Bob Costas switched from enjoyable to insufferable a long time ago. He’s risen to rank one notch below Joe Buck, who qualifies as so self-righteous that I mute my television during his broadcasts, whatever the sport, teams, or scenario. Costas demonstrates this further with these comments:
”Today, I saw on ESPN a poll about which Western Conference teams would not make the playoffs,” Costas said. “Well, 46 percent said the Denver Nuggets, which has zero percent influence on anything. No reasonable person who cares about the NBA should care about that. Who has the time or the inclination to do this, even if you’re sitting on your computer? Why would you weigh in on it?”
”I understand with newspapers struggling and hoping to hold on to, or possibly expand their audiences, I understand why they do what they do,” Costas said. ‘But it’s one thing if somebody just sets up a blog from their mother’s basement in Albuquerque and they are who they are, and they’re a pathetic get-a-life loser, but now that pathetic get-a-life loser can piggyback onto someone who actually has some level of professional accountability and they can be comment No. 17 on Dan Le Batard’s column or Bernie Miklasz’ column in St. Louis. That, in most cases, grants a forum to somebody who has no particular insight or responsibility. Most of it is a combination of ignorance or invective.”
What bothers Costas — and he’s not alone — is Internet and talk radio commentary that “confuses simple mean-spiritedness and stupidity with edginess. Just because I can call someone a name doesn’t mean I’m insightful or tough and edgy. It means I’m an idiot.
“It’s just a high-tech place for idiots to do what they used to do on bar stools or in school yards, if they were school yard bullies, or on men’s room walls in gas stations. That doesn’t mean that anyone with half a brain should respect it.”
I don’t find his view of bloggers and blog readers/commenters particularly insulting. This is primarily because I do not care what his position is. He’s engaging in the denial behavior all dinosaurs engage in. Pretend that “they” aren’t as qualified because some majority of their numbers are casual and less-informed. Ignore those among “them” who are qualified and ignore those among your own who are not qualified. It’s too common to cause any indigestion.
What I do find insulting is the implicit idea that only media’s gatekeepers are competent enough to figure out which comments on teh Internets are worth absorbing and which are garbage.
The Internet is a large experiment in merit. Popularity doesn’t mean quality and quality doesn’t mean popularity. Big deal. The opportunity to learn and grow and develop is there for those who wish to try. But only the fool imagines that it’s a revelation that there’s wheat and there’s chaff. Any glance through the hallowed halls of mass sports media shows this.