I Love It When Media Types Complain About Media Types, Without Realizing It

The media is all atwitter about the Bears and Chargers game, especially all the supposed trash talking going on before the game. Ron Rivera allegedly called Rex Grossman a “mental midget”. Shawn Phillips allegedly called Cedric Benson “soft”. Blah blah blah.

Wednesday, on the Mac, Jurko, and Harry show, Dan McNeil complained about all the Bears complaining. Urlacher said this, Benson said that.

I agree with Dan — I have little tolerance for any of this either. It drives me nuts, frankly.

Just. Shut. Up.

But how could the Bears be talking about it if the media wasn’t asking them about it? It’s not like football players call press conferences to bitch about other players.

Football is unique in that it is played but once a week, for 3 hours, which leaves the other 6 days and 21 hours of time to fill with football-related content. So the media jumps on every little issue they can find, and pumps it up, and pretends that any of this crap-ola actually matters, in the sense that the game itself actually matters.

And sure, the Bears players could take the high road and not offer comments after bring poked and prodded for a reaction by the incessant questioning about unimportant details. But maybe, just maybe, they are indeed a little bit irritated about people flapping their jaws and publicly calling some of them out. Pride will do that to you, sometimes. We all wish we could handle those situations better, I’m sure.

So if they seem unable to restrain themselves from discussing it when prodded, I’ll give them a pass, for now. If they’re still yapping about it in a week or two, then no more free pass.

But they won’t be. Because the media won’t be stirring the pot, asking them about it every freaking day.

So, while I like Dan and agree with him much of the time, it is pretty damn funny for a member of the media to criticize athletes and coaches, on whom they rely every day for juicy quotes, for reacting to the questions thrown at them in order to get those juicy quotes.

Please, who are we kidding here?

And I understand that the members of sports media do this because they have to, more or less. They have to fill the airwaves/pixels/newsprint with something; much as I like to criticize them for such things, the reality is, sometimes there is nothing else to talk or write about. So the realist in me understands that with so many media outlets, and sports talk radio and the Internet driving an insatiable demand for content 24×7, all this is just inevitable.

But here is the thing that is killing the media in general, and they are just too close to it to see it or understand it: it also means that all that content is mostly meaningless junk. By definition.

When your business model demands that you are more committed to delivering content on a consistent basis than to any type of standard for what content is actually meaningful, and therefore, worth delivering, the quality of that content suffers.

Still, there are nuggets buried here and there, which is why we come back for more. And with talk radio in particular, it is more about personality and the free exchange of ideas that drives it.  But we as consumers of this constant stream of meaningless media content have to be disciplined about taking any of it very seriously.

Because, nobody else is gong to do it.

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