spoiler alert: i linked this
I don't post topics very often, but was surfing somewhere near the edge of the internet and came across a very intriguing baseball history article about Ty Cobb. The article was derived from a speech given at Hillsdale College by author/professor/journalist Charles Leerhsen.
His book, Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty, is one of the first (only?) original sourced reports I've read about Cobb. The speech is an excellent primer for the book, or a great short read for those that don't have the time/interest.
In addition to unraveling some of Cobb's infamous traits, the book is an interesting study of journalism, particularly the laziness of sports journalist. That at least, was a topic I figured most of the board would appreciate for all the (just) lamenting we do.
Throughout the search process, there were SO many different stories written by so many different outlets. Each of them contained some level of truth and some level of bias. Some were more truthful than others, while some were FAR more biased than others. Some (e.g., all ESPN NFL reporters, etc.) were just up their own ass.
By the end, I wasn't looking at anything but the Searchbits. I appreciate Brian and the blog for wading through the garbage to find the gold. And for presenting the useful information in a relatively non-biased way. Each Searchbits showed the good and the bad, and gave supporting and logical evidence for the good and detracting evidence for the bad.
As the search hype ramped up, I had so many people randomly telling me about shit they read, which was usually ESPN or some other major news outlet, and was usually wrong/stupid. I was constantly regurgitating the Searchbits from memory in order to explain how dumb those writers were and I probably sounded like a total homer duche. But I was right. And so was the blog.
tl;dr: Props to MGoBlog on its excellent reporting of the coaching search. And thanks.
I just saw this on TV: A Michigan state senator is introducing a bill to license journalists, which is at least an interesting idea:
It seems that the license is an optional thing, so reporters can report without one, but it would function as a stamp of trusted and verifiable to readers. The comments on the article and reaction in general seems to be strongly against it, but my initial reaction is that it's not a bad idea. I mean, if there are licenses to be hairdressers, why can't there be licenses for journalists as well? Hopefully there would be some kind of review process so bad journalists get their licenses revoked when they deserve (you know where this is going...)
Mr. Rosenberg would probably be one who would have a license, based on his many years of reporting and writing. But, if the licensing board was competent at all (which, knowing government, it won't be), we (Brian and the MGoBoard) could probably file a grievance to have it revoked after he demonstratably failed with the Michigan investigation. Snyder and the editors at the Freep as well, obviously. A license, like the MGoPoints here would serve as an indicator of the source's trustworthiness.
Another thought about the license: it should serve as a way to legitimize bloggers. Other than the journalism degree requirement, I think Brian (plus his minions Tom, Tim and FA) would pass the requirements listed in the article. Maybe it would stop the MSM from dismissing blogs as unaccountable and fringe.
What impression would the headline about David Brandon's hiring on the front page of the Detroit Free Press's website have you believe?
New U-M AD Brandon doesn’t fear NCAA probe
Except, well, no.
That headline links through to the Freep's normal story, which is a straight story about Brandon's hiring.
Take it from a journalist (I am one): The story should absolutely make reference to the NCAA probe Brandon is inheriting. It'd be irresponsible to exclude it. As the story itself is written, it gets three grafs in the middle of the story, which is appropriate.
But what's deceptive is the headline the Freep is slapping on its front-page story (which is far different from its hed within the story, the far less charged: "University of Michigan officially selects David Brandon as athletic director).
Look, this practice happens all the time. Editors want to sex up and sell stories on their front page. There isn't anything wrong with it, per se.
HOWEVA, the choice for this, frankly, biased headline on the front page shows a conscious decisions by the Free Press's editors to a) frame the story as squarely part of their own, b.s. story on the practice "violations"; and b) keep the NCAA storyline alive by virtue of their own choice for the external headline.
The fact is that the NCAA component of Brandon's hiring is, by far and away, not the most salient takeaway from Brandon's hiring. Whatever that takeaway should be must be their main site's headline. Anything short of that ranges between irresponsibility and shoddy work by the Freep's editors.
I was thinking this morning about why I’ve gotten upset watching games the past few years. It’s just a game. I'm a Cubs fan and I know how to lose. Besides, a bunch of 18-19 year-olds don’t owe me anything as an alum. They only owe it to themselves to be the best they can be.
Rather, I'm upset about the way these kids and their coaches have been treated in the media during the past 5 years . They’ve relentlessly attacked UM. Were they doing so because related parties would benefit, directly or indirectly, from their own self-promotion or from UM’s decline? Maybe so. But as I read the following passage, a more destructive force is reared its ugly head:
“while we may enjoy elevating some people [/coaches/players/institutions/programs] to great prominence, we love to tear them down even more. If someone has the audacity to rise above the 'average American', an army of journalists will search out and broadcast every fault or misstep to our sadistic delight. In America more than any other place, the nail that sticks up out of the floor is the one that get hammered down the hardest.
If this attitude was confined to the degenerates of Hollywood it wouldn't be so detrimental to our culture and society. But it is more than an insatiable desire for gossip that is behind this mentality. It is a deep seated sense of envy and insecurity that drives us to such behavior. Because of this, it is not just immoral actors and sleazy politicians who are the targets of our ire. After all, many of them don't deserve the adulation they receive and should be knocked down a few pegs. This malicious attitude, however, is directed against anyone we perceive as being 'above' us. “
In 2004, after the UM FB program acquired indisputably, the highest all-time winning percentage in NCAA football, it became once more a huge nail sticking up out of the floor. To the media, it was just begging to be hammered.
If not, then why did announcers trumpet UM’s loss to App State, even though it was not even in the top 10---no, not even in the top 100 upsets, probably, in terms of the point spread?
Why did they endlesslessly and falsely repeat that last year was the worse in UM history (yet not mention that is was far from that in terms of win pct or that teams like Fla not long ago went 0-11 twice in two years, that MSU, OSU, and ND not long ago all had 3 or 4 win seasons, sometimes multiple ones)?
Why did the media falsely insinuate in a vacuous, four-part expose that UM was guilty of academic violations? Why did they falsely accuse RR of destroying sensitive records? Why did they publicized accusations that he stole recruits, with little or no mention of the legalities and practices of other coaches? And now, they say he overworked his players and God forbid, did not catch clerical errors that do not involve NCAA regulations? Why is this all about UM and RR, when we all know that the problems of being student-athletes are nearly universal?
The media defend themselves, saying that, just because everybody else is acting wrongly does not excuse it. Moral absolutism from the media! Give me a break! If only this spate of media self-righteousness were occasionally focused in the mirror, it would reveal the misleading, hateful innuendos, the partial truths, the editorial malpractice in allowing people with public grudges to lead investigations of those they have sworn to destroy. It would show the abuse of trust—no, even the lies and false pretenses--in the interviews of naive freshman just arrived on campus. It would strip the cloak of anonymity from the grinning faces of accusers who will not face the accused or reveal their transparent grudges
If only the media would direct their unique moral expertise at the name-calling: calling RR a snake oil salesman (Tiller); or saying he’s like Hitler (Holtz). I applaud one brave soul, Craig James who was barely noticed calling this absurd theatrical fiction what it is: a “witch hunt”—a term once reserved for the hunt for uppity women in Salem but now a hunt for uppity …well….I can only guess what..enough said).
Right now, I just can’t wait for the next shoe to drop. Read all about it: RR forms a family corporation and, in a power struggle for control of the company, sends his grandmother to jail. Yes, it’s getting that insane.
Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way. So, if you’re a journalist and want to negbang the post into oblivion behind a cloak of anonymity, perhaps you won't get fight from anyone. As for me, I’ve said my piece and have more important things to do. Right now, I’ve got to turn on ESPN to hear the breaking news from Herbstreit about the next Michigan coach. Also, I’ve got a piece of fish wrapped in the Free Press and I’m afraid it will spoil if I don’t eat it.