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In Charlie Rose a victim of ageism?

Posted by John T. Reed on

How much of the reaction to Charlie Rose is plain old ageism?

In 2013, Brent Musurger got into big trouble. Here is what the New York Times said at the time.

‘On Tuesday morning, commentary on the broadcast of the Bowl Championship Series national title game between Alabama and Notre Dame included words like “creepy,” “awkward,” “uncomfortable” and “heteronormative.”

‘The subject was not Alabama’s 42-14 victory, but comments made during the game by the ESPN play-by-play announcer Brent Musburger regarding the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A J McCarron. In the first quarter, ESPN showed McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, who was sitting near his parents. Musburger called the 23-year-old Webb, a former Miss Alabama USA, a “lovely lady” and “beautiful,” and said to his broadcast partner, Kirk Herbstreit, a former quarterback at Ohio State, “You quarterbacks get all the good-looking women.”’

Uh, exactly what was wrong with that? I see absolutely zero wrong with it.

In fact, the crime was in the next paragraph which noted that Musburger was 73. It was not “creepy,” “awkward,” and “uncomfortable” that a football announcer would say that Miss Alabama USA was good looking, unless he was 73.

Charlie Rose is 75. 

Would Charlie Rose have been fired if he had done the exact same things and were 35? Headline: “35-year old bachelor on date with single female tries to seduce her”

Doesn’t sound like a stop-the-presses event to me.

It is common for younger people to regard septuagenarian interest in sex as “creepy.”

A. I am 71. I am not going to discuss my sex life, but I believe I speak somewhat on behalf of my fellow 71-year olds like Donald Trump, Sylvester Stallone, Dolly Parton, Cher, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Pat Sajak, Susan Sarandon, and Liza Minelli when I say rumors of the lack of sex lives of septuagenarians have been greatly exaggerated.

B. Don’t younger people hope to be 71 at some point? If so, such put downs are put-downs of your future self. Perhaps you might want to wait until then to pontificate about the capabilities and limitations of that age. Such talk and convictions can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

If you really want to know whether there is anything psychiatrically or medically wrong with a 75-year-old like Charlie Rose wanting to have sex, ask your doctor or Google the question at medical Web sites.

If Rose used his gatekeeper position to pressure a young woman for sex, that’s wrong. But if Rose was fired for failure to “act his age” where wanting to have sex at age 75 is the violation, he ought to sue the asses off of CBS, PBS, and Bloomberg.


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