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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nudging the Media Back In Line

I know I went on a bit of a rant yesterday about the media, so consider today’s post leftovers. I happened to catch some of the Sports Reporters on Sunday, and while we’re all used to the sanctimony that the sports media dishes out on a daily basis, every now and then I think fans need to reign them in.

A panel that included Mike Lupica, who seems to live to be on the show, Bob Ryan (I believe), Jemele Hill, and host John Saunders, spent a segment of the show discussing which side of the NFL labor dispute fans should be on.

ESPN spends hours a day allowing reporters to share their opinions from 1st and 10, PTI, Around the Horn, to just about every non-sports event programming that they air. To be fair, it seems like every station that has a sports department has at least one show in the genre.

I can live with the rapid fire formats that allow these people to blather on with their opinions on about 10 stories five days a week. The shows aren’t a bad way to get a feel for what’s going on outside of Philadelphia in the sports world. And, yes, I try to do the same thing every Friday right here on the Ink. That’s part of why I can say that it’s actually pretty hard sometimes to find 10 stories for the entire week to even have an opinion on. In fact, readers may have noticed that since I started trying to post Monday through Friday, I’ve developed “Hump Day Distractions” and a weekly post reviewing my picks on games. There’s simply not enough going on to truly have a thought out opinion on an issue every day.

But for the media to even come up with the segment meant to tell fans what side they should be on and to use that type of wording was over the line. I know these guys hate bloggers, and are disgusted by the fact that a guy like me can “sit at home in his mother’s basement,” as Philly’s own Mike Missanelli loves to say, and dish out opinions. I can understand it on some level, though most of them need to get over themselves. They talk about how bloggers don’t have the credentials or do the leg work that they do. The latter argument has more validity than the former, but that’s an argument for another day.

Now the disgust seems to be spilling over to the fans. There was a time when sports reporters were the ones writing about how star athletes wouldn’t exist without fans, a group they often saw themselves as representing. Let’s hope bloggers don’t have to start reminding the reporters of the same thing.

Lupica and company even intimated that “just wanting to see football in September” wasn’t enough. Players are dealing with serious issues, and that needs to be understood.

Actually, no, it doesn’t. I don’t even disagree with a lot of what was said about the labor issues, but I damn sure don’t need Mike Lupica or anyone else telling me what to think – as a fan or a blogger.

Dick Schaap and Bill Lyon offered opinions that were thought out, and then crafted into prose. They did it in a Hall of Fame manner, and while they certainly argued their side of a debate, I’d bet a lot of money that blatantly telling fans what to think was never on their agenda.

It absolutely doesn’t need to be in the job description of any of the sound bite kings of today.

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