Another Wednesday, another mainstream media member making less than accurately informed statements about issues they think they understand…
Commentary- Facts? Who needs ‘em?
On Tuesday, the great team at Land Grant Holy Land were the first to draw Buckeye fans attention to the comments of CBS Sports’ Tim Brando regarding Urban Meyer. Quick summary, Brando stated that Coach Meyer was attempting to get Ohio State’s post-season ban lifted so that they could play for the B1G title; and characterized his attempts as “whining”. He went on to say that the “whining” behavior was something that Meyer had done during his tenure at the SEC as well… although, I don’t remember much coverage of that from CBS while Urban was at Florida and CBS had a sweetheart deal with the SEC.
Brando’s commentary, linked above, includes speculation from former Notre Dame “star” Aaron Taylor regarding Meyer’s motivation and timing for leaving Florida and Utah. I’ll leave this alone, other than to say that Brando’s twitter comments regarding Ohio State fans not being able to handle their team’s irrelevance could more directly apply to Taylor’s former program.
As is often the case, the Ohio State twitterati responded to Brando’s comments, with Tony Gerdeman leading the way. Gerd’s hilarious comments were centered around one point: If you have sources, provide a link to them. And yet, after hours of “discussion” including other media members (Paul Finebaum, Matt Hayes) coming to his defense, Brando only continued to state that he had “read published reports” and provided a link to an LA Times article with the following quote:
Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer was pleased when told of the news.
“I never heard that. I never thought about it. And it’s not going to make us play harder this Saturday,” he said. “But somewhere at a point in November or something, yeah, that’ll be interesting.”
Yup, that sure sounds like whining to me. Heck, if you listen to the audio of Coach Meyer following his finding out that a divisional title might be a possibility, you hear even more of the arrogance and schtick that Brando is referring to. (note, tBBC doesn’t have an intentional sarcasm font… it should always be assumed)
For the record, I believe that Coach Meyer did comment “let me know when they change their mind regarding our playing for the conference title” or something to that effect in a presser last week, but every person in the room knew that he was joking about the issue.
The key there is “every person in the room…”, and Tim Brando was not among them. As is the case in our hyper-media enhanced game of “telephone”, a comment is shaped by people with a particular perspective or narrative, and then regurgitated as fact for general consumption. Thus, a non-story becomes a central focus.
A great example is this past week’s commentary from Coach O’Leary regarding the ‘Shoe not necessarily being a hostile environment. While that certainly makes interesting bulletin board material, it was more than frustrating to see that the four letter network decided to make it the common thread for the game and talk about it on every occasion.
It’s been reported that a statement made at a recent political convention implied that the group in question was “not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers“. Given that we know that people gravitate deeper toward their already held positions when confronted by evidence that contradicts these, and that people seek out ideas that concur with their ideologies more often than trying to hear both perspectives, it’s no surprise that even the “media” would be more than willing to drop their ideas of “news” and instead present “commentary” that reflects whatever agenda and bias that they bring to the table. Heck, we’re just as guilty of it as anyone.
The difference, though, is that we admit our bias in the masthead, rather than trying to come off as the national “voice of reason” in such matters.