Media Criticized For Biased Hometown Sports Reporting

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Vol 39 Issue 45

House Of Representatives Magically Switches Bodies With Senate

WASHINGTON, DC—Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives were magically transposed Tuesday, in an event Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist described as "freaky." "Sen. [Orrin] Hatch [R-UT] had just introduced S.J. Res. 15 when, all of a sudden, we found ourselves in these huge chambers with all these extra seats around us," Frist said. "I looked down, and there in my hand was a copy of H.R. 2799, but I had no idea how to go about defending its contents." Members of both congressional bodies proceeded to learn valuable lessons about one another's perspectives on the legislative process.

Enraged Man Unable To Break TV

SHREVEPORT, LA—Enraged after seeing his ex-wife in a local commercial, area resident Bill Schwartz, 48, threw a potentially destructive tantrum Monday, but was unable to smash the screen of his 42-inch high-definition television. "If that television were less durable, there would be no doubt as to just how upset I am right now," Schwartz said after launching two shoes and a telephone at the screen. "Damn it." Schwartz then made a final charge at the television before collapsing dejectedly into a recliner.

22-Year-Old Fuck Complains Of Age Discrimination

SAN MIGUEL, CA—Passed over for a promotion at Barton Financial Services, little 22-year-old fuck Darren Meeker filed a lawsuit against the company Monday, claiming to be a victim of age discrimination. "Just because someone has 20 years of experience, that doesn't automatically make him more qualified than my client," said attorney Martin Lippman, who represents the whiny shit. "In his first seven months on the job, Mr. Meeker has more than proven his potential." The little prick was unavailable for comment.

African Leaders Still Treating Clinton As President

NAIROBI, KENYA—Kenyan President Emilio Mwai Kibaki said Monday that his country continues to enjoy excellent diplomatic relations with former U.S. President Bill Clinton. "I have always enjoyed working with Mr. Clinton, and the recent international Agricultural Development Conference was no exception," Kibaki said. "And I know that [Democratic Republic of the Congo President] Joseph Kabila enjoyed meeting with him to secure an American commitment for humanitarian aid, as well." Kibaki said that none of the leaders have anything in particular against President Bush, but added that all the same, they'd rather stick with Clinton.

Sorta-Attractive Girl Half-Heartedly Hit On

COOL SPRINGS, TN—During a weekend house party characterized as "okay," paint-store employee Peter Elsing, 24, mustered up just enough interest to hit on Theresa Scobel, a sort of good-looking Vanderbilt graduate student, Elsing said Monday.

Ghosts Of Situations Past

If you Jeanketeers think I sit on a chaise lounge eating bonbons all day, you'll be surprised to learn that I applied for, and got, a part-time job at Kinko's. See, I thought working at Kinko's would be easy. The only other time I'd been there, to photocopy a disintegrating old column by Ann Landers (R.I.P.), it was late at night, and the clerk on duty was reading a skateboarding magazine. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening! That place gets swamped!

Immigrant Workers Vs. Wal-Mart

Hundreds of undocumented immigrants have filed a discrimination and exploitation lawsuit against Wal-Mart. What are the workers' complaints?

Speeding Up Iraqi Self-Rule

The Bush Administration announced that it hopes to speed up the transition to self-government in Iraq. What do you think?
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Media Criticized For Biased Hometown Sports Reporting

Media Criticized For Biased Hometown Sports Reporting
Media Criticized For Biased Hometown Sports Reporting

ALBANY, NY—Members of the national media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting released a 255-page report Monday criticizing the American media for severely biased local sports coverage.

<i>The Boston Globe</i>'s 2002 Super Bowl coverage barely mentions the opposing team.

"In our extensive study of the nation's sports sections and broadcasts, we documented countless examples of shamelessly one-sided reporting, obvious speculation, and bald editorializing masquerading as journalism," FAIR spokesman Scott Wilborough said. "Coverage was heavily, sometimes brazenly, weighted toward the teams from a media source's own area. To look at the data, you would almost think that sports journalists aren't held to the same standards as other reporters."

FAIR surveyed the sports reporting of more than 400 newspapers, as well as nearly 200 television and radio stations across the country.Wilborough said that, in an average article about a sports event, 87 percent of column space was devoted to coverage of the local team.

"Photos almost always featured the home team, usually in a moment of victory," Wilborough said. "When the players and coaches of the opposing team were discussed, it was usually in the context of how they were 'destroyed' or 'stomped.'"

In addition to granting local teams and athletes disproportionate amounts of column space and airtime, city dailies and newscasts often exaggerated local teams' wins and downplayed their losses.

Wilborough held up two newspapers: a copy of the Detroit Evening News with the headline "Sanders to Join the Immortals" and a copy of the Philadelphia Inquirer with the headline "McNabb's Brilliant Last Minute Heroics Destroy Green Bay."

"It's frankly baffling how widespread the bias is," Wilborough said. "Journalists seem to lose their composure altogether when reporting on their local sports teams."

The FAIR report, which characterized the bias as "irresponsible and pervasive," stated that "the blatant slanting of local sports coverage goes against the ethics of balanced journalism and contributes to a public perception that the local team in a particular area is the absolute best. This does a disservice to the very audience that the media claim to serve."

"The fact is, only one team in any given sport will earn the distinction of being the best," Wilborough said. "Nevertheless, local news outlets go on asserting that an area team is number one, often against all logic. When a local team is performing poorly, journalists will often slant coverage to imply that the failure is circumstantial or temporary. They even go so far as to make totally indefensible claims such as 'We'll get 'em next year.'"

According to the report, the bias can be found everywhere from New York and Chicago to smaller media markets like Green Bay, WI and South Bend, IN.

"The bias is everywhere, but the New York and Boston media's coverage of this year's American League playoffs is a classic example," FAIR investigator Clark Hudson said. "And it all starts, as bad journalism so often does, with editorializing through biased word choice."

Hudson said that in both the New York Post and The Boston Globe, home-team batters were referred to as "sluggers," pitchers as "hurlers," and managers as "field generals."

"Hell, if I were the Boston Red Sox, I'd sue the New York Post for slander," Hudson said.

Several reporters agreed that a problem exists, but disagreed about both its nature and its severity.

"In my opinion, the most insidious aspect of unbalanced sports coverage is the bandwagon effect," sports journalist Lori Nickel said. "For example, Chicago news outlets support [coach] Dick Jauron blindly as long as the Bears are winning. But only one team can win the championship every year, so eventually, WGN and the Sun-Times start screaming for the firing of the entire coaching staff. How is that fair?"

"I wholeheartedly agree that standards in the business are slipping," said ESPN's Jeremy Schaap, son of late sports-writing legend Dick Schaap. "I'd like to see a return to the respect and even-handedness not seen since the days of that great man and exemplary American, Howard Cosell."

Wilborough said the problem may be larger than many realize.

"Let's face it, sports news is the only news most people read," Wilborough said. "That's reason enough to clean it up. Otherwise, the media may start seeing bias and sensationalism as a formula for success. I don't think anyone wants to live in a country where that happens."

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