Reminder: Costas Town Hall Meeting Tonight

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

About a month back I passed on the bit of information that Bob Costas was going to hold a live "Town Hall Meeting" and Deadspin's Will Leitch was going to be a guest. Well that special is airing on HBO tonight at 10pm. There's a collection of interesting guests (Wilbon, Mad Dog, Joe Buck, Dan Patrick) and they'll cover everything from Blogging to Athletes and the Media. You can view the whole rundown here, but I wanted to point out an interview that Costas did today with the Orlando Sentinel...

WW: Yes, we're struggling a bit at the newspaper getting used to issues such as this.

BC: Look, everyone has a right to this technology. But if you're just a blogger -- just a get-a-life type -- no one's going to pay much attention to it because it's not going to have much merit. That's not all bloggers, but that's the hypothetical guy who's just posting comments after your column. This was misinterpreted as saying all bloggers are losers. . . . Now, I won't back off. A huge percentage of bloggers adhere to little of no standards and do little or no reporting and engage in personal attacks. But do all? No.

WW: Does the ESPN-zation of sports bother you? For example, does it bother you that ESPN seems to have every columnist on the country on its payroll and that these journalists seem to take a black or white position on every topic?

BC: Well, it's not like I'm losing sleep over it, but I think any reasonable person rolls their eyes to a certain extent about that. It's just not possible for a reasonable person to be that stoked up about 15 different sports topics every day -- to have a passionate black-and white, thumbs up-thumbs-down opinion on every single sports topic. That just defies common sense. And yet if that's the fuel on which this engine runs, then if you want to be on the air you have to come with a "take" on these topics that doesn't allow for much subtlety or shades of gray. So everything is buy-sell, true-false, fact or fiction. But very, very few people I know view many topics that way.

WW: And does that bother you, in terms of the journalism?

BC: It's just entertainment. At its best it's just informed conversation.
Those are just small chunks of a very interesting interview, but I still can't for the life of me get past the fact that neither of them know what they're talking about. I love how it's only bloggers who do "personal attacks" (Jay Mariotti, Skip Bayless) and how commenters=bloggers. I know I've been riled about this topic in the past, but I think it's just a joke at this point. I hope Will portrays this tonight, and I don't know how many times we (bloggers) have to say this, but bloggers aren't replacing a "dying medium". It's just another option in the ever-growing evolution of Sports Media.

It should be a great program tonight, and hopefully this will be the first step towards everyone realizing they need option, but I have a feeling it won't. Someday people will just settle down and give Sports Blogging the same attention that Tech, Entertainment, and Political Blogs (just not today and I'm fine with that).

Update: Thanks to an Anon commenter we now know that Mose Schrute will be attending as well....

Shameless Program Note (FJM)

Costas to explore state of sports media in HBO town hall meeting (Orlando Sentinel)
Rundown of the Next Costas Now on HBO (Fang's Bites)


AAANNNNDDD Ken Tremendous Will be there!

Anonymous said...
Apr 29, 2008, 5:10:00 PM  

To be honest, and I hate to say it, but you seem to get a little defensive about this topic. Take the misuse of jargon out of the equation (like when my mom calls them "albums"), and BC does have a valid point about MOST people on the Web.

As someone who was part of the MSM for 13 years and saw them botch it horribly (I ran the entertainment site for a major metro paper when I left), they don't know anything. BUT...

You need to remember, AA, that for every you or Lietch or a few others, there are literally hundreds of morons out there who not only don't follow any kind of ethical guidelines but who really don't have any expertise about what they're ripping.

I guess my point is you're both right to some extent. But when you get all riled up about it, you end up playing into it.

For instance, I think Xmas Ape's firing was justified under the HR policy that I read. Was it fair? NO. Was it justified? Yes.

You do a great job serving as a watchdog, AA. As do quite a few other bloggers. But just like 90 percent of the content on TV, radio and newspapers is utter drivel, so it 90 percent of Web content. So instead of taking it personally, just be one of the 10 percent who can tell misinformed MSM-ers to suck it.

Anonymous said...
Apr 29, 2008, 5:17:00 PM  

I understand that ianseancahir and great comment, but I think I've come to grips with the whole MSM bashing blogs things. It really used to bother me because I was trying way too hard to become credible when things like that have to happen on their own. I just hate hypocrites and to call out just blogs and not all Sports Media would get under my skin. I understand things a little better now.

Thanks for putting me in the 10%, although I would probably change the percentages around a bit. There are 1,669 blogs on Ballhype's rankings and if you click on some at the end...there are some really good sites out there.

I guess the point I want to make is that two years ago this site was shit (and in a lot of ways it still is), and you shouldn't discount someone's opinion because it is written online. But I think most people get that now.

Apr 29, 2008, 5:28:00 PM  

I agree, but writing an opinion isn't what many of the thousands of other blogs do. I mean, even With Leather, which I spend WAY too much time reading, is bad for some of the rest of you. It's not a sports site. It's a comedy site that happens to be about sports (and mostly women). The problem is that the average AOL user out there, and there are still many, doesn't get it.

We did a special section when I was in sports about the 2003 playoffs, and we were about as off-the-wall and crazy as a paper could get, basically calling the starting five out like the dark side of the Rat Pack. And it worked, too. But we got skewered, two writers got demoted and it didn't happen again.

Some of the crap you get is from people who are afraid. But some of it (and I lump BC in here, actually), is from people who just want it done well.

Yes, that's asking too much of a medium that really is in its infancy, but I think that's the bar you're being held to, fairly or not.

So yeah, you've earned the cred. And others will behind you, but there will always be the crap. Talent will always rise, and the other 90 percent will always be there.

I look at bloggers a lot like I do the letters to the editor in the New York Times. I mean, some of those are freakin' genius. And they leave the podunk "I want my potholes filled" crap in the rest of the universe in their dust.

I wrote a blog for a year for my paper (it's not there anymore if you google it). Loved it. But I don't have the stomach to do it full time, and I sure don't have the ideas daily to keep it fresh and valid.

Eventually, this will hash itself out. In the meantime, enjoy the view and keep at it. And if you have any openings... Just kidding. I'd just write about how good Martin Tyler is on Sky Sports and how I miss Vin Scully but hate the Dodgers.

Anonymous said...
Apr 29, 2008, 5:42:00 PM  

Point taken, but on top of that...if you're not smart enough to realize what WL is and that it's hilarious...then you probably shouldn't be reading it. I understand what you're saying though and have to remind myself that not only is this site still young, but the whole medium is.

Good talk. Anyone else feel free to chime in.

Apr 29, 2008, 5:51:00 PM  

Costas was on Vanilla Tirico's show today, and just spouted the same "in mom's basement" crap as he has been. Quite frankly(oops), I've grown weary of him and the subject, and I'm glad I don't have HBO.
BTW, that was not a jab at you, AA; just a bit of venting on my part.

UnHoly Diver said...
Apr 29, 2008, 6:17:00 PM  

I hope someone pops this up on youtube since I don't have HBO. Listening to Dog should be entertaining

Anonymous said...
Apr 29, 2008, 6:25:00 PM  

I don't have HBO either and would like to see the video somewhere.

Anonymous said...
Apr 29, 2008, 8:18:00 PM  

Anyone watching?

Anonymous said...
Apr 29, 2008, 10:23:00 PM  

Buzz Bissinger just told Leitch he was full of shit.

Anonymous said...
Apr 29, 2008, 10:30:00 PM  

Buzz Bussinger pretty much embodied that which he railed against. He was loud, obnoxious, cruel, and profane. Oh yeah, he was also a Total Fucking Douchebag.

Gangsta D said...
Apr 29, 2008, 10:51:00 PM  

Buzz Bissinger just became blogger's Publick Enemy #1 with that appearance.

Anonymous said...
Apr 29, 2008, 10:51:00 PM  

Love how Bissinger/Costas complained about the "mean-spirited" tone of the internet... and Bissinger immediately tells Leitch, "I think you're full of shit". Hello, kettle? Pot calling.

davis21wylie said...
Apr 29, 2008, 11:06:00 PM  

I'm actually just starting to watch and cut it apart now at midnight so it's going to be a long night. If anyone has anything they want to specifically see please let me know.

Apr 29, 2008, 11:44:00 PM  

Buzz Bissinger is dead to me now. I felt so bad for Will. I give him credit for not walking off stage. And that crowd was so condescending and laughing to what Bissinger was labeling him as with a serious tone. Also Braylon Edwards was completely useless that entire segment. Couldn't they have brought in a writer/blogger like Klostermann or Bill Simmons or even a "blogger-friendly" writer like LeBetard to off-set both the Costas and Bissinger opinions of the blogosphere? Who was calling the other guy names. It happened to be the prep school, IVY League, educated, Pulitzer-Prize winning writer to a twenty-something blogger.

Anonymous said...
Apr 29, 2008, 11:53:00 PM  

at the same time though, Buzz had a point that the stuff like (no offense, as I find it hilarious) what you'll see on Kissing Suzy Kolber or what BDD will post on deadspin or whatever else is grossly offensive and has absolutely no journalistic merit. The problem is that mainstream media has no way of distinguishing between the ones who actually put time and effort into conscious sports blogging and the one who just want to make dick and fart jokes and talk about Rich Garces' tits.

At the same time though, I thought it was really interesting that immediately preceding the sports blogger part was the piece about shock jocks who will say anything to keep a listener. It's exactly the same thing, but nobody's calling Mad Dog or Tom Arnold a sports reporter because they talk about sports on a mass medium.

There's always distinctions that need to be made and until we can have a truly informed discussion about what the real pros and cons of legitimate sports blogs are, there's always going to be this friction.

Apr 29, 2008, 11:56:00 PM  

I hear that Mad Dog went to high five Strahan, and got nothing but air.

Anonymous said...
Apr 29, 2008, 11:57:00 PM  

Confirmed and hilarious.

Apr 30, 2008, 12:18:00 AM  

Okay, just got through the Leitch/Blogging part. First of all, I've never been more proud to be a Sports Blogger. If this is our competition then they'll kill themselves off sooner than later going crazy about "new media" (I kid, I kid).

The problem is that most of the "older generation" wouldn't "get" a site like KSK. And the general sentiment is that they don't want you as readers.

There has never been an industry that takes itself more seriously than Sports Media, and in the end all I have to say.....Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?! It's a goddamn game. A fucking game. A fucking fun one at that.

I make friends mostly through Sports and humor. If cursing and humor is ruining Sports then I don't want you as a friend. And on top of that you don't deserve to watch Sports.

Apr 30, 2008, 12:33:00 AM  

I just read Will's take on it, and he says he's ok. I haven't seen it(no HBO), but it sounds like Bissinger went all Gary Busey on him. If that's the case, I just might have to give away my copy of "Three Nights in August".

UnHoly Diver said...
Apr 30, 2008, 2:08:00 AM  

@ my phenomenal swag

Kissing Suzy Kolber is a humor blog. Why should it have journalistic merit? If you find it offensive, don't read it.

Anonymous said...
Apr 30, 2008, 2:09:00 AM  

I'm old enough (late 30s) to think that something in print has more "heft" than stuff on the net.

I've always told people that we still publish a magazine, even though we write on the net, because writing on the net just doesn't always "seem real."

I like to say that, really, what's the difference between Slate and a 14-year old with a website?

Print shows a certain "seriousness," since you have to actually shell out real money to get your magazine or book published.

Like I said, I'm old and can remember life before the internet. In grad school, we were just learning how to create web pages with Mosiac.

I wish Costas had booked someone that bridges MSM and new media, someone like Dan Steinberg, who writes a sports blog for the Washington Post, one of the kings of mainstream media.

odessasteps said...
Apr 30, 2008, 3:27:00 AM  

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