We spent all that time protesting all over the country and in Vieques itself to force the Navy to stop using it as target practice for this? Tomorrow, July 17th, the TLC channel will be premiering a “reality” show called Wedding Island, which is set on la Isla Nena. The show, which is basically a vehicle for a business, Weddings in Vieques, is yet another attempt to gloss over the troubling history of the island, which has still not been properly cleaned up, and is still struggling with massive poverty, just as it is being gentrified by upscale hotels, catering to tourists oblivious to these things.
The star of this episode of Wedding Island is Sandy Malone, who runs Weddings in Vieques, and claims to be an ardent supporter of the island in her bio page:
After graduating with a BA in Journalism from The Ohio State University, Sandy attended The Fund for American Studies Institute on Political Journalism at Georgetown University. She rose from intern to Managing Editor of Campaigns & Elections Magazine in less than a year, and then moved to Manhattan to write the first Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition.Although most of her stories also ran in the printed paper, Sandy turned to the dark side and left journalism to move back to her hometown and accept a position at a public relations firm. Her first client was the Government of Puerto Rico.
A year later, she was practically living on Vieques leading reporters through the live fire zone on a daily basis, helping to bolster the governor’s campaign to force the US Navy to leave the tiny island after a fatal bombing accident.
But check out Campaigns and Elections Magazine. It champions the recent ruling rolling back the Voting Rights Act; advocates funding for groups against gay marriage; and wonders whether new rulings like the Citizen United one will open up new opportunities for campaign funding. It’s “About Us” page reveals an editorial advisory board including right-wing flacks like Ed Gillespie, Mary Matalin, and Terry McAullife.
Of course, maybe the politics of that publication has changed drastically since Malone left. But do we really need another reality series from 495 Productions, responsible for 32, count ’em 32 shows, including Dirty South, Wedding Wars, and, unsurprisingly, Jersey Shore and several of its spinoffs? I realize I’m casting aspersions on the guilty pleasures of some of you, but I hope never to be trapped in a Bridezilla marathon again if I can help it.
In this clip from the Ohio State newspaper, Malone emphasizes the difficulty of maintaining decorum in 95-degree temperatures. Must have changed because of global warming, because weather.com reports average summer temperatures top out at 89. Of course Campaigns and Elections would probably deny climate change in the first place. This fear and loathing of the tropics is also reflected in the GIF above, which maintains that the mainland US is “civilization” and “Vieques Island” is something else.
Dave Galarza tells us that New York Solidarity with Vieques urges concerned viewers to watch the show Wednesday July 17 at 10pm Eastern and participate by sending reactions to TLC and weighing in on their FB site: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NYsolidaritywithVieques
Dave Galarza informs through this article us that Sandy Malone somehow has enough access to an unspecified governor of Puerto Rico to fly one of her clients out of Vieques in a government helicopter to seek medical attention on the main island. This as activists continue to report lack of access to health care on Vieques for the majority of its residents.
An article that appeared yesterday in The Washingtonian suggests that Malone is not a full-time resident of Vieques, and splits her time between Vieques and her condo in Germantown, Maryland.
And finally, there is at least circumstantial evidence that Malone’s claim to having being a journalist may be untrue. A search of Google News and Lexis/Nexis reveals zero bylines attached to Malone in either Campaigns and Elections magazine, where she claimed to have been a managing editor, and The Wall Street Journal, where she claims to have been a contributor. So perhaps it was unfair to associate her with the politics of Campaigns and Elections. In fact there are no bylines attached to the name of Sandy Malone anywhere on the internet (unless Edward Snowden or the NSA is blocking access to them). What there is evidence of is that Malone once worked for a Washington, DC based PR (I mean public relations here) firm called Vertrue. If it’s true Malone has padded her résumé, it’s not the first time a media manipulator has lied and/or exaggerated about a nonexistent career in journalism.