Friday Fire: What is the Responsibility of the Media?

Those of you who are doing the right thing in journalism don’t read any more because this piece is not for you. Those of you on the other hand who could care less what happens to a family after you break a story, this is for you.

You sure did miss a lot of good stories over the years.

This is not a rant…this is not a whine. Make the distinction.

I can care less about what Tiger does, so why should you?

Does the media have a job? Have you ever heard someone in the media criticizing the field? Sup with that? Why are journalists allowed to crack jokes on athletes but not the other way around in ways that will affect history?

Media is generalized because the field is easy to place in a box. Is tabloid journalism replacing truth? Does this have every single outlet in mind? Of course not…just the ones who say the public has the right to know despite the bones flying out of their mouths at every instance.

The hypocrites. The ones who seem to drive the base.

Does the media have a responsibility to anyone but themselves? Is their sole aim to make money for the outlet they represent?

With that financial aim in mind, how the hell can an outlet be about responsible journalism?

Why do stories past and present get lost because of money?

Why does some media outlets go after some athletes and forget about others?

Why is a Black athlete’s transgressions covered with much more visceral antipathy than their White counterparts?

For a while there, outlets were going hard on the brothas…real hard. Don’t get in trouble you say?

No crime is White?

Ok…

Why do you NEVER see White athlete perp walks?

Why aren’t organizations publicly flogged?

That’s your meal ticket huh?

You wouldn’t dare would you?

What outlets are credible? Which are not?

Why is bad news good news for journalism?

Absurd. Cowards. Cheaters. Snakes.

Why wasn’t Michael Vick’s return to Atlanta covered nationally?  No one would have watched that game?

What happened to media creativity?

What really happened with Ben Roethlisberger?

Was Steve McNair really that bad of a guy?

When did Tiger Woods become Britney Spears?

Tiger messed up, so I can’t defend him, but I will also not feed into what has already been said about him. His life is none of my g’damn business and neither is it yours. I will admit, I got into that crazy twitter foolishness after the story broke and it felt straight demonic. My bad.

I do these just to highlight what is now. There are a lot of things suspect when speaking of Woods.

I’m about to TSF overload your mind not for now, but for time.

You all know, we’ve done many posts on the subject (what I can find): here, here (digging the snow), here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and last but not least, here.

Think about how the sports media covered the steroids issue and how it evolved.

Wasn’t the ONLY target Barry Bonds initially before FACTS were presented…forcing a media shift that subsequently included Mark McGuire and Roger Clemens because it had to?

None of these dudes were the only ones. How does Bud Selig escape scrutiny?

How will this era be remembered a mere 40 years from now?

How does Bud Selig have a job but an offensive genius like Dennis Green can’t keep one?

In the future, when folks begin to dig through the myriad of outlets searching for the truth, what stories will they find regarding steroids?

Will sites like Edge of Sports, Temple3, TSF and SOMM (there are others obviously) be referenced?

Will it be all about ESPN?

How about the Game of Shadows? What effect will the book have on history?

Will the Yankees 27th title be seen as tainted down the road because of ARod’s spring training admission?

How about Steeler seventies?

Why isn’t Jack Johnson being pardoned?

Do you even remember why you don’t like Albert Belle?

Why did Kirk Gibson win MVP over Darryl Strawberry when he missed a whole lot of time that season?

Why did Mo Vaughn win over Albert Belle again? Just because you considered him an asshole? What does that have to do with history? Why should you be history’s judge? Who do you think you are?

Of course I have my opinion of these questions but I have to ask a few questions of you first.

I do this for time so these pieces (and your comments) are available later on. It’s not about now.

Why are the off the chart exploits of some kicked under the rug only to reappear after an athlete dies? Folks act like cats like this never exist. Yeah I’m talking about Buck O’Neil, Oscar Charleston and so many others.

When will Black writers get it and understand writing against their soul flow is killing them?

If Blacks don’t write it, it will not be written and history will see things differently as a result. Do you care? I’m not speaking exclusively to Blacks, I’m talking to everyone. Do you want the truth or not? Get some brothas up on the wall then. Get some Black writers in there so there can be an objective view of whatever is happening. It’s not just about you.

Black kids matter just as much as any other race of youngsters.

Our future is decided by our past.

Why is Brandon Jennings so good when most of media hung him out to dry out of love for Ricky Rubio?

Don’t you see athletes moving away from conventional media? Why do you think that is happening?

Why are some Black athletes more comfortable with White media despite what could be facing them around the corner?

Are all Black writers knowledgeable? Hell no. I’ve criticized a few in my time.

Why isn’t Vince Young’s championship winning performance (over 200 yards passing and 200 rushing including the deciding touchdown on 4th down on the last play) considered the best of all time in any sport? Didn’t he lose just two games in college? What about Tommie Frazier? How many games did he lose? Do you remember what team he played for or is all about Tebow?

Will Tim Tebow and Tyler Hansbrough be considered the NCAA GOAT because of all the coverage they received?

Isn’t Terelle Pryor playing in a BCS bowl? Do you hear the crickets? Isn’t he just a sophomore?

Why wasn’t the Texas/Nebraska result more scrutinized? The booth sure rang down mighty quickly. Lawrence kicked a boss field goal though didn’t he?

Remember those two plays…Tampa/Rams regular season (MNF) and again in the playoffs? What was that about?

Do you think the NFL would have been comfortable with two Black quarterbacks playing in the Super Bowl that season.

Why does the media stick its foot in coaching moves and quarterback controversies?

Why did CC Sabathia fall so low in this year’s Cy Young balloting? Didn’t be defeat Justin Verlander head to head (Justin finished ahead of CC)? Wasn’t the big fella a huge reason why the Yankees won?

Why did Brett Favre and TIm Duncan become the default MVP choices?

Why didn’t Isiah Thomas win MVP?

Based on Steve Nash criteria, how about Webber?

What really happened in that Lakers/Kings series?

What was the real reason for the tuck rule?

Why did baseball want both MVP ballots to be unanimous in a year where Ryan Howard had his usual season and went to the World Series?

Why isn’t Donovan McNabb championed because he does NOT get into trouble off the field and is consistent over time on it? Will his relationship with Philly’s media keep him out of the HOF despite the numbers he will surely amass? There are many quarterbacks who had less success than Donovan enshrined right? Why does he get so much criticism and a guy like Drew Brees…who really hasn’t done anything yet team wise…is slobbered over? Add Carson Palmer in there as well.

Why does Philly love Allen Iverson but essentially hates Donovan McNabb?

In the future, will Magic Johnson and Larry Bird be seen as the best of all time because of all the coverage they received before the digital age hit and after?

How in the hell did Steve Nash win two MVP awards in a league that has Kobe Bryant and LeBron James? Writers were actually stating publicly he should be the MVP 10 games into the season both years?

Is Tiger Woods being molded into the next OJ Simpson? Is there a tinge of interracial hatred going on? Are some editors Jack Nicklaus fans and hell bent on making sure Tiger is media blasted into the abyss? Why is a sports star who committed adultery leading the planet in news coverage when there is so much more going on across the world? How many of you have committed adultery?

Do you know how many people are committing adultery this very second?

Why is it all about the men? Women don’t cheat?

Why do we judge these people as if we know them?

Why do we objectify athletes and celebrities as if they were paper cut outs?

What about their kids?

So because they make amazing amounts of money and you don’t that’s enough to slam athletes at every turn? Being born with talent is a curse?

Is it the public’s right to know?

Why?

What information do you personally want when you pick up a paper, turn on the radio or TV or click on a link?

What is too much?

Who is at fault when gossip leads to death? Don’t say it doesn’t.

Are tabloids necessary?

Where does TSF fit in?

Please be honest. Thanks and have a great Friday.

Here’s an interesting conversation I had earlier this morning on facebook with Cynthia Marshall, Maria Sommers, Dan E. Love and Justin Walsh:

Maria Amici Sommers:

Other people’s drama is not NEWS worthy.

Michael Tillery:

But do you watch it or turn it off?

Maria Amici Sommers

Off…..I have my own drama to deal with….other people’s crap doesn’t concern me. I want to know about issues that affect me…health care, taxes, war and whatever else will affect my 7 year-old daughter’s education…not who Cheeter Woods is banging…..really? ANOTHER weak unfaithful man is not news worthy.

Michael Tillery:

But he’s banging women right? Yes he is married but both sexes are at fault. (Tiger Tiger Woods ya’ll ;) Not to get sidetracked, I have to say the media is not our biggest problem its the mirror we peer into. It is the job of editors to package a product consumers will continue to come back for. I have a BIG problem with TMZ or any other outlet who gets in the way of life happening. Why has it come to this and what hope is there in an information based media if folk rather have the trash?

Maria Amici Sommers:

Trash is the correct term….a woman who doesn’t have enough respect for herself to find a man that is unattached is sad….to be blunt (since its after 9pm) dick is dick no matter how you slice it…..so its ALL about the $$. The Media is not the premier issue…its the fact that Americans do not see marriage as a spiritual commitment….its simply a financial situation that will get them to the next pay day….My question to you is…..will Tiger Wood’s infidelity pay my electric bill this month….I think not!

Michael Tillery:

Hell no and writing about it isn’t gonna pay mine either but some in the media would mad beg to differ. Why do you think people in general grab on to these stories? Why do we seem to judge others in more deep ways than we do ourselves. We feed the snake plates of media fakes when we do so which ultimately exacerbates legacy falsehoods. Do you see it that way from the media outside looking in?

Maria Amici Sommers:

The average person grabs on to this crap because they are not focusing on their true purpose……Most people are willing to “overlook” their own discretions in order to validate their own self worth……Media????? Don’t get me started on those clowns….like I’ve said before it’s all about the $$$.

Michael Tillery:

So when Tiger comes back, how should the media cover his first event?

Maria Amici Sommers:

Like the phenomenal professional athlete that he is. His personal life is of no consequence when it comes to placing a very tiny ball into a pretty small hole. Endorsements on the other hand are a completely different issue.

Dan E. Love:

The interwebs and television have really changed how the media covers news. Instead of being accurate, correct and credible, 99% of news outlets these days try to be “first” and realize there is more to gain by breaking “news” than being intelligent in how they cover celebrities. Sadly, the general public, for the most part, eats it up. Personally I could not care less about Tiger Woods’ personal life as long as it does not affect his play on the golf course. I don’t care about who Justin Timberlake or Jennifer Aniston is dating, but I guess a lot of people who buy magazines do. Maybe I’m old school in the respect that I don’t want to know my stars off the court/field/screen unless it affects the court/field/screen. One of the best things I read this year was SLAM’s feature on Carmelo Anthony a few months ago. The thing is, the piece revolved almost entirely around Anthony’s maturation off the court, however, after reading that, I KNEW ‘Melo was about to explode for a huge year in 09-10. These are the things I want to read. Not breaking “news” about the latest pornstar or waitress Tiger Woods is banging. I honestly don’t even find it interesting, surprising or worth discussing… I can rant all night. I hope I’m not too late to lend a helping opinion.

Dan E. Love:

Having said that, rumor has it that there are some fascinating off court/field stories about guys like A.I. that never came to light that could have done a great deal in explaining how their careers played out.. It’s a very fine line, and I suppose a story one reporter sees as relevant/newsworthy, another sees as gossip/trash.

Michael Tillery:

That’s not realistic. Can’t you see the incessant camera flash when he makes his first public statement? Reporters young and old, smart and dumb, hateful and fun will be there fighting for position…press cap, recorder with pen and pad in tow. They will ask questions people wanna know with dramatic thoughts of “you reap what you sow”, meat questions to sellout the next day edition, fill a week work of tabloid bs and also the questions that make middle America feel good about themselves…the history questions that will keep him in Jack’s rear view mirror no matter how many majors he wins. The questions will heighten in scale with aims of breaking Tiger down into another man’s Toby.

Michael Tillery:

Good points Dan. That last response was for Maria. Thanks.

Maria Amici Sommers:

The big question is….what will his next statement be? “I’m sorry for disgracing my family and my fans” or will it be a sell-out statement like. “I’m back to the world of Golf and I am here to be the best player I can be”. My opinion is that this man needs to take some time to focus on his wife and children…hasn’t he already made enough money? What will be his true legacy?

Maria Amici Sommers:

Dan….I’m surprised you could find anything worth reading on SLAM. Its seems as though the stuff that’s worth reading is buried so deep you need a treasure map to find it! ;)

Michael Tillery:

Hey…

Justin Walsh:

Are tabloids necessary? If we’re talking a tabloid FORMATTED newspaper? Yeah. If we’re talking the gossip rags of National Enquirer, those worthless OK and STAR mags and the like? HELL NO. That isht is not worth a damn. Is TSF necessary? Soul is needed in journalism Tillery, and you bring a surplus of it into a game filled with sallow skinned pricks that don’t follow their own ethics. TSF is that stuff, man.

Cynthia Marshall:

I presume you’re talking “news” media versus other: I want the truth with no “political” agenda connected to what is reported and what is avoided. I want no sensationalism and no gossip that is not truly “news.” I don’t want emotion, just the facts. I want truth without opinion UNLESS it is clear that I’m reading an OpEd piece. Too many outlets tangle news, OpEds, sensationalism and their own personal agendas. Mike….you are a gifted writer….keep it up.

Let me add…the news media are responding, often, in their way of reporting, to the lack of education of their listeners. I think that just dumbs down the next generation. Language and content has fallen down the tubes. And, sadly, it acts as a mold of sorts. With the apparent influence the media have on US citizens, I wish they would heighten expectations for their listeners in terms of worthy content and vocabulary, thus contributing to an expanded knowledge of our future generations.

Well said Cyndi. Thanks to all of you.

For the record, this is not. Just. About. Sports.

15 Responses to “Friday Fire: What is the Responsibility of the Media?”

  1. Matthew Fudge says:

    Unfortunately, the media aren’t being held to the same standards they place on athletes, which is why blogs such as deadspin.com and thebiglead.com are so important. They hold a mirror up to MSM’s bull.

  2. Okori Wadsworth says:

    I struggle with what to say and what to do here. To be clear…. I’ve never cheated on anyone. i hold no sympathy for Tiger Woods for his infidelities. However, with that said, could I care less? yup. My life is too busy and complicated to spend second 1 worrying about where Tiger did or did not dip his wick.

    but to you the media let me ask you one question: When is enough enough? Some of your brothers and sisters down the street broke this story, and instead of telling them that this is not the kind of scoop we want, you showed ass and ran out there like you had just discovered cold fusion with the words “We finally got him” on your lips. Did some of you do it because Tiger was short, cold, and brusque with you? Probably. Did some of you do it because you wanted to crack that perfect mystique? Probably. But do you know what the most logical explanation is, the only one that makes any kind of sense? You hate that Tiger represents one more sport taken out of your white grip.

    To be sure….. Basketball is gone, football is gone, Tennis is gone, Boxing is gone, and only overpriced equipment has saved baseball, that parochial bastion for rich racist southern white men, from being gone too. And now golf, even worse than baseball as being a bastion for rich racist southern white men, is gone. So you went after him. All he needed to do was give you a reason.

    And just think…. a meathead lifting freak figured this out. Imagine if someone who studied this all of their life got to you. What else would they find?

  3. Matthew Fudge says:

    Black writers won’t man up. They want to keep getting checks. Man, I miss Ralph.

  4. Tariq says:

    The responsibility of the media is to “manufacture consent” and further entrench existing power structures…. Oh, oh you meant the sports media…

    I don’t work in the field, and I haven’t done any research, but from the outside looking in, I would say that there is a “mainstream” media that isn’t necessarily motivated by racist ideals. Rather, this mainstream media strives to appeal to the broadest possible demographic by any means necessary. Now, usually, anything that is “mainstream” or has “broad” appeal isn’t necessarily good. For example, the books that are on the bestsellers list are generally crap. I mean, Dan Brown, John Grisham, et al are all terrible writers, but they have mass appeal. The same can be said for Britney Spears etc. And so, generally speaking, when I consume sports media, I can feel that its trying to attract me with sensationalism, with screaming heads on TV, with how fast they can break the “news.” Does race play a part in all this? Absolutely. But I don’t think race is the end-all be-all. To talk about race alone and to obscure everything else is, in my view, problematic. The media is having a field day because Tiger Woods is black, but they’re also having a field day because he’s Tiger Woods, the Biggest Athlete on The Planet (TM). And they’re also having a field day because the media is f*cking sick. And they’re also having a field day because PEOPLE ARE EATING IT UP. I personally don’t even know what’s going on with Tiger. I’m blocking out the whole story. I’m purposefully ignorant of the entire story. I refuse to consume that shopping-aisle sh*t.

    You know what I want from my sports media? I want three things:

    1- If and when possible, give me access to information I wouldn’t have access to otherwise (e.g. Stephen A. Smith breaking the news that AI was going back to the Sixers)

    2- Give me intelligent, entertaining analysis of the sports I follow (e.g. Charles Barkley on TNT)

    3- Above all, don’t be biased in your analysis. You can say you root for Team A, but don’t be a homer. I smell that sh*t a mile away.

    That’s about it. It’s not brain surgery. Save the personal drama for Desperate Housewives.

  5. Mizzo says:

    This wasn’t meant to be a race based post, but damn if a whole lotta lotta stuff didn’t occur to me as I wrote it.

    I would agree to a degree that media bias isn’t exclusively about race, but if you can step on a couple of people in the process what does that really make it?

    I have more of a problem with writers of my same father than those of another.

    There are many Black writers who are stepping up. I was speaking with a well known sportscaster recently and he’s going through some stuff.

    Don’t White writers write of their own mind? Why when a Black writer scribes from his soul it becomes Black?

  6. Tariq says:

    Mizzo:
    It makes it racist.

  7. Tariq says:

    But to make my point about the mainstream sports media…

    I think it’s important to understand how the mainstream media is racially biased: I don’t think it’s racist because it goes out of its way to discriminate against black people or because it just can’t stand black people or because it’s run by the KKK. Rather, I think it caters to what it thinks generates broad appeal. Remember what you told me about them giving Brett Favre the gameball when Vince Young had that epic performance? It’s all about demographics.

    I have similar conversations with my friends over here in Saudi Arabia about the US government. A lot of them are convinced that the American government keeps bombing the sh*t out of Muslim countries because they hate Islam and want to propagate Christianity. I keep telling them that the US government could give two sh*ts about spreading Christianity. All the US government cares about is serving the interests of the military/industrial complex, and if that means using military action against Islamic countries, so be it. So it IS acting in ways that are “anti-Islamic,” but if you think that it’s because they want to spread Christianity, then you aren’t really understanding the situation. Now, of course, within the US government, I’m sure there are hyper-religious, Bible-thumping nutjobs who would love nothing more than for Jesus to come down from heaven in a cloud of light or whatever, but I doubt that that’s part of the US foreign policy.

    Similarly, the mainstream sports media oftentimes act in ways that are blatantly racist. But the way they write their stories are shaped by their interests, first and foremost. They aren’t serving their race. ESPN may not scrutinize Ben Roethlisberger as much as Kobe Bryant, but it isn’t part of some grand design to serve Whiteness. I think the American consumer just accepts the image of the black athlete as someone who gets in trouble with the law, and so Kobe/Tiger/Plaxico/Vick is a chance to generate stories. Ben Roethlisberger’s image, however, has to be protected, because the American consumer doesn’t accept the white athlete as someone who gets in trouble with the law. The white athlete is the Peyton Manning or the Tom Brady, either cerebral guy who understands the game more than anyone else or the guy who f*cks the Brazilian model and gets on the cover of GQ. That’s the image of the white athlete. The image of “goofy-looking alleged rapist” messes up the paradigm, and so the mainstream media buries it. Again, not because it wants to serve Whiteness per se, but because it wants to project a certain image about the athletes it advertises.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

  8. Tariq says:

    Now, is that racist? Hell yes.

  9. Miranda says:

    I agree with Tariq.

  10. Big Man says:

    I used to agree with Tariq, and I think he still has a point.

    Sure it’s about promoting what makes money and it would seem that just so happens to be making black folks look bad. That’s what I thought for a long time.

    But, from inside the belly of the beast I see how people use the whole “making money, creating a brand” argument to justify their personal biases and vendattas against certain races.

  11. Tariq?? says:

    But here’s my question, Big Man:

    Do you think it’s systematic? Do you think ESPN, for example, has a vendetta against black people?

    Or do you think that within ESPN, you’ll have Reporter X, who may have certain biases towards black people?

  12. Mizzo says:

    From being it and seeing it for my own eyes and feeling the stares from their blank hatred filled faces reporter x. I’ll elaborate after I get off work.

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