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The Media's failure

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Neely8, Sep 17, 2007.

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  1. Neely8

    Neely8 Rookie

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    I read Peter King's column with annoyance today. He had clearly decided to give his column a strong "Belichick is Bad" slant. One could easily accuse him of failing to maintain journalistic objectivity. However, I don't think the question of objectivity is as simple as it is sometimes made out to be. Even the most superficially objective narrative can be shown to reflect bias via choices made in selection of information, and to be underpinned by various unspoken, even unformulated moral assumptions, all of which cast objectivity into doubt.

    All of this notwithstanding, many sportswriters seem to think that they are arbiters of morality, and think they are qualified to determine who the "bad people" are. I personally find this tendency repugnant. There are many other factors which conspire to create what I consider to be widespread idiocy in the culture of contemporary sports journalism, but I won't go into all that now.

    My point is this: even if we forgive all the assinine moralizing of people like King, and acknowledge the difficulties of objectivity generally, the journalistic hysteria surrounding the current scandal reflects an even deeper failure by the media. I will consider what is perhaps the most disturbing charge that is being thrown around: that the pats past superbowl victories are now "tainted". Under what circumstances can we legitimately claim the preceding to be the case? It seems to me that one would have to establish three things: 1) The patriots practiced illegal taping during their sb victories. 2) the pats gained an unfair advantage over other teams because other teams did not practice illegal taping or any equivalent procedures. 3) taping of signals gave the pats a competitive advantage sufficient to prove decisive in the victories of the sb years.

    There has been a chorus of voices of former and current coaches and players that have refuted 2 and 3 decisively. I don't know about 1. Now I am not saying that the failure to establish the above three facts means Belichick's actions are excusable. It seems to me the question of their moral significance is a complex one, requiring as it does one to consider the competitive context in which Belichick acted,the practices of other teams, the ambiguities in the rules, inconsistencies in NFL enforcement of those rules, etc. A complex question requires carefulness of thought impossible to come by in a media feeding-frenzy.

    So the media has failed us by getting far too carried away in its moralizing, and far too reckless in its pronouncements. They have failed to provide balanced views that meaningfully reflect the realities of NFL football. They have let the satisfaction of speaking loudly override that of thinking clearly. They have also failed themselves, because I think history will place this whole sequence of events in a perspective far different from that expressed in the sermonizing of most of these blowhards, and I think they'll eventually be a bit embarrassed by it all.

    What has caused this failure? As I suggested above, there are many interrelated reasons. Certainly a lot of journalists just don't like Belichick. And that's for a variety of reasons as well. I simply wish the media would take a long look at itself, and stop thinking that it is performing a heroic act by attacking anyone they think they are in a position to morally judge.
  2. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Pete was awfully upset at the thought that that the media was accused by Howie Long on 'lying in the weeds to get BB'. Hit a little close to home Pete?

    'Me thinks thou doth protest too much'.
  3. Funktopus

    Funktopus Rookie

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    I think that the Media (in general) don't believe thier audience can digest such a dry and complex topic. They'd rather go for the quick emotional hand-job to be sure they get our attention. they have such a low opinion of their audience. it's such a shame.
  4. SoonerPatriot

    SoonerPatriot Rookie

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    First off tremendous post by the OP. Very well written.

    Second, when I read that line in his column it sent a chill up my spine. I had always suspected King was a Manning-Dungy guy and viewed the Pats as an obstacle to their success.

    This line in a sense, confirmed it. Basically what King is saying is that sour grapes from those the Pats have beaten have nothing to do with fueling this story which is ludicrous, even for a hack like him.
  5. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Have always thought that the press thinks of themselves a moral gatekeepers, while in fact they are just lemmings.. I wonder if the majority of the press had written stories about how BB did not cheat, or Mangini is scum because BB took him from Ball Boy to HC of the NYJ. Or if there were commentaries about a rush to judgement et al, if people like King would have taken a different stance. All this is the shadow of the media seemed to be start showing the love for BB and understanding that winning is everything.
  6. fgssand

    fgssand PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #17 Jersey

    Terrific post by the OP - it is right on.

    I would hope you have sent this off to Mr. King, he needs to do some soul searching IMHO.

    The knee jerk attacks on this franchise by writer, owner/player and general population have overblown this situation to the point of no return.

    The only way out now is for the friends of bill & bob to come forward and implicate others so that the backpedaling and apologizing phase can commence.

    What a disgrace this has become for the NFL and they have only themselves to blame.
  7. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Rookie

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    I like to separate different types of media into different categories. The type that reports sports is in the same class as fashion reporters, celebrity and entertainment columnists and book reviewers. They report on things that are part of our diversions from reality, which by definition, is relatively irelevant compared to reporters on science, politics, business and engineering. These other vital issues attract journalists who seek the truth more than those of the first group. They're required to be more truthful by their readers because decisions might be made based on that information that effect the readers' livelihoods and security. The writers of the first group, essentially entertainment writers, are naturally more prone to hyperbole, emotion, and personal opinion. Nothing they say matters to those outside of their specific area of entertainment, so the standard of objectivity is not required. They create the news, and almost all of their work is subjective based on their personal preferences. It's a lot of fun to read these guys because they seem to be intentionally jerking our chains all the time. Their only goal is to become relevant in a world that is not really relevant compared to the more important things in life like technology, medicine, the stock market, war and peace, etc.

    We all read this stuff because it's fun and what they say doesn't really change anything, as the Patriots demonstrated Sunday night. That's why I think Goddell is a spineless geek who appears to have been used by the sports media and came down on the Pats much harder than he would have if he had made his evaluations based on facts. One has to ask why he even consented to being interviewed by Al Michaels on SNF at all? What does he stand to gain other than joining the media in this circle jerk of self-importance?
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