Blog Feud Escalates! Drama!
Give me one second as I try to escalate the budding Shanoff-Steinberg Blog War. Although I'm not getting a lot of help on the other end here. Shanoff, if we're feuding, you can't gush all over me. Think "enmity." (Also, the check's in the mail.)
Anyhow, he responded to my defense of the AP college football pollsters thus:
Now, can he debunk that I think that the media (and coaches) have no business being in the poll business? Or, if they insist on being in that business, why they limit themselves to a pool of local reporters of unknown expertise? Or that I still wonder how they watch enough games to make them more expert than, say, a knowledgeable fan with a "GamePlan" cable package (or one of the many really good college football bloggers)? Or how they can explain the apparent hypocrisy of taking themselves out of the BCS process because they don't want to make news, yet sit on a collision course to "split" the national championship themselves?
1) Well, who should be in the poll business? Players? I'll admit, that would be much, much more fun, but unlikely to happen. Or should there be no polls? If there are going to be polls, you'd be hard pressed to think of two better groups to vote than writers and coaches, even if you decided that "bloggers" should be counted as "writers." Especially writers. Sure, they might have some bias, but who in the world would know enough and have less bias? Jerry Palm?
2) Why does the AP limits itself to local reporters of unknown expertise? No idea.
3) Why are these voters more expert than good blogsters? Clearly they're not. If there's one thing I've learned from reading all these blogsters, it's that they know as much if not more about the big picture than Big Media, and that they probably have more time to watch their favorite sport on TV than Big Media, because Big Media is always taking plane rides and driving around in rental cars and going to press conferences and raising young Johnny and Susie Media, and often, if Big Media does have some spare time, Big Media really doesn't feel like watching yet another sporting event on television. So fine, the AP poll should be merged, or maybe taken over, by the BlogPoll. I'm cool with that.
4) But this one, on journalists "making news," gets me interested. I'm not sure if I understand the widely celebrated concept that journalists should not "make news." What are we doing when we ask specific questions that yield newsworthy answers if not "making news." If an NBA player has no plans to speak out about the new basketballs, but a reporter figures 'let me ask what he thinks,' and then the NBA player goes on a rant, and then David Stern winds up responding, and then the whole system might be changed, has the reporter not "made news?" If that reporter had stayed home in bed that day, the "news" would not have been made.
Or this whole Steinbrenner-Torre thing......the people that first published the "Torre to be fired" stuff.....did they not "make news?" Don't tell me that was "news that was just waiting to be reported".....someone had to decide to predict the future, with the help of sources, and that decision created a national news story.
Or, when Paul Farhi writes a scathing critique of Kornheiser, doesn't that "make news?" Didn't "Wash Post columnist blasted by own paper" become the subject of "news articles," even before TK responded.
Plus, how can all these high-and-mighty papers (i.e., The Post) say that we're too good to "make news" by voting in such polls, but then go ahead and report on the results religiously? I mean, if we're too good for that stuff, just be done with it. Banish the tainted rankings from our paper. And don't ever use the rankings, and don't ever report on the chance of split national champions, etc. But if it's cool enough to take up agate space, and if it's cool enough to use in stories that describe "No. 6 Texas," then why wouldn't you go ahead and vote, even if it means you've "made news?"
(But to Dan's point, yeah, this does seem like a contradiction for AP to pull out of the BCS but to still do a poll.)
(Also, if we ever get a playoff system, what the heck would people write about in early October? The weather?)
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