ESPN shows bias, wastes time
October 2, 2008
There, I said it. I know this will anger many of you who religiously tune in to SportsCenter, First Take, Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption and all the rest of ESPN’s programming.
Everything that made ESPN good in their early days has been replaced by obnoxious anchors and analysts, human interest stories and coverage of fascinating events like the rock, paper, scissors world championship instead of, you know, sports highlights.
Now the airwaves are filled up with the likes of Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith shouting their opinions at you. I do realize this column is me shouting (writing) my opinion at you, but I’m not responsible for national sports coverage either.
ESPN is, and they abuse the privilege by shoving the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Lakers down our throats at every possible opportunity, and largely ignoring anything that doesn’t happen near an ocean.
It baffles me how many people I meet around here who swear by ESPN, even when the Midwestern teams they follow are pushed aside for up-to-the-minute coverage of what Alex Rodriguez had for lunch.
ESPN has forgotten about sports journalism and moved on to sports marketing, appealing to the lowest common denominator of sports fans and airing whatever they think will get the best ratings.
SportsCenter, their flagship show, often starts off with ten minutes of highlights from the New England teams, followed by five more minutes of analysis of said teams. I can grudgingly accept the coastal biases, since ESPN is based in Bristol, Conn., but as soon as they cut to the analysts, I’m thinking they could be showing highlights from other games with this time.
I’m perfectly capable of forming my own opinions about sports and I don’t need to be told what to think by washed up athletes-turned-anchors and whiny analysts like the aforementioned Bayless.
I also don’t need to see 20-minute human interest segments, hot dog eating contests, spelling bees and the World Series of Darts.
What I do need is to see more of the actual games being played, to aid in my opinion-forming abilities.
Maybe I would be better off just learning to love Manny Ramirez, Tom Brady and Kobe Bryant, but all I know is that a little part of me dies inside every time I contribute to ESPN’s ratings when I watch Baseball Tonight to see their 15 seconds of Minnesota Twins coverage.
Ben Brewster is an alumnus of UW-River Falls. He was editor of the Student Voice during spring semester 2009.