By Will Leitch
Leitch’s criticism of the players and owners is relatively mild, however, compared to the ire he reserves for the sports media. Most pointedly, ESPN, which he equates with “the Imperial Forces from the Star Wars movies; controlling everything with a dark hand . . .” It does so, Leitch argues, by buying the silence of sports reporters who, in exchange for healthy paychecks, have lined up for the opportunity to reduce themselves to the lowest common denominator on inane ESPN shout-fests such as “Around the Horn” and “Pardon the Interruption,” which Leitch says have “made the discussion of sports 57 percent dumber.” If any of these reporters dare criticize ESPN or its interests in print, they can look forward to being blackballed by the network, never invited back to the shout-fests, and “forced to live off a piddly newspaperman’s salary.”
The result of this tacit arrangement, Leitch argues, is a free hand for ESPN to promote its own brand and churn out content on its multiple media platforms free of criticism or dissent, all the while paying less and less attention to the actual sporting events fans tuned in to see in the first place. Indeed, in an effort to conclusively prove that the content of ESPN’s sports coverage has suffered as ESPN’s power has grown, Leitch subjects himself to a 24-hour marathon of the Worldwide Leader in Sports’ family of networks. The results of being subjected to a day’s worth of synergy were not ultimately fatal, but they were not pretty either, as Leitch describes being “pounded into submission” by ESPN’s “bulk, polish, and repetition.”
Shysterball | FULL REVIEW
Looks like a book I may want to read...