Sports Media Musings: Bow ties and Alibis

“It’s a person. A doctor pronounces her dead, not the news.”

- Newsroom

Yeah, I thought the sanctimonious feel of “Newsroom” sucked, too. But, given the Manti Te’o saga, doesn’t it just feel appropriate today?

Here are a few links worth passing along, then, I promise, we’ll never speak of this again. (That’s totally a lie, we’re totally speaking of this again, but not at the length we did yesterday, because BREAKING — Boston isn’t a college town. We figured this out the hard way when we wrote 1,200 words on the Bruce Feldman vs. ESPN feud. “Bruce who?” Exactly.)

Deadspin’s editor-in-chief explains editing, reporting behind Manti Te’o storyTommy Craggs, Deadspin’s Editor-in-Chief, talked to Poynter about his editorial process behind the story, taking a pot shot at The Boston Globe, which promptly pointed out Deadspin wasn’t known for its journalistic standards in their recap of the Te’o scandal.

“Whatever. Why should I care what a craven, slipshod outfit like the Boston Globe thinks of my ‘journalistic standards’?”

I find it curious any major outlet would take shots at Deadspin during their victory lap. Alas, when you’ve run some of the content Deadspin has published in its existence, you’re inviting that tagline. I know Deadspin; my dad probably doesn’t — and that stigma (appropriately) goes on their gravestone.

The Lies He Told — A few readers emailed me about Grantland’s silence on the Te’o scandal. Look, ESPN was scooped and (presumably) embarrassed, but Grantland’s delayed reaction doesn’t warrant harsh critique here. Grantland, at its core, is reactive. They don’t break stories; they react. Bill Simmons and Co. published a (predictably) excellent and (predictably) verbose email exchange between Malcolm Gladwell and Chuck Klosterman by mid-afternoon yesterday. Both writers are true heavy hitters. And while it’s confounding the two scribes actively circumvent the real question (“Did Te’o know?”), each raise a variety of other questions related to the story. I enjoyed it. But I’m the kind of guy that enjoys this style of writing — it’s certainly not for everyone.

Did ESPN Know About the Manti Te’o Hoax 10 Days Ago? – The Big Lead has sources that claim ESPN knew about the Te’o scandal BEFORE the National Championship game. Did the WorldWide Leader hold out for an exclusive interview? Or, perhaps more nefarious, did they hold out to ensure strong ratings for the BCS? (The latter seems very unrealistic; all things considered,  this scandal boosts intrigue, instead of hurting it.)

Will Leitch, co-founder and editor emeritus of Deadspin, wrote two thoughtful pieces for Sports On Earth yesterday. “Print the Legend”  is about chicanery at play and HOW Te’o’s fictitious girlfriend (that still feels weird typing) could get passed factcheckers; meanwhile, his second piece coincides with the theory I wrote about earlier this week — we want these stories to exist (and matter) because sports HAS TO MATTER.

OK, we’re done. SPORTS are being played Sunday, gentleman. SPORTS.

Oh yeah, nothing on cycling or Lance Armstrong, because who really cares about cycling?

(We’re kidding.)

(Not really).

  • http://www.bostonsportsmediawatch.com/ bsmfan

    On Lance, since Te’o pushed Lance to “stale” status. I watched 15 minutes before it was too much to handle.

    1.) We knew he lied. We knew what was coming. Was there something shattering coming? Nope.
    2.) Lance and Oprah are friends. Oprah is NOT a good interviewer, despite the media showering her with Pulitzers this morning.

    • John

      Totally agree. Oprah did not do a great job with the interview.

  • http://twitter.com/DryHeave1 DryHeave

    “then, I promise, we’ll never speak of this again”….THANK YOU….great, “Patriots Friday” on D&C this morning (OK, for the 10 minutes I listened)…but for that 10 minutes it was, “Armstrong/Te’o Friday”….I’m gonna go out on a limb and figure they did it for 4 hours….ahhh, what the hell? Patriots in the AFC Championship Game has gotten to be so passe’

    • http://www.bostonsportsmediawatch.com/ bsmfan

      I don’t hold them culpable because every other radio station I’ve turned on, across the country, has done the same thing. I can’t think of another time/event that pushed the NFL playoffs this far back in the priorities.

      • http://twitter.com/DryHeave1 DryHeave

        True, but Felger started off his show mocking the furor over “Armstrong/Te’o” then got right into Patriots talk… the gripe I have with him is, he got right into Patriots talk. “fear the Ravens, FEAR THE RAVENS, DAMN YOU!!”

  • ben

    I think you have the Globe-Deadspin timeline reversed.

  • http://www.bostonsportsmediawatch.com/ bsmfan

    From Reiss’s Sunday column: http://es.pn/XrvOZI

    “6. The final tally this week from a media perspective: The Patriots had 16 news conferences and six conference calls leading into the AFC Championship Game, with 16 different coaches and players participating. On top of that, almost all players were made available for interviews in the locker room. That’s a lot of quotes. I also thought it was interesting that Ravens Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed elected not to do interviews this week, which would have raised a firestorm in New England had two high-profile players done the same thing.”

    Always a great read but, wow. Did we hear once from any national, let alone the folks who love to bark at the moon when BB does anything? Nope and nope. Imagine if the Patriots didn’t make Brady/Hernandez/Meyo available? You’d have media members demanding congressional hearings. Mike Florio and Bert Breer would be your Woodward and Bernstein.