Friday, October 05, 2007

The old boys club at work

I'll admit that I don't have high expectations for ombudsmen or "public editors". An interesting example of the problems inherent in the role shows up in this story:

Schreiber Keeps an Eye on ESPN 'Monolith'

Schreiber actually has a good grasp of the basic problems at ESPN:

Schreiber has been quite critical of ... the loud, talking heads who shout too much
Schreiber criticizes some of the anchors of the "Sports Center" shows throughout each day, complaining that those people make themselves more important than the news.
Schreiber wrote a strong and excellent column claiming that sportscasters doing a game should "keep their eye on the ball."
She said, "The most consistent complaint I get from viewers is that the announcing team is not sufficiently focused on the game." She explained that game announcers often digress from the game "by discussing topics near and far from the game at hand".

So far so good. But how can she believe such things and then do something like this?

Throughout her critiques, Schreiber lauds some ESPN talking heads such as Tony Kornheiser...

Come on now. Kornheiser is one of the most high profile figures at ESPN and he is guilty of every talking head sin that Schreiber condemns. He is loud, lazy, ill-informed, and self-indulgent. His primary role on Monday Night Football is to divert attention away from the game and onto some subject he like more.

Maybe i am the suspicious sort, but i wonder if this is the reason Kornheiser gets a pass:

Throughout her critiques, Schreiber lauds some ESPN talking heads such as Tony Kornheiser, for his work on "Pardon The Interruption." Tony was on the Times sports staff as a reporter with me when Schreiber was the sports editor.

It's easy for Schreiber, with her "postgraduate degree in literature" and her tenure at the NEW YORK TIMES, to chastise ex-jocks and reporters from lesser papers. But she just can't quite say a mean word about litle Tony who worked with her at THE TIMES.

As with most public editors, Schreiber is, first and foremost, a member of the journalist s guild. Further, she is a member of its most exalted order-- New York Times alums. That shapes her thinking and her criticism. What she calls "perspective" we in the gret unwashed call "blinders."

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