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Will

Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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  1. Avatar RTod
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    says:

    “Can your audience really trust you to objectively cover LeBron James if your network just produced his midsummer television spectacle?”

    Or if you keep covering him as if he is the winningest player in NBA history, instead of hold off until he at least gets his first ring?Report

  2. Avatar RTod
    Ignored
    says:

    With Sports Coverage, is it possible to love consuming both the old and new medium folks, and still have zero respect for either? Cause that’s the way I feel most of the time.Report

  3. Avatar Kyle
    Ignored
    says:

    Interesting post, leaves me with a few thoughts.

    I wonder – too – how much expertise influences coverage because insiders simply lose perspective on what might be worthy or interesting for outsiders to cover.

    If Reporter Joe knows the players, knows the game, etc… he might make the decision not write or publish an embarrassing article about a quarterback who engages in bad behavior not because it isn’t bad but because the behavior isn’t particularly out of the norm or perhaps is comparatively less bad than less famous colleagues.

    It’s sort of the flip side of what you were writing about earlier with personal discretion.

    This is a two way street, I suppose outsiders have particular views about behavior considered egregious or laudable that an insider’s understanding of context would dramatically alter.

    It’s probably why we ought to be more skeptical in general as readers.

    Still, I would imagine that to some extent the ancien regime of media is and was an endorsement of the approach we take to political representation. Namely, that people whose judgments we trust we place in a position to make discretionary choices about what is newsworthy and what is not. A Republic of News.

    Another thought is that people who are inclined to cover a particular area do so out of a sense of endearment, love, passion, etc.. about the particular field of coverage. If Ezra Klein didn’t like public policy and government, he wouldn’t cover it. Similarly for sportswriters, financial journalists, etc…

    So they probably have an imagined loyalty to the generalized institution they cover, sports, government, the free market, that leads them to be less inclined to publish things that would be detrimental to the overall institution, even if they’re consciously not doing it because of a cosy professional relationship with the subjects they cover. For example, specifically not publishing something that reflects poorly on a group of Senators not because playing nice gets interviews and exclusives but because it might make the Senate look bad, or Congress, etc…

    Which is certainly no harmless virtue when it comes to political and financial journalism but in the world of arts, sports, and entertainment it’s easier to see where a willful blindness to the vices of actors within the industry is less a conspiracy to protect them than one to protect the industry from disrepute.Report

    • Avatar Kyle in reply to Kyle
      Ignored
      says:

      The final thought, which I totally forgot about, is the way in which new media makes money is different from old media, so the change in methodology makes conflicts between editorial decisions/coverage and advertising revenue that have long existed seem somehow more problematic. Either that or Brett Favre’s penis is the new Yellow (Pink) Journalism.Report

      • Avatar Will in reply to Kyle
        Ignored
        says:

        Just saw this, Kyle – great points. That said, I’m not sure if the financial incentives for Deadpsin are substantially different from, say, the WaPo’s sports page. I mean, the Favre-Sterger story is going to generate a ton of interest in whatever outlet decides to publish it, whether the details come out in print or online.Report

    • Avatar RTod in reply to Kyle
      Ignored
      says:

      Nice post, Kyle. Reading it, it struck me that as a sports fan I have two different viewpoints pulling at me regarding the way athletes are covered. When the news cycle mercilessly covers athletes that make off the-court mistakes that people from every industry make, it seems icky and I always find myself wishing they’d stop. On the other hand, the normal coverage of simply amplifying whatever crap an athlete’s PR people are pushing, and creating an unreal caricature feels icky too, and when it’s being done I find myself wanting them to cover the flaws as well, to make them real people.

      Maybe I just hate celebrity.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    A lifetime of enjoying pro wrestling has pretty much ruined other sports for me.

    Pro wrestling does all of that stuff so much better. You’ve got the plucky underdog, the heroic dominant force, the wily cheater who, if he only just applied himself!, could be a champion you could be proud of but he keeps taking shortcuts!, the prima donna, the evil dominant force, and, of course, the squirrels. No, wait. The blind referee.

    And pro wrestling coverage is startlingly similar.

    “John Cena will be fighting the fight of his career this Sunday! However will he manage to defeat the evil CM Punk?”

    That’s the story as told from the front. From the back? Well, at that point, it becomes *VERY* interesting to hear that one guy or the other was overheard mocking Seamus and this news made it to Seamus’s best friend HHH who merely happens to be married to the Head Booker.

    It’s the Marks who read the stories told from the front. It’s the smarts who read the stories from the back. (But, really, the smarts are the biggest marks of all.)Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Jaybird so you watch Southpark? Their episode on pro-wrestling had me rolling in the aisles.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        Er… no. We got rid of cable a while back and I go over to a friend’s on Monday nights (he makes dinner, I make dessert) for Monday Night Raw and we’ve been doing that since, I wanna say, the Montreal Screwjob.

        I don’t watch South Park.
        I just watch wrestling.

        (Hey! Sunday Night at Kelly O’Brien’s! They name each of their sandwiches after a football team and my favorite is The Viking. It’s an 8-ounce steak on a roll. It’s to die for. The Royal Rumble will be on half of the dozen big screen televisions. Be there or be wondering where the hell everybody else is.)Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          No worries. It may not be your thing. They essentially compared it to Shakespearean era theater and also had a shout out to wrestling (the actual sport). It probably would be difficult to explain in text, but it was damn funny.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            I think of a world where Shakespeare is middlebrow and I think I’d like to move there.

            I wouldn’t compare to Shakespeare as much as to participatory melodrama (nod to Transplanted Lawyer) with the tiniest drop of the mystery plays.

            Then again, if I went back to Shakespearean times and took in a play, I may be surprised to find that it’s not a bunch of bewigged aristrocrats but a horde of unwashed masses who just got back from watching a bear in a pit kill a couple of pit bulls. (Even though I know that the audiences of Shakespeare’s plays were a horde of unwashed masses who just got back from watching a bear in a pit kill a couple of pit bulls.)Report

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