The above-linked article on Deadspin describes the myriad ways that ESPN has dropped journalistic integrity for the sake of profit. It takes particular note of SportsCenter's decision to cover Tim Tebow purely for the sake of ratings.(*1) It also notes, among other things, ESPN's general failure to cover the NHL and the 2012 Olympics, presumably because ESPN did not or does not have broadcasting rights to those sports/events. The quote below from Bruce Feldman, speaking of his time at ESPN, encapsulates much of the article:
"It is a business first and foremost," Bruce Feldman, a 16-year veteran of ESPN who left for CBS last year, told me. "The people who run the company told me as much when I was going through it with them. There's still an element of ESPN that does journalism and there are some people there who are really good journalists. But above all it is a business."
Some might say that ESPN is, of course, a business and ask what's wrong with that. My response would be that there isn't anything inherently wrong with it, but a big problem arises when you position yourself as the premier sports news organization but also edit your reporting for the sake of driving a profitable agenda.
There are a lot of OSU fans on Bucknuts who believe that ESPN purposefully attacks the Big Ten because it is in competition with the Big Ten Network.(*2) I tend to agree with them (why, for example, doesn't the network attack the ACC or the Big East with the fervor that it attacks the Big Ten?). The reason that I think this post may not be OT is because, as others have suggested here since yesterday, I think that we can take the additions of Maryland and Rutgers as the Big Ten fortifying itself against ESPN. They are partners to some extent (Big Ten games are still on ESPN, of course), but they are foes as well, and yesterday's news is an unquestionably ugly but perhaps necessary bit of realpolitik on the part of the Big Ten to keep a stronghold in a system (collegiate athletics) whose media leader is thoroughly corrupt and even antagonistic.
(*1)The point of this post is not to knock Tebow, whom I like.
(*2) See this article for a description of the Big Ten's somewhat acrimonious break from ESPN and the creation of the BTN. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-01/sports/ct-spt-0701-big-ten-nebraska--20110701_1_commissioner-jim-delany-john-wildhack-espn-officials