Less than a week after having not one, not two, but all three featured articles about the New England Patriots posted on the frontpage of their website, ESPN has posted yet another Patriots fluff piece on their site. It's the second article on Adalius Thomas ESPN has run in less than a week. I guess with Randy Moss acting like a spoiled child at mini-camp, ESPN feels the need to switch gears and pump up the other Patriots off-season acquisitions. Here's ESPN's frontpage today, June 13, 2007:
Again, this is less than a week after they posted this on their site, dated June 7, 2007:
In my previous post, I showed how the Big Lead picked up our story and agreed with us. The three featured articles ESPN displayed last week were put right next to their "Ombudsman" Le Anne Schreiber's article about how the network is often guilty of holding viewers "hostage" with the tyranny of the storyline. This is a fancy way of saying ESPN has an annoying habit of constantly reporting about only a handful of teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Patriots, etc.) and not doing its actual friggin' job, which is to report SPORTS news for all teams. ESPN is also guilty of creating pre-ordained "storylines" rather than actually reporting what is happening. Schrieber explains:
One of the dangers of journalists becoming too attached to a pre-ordained storyline is that it is perceived as bias for or against a particular team or player. When ESPN recently telecast the NCAA lacrosse final between Duke and Johns Hopkins, the attention went not to the winning Johns Hopkins team but to the losing Duke team, because win or lose, they had the best storyline: Besieged innocence gets its day of glorious vindication through national championship, or not.
ESPN wasn't rooting for Duke. It was rooting for the storyline, but I doubt the players and fans of Johns Hopkins appreciated the distinction.
This is exactly what we are seeing with ESPN's NFL coverage, which seems to focus solely on the Patriots. According to ESPN's pre-ordained story, the Patriots are now supposed to win in all, and if they get their butts kicked again by the Colts (or any other team in the playoffs), the story won't be "Colts win!" but rather "Why did the Patriots lose?"
Also, the fact that ESPN has an Ombudsman is a joke. I know ESPN is an entertainment media outlet more so tha a news outlet. It's just the pretense of making themselves "seem" like a news outlet that bothers me. If you're about entertainment, then be that! Don't try and pull my leg with this false gesture of objectivity. A real Ombudsman would never have tolerated EPSN buying equity stakes in the Arena Football League and then, a short time later, start airing AFL highlights and scores on their SportsCenter broadcasts. Any real Ombudsman would have railed against this, saying doing so completely undermines the credibility of ESPN as a "news" organization. Then, they would quit for ethical reasons. Ombudsman only have a place if they are keeping the news outlet objective. ESPN clearly is not objective, and this pretense of an Ombudsman is a friggin' joke.
So now, in the span of six days, there have been four featured articles about the Patriots on ESPN's frontpage. This goes right along with the ESPN storyline of "Go Pats!" and gives the rest of us NFL fans the shaft, per usual.