A Good Rule for Sportswriters: Stay Away from Politics. Or, Learn to Use a Search Engine. Either Way.

Hey, look! A sportswriter has stepped in it again, by writing about politics. Riffing on Bush, and slobbering all over Obama. Like we can’t already get *that* from the rest of the paper.

I’m starting to think sportswriters aren’t real well-informed.  Srsly!

Rick Telander, sportswriter, informs us that Obama is a Renaissance Man for the ages, and Bush is a drooling moron.

Plus, Obama plays pick-up basketball! How awesome is that? Coolest. President. Ever!

Mr. Telander knows what he’s talking about, too; seems Obama is a voracious reader, and has even read Telander’s Heaven is a Playground, a book about … pick-up basketball. Which means he is open-minded, and also great presidential material. Bask in the reflection of his awesomeness.

Bush, meanwhile, suffers from countless infirmities, such as not playing pick up basketball, and a “lack of inquisitiveness”.  The bad news for Telander:  Bush is a voracious reader too; he read 186 books in the last three years.

186 books.  That is a lot of frigging books.

Do __you__ know anybody who has read 186 books in the last 3 years?  Does Rick Telander know anybody who has read 186 books in 3 years?

Let’s take a look at some of President Bush’s reading material from 2006:

  • Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar by Edvard Radzinsky
  • American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin (a biography of Robert Oppenheimer, an inventor of the atomic bomb)
  • Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero by David Maraniss (about the late all-star Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder)
  • Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power by Richard Carwardine
  • Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural by Ronald C. White Jr.
  • Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday
  • Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks
  • Polio: An American Story by David Oshinsky (discussing how polio affected the United States in the mid-20th century)
  • The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth by Leigh Montville
  • The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry
  • Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus

Huh.  A couple of sports books, but the rest is hardly lightweight material, and quite possibly just a little more challenging than Heaven is a Playground.  Plus, he’s been kind of busy the last 8 years.

But Rick Telander thinks Bush lacks inquisitiveness.  Catch the irony here: Telander lacks the inquisitiveness to take 5 minutes to Google “president bush” reading list, like I did, and where I found those two articles linked above. If he had troubled himself to do so, he could have avoided writing that bilge at that link above.

And yet, the media wonders why it is sinking fast.

It continues to amaze me, just how many people — who are otherwise smart, sane people — are quite content to ignore reality in order to stay comfortable in their own little protective cocoons where, because they don’t like Bush, he must be dumb or evil or a liar.  And in that same world, Obama is pure and smart and cool.  Hey, have you heard, he plays pick-up basketball?  I’m all, like, tingly inside!

Whatever, dude-sicles.

And just so we’re clear, this is not about our opinions about Bush or Obama; like one, dislike the other, does not matter.  Do not care.  What does matter is putting partisan political b.s. into a sports column, backed not by facts, but by mis-informed biases. And being out of touch with both reality, and the means to re-connect with it.

And it is a primary reason why journalists across the board are losing jobs by the barrel-full.

  1. Mike said:

    I can’t stand George Bush and am thrilled the Bush years are finally over. But having said that, I thought I should tell you… apparently George Bush was a very good basketball player. As a matter of fact, if both were age 25, I’d definitely take Bush over Obama in a game of one-on-one. (Obama hardly played for his high school team that won a state championship.)

    I can’t stand Rick Telander as much as I can’t stand Bush. I can’t stand Rick Reilly either. The role of the pious, preachy, idealistic journalist has gotten really old. One thing I do like about Gammons is he always respects his subjects. Most of these journos today feel like they can rip a man’s character to shreds for no reason.

    And as for George Bush reading books, I think this started once he became president. The guy is so painfully inarticulate that I’d bet equal money as with fictional bet above that prior to becoming president, Bush hadn’t read 5 books in 10 years. If he has, it’s even worse because his language skills are inexcusably awful. Completely inarticulate.

  2. jb said:

    You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you are just speculating about how many books he’s read.

    This criticism that he is inarticulate drives me nuts. Even though it is sorta true.

    First of all, the media jumped on every single slip he ever made in public. Do you have any idea how many words a President says in public, and how many opportunities there are to get a little tongue-tied? It’s a lot. Obama Himself made quite a few gaffes this past year, but the media ignored all those. Don’t make the mistake of assuming a balanced picture is being presented there.

    Second, the idea that such a criticism is important is pretty silly: there are much more important qualities for a president to have, like leadership. Bush had the cojones to double-down in Iraq based on a recommendation from Gen. Petraeus (holy schnikies – he listened to his advisors!) just when all the brave Congressional leaders like Pelosi, Durbin, and yes, Obama, were ready to hightail it out of there and ONCE AGAIN tell the world that the U.S. doesn’t finish what it starts. That would have been a huge mistake. Instead, we won, and so the media quit mentioning the war at all, and so did the Dems, because they couldn’t use it as a political weapon any more.

    This kind of stuff is what makes me mad. Not how articulate our president is. Even though you’re sorta right.