Triumph of the booboisie

Lord knows, Stewart Mandel has made for a convenient foil on more than one occasion here at the blog, but the idea that ninety-second clips of Skip Bayless pontificating on any subject have more perceived value to Fox Sports than Bruce Feldman’s college football insight is nauseating.

This is what I was getting at in yesterday’s post about ESPN’s business model.  Those of you who insist on getting wrapped up in the bullshit about Mickey embracing liberal politics are missing the real point.  Irritating blather has value to these people.  It’s not about left or right; it’s about providing a platform for pundits to say something outrageous enough to make the average viewer want to pay attention.

Live sports may be what drives the train for most of us, but apparently there’s marginal value in insulting the intelligence of some part of the viewership.  While that may be profoundly depressing to those of us who are rational beings, you can’t argue with the reality that these are the bets these media giants are making.  After all, we live in a world where they keep spinning off “Housewives of XXX” like there’s no tomorrow, because there’s a reliably profitable viewership out there.  Why should we think the sports world — professional wrestling, anyone? — is immune to that?

I’m not trying to argue that to some extent the media hasn’t brought this on itself.  I mocked this development at the time, but since then it’s taken on a certain canary in the coal mine aspect that now seems as inevitable as it is sad.

Make no mistake, though.  The public is complicit, too.  Fox and ESPN are giving us what they are convinced we want, or at least enough of us want, such that it makes it worth their while to debase their product.  I’d like to believe they’ve lost their way, but the saddest point of all is that I can’t help but concede the merit of their cynicism.

Enjoy what’s left of actual sports journalism.  It’s hard to see a robust future for it.

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57 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, Media Punditry/Foibles

57 responses to “Triumph of the booboisie

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    “It’s not about left or right; it’s about providing a platform for pundits to say something outrageous enough to make the average viewer want to pay attention.”

    True. Howard Stern, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and numerous political commentators can attest. Shock schtick works.

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    • Hold up. Madonna and Lady Gaga are super talented. Let’s not crap on that. But agree schtick works, sadly.

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    • Argondawg

      Just using your examples is this a generational thing. Do millenials crave this more than actual live sports? I genuinely have no idea.

      They seem hell bent on alienating as many folks as possible. Is this akin to when MTV stopped playing music and started living on the reality TV side. Maybe this is a better business model for them but it leaves the live sports viewer with a completely different feel about the product.

      I remember I could tell what time it was by Sportcenter. Getting SVP helped, sorta but I probably don’t watch it once a week anymore but I’m old and crotchety these days. Are the kids still watching it?

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      • FisheriesDawg

        I think SportsCenter now exists solely to provide background entertainment in public establishments. Sports bars, car repair waiting rooms, office break rooms, etc. They may be valuable simply by being visible in those scenarios.

        As a kid, I used to watch SC religiously before school in the morning. Now I intentionally turn it off as soon as a game I’m watching ends. I have to think the biggest part of that is that I can pull out my phone and scroll right to the game/sport I’m interested in and check the scores/highlights without sitting through a bunch of excess. If a highlight from elsewhere warrants attention, it’ll probably show up in my Twitter feed.

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      • My daughter’s boyfriend (18) plays sports, loves sports and probably has never watched anything on ESPN or Fox other than live sports. Kids today don’t seem to give a crap about what a bunch of talking heads think….at least from what I see. I have no idea who is watching this Skip Bayless type crap on TV.

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        • No One Knows You're a Dawg

          That’s the thing, no one is watching the Bayless crap. His show has consistently low ratings. Some weeks it gets beaten out by reruns of the Andy Griffith Show.

          From the November 17, 2016, twitter feed of Richard Deitsch:

          “For the Nielsen week ending 11/6, reruns of the Andy Griffith Show on TV Land beat the Skip Bayless-led Undisputed by 241,000 viewers.”

          It’s sort of counterintuitive, but I think the writers at Fox Sports were fired in part because guys like Bayless and Cowherd aren’t delivering the big audiences and revenues needed to make their contracts profitable. But Fox Sports can’t fire them because the contracts are for big money and multiple years. So instead they fire the $70K a year writers and double down on promoting their biggest sunk costs, in an effort to squeeze every last bit of value they can from these bad investments.

          If their smart, the media personalities at Fox Sports and ESPN will realize that what’s just happened is more of a “final notice” than an endorsement.

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  2. Maybe they’re just following the trend of a dumbed down America? I truly believe Americans are becoming more and more stupid – not only in regard to education, but just pure common sense.

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    • Mayor

      Certainly that is true about sports, football in particular. All most football fans understand is that some guy is running with the ball and other guys are trying to tackle him. ESPN has sunk to the lowest common denominator. I quit watching ESPN “sportscaster” shows (Sportscenter, etc.) years ago. The only reason I still watch ESPN at all is the multiple football games televised on all the variants.

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  3. paul

    Unfortunately, we tend to sink to the lowest common denominator. There’s very little actual journalism going on at newspapers and other so called news outlets these days. Why should sports be any different? It’s sad.

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    • Otto

      I miss the day when GameDay was about Xs and Os rather than human interest stories. I used to set my alarm to watch GameDay but with absence of analysis, the football study hall blog, and other online news. I often do not even bother turning game day on.

      I also dislike Finebaum so much that I only turn SEC gameday on if someone calls me about specific story.

      I do admit to watching College Football Daily as they do have actual reporting on the Xs and Os, who is playing or out etc. but only if I am working from home and have time to get it off the DVR. Talking Football on CSS is the show I really miss.

      People point to online news and blogs but the state of the blogging world has declined with the exception of this blog. Grit Tree gone, Bernie’s and Georgia Sports Blog can go a month without an update. EDSBS and Team Speed Kills are not what they used to be. I check here and Bulldawgs Ilustrated and can go weeks without checking others. I believe it was MrSEC that posted links to news stories across the SEC and sometime more daily. It was a great resource that is now gone. ESPN CFB nation used to do the same but does not link to local papers near as often.

      Enough ranting about the state of media for now.

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      • People point to online news and blogs but the state of the blogging world has declined with the exception of this blog.

        I appreciate you saying so.

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        • Otto

          I would point to the number of comments and quality of discussion as support for that statement. I was once a moderator on a forum and as such do not envy your position and thank you for the blog.

          With that said I’ll still give you crap from time to time.

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        • DawgPhan

          But what will the good senator write about when there are no journalists breaking news and covering stories. What will the talking heads blather about if their aren’t companies spending money on developing stories.

          How does a talking head show shine the light on baylor?

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        • Rampdawg

          He’s lying you know?

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      • Gaskilldawg

        The Georgia Basketball Blog does not do Georgia football so a substantial portion of the readers of this blog never heard of it, but it does excellent long form coverage of Georgia basketball. I would recommend that any Hoops Dawgs on this board check it out.

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        • Otto

          Thank you for the recommendation.

          I would love to hear of a blog that posts a buffet of news stories for SEC football (or the entire FBS level)

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      • Mike Cooley

        The loss of Grit Tree was quite a loss.

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  4. Outside of actual games that interest me, I stopped watching ESPN years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bright Idea

    Heck it amazes me that the SECN hangs their hat on 4 hours of Finebum callers every day. I haven’t watched in 3 months and I flipped there yesterday and there was Bobby from Birmingham saying Alabama would be undefeated forever ….again. How long can that go on until it becomes a money loser?

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  6. DoubleDawg1318

    It’s the same direction television and radio have gone in for politics. Outrage and shock sell and for that I blame the viewers. Each of us ought to start by examining ourselves to see what our media habits are and whether they should be adjusted. If we want better journalism and more civility we have to stop being and rewarding outrage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is a concerted effort to Balkanize and distract the people to the benefit of a few. And it’s working: http://fortune.com/2015/09/30/america-wealth-inequality/

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      • sniffer

        Agreement achieved. Like him or not, Trump’s disruption alarms this class. Jackass that he is, the elites are shaken by his nonrecognition of their importance. Time will tell if this becomes permanent.

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        • Their only alarm is that he’s useless in getting what they want. There’s a lot of GOP donors wondering whether a President Pence could have gotten a Senate healthcare/tax cut for the rich bill done this week.

          They’re also wondering whether Trump will also fuck up their goal to simplify/pay less taxes goal that’s up next.

          Trump is no threat to the vested interests other than via incompetence and indiscretion. He ran as a populist but there’s been zero in the way of actual economic populism promoted. Demagoguery is not a substitute for economic fairness. Everything that’s been done has been done in support of the elite, entrenched interests. So long as the only political support is at the base level, I don’t see any room for pivoting to the middle either. That’s extremely unlikely to change.

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          • sniffer

            Never underestimate incompetence or indiscretion. Also, disruption can have any number of forms. Sanders is a disrupter of a different type. His party no more wants his ilk to ascend than the GOP wants Trump to succeed.

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            • I can’t say I’m a member of any party but I agree that I don’t want sanders to succeed. The free market isn’t the problem. It’s those who have benefited from it and then decided to buy it such that it is no longer “free” is the problem. We have socialism for the rich and the law of the jungle for the poor. They paid for it and they want a constant ROI.

              The free market is the key to wealth creation but you have ensure that more than the sorry ass sperm lottery winners have access to it. That requires some regulation and some redistribution. A four year old can’t be limited to access based upon “just desserts”. His access should only depend upon his status as an American and without regard to whether his daddy is a janitor, a general, a NCO or a CEO.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Mayor

                How perceptive of you Derek. The really rich have changed the system so we DON’T have a free market in the US any more and they are trying to make it worse for the rest of us every day by buying politicians and rigging the system. You are right about the law of the jungle for everybody else, too. Court is a great example. In the US court is really trial by combat. Do not underestimate the importance of having the best lawyer. It is the single biggest difference between winning and losing.

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                • Gaskilldawg

                  I am a lawyer. I have a reputation of being a very good trial lawyer. From my experience having the best evidence is the ultimate difference maker. I can squeeze more persuasion out of the evidence than a poor lawyer can, but ultimately the evidence is what matters most.

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  7. Chopdawg

    Frank Deford called, said you misspelled “booboisie.”

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  8. 3rdandGrantham

    Well said. The liberal nonsense (and this coming from a Libertarian that abhors the majority of liberal views) reminds me of when the AJC started suffering a decline in circulation 10 or so years ago, and Boortz went on ad nauseum that it was due to the paper being too liberal and not serving their conservative base.

    Of course, we all know that 95%+ of the reason was due to the explosion of digital content, and these days I can’t remember when the last time I saw anyone reading an actual newspaper. Same with ESPN — their decline is due to streaming and people frankly not giving a rip about Sports Center anymore.

    As for journalism, indeed it is out the door for good, only to replaced by talking heads whom are best at drumming up feigned anger and controversy, along with their “hot takes.”

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  9. WF Dawg

    Well said, Senator. People who want rational discourse in an age of dumbing-down will find other media…like this blog. We don’t all agree on politics, religion, or the merits of G-Day QBR (I kid, I think), but at least we all agree that we want something other than the breathless bombast of Bayless, et al. As long as there remain bastions of sanity in the world, that’s good enough for me.

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  10. I personally would have gone with CNN instead of FOX see,,http://www.veritaslive.com/06-26-2017/americanpravdacnn.html and three of their journalists being shown the door for publishing a single anonymous sourced story but your overall point is valid…..we are retreating to our own echo chambers.
    Don’t be too dismissive of ESPN’s ignoring their own viewership when they espouse a “progressive agenda” I have not and do not intend to do this research but I truly believe that they ,ESPN, do turn off their own potential viewers when they attempt to tell us football fans that we should be concerned that Mizzou’s Micheal Sams might be discriminated against because he is gay. Most of us who watch and love football ,rightly or not want to believe that making an NFL team is still one of the few remaining meritocracies . ESPN did numerous reports that inferred that the macho culture wouldn’t accept him when my eyes told me that he (Sams) was half a head too short and half a step too slow. But ESPN absolutely lost me when they gave Bruce Jenner a “courage award” After that my attitude became show me the game and STFU. How he/she/ it won that award over the girl with cancer that survived just long enough to get on the court was as revealing of of ESPN’s desire to be progressively cool as anything I will ever see. As most of us know ESPN is hemorrhaging money because of a change in technology(i.e. people cutting the cable) but their in your face political/social justice agenda is not helping them with what should be their market…average/normal,male sports fans..

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  11. Athens Dog

    I just watch the sports…………………

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    • I consume (too much) online content and watch live events. I stopped watching Gameday years ago. I don’t watch halftime shows, pre-game shows, or scripted shows. Not because I have some disdain for them, but I get all of the stuff I need from the Internet.

      TV is set up for quick, 15-second soundbites and that kind of discussion leads to hot takes or shallow comments that have no real meaning.

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      • Rampdawg

        Gameday was good when it was one hour. Now it’s just three hours of watch TCM or something else till gameday ends and the actual games begin.

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  12. ASEF

    I always laugh at “liberal agenda” media critics. To paraphrase Hunter Thompson, Broadcast media is a money trench inhabited by thieves and whores who would stab their grandmother in the back for a buck. There’s also a bad side.

    On both sides of the camera, people get axed the moment an audience starts to turn away. Outrage and controversy reliably shape viewing habits. Even if you have to make it up. Even if events subsequently reveal you to be an utter idiot who just makes shit up to get attention.

    And 25 years of that (this is hardly new) has helped bring us Dear Leader Dipshit.

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    • DawgPhan

      The problem is that there is a big chunk of this country that thinks that treating people equally is liberal bias. That inclusion is a liberal bias.
      The suggestion that not everything is a truly perfect meritocracy is liberal bias.

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      • 81Dog

        Consescend much? Of course you don’t think there’s liberal bias if you believe “a big chunk of this country thinks treating people equally is liberal bias.” Way to define yourself right out of the problem. If you start from the position that “Everyone who disagrees with me is not just wrong, they’re evil,” then it’s ok to summarily dismiss them. The problem you seem to be left with is that not all those people actually are evil, and since you dismiss them, they feel no obligation to engage, or even worry about you. Keep virtue signaling, though, it seems to be working out really well!

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  13. Southernlawyer11

    Not trying to step on toes here: WTH happened to Dawgsports ? And I mean purely content generation…….it used to be a favorite site of mine and has just been dead as a doornail for a year+.

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    • T. Kyle King (founding editor) was so disillusioned with McGarity and B-M by the process of the firing that I believe he actually gave up his season tickets and doesn’t actively follow Georgia football anymore (at least not in the public sphere). He had stepped back from editor duties a few years before, but he was an active participant at the site until the change was made. In general – I think dissatisfaction with process of the Richt firing caused a lot of the editors that were putting interesting content out to take a step back and it hasn’t really recovered.

      There was a definite “haha, we won” vibe from the folks that could not go a single conversation without letting you know that Richt should be fired after the fact that turned off a lot of long-time regular commenters. There were also the corresponding folks that used every single conversation to point out how wrong it was to fire Richt which was equally annoying. I used to be a regular participant there (dating back to 2005 or so), but every single conversation devolved into a Richt-ferendum and I just got bored with it. I think the vitriol was so strong and polarizing during the 2014-2015 seasons that the community that used to exist there kinda dissolved.

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      • 92 grad

        I agree but I still visit there weekly and during the football season daily. The gymnastics and golf coverage is entertaining and during the football season it’s still a fun daily.

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  14. 92 grad

    Good topic senator. There is a picture that is used as a meme and it is a billboard somewhere that says “suddenly, everything sucks”. Kind of how I feel about the general public. It’s not as much fun to be patriotic anymore, and it’s harder than ever to have faith in humanity. People suck and it’s a bummer.

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  15. Mike Cooley

    Really well put, Senator. I have mostly just shrugged at the stuff I have heard about ESPN going all liberal politics, mostly because, well, I don’t watch ESPN except during college football season and that’s the way it has been for several years now. I left NFL football behind ten years ago. NBA and NHL? Pfffft. Please. Who cares? And I only casually watch college basketball and college baseball. I don’t watch College Game Day anymore and haven’t in years. In short, I don’t need them anymore so I don’t care what they do. Your argument that simply want to be bombastic or edgy or whatever rather than have a real commitment to one political side or the other rings true because it sounds exactly like them. I watch them when they are showing a game that I want to see and only then. So they can have at it. Whatever their motivations are.

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  16. The ability to pontificate and piss off people seems to get a large audience these days in sports and politics. I travel a lot and it is pretty much the same on local stations anywhere I choose to listen. And that choosing to listen is getting less and less. Both sides, right and left, have made this their model in politics. Antagonize and irritate. Sadly, I do not see this changing. It sells and Bayless and some of the folks on sports shows are a prime example. If any of them believe their own crap that would be amazing. Performance art(?) at the worse level.
    Interesting that neither side in sports, get a Bama fan, or pretty much any fan, to admit they are full of it, is a false hope. Same in politics, get anyone to admit their own side is full of crap is also a false hope.
    Off to Alaska, enjoy the summer.

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