NYTimes – Dec 22, 2004, a little irony

Did anyone notice the irony of the side by side articles on the front page of the sports section, national edition ?

The lead story was from Selena Roberts, “The Name Game in Town:Blame the Messenger“. Next to it was the story on the AP pulling its media poll from the BCS bowl ranking formula.

In Roberts’ story, she discusses her perspective of how Isiah Thomas, Chad Pennington and Vince Carter have a persecution complex, basically blaming the media for negative coverage. She then asks the questions. “Do they become what they read ? Or do they read what they become ?”

Its an interesting question. Beneath it lies the question. Do reporters report facts, or do they try to impact or influence the subject of their reports ? If reporters only reported facts, the answer to her questions would be easy. You are what you are. What you read and what you have become should be the same.

Here comes the irony.

In their request to have the BCS remove their poll from their ranking system, theAP, in a letter sent to the commissioner of the BCS said that the “continued use of the poll interfered with the ability to produce the poll, undermined the integrity and validity of the poll and harmed the APs reputation”

I interpret this to mean that the AP seems to think that the participants in their news media poll try to influence the outcome of the BCS rather than objectively rank Div 1 college football teams.

So Selena, how is it that the news and sports media cant objectively rank college football teams, yet are the purest of messengers when it comes to reporting on sports figures ?

Or could it be that maybe the messenger has earned more than a little blame ?

I think the AP got it right.

Let me just add one little factoid that is applicable and interesting. Of EVERY sports story I have EVER been interviewed for a daily publication, only one single publication has ever had a fact checker call or email me to audit whether or not my comments were accurate and in context. That publication is USA Today.

17 thoughts on “NYTimes – Dec 22, 2004, a little irony

  1. I’ve always liked the USA Today. I believe they were rated as one of the most accurate for war coverage recently. I have totally written off the New York Times when it comes to getting objective information.

    Comment by Rob Thrasher -

  2. Sonny & Matt are a perfect example of what this blog is about. If I may read between the lines Sonny voted against Bush and made it a point to point out that the article did not mention all the people who stayed, while Matt made it a point to take that next step and say people were jeering, sitting down, uninterested at the political sentiments put forth by Vedder…I would say its pretty obvious that he is a red-stater. anytime you get down to it, the media/writers do put their spin on a story and a quote can be easily twisted into something it may or may not have intended to be.

    its a good reason why when i do an interview I put up the raw audio for people to hear, rather than try and put my spin on something. i try and just have a conversation with the artist and try and get through the standard “image” responses.

    i find it odd that USA Today is the only publication checking facts.

    Comment by Scott -

  3. (sorry, make that ‘audibly hear the JEERING not cheering)

    Comment by Matt -

  4. I remember that concert.. That was the one where Ed “Raging Hypocrite” Vedder pretended to impale bush on a mic stand, and then tore apart a mask.. So a gaggle of fans left, and many audibly booed.

    Wow.. You’re telling me with 19,993 people cheering loudly, and only 7 upset, and I could still audibly hear the cheering on the real video clip I listened to, Sonny B?

    Say, you’re not part of the AP are you?

    (By the way, when I went to P.J. in my home state, during Bush Leaguer {and most of the new songs, as a matter of fact] I couldn’t help but notice how quiet it got, and how many people sat down and talked amongst themselves. Despite what you want to think, and want to lead people to believe, there isn’t a vast majority opposed to this administration..)

    Comment by Matt -

  5. Reporters would not be human if they did not have any biases. When they get into trouble is when they try to hide their biases and pretend to report the news “objectively”. This phenomenon is not restricted to sportswriters.

    Comment by Ben Fulton -

  6. If there is no real difference in what most news papers and tv stations sale, why do certain newspapers and tv stations have a competitive advantage like fox news, or ESPN, the New York Times? These entities do not create value for customers and sustainable advantage for themselves merely by offering a variety of news stories. Everyone offers the same same stories.

    However newspapers and tv stations offer reports in distinct ways. There is a fortune and great competitive advantage buried in this distinction. The goal of any strategy is building distinct approaches to distinct groups of customers.

    Hasn’t all of your businesses functioned on the basis of distinction? Or, were they truly orginal ideas?

    Comment by sterling.wright@comcast.net -

  7. Nice blog Mark. Bumped into it yesterday. It is awesome how you have taken advantage of this direct relationship to people. Keep on doing what you do. I have great respect… even though I remain a loyal Rocket fan from Houston.

    Comment by David D -

  8. I do love irony! Sad part is I doubt 90% of the population would catch the irony of it.

    Reminds me of when Ed Vedder of Pearl Jam ripped the media for reporting “that 7 people left a concert after the singer said disparaging remarks about President Bush”.. the article failed to mention that 19,993 people screamed and cheered the disparaging remarks.

    The media is always going to report what they think the majority of their readership wants to hear… even if it means making a story when there isn’t one.

    Thanks Mark for sharing, and thanks for letting everyone know about USA Today.. I always thought they did a bit better job than most.

    Comment by Sonny B -

  9. Although I didn’t get a chance to get all the benefits like allot of employees at that were their when I was. I was terminated for some questionable reasons. That is the past though, I have always sat back and thought to myself over the years the opportunity that I had at Broadcast, but I understood one thing.

    Comment by runescape money -

  10. I would say its pretty obvious that he is a red-stater. anytime you get down to it, the media/writers do put their spin on a story and a quote can be easily twisted into something it may or may not have intended to be.

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    Comment by Larry Williams -

  12. Hello Mr. Cuban,

    I was browsing through the Mavs site and seen you had this blog here! I didn’t figure I wouldn’t have another way to speak with you in person. I worked at Audionet.com and moved over to Broadcast.com and worked hard and put a lot of hours and sweat into learning technology their. Although I didn’t get a chance to get all the benefits like allot of employees at that were their when I was. I was terminated for some questionable reasons. That is the past though, I have always sat back and thought to myself over the years the opportunity that I had at Broadcast, but I understood one thing. How to move on and make money at other start-up/Internet companies using what I learned at Broadcast. I learned how to mention I worked there and how Executives would jump to give me a job.
    Moving on! And to the point! Mr. Cuban I work with three gentlemen in Dallas and Atlanta. I see that you have a movie production company, so I thought I would take my turn at your undivided attention to see if we can submit our Urban Feature films to you for a possible production deal. Urban films are films that don’t need a huge budget to be successful. Since I know you are a person that maybe will give someone an opportunity at success I would like to know if I can send a script to you for consideration.

    A former Employee

    Employee # 462-**-***0

    Comment by Larry Williams -

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    Comment by dave -

  14. Oddly enough, Marc Stein wrote a great column (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=stein_marc&id=1961438)
    on the news media’s persecution of Kobe Bryant, something I believe Mr. Cuban himself has touched on a few times.

    Sports fans and journalists always tend to be overwhelmingly fickle and pessimistic, continually thinking that their team can do no right and they are always headed in the wrong direction. I guess that is just the reality of some sports fans; not to look at things objectively or even be positive about the current situation, but to just brace yourself for more and more disappointment. That’s why I could never really relate to half of the people who follow sports, nor can I talk to many of them without getting into arguments.

    Take a look at Eagles fans this year. They lose Terrell Owens for the NFC playoffs and what happens – all of a sudden their dreams are crushed and they feel they can’t get to the Super Bowl. Please – there is so little competition in the NFC this year that it should be cakewalk for any Eagles team to come out of there a winner. Now, this isn’t basing an opinion on what Andy Reid has done the past few weeks (kill his teams confidence), but they still have the talent on both sides of the football to beat the Rams, Seahawks, Falcons, Pakcers, and Vikings on any given Sunday.

    Thanks Mark, and I look forward to posting more in your journal!

    Comment by John Henry -

  15. I didn’t vote this year because I wasn’t educated enough to make a decision, but millionare rock stars have no business ever commenting on anything political. Pearl Jam can stick it up their butt… by the time Bush is out of office, those guys will have enjoyed 8 years of his tax breaks for the rich. These guys aren’t exactly the voice of the people, and the media will spin in whatever way they think people want it to be spun.

    Comment by Eric M. -

  16. Mark, nice one you have here. As an NBA fan from the Philippines, this, I think, is the closest I could get at the action… interacting with and reading the thoughts of an owner of an actual NBA team.

    For quite some time now, you have been hitting on the sports media for putting ‘twists’ and ‘color’ on their stories. This somehow bothered me since I myself is a sportswriter.

    I mean, do people see mediamen covering sports this badly? If that’s the case, I should be shifting careers as early as now.

    This I brought up with a fellow Journalist major and she told me that it’s the sportswriters get REVERED (up to the point that they are almost treated like celebrities) in this country while the newswriters get the press release trash right from the presidential spokesperson.

    Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. I think it’s a way for us sports journalists to realize that our work is being recognized and appreciated.

    But she does commend that the American press makes the best feature articles. As for me, last night’s scores is already enough news.

    Comment by JP -

  17. Every poll ever taken in the history of news is based on opinion. Some people like to think their opinion is “only” right. Media today is over draught with opinion the facts got lost a long time ago. Lots of people are just plain pissed that Cal (UC Berkeley to non-Californians) isn’t in the Rose Bowl because they placed fifth in the poll versus 4th in the BCS Stats.

    Comment by Michele Berisford -

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