Standing Up for
Principle? On TV? -
when I am out here I call out networks that get it
wrong. Fox, for allowing cheating on "5th Grader". CBS,
for allowing "Survivor" to film in a repressive country
like China. The BBC and other British TV networks for
condoning cheating to go on in interactive quizzes. The
list goes on.
But this week, I am here to praise a network. And that
one is the Food Network. As you may or may not know, the
final two competitors vying for a spot on their network
are Rory Schepisi and Amy Finley. The winner–by your
votes, will be revealed on Sunday, July 22.
But it wasn’t supposed to turn out that way. The
original final two were going to be Amy and Joshua Adam
Garcia, a/k/a JAG. The show was taped a few months
before, as it usually is. But a little smoke turned into
a major fire which burned Mr. Garcia...badly.
On June 12, the Marine Corps Times probed Mr. Garcia’s
claims that he served in Afghanistan during the War on
Terror and his combat experience. To quote the article:
"Garcia, who turns 26 later this month, was a Marine,
enlisting Aug. 15, 1999, for a four-year enlistment that
should have ended in 2003. Instead, Garcia was
discharged eight months early as a private for reasons
that the Marine Corps declined to discuss due to laws
protecting his personal information."
Continuing from the article:
"In a follow-up interview Monday, Garcia was asked to
explain why he called himself a former corporal. He
owned up to non-judicial punishments that cost him rank,
but he blamed his military troubles on a hazing
conspiracy at his former unit. Garcia also claimed that
he fought his administrative separation and was
ultimately exonerated, but none of that can be
independently confirmed because of privacy rules.
"The Marine Corps has no record of Garcia’s rank being
upgraded from private by any review board. Likewise, the
service has no record of Garcia ever deploying to
Afghanistan, and certainly not as a member of 2nd
Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, the infantry unit Garcia
said he accompanied to the war zone in 2002. In fact,
Marine officials at the battalion’s home at Camp Lejeune,
NC, said the unit did not deploy to Afghanistan that
And the most egregious lie of Mr. Garcia? He claimed
that he was a graduate of the New York Culinary
Institute. Again, from the Marine Times article of June
"He attended, but did not graduate," said Midge Elias,
director of public relations at the school, now known as
the Art Institute of New York City. Privacy rules
prevent the school from releasing any further
information, such as number of course hours completed or
whether the former Marine used the GI Bill to help
finance his training, as he claimed in multiple
The Army Times picked up the story on June 25. And as
the weeks went by on the show, JAG was surviving
elimination after elimination until last Sunday’s
JAG was about to go onto the finals after surviving the
Rachael Ray show challenge, but a Food Network chyron
explained that the show was taped months in advance and
since the show, claims were made and JAG’s resume was
found out to be padded. And, when JAG got caught...in
his words "for the good of the network and the show", he
resigned from the competition.
Let me translate that for you. JAG’s sorry ass got
caught...and if he didn’t resign they would have forced
his lying self out.
And kudos to Food Network. I will be honest with you.
Most networks might have let that slide. But with an
audience of millions, a reputation as one of the highest
quality reality shows out there... a padded resume just
doesn’t cut it. So Food Network was forced to do the
right thing for the good of the show, and the network.
Moral of the story: As with any job, a padded resume
will eventually come and bite you in the behind.
And JAG’s star burns less brightly because of it.
You agree or disagree? Fire me off a letter at firstname.lastname@example.org.