I remember when the Bernie Fine thing first came out and I wondered aloud if ESPN was playing a dangerous game of creating news to make up for the fact that they didn't "own" the Jerry Sandusky story. While most people in the Syracuse contingent (obviously) agreed with that, I took some flack from a few outside people, including a couple that work for ESPN.
Since then, we've basically all realized that even if they didn't create the story, they certainly went full bore on something that was, at best, circumstantial and, at worst, completely made up.
Doug Gottlieb, our favorite person in the world, recently left the Worldwide Leader for CBS where, God willing, we'll see less of him. For many Syracuse fans, Gottlieb is a Cuse-hater. For others, he's a common-sense guy who tells it like it is. The truth is, he's both. There's no denying he has some kind of deep-seated issue with SU but he only let's that affect his judgement once in a while. Usually, and that's a loose usually, he's just being honest.
Gottlieb stopped by The Dan Patrick Show this morning for what has become a traditional exit interview of sorts for all ex-ESPNers. Patrick is something of a den mother for former employees of the Worldwide Leader who provides a safe haven to discuss how the sausage is made. And Gottlieb did just that.
While much of his discussion was about, what else, the creation of Tim Tebow news,
he also had a fascinating (if not predictable) answer to the question, "Does ESPN reports news or creates it?"
Looks like I misread it and it was actually Dan Patrick who said the below...
They've lost that credibility, a large portion of the credibility of covering news. I think that it's now: ‘What's trending?' Focus groups. You're trying to create things there. Bernie Fine story at Syracuse. Where's that? The New Orleans story with the Saints with Mickey Loomis? Where's that? Where are those stories? Those are big stories that you guys created. You were late on the Joe Paterno story. I think there's just a different mindset from what they're doing and how they're covering it. And they always fall back on ‘Well, Bob Ley covers the serious news stories.' SportsCenter should be covering sports, they should be covering the news. I think they created it with Tebow. And ESPN embarrassed themselves in spending a week out there at Jets camp.
As Deadspin said, it's nothing that hundreds of other people haven't said, it's just kinda jarring to hear someone who was on the inside all that time admit it.
And for those who will say, "So what?, that's their job," I would say, no, it isn't. You've just been convinced to think that's how a news network is supposed to act.