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Mainstream Media Still a Bit Slow Crediting Some Online Sites

Keith Olbermann did a feature on his MSNBC show tonight about the controversy surrounding Captain America #602. If you don’t know the controversy, the issue featured some protesters carrying signs with “Tea Party” slogans on them. Marvel says that they did not intend for the protesters to be identifiable one way or the other, but rather to be just generic protesters. However, during a deadline crunch, a couple of the signs were still blank so the letterer on the title just quickly looked up some sign references and added in some slogans, including one identifiably “Tea Party” slogan. Marvel apologized and says that the signs will not have the slogans in any future reprintings of the issue, such as any trade collections.

And in a very cool thing for Comic Book Resources, Olbermann quoted CBR’s interview with Joe Quesada (which you can find right here) about the incident.

Only problem is, Olbermann did not cite CBR as the source of the quote!

Pretty messed up, huh?

It really seems that quite often, certain online sites (basically anything not insanely big, like cnn.com, espn.com, tmz.com, etc.) get short shrift when it comes to citing them as sources for information. Blogs especially tend to get ignored – like the recent situation where The Comic’s Comic broke the story of Saturday Night Live letting some cast members go and adding some new cast members, and in their article on the subject, the New York Times cited Variety, which was using The Comic’s Comic as its source!!

39 Comments

The worst part is that the interview with Olberman’s “comic book expert” (which I still want to see) got cut short by the speech by Clinton’s doctor, or whomever.

No way in hell is the New York Times going to announce The Comic’s Comic as a source. People know Variety.
Same bullshit applies to MSNBC. Of course the channel is pretty freakin’ dubious anyway, so I’d almost take it as a blessing that they didn’t mention CBR. (Just trying to look at the bright side. :-) )

Can I get really, really angry about this in a day or so? Quesada’s reaction to it is pissing me off on so many levels.

This doesn’t just happen in comics, however. I remember a few years ago when Colin Cowherd stole a comedy bit from a sports blog. It had come to him through an e-mail that didn’t source it, but he still used it. When people pointed out that he stole it, he got all snotty and basically called sports bloggers a bunch of nerds. He later recanted because ESPN got on him a bit. I think the “traditional” media – whether it’s Olbermann or sports radio – still thinks of anything on-line that’s not run by a major media conglomeration as a group of slackers in their mothers’ basements, no matter what the subject is.

@Van GoghX Actually, the NY Times did cite CBR properly in an article they ran yesterday.

This may LITERALLY be the dumbest comics controversy of the last ten years.

The main stream media still seems to view the internet as a passing fad, so I’m not overly surprised by this.

What bothers me more is that Marvel is going to eliminate those signs from future reprintings. Why? Since when can something like a comic book not have a political opinion? If the crowd was filled with radically left signs I can guarantee it wouldn’t have made the news, and it would stay in future printings. It’s ridiculous that a group that is largely white, middle class and Christian can act like they’re some sort of oppressed minority despite being the definition of the majority (and in the sake of full disclosure, I meet all of those criteria, too.) Grow some balls, Marvel. It was in your comic, leave it in there. And if in the future some writer comes up with a story where environmentalists or some other left-leaning group is the bad guy, leave that, too. It’s just a comic book. It’s fiction.

Sorry, end of rant.

Marvel isn’t saying people can’t have a political opinion, they’re saying that they did not mean to present the protesters in the comic as Tea Party members, and it was only an accident by a letterer that identified them as such. So Marvel is just fixing the mistake, the same way DC, for instance, will fix the revered panel from Batman and Robin #7 when that issue is reprinted.

Ok, not quite the end of my rant. Does Marvel really think that the tea-partiers are a big part of their customer base? Do they honestly stand to lose any business at all by pissing them off? If you ask me, this falls under the “No publicity is bad publicity” rule. Way more people are now aware of this comic, and sales will almost certainly go up. If you can drum up controversy (and therefore, publicity) by pissing off a group that wasn’t buying your product anyway, then why not do it? From a business standpoint this decision doesn’t make sense to me, either.

Okay, for real the end of my rant.

In response to Brian: Do you really believe Marvel’s explanation? Because to me it seems like an excuse to cover up for something they didn’t expect to be such a big deal. The Watchdogs are basically a hardcore right-wing group. Being associated with the tea-partiers isn’t a stretch. If it was a lettering mistake, that’s one thing. I see it more as Marvel trying to appease the tea-partiers after realizing how publicly they were being attacked.

I’ve always considered it interesting that mainstream comics strive so hard to steer clear of topics involving specific religious or political groups in the real world. Though they will tackle issues that are inherent parts of the groups without using the specific labels so as to not openly appear to be using their medium as a soapbox. Much like good science fiction in that respect.

I’m glad that NY Times cited CBR as a source, but MSNBC I could give a rats ass about…. but I understand that’s not the point that was trying to be made. Stating my personal preference there.

In response to Brian: Do you really believe Marvel’s explanation? Because to me it seems like an excuse to cover up for something they didn’t expect to be such a big deal. The Watchdogs are basically a hardcore right-wing group. Being associated with the tea-partiers isn’t a stretch. If it was a lettering mistake, that’s one thing. I see it more as Marvel trying to appease the tea-partiers after realizing how publicly they were being attacked.

Yes, I believe them.

Sorry for us Non-Americans or non-Yanks:) can someone explain the “Tea Party” issue?

All Im aware of is the famous Boston one of course

They are anti-tax protesters, who fancy themselves as following in the footsteps of the original American revolutionaries who protested taxation without representation. Their two main positions that they are protesting are being taxed to pay for the recent Government stimulus package and the possibility of a Health Care bill requiring them to support Universal Health Care with their taxes.

There’s also a strong streak in them about the need to “take our country back” — most of them buy the nonsense that Obama was secretly born in Kenya or Indonesia, and scarcely a week goes by without some sort of release or mailing that “inadvertently” has racial overtones — such as the email circulated by a Florida doctor who is very high in Tea Party circles titled “ObamaCare” — with the “O” replaced by a hammer and sickle and the President depicted as a witch doctor with a bone in his nose.

Sam Wilson was being polite when he told Bucky there was no way way he could melt into that crowd.

And, no, I don’t buy Marvel’s explanation — and they need to re-grow a pair, it seems. This is a company that had Richard Nixon as the Big Bad in a Cap arc at one time. No one ever fudged an apology for Steve Englehart. Showing a part of America where Sam Wilson would not feel welcome is part of what used to make Marvel different –and Joe Quesada wouldn’t be too welcome in that crowd, either.

It amuses me that Brubaker was so right on target. :) I can totally see the Watchdogs using the Tea Party as pawns. Apparently it has touched a nerve, with the rumours floating around (in the real world) that the Tea Party isn’t the grassroots independent spontaneous movement they claim to be. Anyone is buying that? Seems pretty obvious to me that corporations or right-wing politicians sympathetic to their tax-breaks-for-the-rich cause may have something to do with it, and it was pretty savvy of Marvel to reflect that in a story. A pity Quesada is now bending over backwards to apologize for it.

“They are anti-tax protesters, who fancy themselves as following in the footsteps of the original American revolutionaries who protested taxation without representation. Their two main positions that they are protesting are being taxed to pay for the recent Government stimulus package and the possibility of a Health Care bill requiring them to support Universal Health Care with their taxes.”

That’s a nice summation of their talking points, Brian, but it is as close to reality as unstable molecules.

While this may be their stated purpose, one only has to look at any of their street protests, or listen to any of their speakers, to see that even the zaniest of Marvel’s writers and artists couldn’t make up anything as ludicrous as they come up with on their own. The movement has become a collection of idiots and assholes.

These are people who demand that “the government keep its hands off their Medicare!” These are people who bring assault rifles to presidential speeches. These people believe that Obama is somehow simultaneously a Muslim, an Atheist, A Socialist, a Nazi, and a Communist. They believe that he wants to set up “death panels” to kill your grandparents. That he is part of a decades-old secret plan to destroy America from within. They believe that Sarah Palin quitting her job proves that she is not a quitter. They think Glenn Beck is an historian. They think that calling for secession after one year of a President they don’t like proves that they are “real, patriotic Americans.”

Marvel should not have apologized. They should have laughed in their faces.

I never expected the mainstream media to give credit the a comic book website. It would give the site validity and open up the idea that comic book readers can have a healthy political debate.

1.I find all the Frontline/Embedded series to be poorly written in the way it over simplifies those who aren’t in love with Democrats or those that don’t hate Republicans.
It’s been a year since I’ve read Captain America but I never felt like it was out to make conservatives the bad guys so I accept Quesada’s explanation.
And yes I have seen many signs and heard some protesters at various “conservative” rallies that I have found to be ignorant. Just as I saw many signs and heard some protesters at various “liberal” rallies that I also found ignorant.
2. Sean, after review I agree u are right about which group he was refering, but it’s the juxtoposition of his statement and the image of the protesters that seems to blur the line, IMO.

Reading more about the issue I remember reading the page where Bucky(truck diver) throws out tax collector(Sam) while calling him Obama. Implying that right-wingers are racist.
IMO very few writers can portray characters whose politics they do not share.
Exceptions include Robert A Wilson and Frank Miller(who should work on more political satire).
who said anything about censorship? Just stating opinion. Freedom of speech, me, u, the tea party, and marvel comic all have it.
3. I watched the tea party on C-SPAN over the summer and saw all kinds of people, white, black, latino, men, women, old, and young.
4.I’m not bothered that the protesters could be viewed as the tea party or the sign. For me it’s the repeated portrayal of conservatives as racist and hate-mongers(not the clone of Hitler).

I’d hate to see a Captain America comic where a) war protesters were portrayed as anarchist terrorist b) homosexuals portrayed as pedophiles, c) Pro-choice/abortion rights advocates(the definition is about perception) portrayed as genocidal child murders, d) black folks portrayed as inferior to white folks.
Of course I’m the person who didn’t find WhiteWash Jones to be a racist portrayal.
“if some political view bled into the comic book, then what can we do? ” Well we can voice our opinion. I just wish characters would be written a little smarter when it comes to their motivations.(M.O.D.O.K., Superboy Prime, Bruto, etc excluded).
5. well on the page that I have read Sam does make the statement “so I guess the whole ‘hate the government vibe’ around here isn’t limited to the Watchdogs”, now I may be stretching but in a way he(Sam) is comparing the protesters to the Watchdogs.

And again there is the juxtipostion of “I don’t exactly see a black man from Harlem fitting in with a bunch of angry white folks” and the image of the protesters.

Subtext and context.

It can’t be pretended that the possibility of a connection between the Watchdogs and Tea Party isn’t presented here.
Throw in Civil War as a obvious allegory to the War on Terror,
WWHulk as a obvious allegory to Hurricane Katrina,
Todd Keller(compared to a Fire Giant in Siege Embedded #2) aka Glenn Beck supporting Osborn,
and American citizen who didn’t vote for Obama supporting a nuclear strike against Asgard, despite the obvious damage that would be inflicted on US soil(once again in Embedded #2) .
Of course this is insulting to those who don’t wear Fox news or MSNBC blinders.

Like Micheal Jordan once said “Republicans buy shoes, too.” So do people who didn’t vote for Obama or don’t agree with his polices.
This isn’t just a writer telling a story, it’s a company making a business decision to supporting a particular side in a political argument(s), showcased in high profile comic book titles.
6. Topjack
you appear to lack the knowledge that I( and I expect many in the tea party) don’t agree with or support Sarah Palin. Or the fact that many in the grassroots of the movement did not support this weekends national meeting.
I’m also agnostic but don’t feel the need to bash someone for being a christian.
7. As for the Tea Party movement(for which I am not a part of) and finding something nice to say about a “tea bagger”, well I’ve heard things that I agree on as far a fiscal policy and opposition to what I believe are the socialist policies of the Obama administration. I doubt I agree with everything the grassroots and national platforms represent.
I find it funny how mad some of u are getting. But the funniest is when u result to name calling and personal insults when your arguments fail to hold weight.

Not everyone who is in a tea party protest or who agrees with some of their ideas are crazy, insane, or stupid.
They are no different then the people in Code PInk.

sorry I meant to say most of this was reposted from earlier debate.

They are anti-tax protesters, who fancy themselves as following in the footsteps of the original American revolutionaries who protested taxation without representation. Their two main positions that they are protesting are being taxed to pay for the recent Government stimulus package and the possibility of a Health Care bill requiring them to support Universal Health Care with their taxes.

Brian, thank u for being fair,, i’ll try to limit my comments from here on out, it’s just many of these post are the same I read in http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2010/02/quesada-responds-as-captain-americas-tea-party-controversy-gains-steam/ and I just want to get the other position out there. As clear as I can anyway, which I realize isn’t that clear.

Even without the sign making it explicit, I thought it was obvious from the context of the issue that Brubaker meant for the protesters to be “Tea Party” types. Has there been any comment on this from Brubaker, or is the only thing out there right now Quesada’s spin?

As a comics nerd, I’m more interested in the fact that the plot in Cap #602 is nearly identical to the plot in the first appearance of the Watchdogs, back during the replacement Cap storyline by Gruenwald. In that story, the John Walker version of Cap and his African-American partner Battlestar are asked by the government to infiltrate the Watchdogs. They do so by using the same strategy as Bucky and Falcon: Battlestar goes into town and pretends to be a director filming a porno; when the town gets outraged at this black guy talking to their white women, Walker comes in and beats him up publicly. Impressed by his defense of American values, some townsfolk — who are secretly Watchdogs — recruit Walker to join them.

It’s the same plot, only with taxes replacing family values, right down to the racial subtext. I can’t imagine this parallel is accidental, but I’m not sure what Brubaker is setting up with it.

I will say that I don’t think you can effectively write Captain America without political commentary. If there’s any comic that should — and needs to — take on political issues, this is it.

yeah this isn’t even worthy of controversy, it’s ridiculous. BTW, i haven’t read the issue but the characterization i’ve heard mentioned of Sam Wilson as taking issue with the implied Tea Bag Party protesters would make sense — Sam worked for years as a social worker, coordinating gov’t funded social programs. not that i’m a political expert or anything, but that seems like it comes from the opposite side of things from the Tea Bag Party mentality. also, BTW, the Tea Bag Party might want to consider changing their name to something a bit less innuendo-ish if they want to NOT be the butt of jokes.

@ Scott, your points are well taken. I’d settle for cameo of a conservative character(s) who objects to someone like the Watchdogs, to show while there are extremes, they should not judge a whole movement on a smaller more violent faction.
Save with a liberal(or any) political movement.

@ Nick, you point about Sam’s politics sounds right.
But I disagree with you on the name. It’s he “Tea Part Movement” not the “Tea Bag Party”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Tea_Party

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/18/teabagger-added-to-oxford_n_362504.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teabagging

*same with liberal(or any) political movement

as to what i’ve read/seen the ‘tea party’ is about as close to a cohesive political movement as all comic readers carry the same political ideals, that is to say, not at all. this has a lot to do with, again from what i’ve read/seen, the main proponents of this ‘movement’ have little to no actual understanding of politics or economics in general and the agenda of the obama campaign in particular.

@Karl
Apparently you havn’t read/seen much. Unless you consider other people not sharing your opinions of politics or ecomomics in general and your opinions of the agenda of the obama administration , “little to no actual understanding.”

Adamantium Wholesaler

February 12, 2010 at 11:26 am

I’m sorry, but most of the tea party people are crazy. More and more legitimate conservatives are backing away from them and, in fact, turning on them, as they’re conspiracy-theory types. This is the new version of black helicopters.

Please, criticize Obama all you want–god knows I have–but let’s do it for reality-based reasons, not talk-radio garbage.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

February 12, 2010 at 11:37 am

The main problem I have with the Tea Party movement is that I don’t see much chance of coherent alternative policy coming from them. I know what they oppose, because they broadcast their opposition. I have no idea what specific things they support or want done.

In a way, the complaints about this comic are like that, too. They evince a lot of anger at an apparently negative portrayal of the movement, but in a way that seems to understand the story as nothing more than propaganda requiring counter-propaganda. It may be that the story is purely a cynical cheap shot, but at least point out somewhere that this make sit a bad story , not just a story that said something mean about “your” group.

@BrianHouston “Apparently you havn’t read/seen much. ”

Well, to throw in my two cents…
Ever since this Tea Party movement popped up in the main media (TV, Newspapers, Internet) last year, I’ve been extremely dubious to their sincerity for their whole campaign.

WHERE were the Tea Party people in the last eight years?
WHERE was their outrage over the horrible decline for our economy and nation as a whole in the previous administrations?

The problems we find ourselves in did NOT occur overnight. We didn’t wake up last February and look about and say, “Oh my gosh! Look at what’s going on!!!! How did this happen?

How convenient that this passionate outcry happens only NOW, with a new man in office.

Had these Tea Party protesters been there when we went to war, or during the rapid economic decline in in 2007& 2008, or during the first bank bailouts, then yes, to ME at least, their outcry and anger would be valid.

But all it seems to me is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to losing an election and hating anyone who’s currently in office.

I just have a feeling that when they were filling in those signs they needed inspiration and looked up the pictures they showed from online, and as juvenile as some people can be how could they pass up on a sign that was about teabagging someone. They could have just wanted to try and get away with something that sounded dirty and funny to them and be able to pass it off as “Oh no, but I saw it on a real sign, it can’t be bad.”

“WHERE were the Tea Party people in the last eight years?” Waiting for a black man to direct their anger at, presumably.

After all, they can’t hold up posters with the N-word if there’s a white president.

@brianhouston

sorry to break it to you but i am extremely well informed, working in a major law firm that is affected daily by various current economic policies as well as holding an undergraduate degree in political science… but thanks for being condescending, haha

@omar

“The main problem I have with the Tea Party movement is that I don’t see much chance of coherent alternative policy coming from them. I know what they oppose, because they broadcast their opposition. I have no idea what specific things they support or want done.”

i agree with this statement 100% and would go on to say this ‘movement’ cant even be described as one without a clear direction or drive. ‘no taxes’ is about as far from a specific economic stance as ‘spare change please?’ from a bum on the streets

oops that last post was me, directed @omar

I don’t think race plays such a big part in this. Sure, a few of those Tea Party guys may be racist, but for the majority of them (and for Conservatives in general in the last decade) it’s all about culture and “values”, not race.

The Tea Party’s view of the ideal American is a gun-toting, Bible-thumping, rugged individualistic good ol’ boy with small town ways who despises intellectuals and hates fancy-pants big city folks. That is why they loved Bush and why they love with Sarah Palin, who is pretty damned close to their view of what America should be. Obama, on the other hand, is the opposite.

And I don’t think they’d like Obama more if he were white.

They’re IN love with Sarah Palin, I meant.

I have the same problem with the Teabaggers that I have with Environmentalist Whackos – they’re radicals. I don’t like extremists. Same problem I have with Al-Quaeda (sp?) too. Radicalism is radicalism is radicalism.

[...] this time around Olbermann properly credits Comic Book Resources as the origin of the quote from Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe [...]

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