Skip to content

Vulgar Opinions: Our Garbage Media (NSFW)

10/18/12

Bear with me, I had to delete large portions of this and completely change the tone midstream.  Originally I was going to chronicle the bloggers vs. media war and finger blame on both sides.

That was before I called The Buffalo News Sports Department to satisfy a personal curiosity.  I’ve been largely critical of the reception to You Can Play in Buffalo.  I believe the Sabres did run a piece on it shortly after Pominville’s contribution, but I (and everyone I’ve talked to) have never seen his specific spot on in the First Niagara Center.  When coupled with the team’s abject refusal to part ways with the LGBT-discriminatory Salvation Army, it looks like they’re hiding from being pro-equality at best.

So I wondered if perhaps the local paper had covered either the project as a whole, or Pominville’s specific contribution.  An internet search revealed no answer, so I decided to just call The Buffalo News Sports Department and ask.  That conversation went as follows (and note that the quotes I use where I do not admit I’m paraphrasing due to lack of memory are verbatim within a word or two):

GUY – Hello (person does not identify themselves)

ME – Hi my name is Alex, I run a blog devoted to LGBT issues and I’m doing some research for an article on the reception to the You Can Play Project. I thought that given Sabres’ captain Jason Pominville’s involvement, The Buffalo News would be a good place to start. I’m looking for any articles that TBN’s writers may have authored that responded either to Pominville’s involvement or to the project in general.

GUY – Okay…uh…You Can Play, what is that?

ME – Well it was founded by Patrick Burke, the son of Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke and is devoted to fighting homophobia and bullying in sports.

GUY – Yeah yeah, I gotcha now, no we haven’t done anything on that. (I think he started to get into a stern rant about how they cover SPORTS and SPORTS ONLY, but I cut him off.)

ME – Well, I wasn’t sure what department to call, perhaps I’m looking in the wrong area?

GUY – Yeah, maybe the city desk, that’s not really our thing (paraphrasing). Let me transfer you. (After maybe 15 seconds) Okay, I can’t transfer you for some reason, that number is (number), bye.

(I call the city-desk number. The guy that answers the phone is immediately more friendly.)

GUY – Hello, this is the city desk.

ME – (I go through my speech again, mentioning that I just called sports and they had nothing.)

GUY – Not to my knowledge, but let me check our archives.

ME – Yeah, I tried looking online, but I didn’t really find anything.

GUY – Yeah the online search isn’t the greatest, let me take a look real quick.

(Maybe 20 seconds elapse)

GUY – No the only thing I have on it is an editorial piece (likely this one (warning:cached mess)). It sounds like something that we should be covering, can you tell me more about it?

ME – I go through the part about Burke and the project’s goals for him.

GUY – Yeah definitely, is this new?

ME – Well, it’s coming up on about a year old. I’m focusing on the reception of the project, which from what I can see has been overwhelmingly positive.

GUY – Yeah, it sounds like something we should cover, we’ll probably give our sports department first crack at it. (Interested to see how that goes.)

ME – Alright, well thanks, I’ll keep looking around.

GUY – Thanks, bye.

I have to take a moment to apologize to all the hard working bloggers out there (read: not me).  Originally I had characterized the dispute as a few people on both sides going at each other with the media generally refusing to admit any fault whatsoever by any of their compatriots.  I was wrong.  Outlander and Barrister were right.

This is a media with several members that are either willfully or ignorantly bad at their jobs.  The bloggers call them on it, and the media members act like the bloggers don’t have a leg to stand on because…well…they’re bloggers.  As a response the bloggers push back and the media uses it to characterize all bloggers as pathetic, feces, noun, adjective, noun…take your pick.

I like to think that back in the 1940s and 1950s, members of The Buffalo News Sports Department were running around trying to figure out who that Jackie Robinson guy was.  LGBT kids are four times as likely as their peers to commit suicide, and a majority of that is because of the type of bullying You Can Play seeks to end.  It is a big deal.

And it hasn’t exactly flown under the radar.  It’s been covered by:

If you’re a human being that likes sports, not even hockey, but sports in general, you should be happening across one or two of those with some regularity.  If you ACTUALLY COVER HOCKEY FOR A LIVING, you should be browsing many of them daily.

You know…unless you’re bad at your job.

And that’s the focal point of the entire conflict, and it’s why the media often paints bloggers as a bunch of losers who have too much time on their hands.  Who would read Puck Daddy and other publications regularly other than someone with TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS.  Or someone who gives more of a crap and is better at navigating online sources than anyone currently at TBN will ever be.  Hell, Barrister has a newborn child and a full time job and he still found the time to torch Jeremy White not just once on Twitter, but again on Dear God Why Us Sports.  If he can do that and manage to sound halfway coherent on no sleep, what is anyone at TBN’s or WGR’s excuse?

That’s probably a bad question because we’ve heard hundreds of them before.  TBN “broke” the Pegula story but didn’t post it first because they had to vet it.  Sports media members routinely get fooled by fake Twitter accounts because the internet is tricky.  Mike Harrington’s journalism degree gives him license to routinely make the simplest grammar screw-ups on Twitter.  He uses ‘heck’ in columns and sounds like he lives in 1950s Alabama because swearing is immature.  John Vogl likened Twitter to feces because NO HE DIDN’T, IT’S NOT THERE ANYMORE!  (Which might be the worst in a lack of professionalism out of TBN.   Nothing to see here!)  Jeremy White and others have access to more opinions than we do and they just know more damnit!

A real journalist does research. Jeremy White tells you no one is siding with the players because he talks to more fans than you.

 

The irony of it all is that there are probably very few people that legitimately want a job at The Buffalo News or WGR.  Most of us are pretty happy where we are because our real jobs pay better, and because it’s fun and occasionally useful to use words like shit and fuck.  And because of that misconception, we get the responses we’ve seen from so many Buffalo media members.  They think they can hold onto their position by discrediting bloggers and thinning out the competition, not realizing that bloggers don’t have to literally be after their jobs to be a threat.  The changing nature of media and sports reporting, and those in the business refusing to adapt are what’s killing them.  The bloggers are just taking advantage.

Many (with the paper in particular) are quick to point out that they’ll always be in business because they will always have access to things that bloggers don’t.  None of that is actually true, especially on the heels of three Blogger Summits, and increased access for bloggers.  There are only so many ways you can recap a game and present a box score and once fans move beyond that, the monopolized Buffalo media has little to offer aside from the same tired opinions.

The paper and the radio station are fighting the wrong battle.  Their jobs aren’t at risk because bloggers are profane, vitriolic, lack experience or professionalism, or any of the things they think bloggers are.  They’re at risk because so many bloggers are better and their immediate response is everything under the sun before it’s ‘I need to step up my game.’  Because the bloggers will.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike permalink
    10/18/12 9:26 PM

    TBN is a provincial paper catering to a larger provincial town. Not trying to hate on Buffalo because provincialism can be a good thing in some ways, this just isn’t one of the ways in which it can be good. The average TBN sports page reader is 50, white, and has a college education if they’re lucky. If they support gay rights at all, it’s likely only very grudgingly. They’d rather read Jerry Sullivan’s latest diatribe because they like to be pissed off than read anything about You Can Play. I’d be shocked if they ever did anything about it.
    Contrast that to the Post’s readership which all likely have graduate degrees or will soon, is extraordinarily diverse, is around 40, and is likely to not care about hockey. The way the Post can get such people to even read its sports section is to do a big story about You Can Play. It comes down in some way to just writing for your audience.

  2. 10/19/12 12:10 AM

    I’m torn in how to respond to your comment, probably because I have a few different, conflicting thoughts.

    On some level I understand the need to write to ones audience, but at the same time it becomes a vicious cycle. TBN caters to a certain demographic – that demographic is the only one that wants to read – TBN continues catering to that demographic. There is something to be said for attempting to break that cycle, and you can be successful if you go about it the write way and do it well.

    That having been said, both our points speak to the larger issue I think, that there simply aren’t very many people at TBN Sports (and I think to a lesser extent WGR) that are good at there jobs (and thus capable of breaking said cycle).

    Thanks for the comment. It’s always nice to get a well reasoned and different perspective on things.

  3. Dan permalink*
    10/19/12 11:05 AM

    Dude. The Niagara Falls Reporter and Lenny “Meatball Sub” Palumbo did a piece on You Can Play. Granted, it was derogatory and hateful and ignorant…but at least they *knew what it is*. Did TBN completely miss that train wreck?

    More likely, they avoid it because it might actually cause discussion. LBGT is a subject that might alienate some of their audience, because as the only paper in town their audience includes every bigoted asshole that likes to drink beer and yell about how much money players make. TBN wants to try to remain neutral, and they are going about it by being neutered on the issue…don’t want to rock the boat. Jeez, that might welcome competition.

    Say what you want about Lenny Palumbo (no…please. Say what you want about that prick) at least he has his convictions and makes them public. He’s a neanderthal and a bigot and a morbid, disgusting excuse for a writer and a person. At least he has the guts (see: stupidity) to hold the Horn of Gondor up and spew his bullshit through it.

    TBN and WGR haven’t brought up You Can Play because some people might react badly. Cry about it. In the end, it has nothing to do with their main talking points: 1.) fire the coach 2.) fire the GM 3.) the players suck 4.) is it the fans expectations that are outrageous?

    Print is dead. Radio is soon to follow. Keep trying to swim upstream on the internet, boys.

    • Dan permalink*
      10/19/12 11:13 AM

      Whoops. Sorry. LBGT should be LGBT. I’m not with it this morning.

    • Dan permalink*
      10/19/12 11:41 AM

      Also, that “Cry about it” was directed to The Buffalo News or WGR being afraid of backlash from the public. Not toward you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 865 other followers

%d bloggers like this: