Bent Over Backward

Crunch time at the Pioneer Press, cheeseheads at the Star Tribune, and how real men KARE about Paul

Channel 4 anchor Don Shelby got the ball rolling in the Star Tribune's initial report on August 19. "He's not only clever, charming, witty, and an exacting reader," Shelby fawned. "He's just one of the best-looking men God ever created." (I'd like to pause for a moment at this point to also note that the Magers story got top billing in the Strib that day. That means page one, above the fold, under the masthead. Now, granted, only one U.S. soldier was killed in Iraq during the news cycle, but I wonder whether there might not have been a more appropriate spot for a day-old piece of inside-media minutia.)

Knowing Shelby likes his humor dry, I initially imagined the soon-to-be elder statesman was just kidding around; just like those gals at my hair salon the other day, trying to decide who had a cuter butt, KARE's Rick Kupchella (tight but firm) or Frank Vascellaro (baby's got back!). After listening to AM talk radio on and off over the past week, however, I'm not so sure something truly heartfelt hasn't sprung from the collective closet. In particular, I couldn't help but notice that the boys at KFAN, solidly heterosexual (they'll have you know at the bottom of every hour) went out of their way on a number of occasions to let it all hang out. During Chad Hartman's show, an impromptu contest actually broke out to find the best adjective to describe that "really, really handsome" talking head. The word "fetching" was a favorite. There was no hint of sarcasm--not even a giggle.

Now, even though I've never really been drawn to Magers (KARE's Eric Perkins seems less threatening and somehow more tender in a goofy sort of way), I have to admit seeing Magers cry on TV the morning after his difficult decision weakened my bum knees for a moment. Then I noticed the interview was being aired on Magers's station and I felt my face flush red. I was angry at KARE for disguising a promo spot as breaking news (stop the presses!); I was also embarrassed for Magers, who seems like a decent chap and, if you're into that sort of thing, can indeed be quite fetching.

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