Mike Francesa's words on WFAN today re: media, especially NY Daily News' Bob Raissman
- 2/11/09, Francesa responds to Chris Russo's words on Howard Stern's show,
- Francesa latest ratings, per Neil Best, 1/6/09:
"I have to be fair. [Richard] Sandomir from the Times has asked me two questions. One was did I listen to Dog’s show yesterday, which I had to inform him I had a show against it, which made it pretty hard, and Best of Newsday has asked a couple of questions. He asked me a few questions as things unfolded. But I have sat here in amazement that as this thing has unfolded over the last month, not one person has asked me to do an interview, or has asked my side of the story, which is fine. But I have to sit here and I have to say that I’ve talked to the people here a lot and with some friends of mine that it did amaze me that in all the media not one person wanted to ask me what I thought about it or my side of the story. Not one.
- "Now I understand that I have never been a media darling when it comes to getting great treatment, and I probably deserve a lot of that. People think I’m tough, they think I don’t court favor that well, let’s be honest. I don’t have a lot of guys in the media, critics, who I’m buddy-buddy with,
- as Dog let’s say is with [the Daily News' Bob] Raissman, so no one has ever written one word about my side of the story. What I worry about it is that our side of the story never gets out to you at all. Our side never has gotten out.
"I don’t care what the media writes. They can say whatever they want. They can have any opinion they want. They usually do. The question is does the audience have any idea what’s going on because of the way it’s been depicted?
- "Frankly, I have taken a beating here for a month. And I said I never was going to say a word, not one, until the whole cycle was complete, and now the cycle is complete, because the promotional tour is over and Dog has begun his show, and the best to him. No ill feeling. I hope he does well. But as I said, not one time did anybody ask me my opinion of the breakup, just his. My opinion of the show or what happened or anything else, and frankly, I took the worst of it, which is fine. But really the worst of it....
"You learn a lesson, folks. I hope you don’t get your information from the newspapers, because the stuff that has been written during this time about me has been so wrong.
- It has never been even remotely accurate, I mean not even in the ballpark accurate. Stuff about me being jealous and irate about things like that is just totally ridiculous....
"To read the things I read and the way I was depicted was just comical. And I sat there as my family read this stuff and saw how I threw these tantrums, which wasn’t true, and in interviews Dog did I got knocked for being a bad guy, for being an egomaniac and for being impossible to work with and called all these names. I never uttered a word during the whole cycle of this thing, which went on for a month, whether it was [David] Letterman attacking me, whether it was my old boss [Sirius CEO Mel] Karmazin attacking me, like I didn’t make him enough money in 18 years he was here. I don’t want to get on him very much. I think Mel better dig in and worry about the fact his [Sirius] stock is 70 cents a share. It was five bucks when he started there. It’s up to 74. I want to be accurate. It’s up to 74....
- "When I came back to do that show at Yankee Stadium [June 27] I sat and told you, folks, things are not good. I told you the show was at a crossroad. Now I’ve sat here and said nothing. And I don’t like to take the program and not do what we do, which is sports. But if I don’t use this forum, I don’t have one.
I don’t have someone doing the bidding for me, because like I said, I’m not going to be a guy who’s going to court favor with the media.
- "Most of them, they’re not in love with me and they’d rather see me fall on my head,
which I understand. I’ve been here doing this a long time. But what I can’t deal with is
- a guy like Raissman, who, listen, he’s been Dog’s guy for 20 years. I mean basically they’re inseparable. They live together now, I think, the last two months.
Raissman is the worst culprit, because he has never, during the time that he has written all this stuff about the breakup of ‘Mike and the Mad Dog’ has never, ever called me once for a comment, not once. All he’s done is attack and attack and attack and the attacks are to attack me and make Dog look good, which is his prerogative.
- "But when he called up to get the information about the fact that what I’ve done over 20 years on solo shows, which I’ve done one for 20 years on Sunday morning and Dog who’s done one for 20 years on Saturday morning, and he was given the information, well,
- the information didn’t suit him because my numbers, and that’s just the way it is are very, very good, and Dog’s are less than that, substantially less than that, and he didn’t write it.
He refused to write it. He was given the numbers and he refused to write it, and he’s just pounded away.
- "So I’ve sat here, and like I said, I don’t want to make it about me, I really don’t. And I know I’m accused of being an egomaniac all the time so I should make it about me, because I get accused of being one anyway, so I should make it about me anyway, but I try not to make it about me and instead made it about sports, which is what I love. But I don’t like the fact, and my friends are saying to me, hey, you have to fight back, and I’m say, I’m going to sit back and wait and let this whole thing unfold, but I took a beating, everywhere, every story. I was the villain, I was the bad guy, I was the reason. I was this, I was that, I was the bad guy.
"Chris is always the guy who played the fan, the guy who was more lovable because I played the tough guy. I understand that. That’s fine. What’s great about the audience is the audience sees through and knows what the truth is. And they know if you’re telling them the truth and I’ve always tried to tell them the truth. I don’t court favor.
- I don’t go asking guys in the media or critics to do my bidding for me,
- so I get pounded, which is fine, but it comes to a point where you can’t take it anymore. Where you say, this is ridiculous.
"A perfect example is Raissman, who is Dog’s guy. I’ve got him pounding me here since this whole thing started about how, oh, FAN’s business is going to go down the drain and Francesa can’t carry a show by myself. I can’t carry a show by myself?
- I’ve done a show on Sunday morning for 21 years by myself that has never finished behind a conventional station in 21 years. I’ve finished behind a few of those church stations, those religious stations that do gospel music on Sunday morning or sermons on Sunday morning, especially the Spanish-speaking ones, which do astronomical ratings. I’ve finished behind a couple of those....
"He did write one word about ‘Mike’d Up’ once. He wrote that ‘Mike’d Up’ would be a colossal failure the first time I did the show and that there was no room on Sunday night for that kind of show.
- And I just finished my 250th show at NBC and you can go check and ask NBC about it. That show has record ratings thanks to you the public. For 250 shows it’s been No. 1. It has driven CBS’s show off the air, by their own admission, and it has been a show they’ve tried to copy in other cities because it has been so successful.
"I don’t want to sit here and talk about the fact I did that. But you know what, why should I sit here and get beat up day after day by a guy who dislikes me and just likes Dog. Just be fair. Be a little bit fair....
- "Now Raissman attacks me because he doesn’t like me very much. He never has, and he thinks he’s boosting Dog.
- Hey, Mike can’t carry a show, listen to Dog, Dog can carry a show. Although the ratings suggest that over 20 years I’ve carried the solo shows better than Dog. That doesn’t mean Dog can’t do it, but how can you say I can’t do it when my ratings are double Dog’s for 20 years?
- And I also have a Sunday night show that is unbelievably, if you let me say, successful.
"Everyone one in this town, every critic, wrote that show wouldn’t work. Every one of them, and they’ve never written another word about it since. The only guys who’ve written about that show are the guys who aren’t sports critics, just TV critics who’ve written about that show. The sports guys haven’t written a word, except to knock it. Which is fine, I live that every day....
"And then you don’t get the information. And the relationship I have is with the audience.
- Sometimes the media tries to be the conduit for that.
- But the good thing I do is I get to talk directly to the audience.
- And the audience is why I’m here. I’m only here because of you.
I laugh through the years when people say, oh, Mike doesn’t like the audience. Why? Because I’m tough on a caller I don’t like the audience? I love the audience. I try to be always respectful to the audience and I’ve never looked the audience in the eye and lied, not one minute....
- "But when you’ve got guys who have an agenda like Raissman, and I understand he loves Dog, so he’s going to try to pump him up during this time when there’s a split.
- He’s come after me hard the last month. But he’s come after me with nothing but stuff he can’t back up. He can say he doesn’t like my show. That’s his prerogative not to like it....
"Here’s all you need to know about Raissman: When I went out to Jets camp to do a show, I got Favre on. I worked hard to get Favre on that day. I spent hours behind the scenes to get Favre on that day, because I knew the audience would expect me to have Favre on that day. Hours to get Favre on that day. It took me hours of negotiation.
- "I got him on and all Raissman did was knock me, and said I bullied the Jets to get him on. I had Mangini and Favre together doing an interview, the only one you’ll see, ever in this town that someone would get them to sit down together and do an interview. Then I get knocked, and he wanted to know why SNY, which he gets paid by, couldn’t get a one-on-one with Favre. Now how is that objective reporting?
"And how is it objective reporting when during the biggest story that he would handle this year he did not call me once? Or the fact that he took all these numbers from FAN, and when they all played against his view of what would happen, meaning pro Dog and anti-Mike, he dropped them?
- "Now I’m not going to sit here and read them to you. But you can look them up. They’re public record. I’m not trying to run Dog down. I’m trying to tell you, those are facts. And business is very good, and I can sit here and do this by myself for as long as I want, whether someone likes it or not. And I’m not going to, because I don’t want to. But you know what, enough’s enough. During this whole thing all I did was come to work, and I got hammered.
- ***Many thanks to Neil Best for transcribing this important information about media manipulation.
My comment: As a listener I became aware that Chris Russo had a reciprocal relationship with Bob Raissman. Chris has great talent, but this was a big drawback. (sm)
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