Thursday, February 28, 2008


Dear Mr. Turner:

Regarding your coverage of American Idol contestant Asia'h Epperson, and particularly your live-blogging, I have two words:

Dude. Stop.

Yeah, she's from Joplin. Yeah, we're all proud of her. She's an incredible talent with a powerful story. Because she went to the same school where you teach, you're doubly proud of her. And several of your students know her. All that's cool. I get that. But you live-blog this reality TV show with the same fervor you give campaign reports and presidential debates -- if not more. Dude! You never got this excited about vouchers or lobbyists.

C'mon, man. Nine entries in one day? And a week later, 13? And your posts aren't all about Epperson. In several of them, you get downright catty toward the other contestants. You sound like one of the old guys at the gay bar telling awkward stories about the real Andy Williams. Why don't you just insert the words "girl, please" after every one of your commas? Put it in your autotext.

Have you even read what you've written? If I ever wrote, "
Asia'h is performing Eric Carmen's 'All By Myself,' which I have to admit I have never liked, and it does not appear to be her best performance and she has missed a couple of notes, but she is putting on a show at the end and getting the crowd back into it. And her arrangement of the song is different and powerful. What an ending! She nailed it!", you would crucify me on your blog. Not only is that the run-on of all run-ons, but it's just bizarre.


Maybe this letter is meant to be a needed dose of intervention for you, Randy. It's OK. I've done the same thing with T.R. Hanrahan using a DiVinyls song to make a creepy hed. We're OK with occasional Epperson updates, but we hope this trend of live-blogging the show stops like one of those cacophonic (yeah, I made that word up) Idol auditions during the first few episodes.

I'm one of many in the Southwest Missouri province of Blogistan who links to you for one reason or another. We come back for a variety of reasons. None of them include your performance critiques of wanna-be pop stars. It's fine to give us updates, it's fine to critique media coverage of her, because we are all rooting for her. But your live-blogged posts on Idol give us a queasy feeling, like that uncle who hugs us just a little bit too long. On behalf of your readers, please stop. You're hurting us.


p.s. I kid because I care.

Post edited 3/1/08

Cacophonic? That's a great word! ;)

Ya know what else is creepy? Grown men who do this ";)" in their comments on other blogs.
Pure genius Mr. Hadsall. I was observing the e-obsession Randy has with Ms. Epperson just a few days ago and you couldn't be more correct.
Thankfully, someone called him out on this annoying charade that, frankly, causes a frisson of nausea every time one opens the T-Report.

It's stuff like this that bastardizes the value of his news coverage.
It's the guy's blog. If he wants to do it, who are we to tell him not to do it?

I don't care for it but I just move to the next entry.

If we were paying for his blog that would be one thing but I don't feel like we have the right to demand he do or stop doing anything.

I never have a problem with criticism, primarily because it means someone is reading the blog. You are on-the-money about the run-on sentence. I segued from live blogging to stream of consciousness, with no editing thrown in to balance things out.

Asia'h Epperson left South Middle School three months before I began teaching there. I latched onto this because it is a great story.

It is just one of my many obsessions, according to Turner Report readers, following in the grand tradition of Gary Nodler, the Rowan Ford case, lobbyists, vouchers, Steve Hunter, GateHouse Media, the local television stations, the Micronesian murders, the Memorial Middle School shooter,Roy Blunt, Matt Blunt, and lately, the presidential election.

I appreciate the criticism. I do intend to continue the coverage until this plays out and probably with just as many posts, though hopefully better written than the one you mention above.

When I was at The Carthage Press (another phrase I have run into the ground), some of my reporters will recall that my motto was "Nothing succeeds like excess." I believe in taking a story, any story, and providing readers with as much information as I possibly can, whether it be about Asia'h Epperson or the influence of lobbyists on our state legislature. By using this tactic, I have been able to make many stories, even some that I didn't break in the first place, my own. American Idol will pass and I will latch onto something else.

I enjoy your blog and your coverage of Joplin and area education in the Globe.
Randy: Even in satire, I oughtta get it right. I thought she was a former student; sorry about that. It's fixed.

But I was serious about the "girl, please" thing. I dare ya to do it just once. In a post about John Hacker. That would be hilarious.
Is Hacker still alive?
Oh very.
This is the funniest thing I've read on a blog in loonnngg time! I can't stop laughing! Turner is a complete joke and his blog will get noticed by the police sooner than he thinks if he doesn't tone it down.

He's old enough to be the American Idol girl's father for crying out loud!
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