Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Current State of the Media…

April 30, 2008

It’s full of idiots. “Costas Now” ran a special last night with various panelists, from bloggers to self absorbed writers. I am not going to delve into some of the idiotic rants that attacked the blogosphere. You can read about that here or even here. Apparently, some media members feel there is a war that needs to be waged against blogs. According to some members, blogs are ruining the media world. I think the biggest takeaway from the special last night is that the media is taking out their big guns, and shooting themselves in the foot.

The platform for the discussion was divided in to 5 segments; internet, radio, television, media/athlete relationship, and race. The topics discussed in these segments ranged from the credentials that one needs to have in order to discuss sports (Mitch Albom), I didn’t know that people needed credentials for their opinion, to the racism and its ever present existence. In the interest of full disclosure, we only caught the final three segments. Like many should do, we will stick to what we know. The segments were laughable, with the exception of a few bright spots.

Starting with television, Mike Tirico, Joe Buck, and Dan Patrick discussed nothing for 20 minutes. Tirico, although intelligent was too afraid to say anything against his employer, ESPN. Costas raised several valid points ranging from Mel Kiper’s 50,000th mock draft on the crawl, to one sided reporting, to the separation of news and sports casting. When the panelists countered with hard hitting questions about Costas’ own objectivity, regarding NBC and the Olympics, he side stepped any real opinion. Patrick was mainly useless, but had a few one-liners of note. Joe Buck really isn’t relevant.

The media/athlete discussion revolved around the lack of authenticity in writing. The panelists consisted of Tiki Barber (idiot), John McEnroe (bumbling idiot), and Selena Roberts (most intelligent of the night). The main sentiment appeared to be that reporters are no longer close enough to the athletes to produce valid representation of the stars. I agree that there is a large disconnect between the two classes, but I would suggest that is due mainly to the athletes. Tiki, and other athletes, blame media for their jealousy of the player’s ability and wealth, and the incessant need for writers to “make a name for themselves.” Of course, Tiki doesn’t realize that he is currently a member of the media, and is probably jealous that his former team now stands as world champions. Yes, this is opinion, I am sorry I am only a lowly blogger, but Tiki made his jealousy of the Giants quite evident throughout the year with questions of Eli’s leadership, criticism of Tom Coughlin, and standing on the sideline of the Bucs rather than the Giants in the playoffs. If anyone is trying to make a name for themselves in the media, it is Tiki Barber. Tiki claimed that many pieces that are written are negative, and is just a lowly writer’s attempt at getting on PTI. I know that Tiki has been on PTI more than one of our favorite writers, Kevin Kernan. There are many positive pieces that are written, but that is not what outlets, like ESPN and Fox Sports, pick up on. Just because positive pieces don’t get the attention, doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Hours devoted to Vick’s incarceration are what the main stream media has deemed important.

Selena Roberts was one of the bright spots of the night. Selena raised a personal anecdote from her dealings with superstar athletes. Selena recounted a tale about when she was trying to write a positive piece on the relationship between Jay-Z and Lebron James. She was cut-off by the entourage, tinted windows, and negative attitudes. Here is a reporter looking for that personal experience, but can’t even get close enough to the player to write such a piece. After countless attempts for an interview, eventually the questions were e-mailed to Lebron, and he recorded his answers. These answers were e-mailed back to Selena. It is her opinion, and I agree, that these athletes are on a whole different level, financially and personally, and don’t associate with the media like they did in an earlier time. Although, I do think that Selena would have an easier time getting an interview in the Giants locker room, than Tiki.

The final segment that we viewed centered around race. Race isn’t usually a fun topic to debate. I think that some points were foolish (Kellen Winslow Sr.), and some were extremely intelligent (Jason Whitlock). One point that I don’t get is the comparison of Lebron, on the “Vogue” cover, to King Kong, and Giselle to the “blonde haired all American damsel in distress.” Last time I checked, Giselle is from Brazil, is a latina, and isn’t even blonde. Jason Whitlock and Michael Wilbon made very valid points regarding the ability to write about racial lines. It is not something that everyone can do, and one needs to have a history of speaking about it intelligently in order to be taken seriously on the subject. It was clear that Costas was very uncomfortable during this segment, and I look forward to seeing the upcoming special regarding race in sports. I would have also like to have heard Whitlock’s completed thoughts regarding his opinions about Barry Bonds, and his resignation from ESPN.

In the end, this is my opinion. Main stream media (“MSM”) is suffering because of the inability to adapt, and the elitist attitude of networks, and those in the upper-echelon of the media world (Costas). There are a number of high profile media members that we do respect (Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason, and I can’t think of anymore right now), but the fact that Bob Costas could be so pretentious to hold such a special is exactly what is wrong with the media. What is wrong, is people that are too full of themselves. Let the athletes be the cocky ones. Let them say that writers don’t belong, and might not even have an athletic bone in their bodies. They have earned that right, and the writer has earned the right to rip on that athlete for a poor performance. Bob Costas does not have the right, nor anyone else for that matter, to say that people shouldn’t have their opinion, from blogger to Tiki Barber, if there is a platform to say it, everyone should be encouraged to speak up. Here at Awesomo, we will continue our best efforts to speak up about any and everything we want.