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Saturday, May 15, 2004

Mainstream Media: Missing the Point, and the Mission

Oh! The gnashing of teeth, the stern condemnations, the holier-than-thou pronouncements, and the dismissive brows!!! How the mainstream media, and the baying dogs at 'EEI, have pounced, denounced, questioned, satirized, and scolded the Boston Dirt Dogs web site over the "erroneous" report that Nomah actually suffers from a torn Achilles sheath and not just an inflammation as the Red Sox have maintained. The reaction of The Usual Suspects is embarrassing to watch and hear: the monopoly on sports reporting, discussion, and opinions has come to an end courtesy of the Web, and They Don't Like It, Not One Little Bit.

BDD has outlined on its site numerous instances when it was right, when it did scoop the mainstream "Big Dog," and "it's your only job," media, and points out in embarrassingly great detail the series of misleading or downright wrong statements from Red Sox management and representatives about Nomar's condition and expected return. I agree with BDD: the Baying Dogs at 'EEI haven't done any serious reporting, period - just Baying at the moon. And they have locker room access if they want, get to directly interview many players and managerial people in the game, and have access to many more. But, they simply wait for the next Beat Puppy to appear as a guest and report (actually comment on) the latest "maybe" or "I think" about the Sox.
And the Red Sox credibility on the "when Nomar is coming back" front is approaching the Iraq WMD acquisition level.

Why did the BDD report have such an impact and get so much attention? Because firstly, though no one will admit it, they all likely look up BDD as their first source in the morning after every game (it's fun, admit at least that much guys). Maybe because BDD has a lot of readers, maybe as many visitors everyday as read the Herald Sports Section. Maybe because they can't control it. Maybe because BDD does a creditable job as an amateur at something they are getting paid to do full time with full access. And if that gets around too much, well, the importance of 'EEI and the dead tree news vehicle gets a mite eroded.

What 'EEI and the Boston newspaper folks need to do is welcome fellow journalists such as BDD to the fold. Why, these Internet geeks aren't journalists, they will argue! Well, neither is Glen Ordway and his posse - when questioned by callers about the journalistic ethics of the Big Show, Ordway sidesteps the question by calling what 'EEI does as "entertainment." So it is - and so is the satire and cartoons on BDD; though they are better done and more entertaining than the Dogs on 'EEI. As to the newspapers and others, they need to realize that whenever newer forms of journalism have appeared in the past as a result of new publishing technology, the Old Order has demeaned it and dismissed it until it could no longer do so (or do you want to look up the history of the emergence of radio and television news compared to print?)

The lesson of modern communications is that the newer forms co-exist with the old as each eventually finds its niche: where each has value, can be unique, optimizes its content to its form and delivery vehicle, and as each can survive economically.

(BTW: IS there a bigger or more unpleasant 'EEI Dog than Gerry "Nazi Mad Dog" Callahan?)
Of course you realize that by posting this, Zeitgeist could be the next target of the Usual Suspects.
Go ahead - It ain't my job. I don't get paid for this. I pay my own way into every ballpark. And I go to them all - Portland, Lowell, Pawtucket, Nashua, Norwich, New Britain, Bridgeport, Brockton, NECBL, etc. And I go a lot, even to Legion Ball and Little League - places where they don't have a heated or air conditioned press box. I buy my own hot dogs and Coke.
How about you?