Dumb and Damien
The Score takes a look at the “battle” between NHL reporters and bloggers. Its a fun piece, mostly because the bloggers come across so well and because Damien Cox comes across as such a doofus.
Here is what Damien had to say about Tyler’s Colin Campbell scoop:
Should we not ask them for comment and to explain? Is it possible that what somebody is saying about Colin Campbell may not exactly be the truth? If you are a person who wants to do that, all of a sudden you are protecting people. All of a sudden you are not being tough enough. And I just think that’s unfair. And I understand that’s part of what people who consider themselves outside the mainstream media want to portray themselves as tougher, nastier. I understand that that’s what they want to do, um, and to do it they try to tear down other people. And quite frankly that’s a waste of everybody’s time.
Tyler really didn’t say anything terrible about Colin Campbell. Colin Campbell wrote some emails that made him look really bad. All Tyler did was dig them up and publish them. Nobody thinks it is a bad thing to call Campbell and ask him for an explanation even though the emails speak for themselves. If Tyler had Campbell’s number, he might have done just that.
But it is a bad thing if a reporter does call Campbell, hears a weak explanation, and then decides there is no story. That is protecting Campbell because Dellow’s discovery is still a legitimate story even after hearing Campbell’s explanations. Damien Cox might accept those explanations because he knows Colin is a great guy, but most fans don’t accept them.
I’m happy to tear people like Damien Cox down because I think the mainstream media serves the sports fan very poorly. Why did the Star blow this email story? Why did Eagleson get away with his crimes for so long? Why did Gary Bettman’s lockout get coverage that could not have been more favourable if he had written it himself? Why did it take so long for the steroid scandal to explode in baseball? Are sports reporters incompetent or do they deliberately look the other way?
On bloggers being fans, Cox said this:
The basic tenet of sports journalism as long as I’ve been in it is “No cheering in the press box.” And some places literally have signs “No cheering in the press box.” If your primary function is to cheer for the team then you belong in the stands with the fan.
This is the basic tenet of sports journalism? No wonder sports journalism is such an oxymoron. First, bloggers are not in the press box. Second, bloggers are not journalists. Third, this is basically irrelevant. Who cares whether the reporter hopes the home side does well or not? What is the concern? That a reporter who is a fan will be too kind to the local heroes?
Bloggers are generally far harder on the home team than the so called objective media. Tyler Dellow is a big Oiler’s fan, but he has been as critical of Kevin Lowe as I have, and far more critical than anyone being paid to cover the team. Jim Matheson may not cheer in the press box, but he sure delivers a positive spin on everything Oiler management does.
Finally, I would not believe Cox if he declared that he did not care whether the Leafs win or lose. He may not cheer in the pressbox, but a good Leaf team would increase interest in the stories Cox writes and his job is a lot easier and a lot more pleasant when the team he covers does well. If he doesn’t want the Leafs to win, he’s nuts. Why is admitting this a violation of the principle tenet of sports journalism?
Here’s Cox on blogger responsibility and anonymity:
Part of what concerns me about what I see is that there is an irresponsibility and no consequences. I can say whatever I want about anybody and I don’t even have to put my name on it. I can’t see how that’s good.
I am very tired of this sort of unfounded accusation: I want a specific example of blogger irresponsibility. If Cox can’t produce any examples, why does it concern him? It wasn’t a blogger who declared Pat Burns was dead several weeks before he actually died. Were there consequences for that Damien Cox blunder?
That’s something I do hear from people who are bloggers as though what they’ve identified as the mainstream media, um, that somehow they want to suggest that these are all people who have been bought, who are protecting the establishment and are not to be trusted. That’s their schtick and I get it. And to the same extent they feel like they are outsiders and therefore they are the only honest people in the business.
The mainstream media markets the NHL and the NHL narratives. The league needs the media and the media needs the league. Surely there is no disputing this alignment of interests. Maybe Damien can ignore it, but I can’t pretend it does not affect the coverage.
On the idea that Damien Cox – and every other writer – has biases and an agenda:
When somebody says, like that guy [Tyler Dellow], something that is so ignorant and so misinformed and quite frankly so beneath anybody whose been in the business… to even respond to it… all I can really do is laugh.
An obvious truth is ignorant and misinformed? Is Cox stupid or is he being disingenuous?
I bet stupid.