Sep
08
2014

Anonymous Sourcing and the Ghost Threat

Bradley Center (cc photo: Jeramey Jannene/Wikimedia)

The use of unnamed sources is widespread, even in places where it's not necessary. But allowing an unnamed source to levy a threat, without having to put on the record who's making the threat, is new to the sports venue game.

Feb
12
2014

Michael Sam and the NFL's LGBT Makeover

Sports Illustrated featuring Michael Sam

Michael Sam may have just announced to the sports world that he's a gay man, but it seems that it's the NFL itself that may be forced to come out of its closet.

Jan
27
2014

Richard Sherman's Winning Rant

Richard Sherman

An interesting thing happened the last few days: A football player was attacked by the same, predictable racism that athletes usually have to endure when they speak out…and he won. Well, he won the game. His team, the Seattle Seahawks, are going to the Super Bowl and (despite a $7,875 fine from the National Football League) an epic post-game rant might net him millions in endorsements. Richard Sherman's words sent football fans running to social media to voice their approval and disapproval. The disapproval, not surprisingly, was soaked in racism. Deadspin (1/19/14), a sports-oriented blog, chronicled some of the Net's […]

Aug
07
2012

War Propaganda, Olympics-Style

NBC's Olympics broadcast last night included a profile of Grenadian runner Kirani James. The small island is peaceful now, viewers learned, thanks in no small part to Ronald Reagan's decision to invade. Here's the clip: (UPDATE: As you can see, someone at NBC is keeping tabs on YouTube, and they've taken this down twice. You can watch the segment– along with a shampoo ad– at the NBC site.) The U.S. invasion is described as an attempt to "put down an Communist coup and restore the Grenadian government"; the broadcast goes on to refer to the U.S. "liberation" of the country. In […]

Aug
07
2012

Presidential Campaign as Olympics: Chuck Todd's Tired Routine

Coverage of national political campaigns is generally pretty bad–a parade of polls, horesrace analysis and fundraising tallies, with pundits doing their best at pretending they're campaign strategists. Can it actually get worse than that? Maybe. NBC reporter Chuck Todd made that case with a full page article in the Washington Post on August 5 that compared the Obama/Romney contest to Olympic gymnastics. The concept behind it is corny, but even Todd seems to think so. Apparently this is supposed to be, well, kind of fun: "At NBC, to say we have Olympics fever is an understatement," he writes at the top. […]

Jan
30
2012

Shameless Self-Promotion on NBC Nightly 'News'

No comment. NBC Nightly News (1/29/12) LESTER HOLT: And a sign of the times tonight on a football field in Hawaii. The NFL is relaxing its strict social media policy and allowing players to use Twitter to interact with fans during the Pro Bowl in Honolulu. There'll be one designated computer on each sideline, no smartphones allowed. Players will be tweeting with the hashtag probowl. And by the way, you can catch the game coming up next, here on NBC.

Dec
09
2011

Freedom of the Press–When You Own One

"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."– A.J. Liebling Rob Davis of VoiceofSanDiego.org reports on the new owner of his local daily: Doug Manchester, the new owner and publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune, wants his new media outlet to be a booster. The newspaper's new CEO, John Lynch, made that clear in an interview with me after Manchester bought the paper November 17. Lynch said he wanted the newspaper's sports page to advocate for a new Chargers stadium and call out opponents as obstructionists. He's since revisited those remarks, telling a Union-Tribune reporter that […]