Friday, February 1, 2013

Sports journalism is in the toilet

image Maybe it’s time to flush.

Quick… name the hottest three stories covered by major sports media outlets since the BCS Championship Game on January 7, 2013? How about these: Manti Te’o’s undead fake girlfriend, AJ McCarron’s hot girlfriend and her budding fame and a bunch of horse puckey about two snake oil salesmen peddling deer antler spray, holographic chips and “Beam Ray” bulbs.

It’s probably just a coincidence that all three of these ridiculous topics somehow involve players from the two teams that met in Miami last month, right?

When once respected media outlets like Sports Illustrated and ESPN are chasing down leads on stories that would be spiked by the National Enquirer, what does it say about the quality of today’s sports media?

When gossip websites like Deadspin and TMZ have better sourced and better researched articles than credentialed journalists purporting to provide objective news and analysis, one has to wonder if the latter hasn’t replaced the former as legitimate and trustworthy outlets.

Do sportswriters really want to do pieces like the Sports Illustrated story on SWATS? Do their editors really enjoy signing off on reports about the sexual orientation of the admitted Te’o hoaxer and his victim?


What should have been the biggest story in the month of January was Lance Armstrong and his confession to having used performance enhancing drugs during his multiple Tour de France wins. That got some press, but it has been dwarfed by the SWATS garbage. Here’s a blockbuster about a disgraced former champion who admits to using performance enhancing drugs and it’s being ignored in favor of a story about two guys peddling alleged performance enhancing drugs, despite the fact that respected scientists and researchers adamantly dismiss their products as so much snake oil.

Stir in the hoopla created by the revelation that the heartwarming story of Manti Te’o’s star crossed love affair that wasn’t and the Armstrong story is buried in the signal-to-noise ratio.

There is a reason you haven’t seen much bandwidth wasted on Te’o’s holographic girlfriend, SWATS’ holographic frequency chips and the very real and very lovely Ms. Webb’s meteoric rise in popularity.

It’s not news. They’re all non-stories. These are punch lines to potty room jokes but they’re being pushed as major news topics.

What about Mark Emmert’s recent revelation that the NCAA violated its own rules when conducting the Miami enforcement investigation?


Wait? What? Manti Te’o’s hoaxer may be gay and was deeply in love with his victim? Rush to print and get Katie Couric on line one, please.


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