Any of you folks watch the Bob Costas "town meeting"-style fiasco last night in which a Pulizer prize-winning author with a blog-style name (Buzz Bissinger) unleashed a torrent of anger and abusive rhetoric at sports blogger Will Leitch, taking him to task for the evils and destruction that will be visited upon the entire field of sports reporting as a result of the uneducated and unskilled rantings of the unwashed public having louder voices than his compatriots, thanks to the home computer and the trendy new venue we all call blogging?
*Stops to take in air*
Bissinger lambasted Leitch on live television, and quoted at length and verbatim from the comments section of the fan-style Web site Leitch edits. His mission, presumably, was to point out that the unvetted thoughts of readers were not only classless but also debased the integrity of the media as a whole.
It was ugly.
I don't usually watch much sports television let alone sports commentary, but I had a hard time NOT watching the segment.
As someone who has thrown about my own tale of woe with respect to the decline of journalism, I couldn't help but recognize this Buzz fellow as a man who only sees an industry in danger of collapse, and who views himself perhaps, not as a passanger on a sinking ship but as one of the last, true sailors willing to go down to a watery grave if need be. The Hey Day is over.
I can't help but think, though, that Bissinger hit the airwaves swinging at the wrong guy.
He should have landed a punch or two in Costas' direction. Or maybe at one of the industry fat cats who pay his own salary. Maybe he should have sucker punched one of the same folks who started dumbing down the news when they voted to go for public offerings and promised shareholders 30 percent returns.
He should have gone a few rounds with the folks at the helm who, for the sake of saving money, cut spending on reporting staff and started developing infotainment. He should have taken to task the folks with the ratings meters who became successful in making entertainment look important. The people who saw dollar signs through gotcha journalism.
I believe Mr. Bissinger is mistaken when he said blogs are all about hatred and misinformation. I mean, Fox News certainly doesn't have ANY of THAT in its FAIR AND BALANCED reportage now does it?
It would be equally misguided to think news outlets such as the New York Times and The New Republic are merely rags of fabricated information. And yet, shit does happen, though, doesn't it?
Bloggers didn't cause the demise of the journalism. The industry started the mortal spiral at its own hand. All you need to do is watch the segment that followed, the one on how paid and educated sports journalists are seen by players as smarmy and disingenuous characters. You will see that a durable press card is the least of the industry's troubles.
In this particular horserace the winner will end up being the one who makes money. Period. And bloggers haven't pulled into the lead just yet. News outlets are still making money even if they're happily telling you they're dying. Bloggers? Some make cash, that's true, but most have day jobs.