Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The media and its creations

I'm watching Sportscenter right now. There is nothing else on and I'm too lazy to look through my dvd collection to find a show to rewatch (I finished Angel for the second time, great show). During their coverage of the NBA finals they talked about Chris Bosh's shot that put the Heat up in the final seconds of game three. And that fed into them talking about him and Lebron "closing".

This idea that a player or players close a game is a fairly new thing to me. For the past decade or so the sports media has been obsessed with the idea of clutch in every sport. I think the concept of clutch is a vastly overrated and overemphasized idea that the media likes because it gives them something extra to talk about. I think the same thing has happened with closer and closing games. Its basically the same thing as clutch. Its either securing a win by not blowing a lead or coming back to win from a deficit. Its just a part of every game in every sport. How you close a game is only very slightly more important than how you open it.

So I don't see much use in using these terms and creating these narratives about players like Lebron (his is whether he is a closer or not) other than to drum up bullshit based on extremely small sample sizes to make stories and give people like Skip Bayless and radio hosts something to talk about. And specifically about the Heat, it doesn't really matter since they are winning. The only way the coverage would garner the attention they give the narrative they push was if they were constantly blowing huge leads late in the game and someone like Lebron was playing unbelievably bad. None of that is happening. So the stories are wasteful fillers.

The same thing happens on the political front. The political media loves to create bullshit stories of their own so that they can increase page views, ratings, and give their moronic radio hosts and tv pundits something to talk about other than the important shit they don't really know enough about to speak intelligently about. This week has provided two good examples: the Anthony Weiner and Palin stories.

Weiner sent some pictures that were mildly sexual in nature to some women over twitter. The only thing that story has to do with politics is the fact that Weiner is a politician. He wasn't breaking any laws and it had nothing to do with policy. So there was little reason for it to be a story the public at large should have to know about. Yesterday he came out and admitted he initially lied about sending the pictures. That makes it only slightly more relevant as a political story. Though I can't imagine many people are shocked when a politician turns out to be a liar.

Speaking of liars, Sarah Palin made a gaffe about Paul Revere while in Boston. The initial story of her gaffe was less of a political story than Weiner's. People make gaffes when they speak. It just happens. No big deal. I don't even find any humor in it. But in typical Palin fashion, she can't admit even a gaffe and now says she didn't make a mistake. She believes that Revere in fact rode around Boston shooting guns and ringing bells so that he could warn the British that they weren't going to take away their guns. That makes the story slightly more important politically because it further emphasizes the point that she is completely delusion and would be a disaster in an important elected office.

But really it shouldn't have been a story to begin with. The national media has no business following her around on her little bus tour other than to create an easy story. And they are simply playing into her publicity seeking goals by doing so. I guess the point of this post is to not pay attention to these stories. I watch people like Skip Bayless because I get bored and I have this weird thing where I get annoyed when sports commentators use crappy logic and get paid to do it. So I'm just as guilty as most in consuming this crap. But I've been off cable news for years now and I'm much happier because of it. The internet is filled with plenty of sources where you can get news and commentary about important stories that actually affect public policy. So be strong and try to avoid all the crap out there.

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