Wednesday, June 11

Well Done (Well, Sort Of)

Too often in the broadcast media, an important story is shoved below the radar, especially when that story is embarassing to the league or the network.

These days, it is difficult to separate those two entities. ESPN and ABC have paid a boatload of money for the rights to broadcast the NBA, and if the NBA should begin to show signs of deterioration, well, that would be bad for business at Disney. So, when Tim Donaghy's attorney dumped a great, big pile of steaming testimony upon the media's lap on Wednesday, I was skeptical that it would get much attention from the broadcast that night.

Which is especially frustrating, considering that Jeff Van Gundy was front and center in involvement in one of Donaghy's alleged conspiracies (I'm not denigrating here, just trying to be fair).

The way I look at it, commentators should act as our friends, as if we were sitting next to them in our living room. And, last night, if you were sitting next to Jeff Van Gundy, wouldn't the first words out of your mouth be, "Hey, what do you think about what Donaghy said today?" I know the NBA Finals are important, but, come on, how could you not ask that question?

And, thankfully, ABC/ESPN did just that, isolating JVG with lead man Mike Breen during a halftime segment. Sadly, Van Gundy tried to distance himself from Donaghy's allegations (dragging in that old, tired line about Donaghy "denigrating the league," as if the league was some religious entity), and he also tried to backpedal a bit from his comments during the Houston/S.A. series [edit: should have read Houston/Dallas] involving the league's apparent attempt to target Yao Ming.

Still, give credit to the broadcast team for not ignoring the situation. Should Mike Breen have asked more pointed questions? Of course, but that sort of interrogation will never happen between two partners in a broadcast, it's just not realistic to expect that of Breen, or any other commentator involved in such a situation. I'm just happy they didn't ignore what could be - combined with the ongoing Battle in Seattle - one of the most important stories of David Stern's tenure.


Anonymous said...

Sadly, Van Gundy tried to distance himself from Donaghy's allegations (dragging in that old, tired line about Donaghy "denigrating the league," as if the league was some religious entity), and he also tried to backpedal a bit from his comments during the Houston/S.A. series involving the league's apparent attempt to target Yao Ming.

Yes, Kudos to ABC for bringing it up. Very lame response from JVG. BTW, It was the Houston-Dallas series. You'd think boat-rocking Cuban would be the last guy the league would want to help out.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if espn continues to push this Donaghy story, or if they just shruff it off as a "rogue element" as Stern likes to call it.

sharky h. towers said...

Great points all around. It wasn't hard to read between the lines with JVG, and though his comments were hedging at least he said SOMETHING.

The coverage on ESPN after the game had some doozies though. The party line had been firmly reigned in.

In the early coverage you got the feeling a memo must've circulated with the word "aggressiveness" as a main talking point.

If Donaghy do what he did a day earlier and the NBA and the mouse had an extra 24 hours, do we even see Stu Scott throw it to Breen and JVG at halftime? I'm not so sure. I think that might have been a gametime decision.

Kevin said...

i was surprised when this was brought up when considering the NBA and ESPN are in basically in bed together..pretty lame response from JVG, but you got to admit if he said anything ground-breaking he wouldn't be showing up for work the next day...

Anonymous said...

I did not see the interview, but sounds like damage control to me. They (ESPN/ABC) release the story and can control what is reported. That said, Donaghy is trying to save his ass - so the statements may be a bit self-serving.

Anonymous said...

Perfect example of the allegations. Sonics-Suns game 7, Western Conference finals (91-92, i think). How many times did the Suns go to the line? OVER 50 TIMES!!!!! I wonder who the NBA wanted to face MJ and the Bulls?

Anonymous said...

Within The Walt Disney Company, y'all can't trust any of its media entities to be either impartial or unbiased whenever covering a story that could cost the corporate brass millions upon millions of dollars. It flat-out sucks that we can't trust play-by-play announcers, color commentators, or in-studio analysts to provide us fans with unfiltered coverage; however, that's life in a corporatist nation.

Unlike the Seattle SuperSonics potential relocation to Oklahoma City -- which has been overblown by the locals around here, since most folks throughout the country doesn't give a fuck about it -- this whole gambling scandal involving Tim Donaghy and the alleged possiblity of games being fixed by several unnamed referees could lead to the eventual downfall of NBA Commissioner David Stern.

sharky h. towers said...

R. Lobstah- I want to first say that I am a Lakers fan as well as someone with very solid respect of - and in agreement with - many ideas and ideals of the American conservative movement (though I am an Independent and I am strongly for Obama) so please understand that I speak with all due respect and I apologize in advance if the site frowns upon political discourse.

The first thing that I would say is that it is my belief there isn't really a true leftist party in this country. Certainly not the Democratic party during Clinton and since. I would consider left to be, oh Noam Chomsky or maybe Howard Zinn. By and large I'd consider the Democratic party to be slightly left of center of the (in my opinion antiquated and undesciptive) Left/Right spectrum.

I also would say that describing Obama as "neo-Marxist" is significantly off the mark. Obama is a creature of modern political thought and transcends the increasingly useless political dogmas of the 20th century. Comparing American political figures to Soviet/Russian ones is as hyberbole akin to comparing them to Nazis and Darth Vader.

I think describing socialized medicine as a "far-left" solution is not accurate. I don't think anybody would say the United Kingdom is a "far-left" nation. Protectionism is a term that I wouldn't use describe Obama's economic ideas. And Obama certainly doesn't pander any more or less than any candidate running for President in modern politics.

The tax issue is one of the major ones I'd like to address however. A very successful talking point that gets thrown around in American politics is the "tax and spend liberal" or the "tax cutting conservative". It's a very popular thing to say "I'm against taxes". Who isn't? But there ARE going to be taxes and so the real issue is WHERE they are taken from. This is the real crux of the tax issue. Obama would move to actually DECREASE taxes for individuals that earn less than $250,000 per year, while increasing taxes on those that earn more. In his opinion the citizens of the country earning less than $250k could use a little break and those that earn more can afford to give a little more. Bring it into balance. I agree (though in full disclosure this policy may not be beneficial to me personally) as I think the lower-upper/middle class and lower class could use that break right now.

Another thing that is an important factor is corporate taxes. America has a relatively (for the world) high corporate tax rate. I'm not entirely sure I'm with Obama with his policy here as corporate taxes influence the whole economy (and REALLY outside the scope of this comment), but I will say his policy is neither "Marxist" or "far left" or even necessarily "liberal". In fact I'd describe his tax policy as generally "sound", though I may not personally agree with it entirely.

One major issue and problem I have with the Republican party over the last 28 years (and REALLY over the last 8) is that of regulation. Corporations have brought us incredible things in this world and this economy, but their nature is not one of sound self-governance or ethicality or morality especially when they become as large as they have in this world. (In fact Jefferson himself would be shocked at the state of the modern corporation, in my opinion). If the government doesn't regulate and police them, nobody will. The free market has limits. There needs to be balance in regulation, and things have fallen grossly out of balance.

And no matter how many Republicans may lament "bureaucrats spending the people's money", taxes will be collected and they will be spent, no matter if it is a Republican, Democrat, King, Queen or Magistrate in the Oval Office. Right now we have a very costly war going on (a war that 3 family members of mine have fought in including my brother) and I simply don't think it is a good use of my tax dollars. I would much rather that money were spent on keeping the infrastructure of our country intact. A great place to start would be to make sure the oceans don't SWALLOW OUR CITIES that have delicious gumbo. I would like it if bridges didn't fall on people either.

In any case, it is all about a balance. This presidential campaign (like every other campaign) is not one of simple black and white (I will show great restraint by making no joke here and ask you do the same). This campaign has many issues and narratives, but I think the overwhelmingly important one is that of what candidate will bring the most balance we need in this country at this moment. I would encourage any Conservative or Independent to see through the cliches like "tax and spend liberal" and see Obama for what he is: an extremely balanced candidate who has a chance to usher an era of leadership from the Presidency we have not seen in 40+ years.

Plus he plays basketball.

sharky h. towers said...

That last comment is meant for another post. Sorry! Window confusion.

Anonymous said...

Regarding financial policies, John McCain advocates a continuation of the fiscally imprudent supply-side/trickle-down Reaganomics. Along with former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's implementation of monetarism, that's been a centerpiece of neoconservatism -- as well as neoliberalism, albeit to a lesser extent -- for roughly thirty years. All things considered, it's time for a change.

Yet, as a libertarian minarchist, I've always been a fan of the Austrian School. An economic theory based on pure laissez-faire capitalism -- and, of course, a monetary system based on the gold standard rather than fiat currency -- would hypothetically create a fair financial environment for everyone. It's not exactly a pragmatic solution, though.

On the other hand, however, the populist within me wants to aid working-class citizens by establishing economic protectionism (i.e., quotas and tarrifs on imported goods, restrictions against outsourcing by multinational corporations, et cetera). That, in conjuction with a noninterventionist foreign policy, would conceivably create nationwide stability. As a result, I respect the platforms of libertarian socialists such as Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nadar, Mike Gravel, et al.

Anonymous said...

In reference to my previous post, I mistakenly labeled Ralph Nadar as a libertarian socialist. Nadar, unlike Noam Chomsky and Mike Gravel, is a contemporary eco-socialist. Now, with regards to the more traditional democratic socialism, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) fits the bill.