I hope you all enjoyed Friday's little sissy slap fight between "weenies" like myself and bitter old men like Bob Kravitz. In the end, like all arguments I have with unreasonable people, the overall discussion descended into a "You suck! No, YOU suck!" fest, with Kravitz and his colleagues using their radio show as a vehicle to discredit and demean people like Deshawn Zombie, myself, and other bloggers.
Just so everyone knows what happened behind the scenes, KingRichard was originally asked by Bob Kravitz to call into his 1070 The Fan radio show at 5pm on Friday to discuss the article and blogs in general. KingRichard asked me if it was OK, and I said sure. Why not? A healthy, on-air discussion about blogs between a newspaper columnist and one of our writing fellows sounded like a good idea. I also emailed Bob twice, thanking him for the article and letting him know that if he wanted me on the show, I was happy to call in as well.
Bob never got back to me.
As 5pm rolled around, I started listening to Bob's radio show, and within ten minutes of listening I came to the conclusion that a meaningful conversation was not what Bob Kravitz wanted. I listened to how he treated Deshawn Zombie, who called in prior to 5pm, and it was disrespectful. After Deshawn's on-air discussion ended, Kravitz, his co-host (Eddie White was not on), and his producer began to, essentially, make fun of Deshawn after the call.
Again, for someone who seems to feel he has the credibility to lecture bloggers on ethics, Bob really doesn't seem to grasp the obvious hypocrisy.
After Deshawn's interview, I called KingRichard and told him he could not go on. The show was not presenting bloggers in a fair and respectful way, and as the editor of this blog I cannot subject co-writers to that treatment. My own colleagues at SB Nation made it clear to me that in such an environment, if a representative of this blog and this network is to go on, it had to be me.
I asked KingRichard to give me the call-in number for the radio station's producer. This is a common thing. The show producer will give the person being interviewed a private number to the station. This way, there is no need to call the main number and have to wait through all the regular callers. KingRichard said there was no call-in number. He was told just to call the main radio station number.
Big red flag, right there.
By not giving KingRichard a call-in number, they basically said that it doesn't matter who calls in. Whoever does will not be treated as a guest, but as a regular caller (who they can cutoff at any time, for any reason). So, I called in, waited a few minutes on hold, and was finally sent to the switchboard guy controlling calls for the show. After a few moments, I was put on the air and the first question I get is, Is your real name BigBlueShoe?
Yep, right from the bat, I can tell this is going to be "civil."
However, unlike my normal reaction when I deal with snobs, I didn't lash out and call this person on the other line a name slightly more emphatic than "weenie." Instead, I played along with their "joke" and answered their questions as best I could. If you want a review of my back and forth with Bob and the boys, check out GoHorse88's FanPost. I even offered, on-air, to tell them my name. I offered references, like Colts PR head Craig Kelley, who could vouch that I am, indeed, who I say I am.
They never followed up with that, on-air or off.
In fact, they never even asked me for my real name. To put it bluntly, they didn't care. Kravitz and his buddies were the old media school bullies, gearing up to wedgie us "little kids" in the school bathroom. For all his talk about accountability, ethics, and standards, I think listeners at home got a pretty accurate impression of just how juvenile Bob Kravitz really is.
Certainly, John Oehser, who Bob repeatedly referenced as one of the "good" blogs compared to my "garbage" blog, noticed Kravitz's schoolyard attitude towards the subject:
Before I begin, one thing that was too bad was the use of the word “weenies,” which understandably emotionalized things and took on the air of namecalling. It made the column memorable, and controversial, but perhaps masked the real, underlying issue, and that’s the issue of whether bloggers who do so anonymously should be taken seriously.I would start by saying it’s a moot point. The truth is, whether Kravitz believes it or not, bloggers are taken seriously. The page views, comments and traffic indicate a loyal following. What Kravitz wrote doesn’t change that.
So, right there, in two paragraphs, John took Bob's entire argument on bloggers and flushed it down the toilet.
John is indeed correct. Bob's opinion on blogs is not shared by many, and the readers here who have read me for three years are intelligent enough to know who they can and can't trust. As I told Bob in the radio interview, your name is meaningless. Utterly and completely meaningless. The only "accountability" we in media have is whether or not people READ our stuff. If readers read us, we stay employed. If they don't, we hit the bricks. That simple.
Of course, Bob knows this, but won't admit it.
In the end, Bob Kravitz and his silly little cohorts at 1070 The Fan were not interested in reaching out to new media and having a discussion on the changing landscape. They wanted to have a little fun at our expense. Personally, I'm fine with that. God knows I've had a lot of fun at Bob Kravitz's expense, and Friday was like an ice cream sundae. Just save us all the lectures on ethics and standards, Bob. They ring hollow from men who think that writing "weenie" in an opinion column is a stinging insult.
What Bob didn't seem to get is he actually did more harm to himself than to blogs. As some of our new readers have said, his reaction to me was silly, vindictive, and almost paranoid. Of course Bob will deny this, but all you have to do is listen to the interview and you'll know what I mean.
Bob's argument was we bloggers were disconnected, but in trying to prove that argument, he only displayed his own detachment from readers. Just from talking to him, man-to-man, he seemed like an angry, bitter, get-off-my-lawn type of guy who doesn't know that he is quickly becoming irrelevant. I offered a "silver-lining" to all this by saying that if Kravitz engaged his readers more, his articles would not seem so one-way. He responded by saying that blogs are the true one-way mechanisms. He claimed people can see his name on his articles and that he is accountable because people can call or email him.
Well, I've emailed him more than once and never heard back from him. And, apparently, the readers of his articles also share my frustration with Bob's accessibility:
"Hiding behind technology," you forgot the biggest one--voice mail. "After the tone please leave your name and number and a short message and I will get back to you." Never happens!!
Most of Kravitz' columns are spot frigging on. This one just has the stench of a guy realizing that other people do his job better than he does, without the 4 years of school and 7 additional years of being a coffee fetching lackey at some newspaper.
As of this article, Bob has not commented on anything his readers have posted in his article comments section. He did manage to email back our own KingRichard, which is a wonderful step in the right direction. But, when Bob fails to respond to his readers in his comments section, it simply reinforces the perception that his articles ARE a one-way media device. How he can't see that, I don't know.
One last point I want to make here: In the interview, Bob worked to convey that readers need to know the difference between journalists, like him (supposedly) and "weenie" bloggers like me. I found his words amazing when he did this, and his apparent lack of faith in the intelligence of his readers a bit troubling. What I told Bob, and his minions at 1070, is that I am not a journalist. What I didn't tell him, because I thought it rude, was that I was shocked at how little faith Bob has in people. People who read newspapers and blogs certainly know the difference between "news" and "commentary." Many people now get their news from multiple sources, which is an element that is contributing to the demise of newspapers. Used to be that the Star was the ONLY news source. Now, people have a choice, and they use their intelligence to determine which news sources are credible and which aren't.
America is pretty cool that way, isn't it?
What I also found interesting was the Bob kept referring to himself as a journalist. Um, folks, I'm sure you all know this because you are intelligent, rational people, but I'll just state th obvious anyway: Bob Kravitz is certainly NOT a journalist, and I do not say that to insult the man.
Bob Kravitiz is a columnist, not a journalist. I have colleagues and personal friends who work at newspapers in Minnesota, New York, Indianapolis, and San Francisco. I have friends who work for Yahoo!, write content for team websites, and who blog. All of them LOLed at Kravitz's assertion that he is a journalist. Even my ex-journalist fiance got a kick out of Bob claiming he's a journalist.
As I told Bob on-air, we are both paid professionals who are compensated by a larger parent company to write what we think. Bob isn't out there doing Mike Chappell-type work. Bob "graduated" from that years ago. Opinion pieces are not in the same realm as beat writing. Beat writing is journalism. Opinion pieces are just someone mouthing off on something the beat writer likely reported.
And, in general, people who work the beats in the journalism world tend to dislike columnists. Why? Because they state their opinion (often without much fact to back it up). And that, my friends, is counter to what journalism truly is in its pure sense. And if you go back and read many of our critiques of Bob, we have often said that he is a poor columnist because many of his opinions are 1) Easily refuted and 2) Not backed up with credible facts.
Friday's "I HATE BLOGS" rampage only reinforced that.
Bob clearly did not know I was posted on Yahoo! or CBSSports.com. He didn't know I had access to players. He didn't know people like Craig Kelly and the PR people with NFL Corporate know me. He didn't know that thousands of people hit my blog every day.
Yet, despite not knowing, he stated pretty emphatically that I am not taken seriously because I blog under the name BigBlueShoe; that I don't have access because I blog under BigBlueShoe; and that I'm not accountable to my readers because I blog under BigBlueShoe. He did so in print and on the air many, many times. So, how can a man who calls himself a "journalist," even though he isn't, come to those conclusions despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary?
Simple. Bob Kravitz is either a VERY lazy researcher, or he's just an unethical hack. I leave it to you readers to decide because, you know, unlike Bob, I have faith in your intelligence.
Of course, all this rambling is just my opinion. Unlike Bob, I welcome your's. Unlike Bob's article page, this is an active process. Your opinion here is actually more important than mine. All mine does it focus the topic. The true heart of this blog is not the articles. It's the comments below them. So, as I have said over and over again, my name means absolutely nothing. Bob Kravitz's name means absolutely nothing.
The only thing that matters is YOU,and your opinions on what I write. Go Colts!