cynicism, journalism

Strains of cynicism

News people are cynics. They should be skeptics rather than cynics, but they’re not.

Sports people also are cynics. But they’re very different. Here’s how:

News people will follow anything political no matter how scummy the people involved might be. In fact, the scummier the better. A crook who speaks with little regard for truth and decency generates better stories than an amiable low-key representative. The most strident spokespeople get coverage for their organizations or their blogs.

Sports people are more willing to declare something — a team, a game, a sport — illegitimate or unworthy because they loathe the people involved. If they get sick of the NFL and NBA, they’ll turn to something they deem less corrupt like Little League or Patriot League football.

I’m not sure which is worse. “News” has become much less useful as it descends into a mere catalog of extremists. Reporters and bloggers take seriously a lot of people who really should be ranting at ducks in a neighborhood park. That attention helps those people sell books and get elected, and that’s a Bad Thing.

But the news folks are at least a little more open-minded than sports people.

What brought this on? This post, in which a guy a Blogcritics declares this summer devoid of interesting sports.

Here’s a partial list of what’s he ignoring:

1. An unusually competitive America’s Cup
2. Possibly the best men’s tennis player ever
3. The possible self-destruction of a golf prodigy
4. The emergence of an auto racing pioneer
5. International soccer all over
6. A scary-fast U.S. sprinter

All of which makes me glad I’m not a cynic, however uncool I might look.


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