Polaneczky, Cataldi Tangle Over “Crude” Wing Bowl

WIP host says DN columnist did “hatchet job” on the event.

Until now, we didn’t know that Angelo Cataldi could be hurt by anything but a poorly swallowed cheesesteak. Turns out he takes criticism of WIP’s Wing Bowl very personally—and Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky’s criticism of it very, very personally.

“I always assumed there must have been something missing, because who would attend an event limited only to gluttony, binge drinking, vomit and half-naked women? There had to be more to it, yes?” she wrote Saturday, after the 22nd Wing Bowl. “No. There is not more to it.”

Polaneczky joined Cataldi on the air Tuesday morning, where he called her column a “hatchet job”—saying she focused on negatives when there were plenty of positives to be found, including money raised for charity.

“What did you expect?” Cataldi asked Polaneczky. “It really is not a show for someone in your demographic. What did you expect when you went to the Wing Bowl?”

“I don’t live in a cave. I’ve seen photos and I’ve seen coverage. People warned me, ‘Don’t go, don’t go.’” Polaneczky said. “I don’t know if you can call yourself a Philadelphia media person if you don’t step foot in some of these things that have become as big as Wing Bowl has become.”

She added: “I thought there ought to be more to it.”

Instead, what she found was gross, gluttonous, and sexist: She even had her own behind slapped once, she said.

Cataldi contended there are positives to the event, including a moment—for contestants—when they get to be the sports heroes they’d otherwise never get to play in real life.  “You didn’t see that this is Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes for a lot of people,” he insisted.

“That part gets covered all the time. I’ve never seen anything that gave my point of view,” Polaneczky responded.  “It was one of the most disgusting events I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot of stuff in Philadelphia … The crudeness of it really took me aback, and I’m not a shrinking violet.”

Cataldi listed off other positives to the event. “You want to ignore hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for charity … You were basically out to get us,” he said. “You have every right to express the opinion, but it’s irresponsible.”

“It’s irresponsible to express my opinion?” Polaneczky responded.

Yes, Cataldi responded, especially when Philly.com gets so much traffic from Wing Bowl. For much of Saturday, he noted, the site paired Polaneczky’s column with an extensive photo slideshow taken from the event. “You don’t see the hypocrisy there?”

“I totally see the hypocrisy there, are you kidding me?” Polaneczky said. “If the owners of our company cared what some  of its employees thought, you bet, I would have a lot to say. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to express my opinion.”

Follow @JoelMMathis on Twitter.

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