Media Criticized For Biased Hometown Sports Reporting

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Jayson Werth Catches Foul Ball Without Spilling Beer

WASHINGTON—In an incredible play that drew cheers from the whole stadium, Washington Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth managed to catch a foul ball Tuesday night without spilling the beer he was holding in his other hand.

Strongside/Weakside: Serena Williams

Serena Williams is aiming to clinch a historic calendar Grand Slam at this year’s U.S. Open, forever enshrining her as the last American tennis player worth talking about. Is she any good?

Journeyman Fan Joins Sixth NFL Team In 5 Years

HELENA, MT—Continuing his lengthy trek around the league, sources confirmed Friday that 36-year-old journeyman fan Brian Ferretti has joined the Arizona Cardinals, his sixth team in the past five years.

Strongside/Weakside: Jose Mourinho

Having won titles in Spain, England, Italy, and Portugal, manager Jose Mourinho has cemented himself as one of the most successful megalomaniacs in soccer. Is he any good?

Having won titles in Spain, England, Italy, and Portugal, manager Jose Mourinho has cemented himself as one of the most successful megalomaniacs in soccer. Is he any good?

Highlights From NFL Training Camp

With preseason games underway and preparations intensifying across the league, the NFL has had no shortage of stories to keep fans occupied before the new season kicks off. Onion Sports breaks down the biggest moments from this summer’s training camp.

Strongside/Weakside: Ronda Rousey

After winning her third straight bout in less than 40 seconds, UFC star Ronda Rousey has become the most dominant MMA fighter in the world and is truly living the dream of any incredibly violent person. Is she any good?

Fan Can’t Believe He Left 11 Seconds Into Ronda Rousey Fight

RIO DE JANEIRO—Kicking himself for not staying all the way until the end of the fight and subsequently missing its thrilling finish, local mixed martial arts fan Marcos Acosta expressed both disappointment and regret Tuesday for leaving UFC 190’s main event between Ronda Rousey and Bethe Correia after 11 seconds.

Strongside/Weakside: Clint Dempsey

Despite losing the team’s captaincy after a recent incident with a referee, Clint Dempsey has propelled the U.S. closer to a sixth Gold Cup title. Is he any good?

Biggest Moves In NBA Free Agency

With numerous star players inking max contracts over the past two weeks, the first month of NBA free agency has already shaken up rosters across the league. Onion Sports examines the biggest free agent signings so far.

Every Comment On ‘Immaculate Reception’ YouTube Video Clearly From Franco Harris

PITTSBURGH—Noting that the dozens of rambling, overly excited posts date all the way back to when the clip was first uploaded in early 2011, sources confirmed Thursday that every comment below a YouTube video of the famed 1972 “Immaculate Reception” football play was clearly written by Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris.

‘SportsCenter’ Co-Anchors Clearly Dating

BRISTOL, CT—Saying that the pair could barely take their eyes off one another throughout the hour-long sports news program, ESPN viewers told reporters Friday that it is increasingly clear SportsCenter anchors John Anderson and Matt Barrie are currently dating.

Strongside/Weakside: Alex Morgan

Despite her recent injuries, U.S. striker Alex Morgan is still arguably the most potent goal-scoring threat in women’s soccer. Is she any good?

Despite her recent injuries, U.S. striker Alex Morgan is still arguably the most potent goal-scoring threat in women’s soccer. Is she any good?

Sexist Pig Has No Idea When Team USA Playing Nigeria

‘What Round Is This Again?’ Misogynist Asshole Asks

NORTHFORD, CT—Revealing just how old-fashioned and small-minded he truly is, local sexist pig Jonathan Scott admitted Monday he has no idea what time the U.S. women’s soccer team plays Nigeria tomorrow night, sources reported.

Owner Tearfully Releases American Pharoah After Triple Crown Win

‘You’ve Earned Your Freedom,’ Emotional Horse Owner Says

ELMONT, NY—Overcome with emotion as he described how much he’d miss his “old friend,” the owner of Triple Crown–winner American Pharoah bid a tearful farewell to the colt Monday before granting the horse its freedom, sources confirmed.

Keys To The Matchup: Barcelona vs. Juventus

Barcelona and Juventus go head-to-head in a Champions League final that will be watched by millions of incarcerated soccer executives around the world. Onion Sports breaks down what each team must do to win.

Keys To The Matchup: Warriors vs. Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers face the Golden State Warriors in what is likely their last-ever chance to win a championship for Kevin Love. Onion Sports breaks down what each team must do to win.

The Cleveland Cavaliers face the Golden State Warriors in what is likely their last-ever chance to win a championship for Kevin Love. Onion Sports breaks down what each team must do to win.

Keys To The Matchup: Blackhawks vs. Lightning

The Chicago Blackhawks face the Tampa Bay Lightning in a Stanley Cup Finals matchup that has hockey fans wondering how late they’ll have to fucking stay up to watch overtime. Onion Sports breaks down what each team must do to win.

The Chicago Blackhawks face the Tampa Bay Lightning in a Stanley Cup Finals matchup that has hockey fans wondering how late they’ll have to fucking stay up to watch overtime. Onion Sports breaks down what each team must do to win.

FIFA Assures Fans Investigation Won’t Affect 2022 Qatar Slush Fund

ZURICH—Stressing that soccer’s international governing body will continue to conduct business as usual in the face of high-profile fraud charges, FIFA officials assured the public Friday that the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice investigation will in no way affect the 2022 Qatar slush fund.

FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States

Global Soccer Tournament To Kick Off In America Later This Afternoon

ZURICH—After the Justice Department indicted numerous executives from world soccer’s governing body on charges of corruption and bribery, frantic and visibly nervous officials from FIFA held an impromptu press conference Wednesday to announce that the United States has been selected to host this summer’s 2015 World Cup.

Hockey Fans Treated To Rare Sighting Of Zamboni Giving Birth

ANAHEIM, CA—With thousands of spectators visibly emotional after witnessing the heartwarming moment, fans at Monday night’s playoff game between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks were reportedly treated to the rare sight of a pregnant Zamboni giving birth.

James Harden Pretty Sure He Felt Something Pop In Lower Beard

HOUSTON—Expressing concern that the injury could sideline him for the remainder of the postseason, Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden confirmed Friday that he felt something pop in his lower beard during last night’s game against the Golden State Warriors.

Strongside/Weakside: James Harden

James Harden has become one of the most potent offensive threats in the NBA, leading the Houston Rockets to their first Western Conference Finals appearance in 18 years. Is he any good?

James Harden has become one of the most potent offensive threats in the NBA, leading the Houston Rockets to their first Western Conference Finals appearance in 18 years. Is he any good?

Bored David Blatt Just Drawing Up Plays For Fun During Cavs Game

ATLANTA—Explaining it was merely something to occupy his attention throughout the evening, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt revealed to reporters that he was spending the majority of Wednesday night’s Eastern Conference Finals game against the Atlanta Hawks drawing up plays for fun on the sideline.

Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn Blame Breakup On Hectic Sex Lives

JUPITER ISLAND, FL—Explaining that the pressures of their day-to-day commitments had given them no other choice but to end their three-year relationship, golf star Tiger Woods and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn released a joint statement Wednesday blaming their breakup on their hectic sex lives.

Draft Pick Hugs Family That Will Bleed Him Dry Over Next 5 Years

CHICAGO—Upon hearing his name announced by commissioner Roger Goodell during the first round of the NFL draft Thursday, wide receiver Anthony Parker immediately began embracing the family members who will slowly bleed him dry over the next five years, sources confirmed.

Greatest Boxing Matches Of All Time

With Floyd Mayweather Jr. facing Manny Pacquiao this Saturday in what many have dubbed the “Fight of the Century,” Onion Sports looks back at the greatest bouts in boxing history

Little League Pitcher Just Getting Fucking Shelled

RED BANK, NJ—After watching the 11-year-old give up the fourth straight double that inning, sources confirmed Sunday afternoon that local Little League pitcher Dustin Bauer is getting absolutely fucking shelled out there.

Best Playoff Performances In NBA History

With the basketball postseason heating up, Onion Sports looks back at the greatest individual performances in NBA playoff history. Shaquille O’Neal: During the 2001 NBA Finals, O’Neal was absolutely dominant while tearing apart ...

Derrick Rose Pulls Off Perfect 720 At Local Skate Park

CHICAGO—Following his numerous failed attempts at the challenging skateboard trick, sources confirmed Wednesday that Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose successfully landed a perfect 720-degree aerial at a local skate park. Rose reportedly manage...

Keys To The Matchup: Duke vs. Wisconsin

With the NCAA title on the line, Wisconsin faces Duke in a rare national championship game that gives neutral fans only one team to root against. Onion Sports breaks down what each team must do to win.
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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."