Costas Clarifies

A week after insulting bloggers everywhere if the old "loser in his mom's basement" cliche, Bob Costas contacted Will Leitch at Deadspin and clarified his comments:

I don't have any problem at all with the mainstream media being challenged or supplemented by new media. No entity has a monopoly over good writing from a valid point of view. In that sense, the more the merrier. In fact, many bloggers, on numerous subjects, sports included, are talented, humorous and bring fresh perspectives.

My commentary was aimed solely at a portion of Internet sports discourse, an unfortunately large portion, that consists of nothing more than potshots, ad hominem arguments, ignorance and invective. No one who is familiar with the general tone of public discourse, whether it be sports, politics, whatever, can honestly deny that much. It comes from that direction.

I was absolutely not saying that most or all bloggers were losers. It just seems so often that commenters use insults in the place of arguments. Is there a lot out there that's also well-written? Or course. But forgive me for not placing the exact same value on an comment on a political blog that I would to something said by Ted Koppel. Sure, they have the equal value in a voting booth. But you have to assume that if you've done something reasonable well for an extended period of time, you have some notion of what you're talking about.

Costas' clarification is enough for me to retract my claim that he is a human fart stain. In regards to political blogs, or blogs about medicine, health-care, car repair, or cloning, I agree with Costas that being an expert in the field gives added weight to a person's credibility when it comes to talking about the subject.

In sports, it's different.

Peter King, Costas' colleague on NBC's Football Night in America, has covered the NFL for decades. He is an excellent reporter with numerous connections in the league, and his news is very credible. But, when it comes to commenting on the league, Peter King is still utterly clueless. The same is true for guys like Jay Marriotti, Dan LeBatard, and a host of other "columnists" who are part of the established sports media landscape. Many are clueless boobs who have numerous contacts in the business but rarely provide any real insight into how the game is played. Costas seems to confuse reporting (which guys like King are very good at) with informed commentary (which guys like King suck at).

What Costas also does not seem to understand, and he even admits it is a generational thing, that blogs don't serve the sole purpose newspapers do. Newspapers inform the public of news. Blogs comment, a lot. Sports blogs in particular offer a clear, unfiltered POV of the fan (also known as the paying customer). Reporters like Peter King cannot provide this.

All that said, Costas' clarification helped to suck the poison out of the wound. Click here to read the rest of his comments with Will.

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