Last month, I posed the question: does the mainstream media steal from blogs? On Wednesday, ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd answered with an emphatic "yes," lifting almost word for word a fake Wonderlic test from The M Zone, a Michigan football blog. (Edit: fixed the link)
By now, Deadspin, YAYsports! and countless others have weighed in. I've already talked about this type of stuff much more than I'd like to in this space, but it's yet another example of how those in the mainstream mediaYes, I think it's a little generous to put a daytime sports radio host in that category, even if he does have a national show often misunderstand, look down upon or generally take advantage and appropriate material from those who write on the internet. Granted, a lot of what you'll read on the internet is drivel, but that's true across all mediums -- the National Enquirer is sold next to the The Wall Street Journal, but no one suggests that all newspapers are suspect.
I think a nice companion article to the current Cowherd controversy (which, as I see it, is rooted in the mainstream media's disrespect for blogs) is Henry Abbot's essay about "bloggers vs. reporters" over at True Hoop. I haven't yet read the Sports Illustrated article by Chris Ballard that he's responding too, but his argument is clear enough to stand on its own legs. An excerpt:
Of course, Ballard goes on and on about the poor quality of internet sports content, calling it "all this electronic blather." Hmm. As if that isn't all over every sports medium. Have you heard talk radio? How about sports fans in the stands, or in sports bars? Most aren't scholarly.
Ballard's own award-winning magazine was 100% T&A just a few weeks ago.
Their new "SI Players" section is especially soft-hitting. This issue Ballard's writing in features Brad Miller's important conviction that Britney Spears "is not as hot as she used to be."
I think citizen and credentialed journalists alike should all be careful to do the best job possible. Let's do better--a lot of what's out there sucks. But let's not pretend the medium makes it so. That's ridiculous. All the internet medium has done is give everyone a voice. It may not always be pretty, but it's better than gagging everyone except the "star" which is what happens in mainstream media.
I'm a published writer and obviously an avid blogger -- I'm as interested in the craft of writing and the business of publishing as I am in watching and talking about sports. As such, I realize that I may be a bit more interested in stories like this than a lot of my readers, so I'll stop for now. But I do think the fact that this argument is coming up time and time again signals a shift in how we seek out news and how we communicate.
But you already knew that, since you come here for your Pistons news, instead of just the Free Press or News.