Saturday, February 21, 2009

My email to Rick Reilly

(Note: this is the actual text of an email I sent Rick Reilly regarding his latest comments on blogs)

Dear Mr. Reilly,
I noted a Newsday interview you did recently, where you talked about bloggers as guys who are holding down couch cushions, or something along those lines. This was the latest in a series of quotes you gave that criticize the blogosphere.

Now, it's cute to talk about bloggers and use the same old criticisms, evoking images of guys in their mom's basement, eating pizza rolls and furiously stabbing at a keyboard. The fact is, though, that it's wrong.

Now, there's no doubt that there are some poorly-written blogs out there. It's just the odds that, with that many blogs, there will be some run by people who can't write, or people who have their own issues.

However, how is that any different from some of the journalism that's out there? Is it different than Mitch Albom's plagiarism? Skip Bayless' consistent slamming of Lebron James? The cases of people like Jayson Blair?

Another classic criticism of blogs is that they allow for commenters to post hateful and sometimes racist and sexist comments. Now, while that may be true, have you had a chance to read the comments lately? They're not exactly a symbol of fair and pleasant discourse.

Now, here's the truth about blogs. There are many that are run by intelligent, productive members of society who just happen to love sports. Friends of mine who run blogs include lawyers, investment professionals, teachers, policy analysts, law students, MBA students...the list runs long with smart, interesting people with intriguing things to say.

I know that this email won't change your mind on blogs, and I'm not expecting you to write some long, powerful ode to the talented bloggers who are out there. That said, you're fairly popular with the American sports public, and it would make quite an impression if you were to at least stop slamming the bloggers out there.

Whether you actually read this email, or if it ends up deleted by some intern, who knows. But, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.

All the best,
Law student, classically-trained journalist, and proud blogger

1 comment:

RC said...

Spot-on; really, Reilly is just going for the cheap joke, the "hack standup" move - it's the "what's the deal with airline food?" of the current generation of increasingly irrelevant media grayhairs.

Sure, the things that I post usually include jokes and swear words, and I post about 9 misses for every post that's actually kind of entertaining - but why should opinion pieces become some sort of oligarchy?

Reilly will clearly never live up to his insane ESPN contract in the current media era - there's simply no way he'll drive enough traffic with the current depressed state of print and internet advertising. This adds kind of a sad layer of irony to the situation: I might be "holding down the couch cushions" but at least I'm actually a profit center for my organization - maybe I'll start referring to print columnists as "paycheck thieves" or "anal spelunkers" or something, who knows. We'll have to see how that shakes out.