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Course: Ethics 101. Student: ESPN. Grade: F. March 10, 2019

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Neutral Corner, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I can tell you, as someone who has worked in live TV for 30 years, that this is absolutely preposterous.
    maumann, Azrael and JC like this.
  2. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Is a TV baseball analyst a journalist?

    Is a TV political analyst a journalist?

    Those jobs strike me as opinion journalism, which is held to a different standard.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  3. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I never understood why anyone would have an expectation that TV and online and print outlets that have overt business relationships with sports organizations would be sources of objective coverage. It's not in their interest. Their bread is buttered in a certain place, and why people wouldn't understand that, has always been beyond me.

    We can debate what "journalism" is. To me, it's simply writing something for publication/dissemination, or broadcasting something. That comes with wide array of ethical standards, depending on the journalists.

    If what you want is unbiased, objective, speak-truth-to-power journalism, because you feel you can trust it more when there aren't potential conflicts of interest, it seems to me you would try to find independent news sources (or at least sources with the fewest conflicts that might get in the way of their objectivity) with some resources to dig into things. Expecting that of ESPN with the relationships it has, and how it actually makes money, makes no sense to me. ESPN serves a different purpose for people who watch it.
    maumann likes this.
  4. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    No, but then again the ESPN Sunday Night booth hasn't exactly been God's gift to sports broadcasting for quite some time.
  5. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member


    But every TV network has a rights holder relationship to the NFL, as do many local TV stations and their websites, as do lots of radio outlets - all of which are additionally rights holders for MLB and the NBA and the NHL and college football and on and on and on, world without end.

    As information consumers, yes, we have to seek out impartial sources of information. But they can be hard to find.

    The link in the original post asked rhetorically if news organizations routinely programmed news analysts with conflicts of interest, and the answer is of course they do. So do newspapers. In many cases, those conflicts are hidden.

    And many outlets, even with those conflicts baked in, do terrific journalism.

    So yes, vigilance, always. But genuinely disinterested journalism, especially in sports, takes some digging on the part of news consumers.
  6. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    It always has. And not just in relation to sports. As long as advertising is the main source of income for most outlets, the temptation at least, will always be there for some to put the ad revenue at the head of the line.

    It's why I said the thing parenthetically about finding the sources with the fewest conflicts. I'd add that most people who care also put a premium on your track record.

    In the case of the networks that actually own rights to broadcast games, though, I don't understand why anyone would expect unbiased coverage in addition to the broadcasts of the games. It wouldn't make sense for the NFL or NBA or MLB to sell the broadcast rights to that outlet, nor would it make sense for those broadcasters to bite the hands that feed them.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  7. writingump

    writingump Member

    It's a pretty terrible look, but ESPN for years has shown that it's not too concerned with things like optics. And for the record, I like Mendoza as an analyst. She has much more credibility in my eyes than a steroid cheat like A-Roid. But if I were Brian Snitker or Gabe Kapler, I'd think twice about giving her any info that she could use to help the Mets.
  8. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Those optics only matter to ESPN if it negatively impacts viewership and income, right? Otherwise, take it away from a journalist discussion, and I don't think too many people who tune in for the studio show or to watch a game, care or even see the bad look you are talking about. Which is why ESPN doesn't care. The subset of people who want a harder look at anything, probably already had figured out what ESPN is and isn't.

    I'd guess you are right that within the game, teams are probably really circumspect about sharing much of value with Mendoza. But I'd have guessed that even before she signed up with the Mets, just because of how most front offices / coaching staffs are.
  9. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    For those who like their college football coverage without any pretense of ethical conduct, Fox Sports is pairing Urban Meyer with Reggie Bush on their pre-game show.
  10. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Applebee's, and I hate myself for remembering that.
    maumann and HanSenSE like this.
  11. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    I disagree. I love the Sunday night broadcasts and the team that does it. Alex and Jessica make things very interesting to me. I always seem to gain a different, unique perspective from them. But it's fine if you feel that way. We can't always agree on everything.

    Also, for some reason, this whole "conflict of interest" angle just doesn't bother me all that much. TV people aren't held to the journalistic standard that others are. It's entertainment, not journalism. Big difference.
  12. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I used to hate Super Bowl week on sports radio or TV when every interview featured a plug for some random product that the athlete was "really, really excited about" - but I've got to say, at least they're open about why they're there.
    Though I have to laugh at the various "conflict of interest" accusations regarding draft reporting. Does anyone think the best way to get a player you represent drafted higher is via sports talk radio? Do teams listen in for gossip? Are fans supposed to petition teams to take Jim Bob in the 3rd instead of the 4th round?
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