Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The ESPN ombudsman is nothing more than window dressing

I was out all day, so I'm just now catching up with my RSS feeds. I'm seeing that one of the big stories in the blogosphere today is the latest article by the worldwide leader in sports' ombudsman, Le Anne Schreiber. She, as always, lowers the hammer upon the 4 letter network, calling them out on several issues. But one thing bothers me. Do the suits at the worldwide leader actually give two shits about her critiques?

My guess is no.

The ombudsman is nothing more than window dressing, something the 4 letter can point to, and say to the bloggers, media, and sports fans, "Hey, we hear your complkaints. See, we even have an ombudsman to help us self-police the network."

Self-police? More like the fox watching the hen house.

Every month, I see the sports blogosphere go ga-ga over the latest ombudsman column, and every month I continue to see the WWLiS act like the corporate monolith that it is, doing whatever the Hell they want, while the viewer's needs and complaints are ignored.

Why do I get the feeling that Schreiber's diatribes are brushed off by the ESPN execs as the rants of a cranky old ink-stained wretch who doesn't fit in their style over substance world?

Nothing ever really changes at ESPN. Sportscenter is still an unwatchable train wreck. They still pimp the sports (NASCAR) that they own the broadcast rights to, at the expense of those (The NHL) they don't. Clowns like Stuart Scott, Sean Salisbury and Chris Berman are still employed. They have play by play guys more concerned with the welfare of Britney Spears than what's happening on the field of play. They still claim to have "Exclusive" breaking news, though that news was actually broken first by other media entities. In the rush to get stories on the air, accuracy is often an afterthought.

I could go on, but as sports fans who have to go to the WWLiS to watch the games, you get my drift. You see the same never changing bullshit, day in, day out, that I do.

So I take everything the "ESPN ombudsman" says with a grain of salt. She'll continue to rightfully, and righteously, call out ESPN, and the suits will say, "That's nice, and we'll keep your column in mind, but first we have to do our latest bit of corporate synergy, and add The Rock to all of our programming for a day to promote his Disney flick. The sports fans will LOVE it! They love EVERYTHING we do! The ratings say so!"

It comes down to this...If ESPN believes that something will get ratings, help with corporate synergy, and make money, they will do it.

The ombudsman be damned.

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