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Media Savvy (Yeah, right)

Readers familiar with Pump & Circumstance in IRON MAN may recall that I’m not keen on rumors about things that allegedly occurred when I was not in the room. That goes for everything from gerbils up movie stars’ behinds to those secret meetings the judges are always holding to decide how they’re going to fix the results. It still amazes me how fast the flimsiest statements can become fact these days, courtesy of Ye Olde Internete. So when Webcast co-hosts Nancy DiNino and Chaundra Tangi stuck a microphone to my head near the end of their women’s-night-at-the-Arnold coverage and asked what was up with three-time defending Ms. International Iris Kyle’s not being announced in the top six, I was very careful.

787mpwf0838.jpgI’d been backstage in the large combination media and pump-up room watching on a monitor with a crowded contingent of press folk and interested parties when the finalists were announced. (Ironically, I was looking for Chaundra and Nancy, or I’d have been in my seat out front.) The buzz blitz was immediate, and someone who appeared to have come from the actual backstage area said Iris had been disqualified.

As (in alphabetical order) Lisa Aukland, Dayana Cadeau, Cathy LeFrancois, Yaxeni Oriquen, Betty Pariso and Brenda Raganot were posing down their hearts out above me, I finally located the ladies deep in the catacombs of the Veterans doing audio commentary on the Webcast feed with only some tech guys and computers for company. Starved for news and with time to kill while the judges were voting, they looked to the fresh blood for answers.

And so I described what we suspected, but did not know: basically that the judges may have seen something that they thought detracted from Iris’ appearance. My comments were full of “may-haves,” pointing out that I hadn’t spoken with any officials yet. With still more time to kill, Di Nino bore in (What can ya tell us, Iron Woman???), and with still more cautionaries about the reliability of said info, I mentioned the possible disqualification. Secure that I’d done due diligence, I went on with my life.

Not so fast, Grasshopper.

An hour later I was sitting in Morton’s with my girlfriend Cynthia James, a.k.a. C.J. the suitmaker, whose day backstage plying her stitch-in-time skills had been longer than mine. By now we had the score sheets and I’d talked with a couple of judges: Iris had finished seventh, out of the money, and the disqualification story was exactly that. My video wrap-up would have the correct info, and in the meantime we were two slugs into a couple of really nice glasses of wine when C.J.’s cell rang.

A text message from a friend wanted to know what was up with Iris being disqualified. No, she texted back, Iris finished seventh. Within moments the cell was alive again. No, insisted, C.J.’s friend, she was disqualified. It was reported on and by Shawn Perine at FlexOnline.

ac08_1068.jpgSo much for due diligence. Oh, well, at least I was in good company.

While C.J. was texting that the score sheet trumps whatever her friend thought he knew, I couldn’t help marveling at the human capacity to believe something just because someone said it on the Internet—and to hear only certain key words. The key words coulda, shoulda, woulda were passing through my mind as well, along with a plan for getting the correct info out there as quickly as possible.

There was more, but you get the idea. As the saying goes, lesson learned. The rumor mill at warp speed is too fast for me. Next time I’ll keep the big, fat, juicy rumors to myself.

To hear watch a replay of the Webcast, click here:

Photos (from top):

Dayana Cadeau, Lisa Aukland and Yaxeni Oriquen—“As the top six were posing down their hearts out above me.…”’s Nancy Di Nino and Chaundra Tangi. They made me dood it.

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