Online gossip blog TMZ.com just doesn't know when to quit. In this April 3 post, the site took time from its busy schedule tracking celebrity train wrecks to condescendingly mock former “Bachelor” reality star Navy Lt. Andy Baldwin yet again for retrieving WWII remains. This is the third time TMZ has knocked Baldwin for “diving for old bones."
The bashing began in a March 20 post that explained Baldwin had been part of a Navy dive team assigned to recover the remains of WWII servicemen from a B-24 crash site in the South Pacific. The staff writers criticized the waste of their tax dollars on “ancient history,” musing “let's talk about why we the taxpayers are footing the bill on such BS” and asking readers if they thought it was a “[r]idiculous waste.” TMZ's staff expressed their disbelief that anyone would bother searching for such an old wreck and then dismissed the importance of recovering the remains, snarking, “At least [Baldwin] got a really good tan" (all bold mine):
What, you ask, were they looking for? A B-24J bomber that went down during the war. Not Iraq. Not Vietnam. No, not Korea. We're talking WWII, as in more than 60 years ago.
Turns out, the military spends $52 million each year to find the remains of missing soldiers -- it's part of the POW/MIA program. That's all well and good depending on the circumstances. But a crash that is ancient history, at a time when the economy sucks and the Federal government is sucking the life out of everyone with taxes??
Baldwin, a Navy medic and diver, and crew found what could be human remains. We're told it's all being tested in the lab and it could take months, even years, to determine identities. At least he got a really good tan.
Don't think that TMZ doesn't respond to reader criticism. Several days ago, the site quickly addressed complaints, changing a rude remark in a post about the death of an “American Idol” contestant's mother. Unfortunately, the military and WWII MIAs didn't get the same consideration.
After the initial post, commenters angrily criticized the cheap shots, but TMZ stayed silent. That is, until they inexplicably used a March 29 story about fellow “Bachelor” Alex Michel to renew their gripe about using taxpayer money to locate the remains of missing WWII servicemen:
Maybe while he's out on the high seas, Alex can help Lt. Andy Baldwin take federally-funded dives to search for dead WWII soldiers -- in a speedo (sic).
But the gossip-mongers weren't done. The latest jab was that April 3 post that used an unrelated picture of Baldwin cavorting with Marla Maples on a beach to bring up the remains again:
Andy Baldwin --not of the Billy, Alec, Criminal, and Goofy-faced Dumba** Baldwins -- but of the went diving for old bones with the Armed Forces (sic) clan -- poses hangs out with rumored girlfriend, Marla Maples - you know, the ex Mrs.Trump.
Somehow I don't think that TMZ would call two-hundred-year-old Native American or African-American slave remains “old bones” and “ancient history” that aren't worth using taxpayer money to recover.
Adding to the insults of that original post, TMZ also polled readers, asking if the retrieval was a “[r]idiculous waste.” Unfortunately, when I checked the results on Friday, 41% had responded “yes.” Along with the increasing animosity and aggression directed toward the military, attitudes like TMZ's are becoming more openly displayed.
TMZ specializes in making fun of famous people's pain and mistakes for profit, which they do quite well. However, mocking the men and women who bring missing servicemen home is crass and ungrateful. I guess that's what happens when people live in an environment where honor and respect are measured by where someone is seated at The Ivy.
Maybe TMZ should stick to Celebutante Panty Bingo and driving Britney Spears closer to suicide.
*Logo: Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command
Lynn contributes to NewsBusters. Email her with tips or complaints at tvisgoodforyou2-at-y a h o o-dot-c o m