BOP! KA-POW! Howl! Too Much Superhero Info in a News Story About a Celebrity Stalker.

Sir Michael Caine’s best line as Alfred in 2008’s The Dark Knight tries to make sense of the frustratingly confusing Joker who says, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Well, apparently Daily News writer Regina Medina (pictured above)  just wants to watch my eyes burn.

Medina’s story wrote a story about a married man arrested for stalking Law & Order’s Kathryn Erbe. He sent letters confessing his love, posted a digital shrine on MySpace, visited the set of her show, the whole bit.

If you only read the headline and the first third of this story, you’d have no idea.

The suspect, Charles Nagle, happens to love Batman and we hear a lot about that. Way too much. Way too high.

After the first read, I was simply disappointed. I desperately wanted to hear about how Kathryn Erbe felt a chill up her spine one night, turned around, and saw a rather average looking guy in a fully authentic black leather costume following her. Maybe his garb would have been used films. Maybe his breastplate would be autographed by all previous Batmen, including George Clooney.

Nope. Didn’t happen. Actually, Nagle’s two obsessions aren’t related at all. Interesting for a story that begins with the line: “His love of Batman knew no bounds.”

This material would be best used, if at all, way after the news breaks to support the fact that the guy is a nut. You could probably populate Gotham City with the number of Batman fans out there, but yes, it is noteworthy that he named his daughters “HarleyQuinn” after the Joker’s friend and “Bat Girl.”

This isn’t a profile or even that long of a story, so the elongated lead only confuses and messes with expectations.

– Brendan McNamara

Something very strange happened the other day – I completely agreed with a commenter on philly.com. Well, sort of.

andwhysee: All of those Batman details had nothing at all to do with the crime. This newspaper is constantly maligning Superhero enthusiasts.

The comment was posted after a story written about Charles Nagle, who was recently arrested and charged with stalking actress Kathryn Erbe, also known as Detective Alex Eames in “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” The charges were for aggravated harassment and two counts of stalking, and The New York Post reported that he sent her love letters and e-mails and had visited the “Criminal Intent” sets in New York and Los Angeles.

But why are the first six paragraphs of this article, by Regina Medina of the Daily News, focused on Nagle’s obsession with Batman? Maybe Nagle’s e-mails to Erbe were akin to, “You must be Poison Ivy, baby, because I’m itching to see you.”

But in all seriousness, Nagle’s obsession with Batman, as commenter “andwhysee” pointed out, had nothing to do with the crime. There is no indication that Nagle thought Batman comics contained cryptic messages telling him to stalk Erbe. If such details were revealed to paint Nagle as insane, that is an explicitly slanted portrayal. But perhaps such details were simply added to fill space, similar to this paragraph:

“At Nagle’s home last night, no one answered when a reporter knocked at the door. Two large stuffed animals – a monkey and a three-eyed fish – were inside a green Ford Taurus parked out front.”

I don’t see how stuffed animals in a car are relevant to this report. In another section, the report mentions, “DeMasi said she believed he never graduated from high school.” Well, did he? If this tidbit from Nagle’s neighbor is going to be included in the piece (the subject was broached because Nagle was home-schooling his daughters), shouldn’t it be verified?

Listen, I thought it was strange that Nagle named one of his daughters Bat Girl. Clearly, Nagle was obsessed with Batman. Just as clearly, he was obsessed with Erbe. But that bridge of obsession between Batman and Erbe was never clearly written into the piece, which makes the Batman section seem more judgmental than informative. Much of the reporting in this piece strikes me as irrelevant (or is taken from The New York Post), and there is a claim made by DeMasi that could have been verified or denied but is left unanswered in the piece.

I don’t know if the Daily News is “constantly maligning Superhero enthusiasts,” but I do know that this article deserves a BOP!, a KAPOW!, and a HOWL!

NOTE: The article was also corrected the next day. The original misidentified the judge presiding over the extradition hearing.

– Timothy Rapp

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2 responses to “BOP! KA-POW! Howl! Too Much Superhero Info in a News Story About a Celebrity Stalker.

  1. “All of those Batman details had nothing at all to do with the crime. ”

    They tell you that he had an obsessive personality and was strange. This has nothing to do with the crime but illustrates the type of person he is. The reality is, he could have been obsessed with stamps and if this obsession demonstrated something about his personality and character, it is relevant.

    “I don’t see how stuffed animals in a car are relevant to this report. ”
    Agreed. If it was to “paint a picture” then the context it was in is just very amateur since it seemed to come out of nowhere. Maybe the author wasn’t sure if she wanted to report on the facts or paint a picture and seems he/she couldn’t decide.

    “But that bridge of obsession between Batman and Erbe was never clearly written into the piece,”

    I agree in part. The connection was never made and really it was an easy connection to make and establish the relevance of.

    ““DeMasi said she believed he never graduated from high school.” Well, did he? If this tidbit from Nagle’s neighbor is going to be included in the piece (the subject was broached because Nagle was home-schooling his daughters), shouldn’t it be verified?”

    Should be . I will tell you though that he didn’t graduate high school. That is a fact. From what I recall when I knew him, he never even attended high school. But yes – this seemed like a lazy article that seemed very amateur like.

  2. They also got something wrong about his last name. He did not assume his wife’s last name. She assumed his made up last name – Rose.

    This reporter didn’t seem to do any fact checking and didn’t really seem to care.

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