Keith Olbermann made a return to ESPN airwaves on his old stomping grounds of ESPN2 with his new show, naturally called “Olbermann.”
What was old is new again and Olbermann wasted no time getting used to his new New York City digs before jumping right into the holes the New York Sports Media has dug around Rex Ryan and the Jets.
In a 13-minute monologue (seen above), Olbermann went after the ways the media has portrayed the Jets over the past few months and years. No one was left unscathed, outside of, ironically, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
On the warpath, he connected the random dots certain newspaper writers have thrown out there over time.
Olbermann talked about the hypocrisy of Manish Mehta, the zaniness of Rex Ryan’s post-game press conference, the media’s inconsistent opposition/support of Jets starting QB Mark Sanchez, and the general culture of newspapers and reporting today. That final topic spurred his most talked about moment from last night:
“Reporting is dead. Long live making something out of nothing.”
Obvious hyperbole. Reporting is not dead and there are a ton of great writers who take pride in consistency, truth, and yes, providing actual facts.
But it does speak to perception.
Are newspapers reporting on a story, or are newspapers creating a story?
Sticking to sports, we have seen in recent media culture a “report first and find supporting facts for your idea second” atmosphere. This perhaps was no more apparent than “The Decision”, LeBron James’ rare misstep (though not for ESPN and the NBA, who reaped the benefits in ratings for higher interest it caused).
Basketball reporters spent the prior days proclaiming they knew where LeBron (and other free agents) were going. The race to be THE FIRST to get the story trampled the need to be correct on the first try.
It creates a perception with consumers that the goal is to accumulate stories rather than report stories.
Fellow reporters and columnists rallied to Manish Mehta’s side Monday after the New Jersey Governor and Olbermann’s attacks on him. They were protecting one of theirs, and in the eyes of many, the ideals of being a reporter.
What Mehta and others are doing now may be the norm, and it may very well be correct, but the future of newspapers and media may rest in perception and the growing audience of onlookers with a platform to display their own opinions now.
Ironically, this all came from a man on his own high platform, at a network which just removed itself from doing good reporting, which Olbermann only hinted at critiquing. But it is through discussions as these that we can reach through perception and arrive at reality.
So maybe we just need more reporting on our reporting?
Meta from Mehta.