There are two types of lovely journalistic brunettes: those who swear at NYPD police officers because they are big fish in fifth-sized media ponds, and those who personify the word 'dignity' all the while juggling an errant husband, young children and a now-defunct media career.
And sometimes, the first type not only messes with the second type's husband, but also has a role, however inadvertent, in ending her career.
Last week, Buzz Bissinger gave us an interesting defense of the first kind media missy. And today, we have the firsthand rebuttal of the second.
I must say that when I read Buzz's take on the Alycia Lane affair (sorry, there is no other word I can use here,) I was startled by the pass (sorry, another unavoidable word) he gave her. Reading Friday's piece, one would get the impression that Alycia did nothing to earn her pink slip from KYW other than portray a doe-eyed innocent to Larry Mendte's rapacious wolf. Buzz did the right thing by revealing his friendship with Lane, which of course doesn't surprise anyone. In the glorified fish bowl that is local Philly media, of course they knew each other.
But still, the man who did such an amazing job profiling the life and times of another larter-than-life character in the city (one who ironically got a phone call from Lane after she did the most un-cool of things and "allegedly" called the New York police officer a gay slur) seemed bewitched by his friend, to the point that he made her out to be a victim of circumstance and not a raging virago let loose on the streets of Manhattan.
Because that, essentially, is why Alycia Lane was fired from her anchor gig, not because she had an affair with Larry Mendte. It might also have had to due with that weepy sit-down she had with Dr. Phil lamenting the sad state of her love life. And it probably had more than a little to do with the bikini photos she'd sent to a married man. It is only the last incident that could in any way be linked to Larry Mendte's hacking of her computer. And even though what he did was morally repulsive and a felony (which led to his own firing,) it doesn't justify the claim that Alycia was wrongly terminated. It might have something to do with her defamation of character claim, asuming there is something to be defamed in the first place. (Note to Paul Rosen: please read over New York Times v. Sullivan before you decide to join me as a co-defendant in Lane's suit.)
That is why Dawn Stensland's piece was an antidote for the agida I felt on Friday. While I make no judgment about what goes on in the Stensland-Mendte household, I think that Dawn showed intelligence, courage and a strong dose of moxie in responding, point by point, to Buzz's piece. It can't be easy to see the woman who had an inappropriate relationship with your husband treated like a piece of Lladro porcelain. It can't be pleasant to know that your own career was the true sacrifical lamb to this scandal in which you had no role. And it can't be fun to have your personal life turned into pulp fiction by the local media who have nothing better to do than salivate over the sorrow of others.