06 August 2009

Truth to Power

ESPN can be great, but there is also a lot to criticize. SI's Frank Deford contemplates an ESPN run at the Olympics and doesn't like what he sees.

It's a fair piece, and fair criticism, especially the following:

For instance, the network has a very unbecoming habit of subtly
claiming it alone uncovers all the news. Typically, a valid report will come
out, but hours later, ESPN will declare that it has "confirmed" such-and-such.
That kind of tacky stuff. Exclusive: ESPN hereby confirms that it is
Wednesday.Or a couple of weeks ago, ESPN initially refused to report the news
that was headlined everywhere else, that Pittsburgh's Super Bowl-winning
quarterback, Ben Roethlisburger, had been accused of sexual assault. The
network's excuses were too noble by half, because there's a double standard, and
ESPN is known to cozy up to the very superstars it purports to cover.Just
suppose that CNN regularly had cutesy commercials for CNN starring Nancy Pelosi, John McCain and Rahm Emanuel. Well, that's the equivalent of what ESPN regularly does with top sports personalities. The practice is, simply, a journalistic
disgrace, and, because ESPN is so powerful, by association it diminishes the
integrity of all sports journalism. ESPN does so much quality work, but at a
certain point, in whatever field, if you become omnipotent, and if you are
secure, you stop being a conceited smarty-pants and start exhibiting a measure
... of grace.

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