not expressing reservations about WWE’s programming, which is now tamer since WWE went from PG-14 to PG-rated fare.

“I guess all I’m wanting is her to say, ‘You know what? We made some mistakes. We went too far, and I’m really, really sorry for it.’ Instead of saying it was a business decision. That was the shock here,” Scarborough said.

Scarborough said he was concerned about the impact of WWE programming on young boys.

“If somebody grows up seeing men striking women, telling women to get on all fours and bark like a dog, if those images are being seen by nine-, ten- 11-, 12-, 13-year-old boys, bad things are going to happen with some of the children who don’t have guardrails, who don’t have parents there,” he said.

Democrat Richard Blumenthal and McMahon, the Republican nominee, were interviewed separately by Amanpour.

Blumenthal was asked about his Vietnam misstatements. He once against apologized to Vietnam veterans, but he broke no new ground.

Ed Patru, McMahon’s communication director, called Brzezinski, who was a television reporter in Connecticut, an old friend of Blumenthal’s.

“I think people understand what it means when commentators are determined to only listen to one side of the debate. At the end of the day, however, this election will not be determined by what a few professional pundits in New York think,” Patru said.

Meanwhile, McMahon on Monday appeared to respond to a Democratic group, Moms Opposed to McMahon, by circulating a web video of moms saying nice things about McMahon.

McMahon and Blumenthal meet Tuesday night for the third of their debates.

A one-hour debate sponsored by The Day of New London and WTNH News 8 will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. on MyTv9, a sister station of WTNH.