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Seriously… when will people say ‘enough is enough’

By Mark Solway | November 28th, 2007

As the sports journalism world does it’s best imitation of the National Enquirer and exploits the Sean Taylor tragedy, I find myself both disgusted and appalled. If the mainstream media got any more sensationalistic, they’d have to call it fiction. While I would love to individually go through all of the worst offenders and tear them a new bunghole, I feel that I would only be falling victim to their true motivations – selling papers and getting clicks to a website. So I will not to dignify any of the offenders with links (and this blog is to ask that you do the same), but I reserve the right to perhaps touch on a few of the guys that may have offended me the most in the last 48 hours. I don’t know when it happened exactly, but the last few years have seen a dramatic fall-off in the integrity of sports journalism. In fact, even using the word ‘integrity’ as it pertains to the sports media makes me throw up in my mouth – not just a little bit – a whole lot. The internet has created a ‘NEWS NOW’ mentality, that seems to forego things like credibility, integrity, and actual facts. Newspapers seem to think that by ‘shocking’ the public, or even ‘offending’ them, they can gain back some of the readership that is being taken away by on-line sources. And you all line up like lambs at the slaughter. Did it ever occur to you that by even citing a link and saying, ‘go crap on this guy,’ that you’re actually magnifying the problem, not helping it? Every person that visits the ‘offending’ site will be served up advertisements, and consequently, reward these establishments for their ‘wonderful’ work. They don’t care if you’re offended – you supported them – and it doesn’t seem like there’s EVER any recourse from Joe Q. Public. Why? I’ve seen hundreds of examples of people that are truly trying to do the right thing, but continually doing the worst thing. I’ve seen dozens of examples of people spending a considerable amount of time and effort ‘rallying’ others to support their ‘angst’. I think that’s great; I just wish that some of them would put a little more thought into what they’re actually doing. Why not focus their efforts around actually BOYCOTTING these offending sites, as opposed to asking people to voice their opinion directly to the offender at the source? The ONLY way that you can hurt the media, is by completely bypassing these bottom-feeding ‘journalists’. Anybody catch Michael Wilbon’s comments this week? If you did, I hope it was because someone cited the article here at THN or on someone else’s forums, and not because you visited the WP site to see it for yourself. How about the fantastic piece thrown out by Leonard Shapiro on Tuesday? That was brilliant stuff. I can’t tell you where to find it… because I’d be doing what I am implicitly asking you NOT to do. I read it on the board here and frankly, it made me sick. But are Shapiro and Wilbon even the ones to blame? Aye, there’s the rub. It seems to me that at some point, you just have to start looking at the people who sign these guys’ checks. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Post have been on a seemingly mandated hate trail for quite a while. Their writers aren’t being rogue journalists and going against the flow, they’re following a directive issued to them by their employer. The ‘culprit’ in all of this is the one who reads these pieces and actually has a synaptic fire that says, ‘Yes, that’s worth publishing.’ And you’re supporting it. I’m asking you not to… and I’ll go one further and ask that you focus your energy on encouraging others to do the exact same thing. That’s the only way you’ll ever hurt them – by completely ignoring their existence. I’ve had this conversation a fair bit and the most common rebuttal I hear is, ‘Well then how am I going to find out what’s going on?’ I would suggest to you that if you think you’re reading about ‘what’s going on’, you’re kidding yourself. You read spin, nothing else. You’re not educating yourself on events, you’re filling your head with rhetoric and making it near impossible to truly know what’s going on. The ironic thing is that the Redskins not only embrace it, they encourage it. A news source like theHogs.net is given NO consideration as a media outlet for the simple reason that we are an online entity. We’re constantly told that there just, ‘isn’t room for everybody.’ And all the while, they bump us and others like us, for the bottom feeders and the sensationalists. Makes perfect sense huh? Encourage the sensationalism by facilitating nothing else. What a mess. The players seem to dislike the media. The media seem to dislike the players. It’s a sure-fire recipe to breed the exact situation that they have. When will enough be enough? When will people open their eyes and see that if you take away the sensationalism, it just might be replaced by factualism if you encourage truly healthy relationships. I’ll tell you when… when you take away their ‘power’ and stop supporting their product. My 2…

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