Thursday, May 01, 2008

Journalists vs. Bloggers, round ∞

After watching some of the Bob Costas hosted town hall I had recorded (Hey, I was watching the Red Wings!), and turned off in disgust over the misinformation and clichés being thrown about blogs, bloggers, and their readership, while Will Leitch was being kneecapped by a raving lunatic, a few thoughts came to mind...

1. Mitch Albom, in the sports talk radio segment, was talking about standards and ethics? Please. Albom talking about ethics is comparable to me talking about religion. We really don't have much to do with the other.

This is a columnist who crossed a picket line 7 weeks into a bitter, year and a half long, newspaper strike, but had the gall to call out Ben Wallace for not being loyal over signing a Bulls free agent contract.

This is a columnist who blatantly fabricated a story, yet got nothing more than a slap on the hand by the Free Press. They would never actually can their star columnist for what normally would be a fireable offense to most writers. Yet Albom, the bastion of integrity, deigned to be a moral compass when it came to the University of Michigan hiring a football coach.

Speaking of Michigan, the Little Fella wrote the fabulous fiction masquerading as journalism called "Fab Five." Albom then thought he could make up for what he glossed over in the book by asking Chris Webber to come clean 15 YEARS LATER.

Ethics, smethics.

2. As for Michael Wilbon's going on about bloggers and their lack of credentials, I didn't know you needed any in order to give an opinion. I can't give an educated opinion because I didn't take journalism classes in college? Even though that opinion is coming from someone who watches more games, does more research, and writes more about the subject than the vast majority of columnists ever do.

Just look at the Little Fella's output. Why should I take his point of view seriously when he's not watching every game? Hell, how could he, as Albom's likely spending more time in Hollywood and New York, pumping out short, sappy novels designed to become saccharine screenplays, taking meetings with big media, being one of the "Gasbags" (Wilbon's word, not mine...Though I do agree) on ESPN and going to the bank.

Most of the bloggers I know do watch every game. Because we didn't witness it from the press box, while stuffing our mouth full of hot dogs and donuts from a free buffet, doesn't make our OPINION any less valid.

As for Wilbon's "I want to know where's it coming from" crack, that's easily remedied. Just read the damn blog! You only need to read a few of any blogger's posts to see if they bring a valid point of view. It doesn't take long to figure out if a blogger is capable of putting 2 coherent sentences together, making cogent points and spewing logical, if sometime knee-jerk, opinions. Problem solved. I didn't need to take journalism classes to figure it out...

3. Why all the confusion by the likes of Costas and the angry, crazy old coot, Buzz Bissinger, between a blog's content, and the comments? This isn't the first time I've seen this silly, under researched mistake made by big media. They tend to lump weblogs, weblog comments, message boards, fan websites, and anything else sports related on the internet, together as this evil, job threatening entity known as "Blogs."

The blogosphere is full of so many subsets, with such a massive variety of styles, I'm not surprised the very old media guard only bother to check out the 900 pound gorillas of the blogging world, and conclude every single, solitary blog must be the same. In their cloistered world, "All sports blogs = Deadspin."

If they did the same when writing a story, just skimming the surface, and not delving deeper...Oh, wait...

As for Deadspin, their influence in the blogosphere, and sports in general, is undeniable. Though Leitch and crew often do set the internet agenda, many bloggers, including myself, don't agree with everything they write. The comments section is a pissing match of oneupmanship. They can be awful lowbrow, profane and misogynistic. But you can't deny the site is well written, smart and often damn funny.

Then again, not everyone agrees with everything I write, and I can be as lowbrow, profane and misogynistic as anyone on the web. (Well, not KSK. --Link is EXTREMELY NSFW-- They're in a league of their own) God knows how much traffic Deadspin has sent my way over the past 2+ years, and it's really appreciated. Deadspin has helped many a blogger get noticed. Which is why the attack on Leitch so angered the blogosphere, as it felt as if we were all being attacked. One of our own was under fire, and if there is one thing sports bloggers do well, it's circle the wagons.

4. I'm not scared of the dark. I'm not scared of the boogyman. I'm not scared of monsters living under my bed. I'm scared to death Buzz Bissinger is going to kill me in my sleep. I'm thinking he's bringing Jerry Green with him...

What's even scarier is I'll be easy for the pissed off old loons to find, as I'll be in my mother's basement in my underwear.

5. On the flip side of the MSM vs. sports blogs argument was the absolute pleasure it was appearing on WDET's "Detroit Today," and speaking with host Craig Fahle. We 4 bloggers were treated with respect, and asked pertinent questions, while Craig showed a genuine interest in what we write about and in our opinions. Same goes for dealing with WDFN, who have embraced the Detroit blogosphere, seeing not the enemy, but a valuable resource for promotion and content.

In the end, after all the commotion of the past couple of days, nothing is going to change in the battle between "Journalists" and "Bloggers." The MSM will continue to either deride or ignore the internet revolution, at their peril. We bloggers will continue to rail against the MSM, popping off at any genuine or perceived slight.

This latest controversy will soon blow over. All will be as it was, both groups eying each other warily. Till the next insult is lobbed, and all the righteous indignation will come to the fore again. It's all becoming white noise.


  1. Fair is fair. Maybe we should judge newspaper sportswriters by the quality of the comments they attract. The Free Press seemingly discourages anyone with a triple digit IQ or high school composition skills from commenting on their website.

  2. No kidding, Dex! One of the reasons I stopped doing a comment of the day was my tiring of having to wade the moronic and racist posts left by illiterate mouth breathers with an internet connection.

    In the MSM's mind, they somehow equate those idiots to bloggers.

  3. The stench of fear radiates from the MSM. Newspaper circulation is dropping like Pat Ewing's pants in the Gold Club and local TV news is hacking away at sports a little more every year. The MSM is reacting like a child because it doesn't know what to do about the good blogs stealing its audience.