Dec 27, 2006

The Year in Review - Top Ten Stories about Lying, Cheating and Infidelity

A Not-So-Serious Look at the Top Ten Stories About Lying, Cheating and Infidelity - 2006

The "On the Edge of My Seat" distinction goes to Woody Allen for his movie Match Point; a riveting drama about the perils of infidelity. The entire time, the movie had me wondering how Mia Farrow ever survived Woody Allen's affair with her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn. For Woody Allen, life still must be stranger than fiction.

The "So Juvenile" distinction goes to the former Representative Mark Foley (R, not D, as was reported on Fox News) for his pervish behavior with an underage, male, congressional page (or two). The real shock of this story was not that a gay, republican congressman was hitting on an underage page, but that it caused countless cheating spouses to suffer in silence as they discovered how easily instant messages could be saved and retrieved.

The "Give Me a Break" mention goes to Pastor Ted Haggart, a leading evangelical preacher, who will be known for his famous denial of having sex with a gay, male prostitute on crystal meth. When initially accused, the Pastor Haggart, claimed that he bought meth, but "never used it." His excuse was so unbelievably lame that it brought back painful memories of President Clinton trying to recall the definition of the word "is."

The "Very Strange" distinction goes to the NYTimes for a front page article on the state of the Clinton's relationship. Care to know how many days a year the Clintons spent together last year? Or what their friends, on deep background, thought about their relationship? This article is so long, detailed, and packed full of non-information that it's impossible to read without wondering, "What in the hell am I missing?" To help fill in that gap, however, the article is peppered with anonymous reports of the former President being seen out-on-the-town, late at night, with another woman. Perhaps we are seeing a new form of reporting - Innuendo Journalism. Why say what you're trying to say, if you don't have to? Luckily, the media reaction to this article was rather negative (Media Matters and Huffington Post).

The "Farewell to Pretexting" distinction goes to Hewlett-Packard. Private investigators, hired by the company to investigate leaks to the media, used "pretexting" to obtain phone records of those under suspicion. Pretexting involves calling a company and pretending to be someone else in order to obtain a copy of their records. Pretexting was a tactic often used in infidelity investigations, but after the Hewlett-Packard scandal, Congress made pretexting a federal crime.

The "Enough!" distinction goes to the formerly alleged murder suspect O.J. Simpson, who had a book written for him called, "If, I Did It." This time around, however, the money trail led right back to Rupert Murdoch, who when caught, also tried to wash his hands clean of the mess by declaring that the project was a poor fit for his News Corp.

The "Bad Timing" mention goes to the former Governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevey, for his Confession - a book about his secret life as a gay, married politician. Unfortunately, sales of his book didn't pan out as well as his affair, which ended miserably. While Jim McGreevey was ahead of the curve when it came to getting into trouble with other men, who could have known that his book release would face such stiff competition from the Republicans (see, "So Juvenile" and "Give Me a Break")?

The "Something Is Terribly Wrong" distinction goes to John Mark Karr - known for falsely confessing to killing JonBenet Ramsey. I knew something was terribly wrong with the entire case when I discovered myself reading the details of Mr. Karr's airplane MEAL on his flight back to the US in the NYTimes. And I am quoting from the article, "he sipped champagne and drank beer and chardonnay with a meal of fried prawns." Despite the hype surrounding this media spectacle, the American public quickly sensed that Mr. Karr, while having done something unimaginably wrong at some point in his life, had little to do with JonBenet's death. It's unfortunate that the Boulder Police Department could not have done the same. Everyone would have been better off had Mr. Karr been spared his 16 minutes of fame.

The "Getting Tiresome" distinction goes to websites trying to identify spouses and lovers who have cheated in the past. Hopefully, these websites have hit their peak, providing more of a forum for revengeful ex-lovers than useful information.

The "Terrible Misfortune" distinction goes to Brooke Astor, the former grand dame of New York Society, who at age 104, had to suffer the indignity of having her son allegedly try to steal her fortune from her. To make matters worse, her son was also accused of forcing her to live in wretched, uncharitable conditions. It is sad that the formerly active, wealthy, socialite found herself the subject of many court filings and countless articles in the NYTimes - including one commenting on the condition of her urine-soiled couch. Shame to those involved and to the NYTimes for endlessly covering the sordid details of this affair. The entire incident left me wondering - is Brooke Astor to the NYTimes, what Natalie Holloway is to CNN?

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