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Friday, April 06, 2007

FCC, FTC, or a senator? No, these words are from ESPN, 4/5/07

"ESPN is so huge, sprawling, successful, and it operates on so many media platforms, that its potential for cross-promoting its programming, and that of its corporate partners, is overwhelming.
  • Add to that the inherent conflict of interest between rights-ownership (not to mention league ownership) and news coverage.
  • Add to that the need to satisfy not only the huge maw of 24-7 multichannel tele-consumers, but the boundless appetite of obsessive Web-snackers. Add to that advertisers intent upon outmaneuvering channel-surfers and DVR commercial-deleters by embedding their messages ever more deeply in program content.
Put all that together, and the pressures to blur the boundaries between news, gossip, rumor, entertainment, advertising and promotion operate at the highest possible pitch.
  • ESPN is the very model of a modern megalomedia empire. ESPN's total revenue is the highest in cable television, twice that of the next closest cable network, according to George Niesen, the managing editor of Kagan Research. As ESPN goes, so may go other media outlets that aspire to its success.
The almost mutant scale of ESPN's growth in recent years makes it seem the likely ultimate employer of every sports anchor, announcer, analyst, writer, talker, producer, editor, technician and, last but not least, blogger in the land. I exaggerate, but not by much.
  • It would be hard to find someone younger, someone more thoroughly and recently engaged in the world of sports, who would not bring potential conflicts of interest to the position of ESPN ombudsman.
So the upside of the misfit between me and SportsNation is that I approach this job with absolutely no conflicts of interest. None. Refreshing to see the truth in print about ESPN and its impact on information. (Although it's common sense). These are the words of Le Anne Schreiber, ESPN Ombudsman, in her first entry, April 5, 2007. She notes most everyone works for ESPN (or hopes to) and has conflicts of interest.
  • She includes bloggers.
  • There is no significant other voice. Nor will there be in the foreseeable future, as these words from ESPN describe. The independent voice is ridiculed, slandered, shouted down, etc., whatever monopolistic folks do.

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