Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shameless Bias, Thy Name is Stuart Scott

Everybody knows it can be hard sometimes to be completely objective and unbiased as a journalist. Some reporters cover it up, some struggle with it and some have just given up trying altogether (Fox News).

In sports journalism, it can be even harder. Almost every person a sportswriter covers is a celebrity, and as a journalist, you want the confidence and trust of the uber-famous person you interview and write about. It takes real effort to keep the line between professionals and friends from getting blurred. And just like in regular news, some have just stopped trying altogether.

Take, for example, this excerpt of Stuart Scott from ESPN The Magazine on January 11, 2010. If you read it, you'll see how Stuart Scott responds to someone bashing his buddy Tiger Woods. Click on the picture for a bigger view.

To fully digest how terrible of a response this was, I would like to analyze each sentence from Stuart Scott's response:

Allan, I'm sure you know people who have been just as unfaithful as Tiger.
Really, Stuart? Really?! You're "sure" about that? Tiger Woods had affairs with nine different women. (At least nine. That's only the amount of women who have come far.) You're sure "Allan" knows someone who has a wife and two kids and has flown around the country having sex with club hostesses, porn stars and pancake waitresses? You don't think much of "Allan," do you, Stu?

He's made some bad mistakes, sure.
Right, at least nine confirmed ones, so far.

But it doesn't make him a creep.
If Mrs. Woods was your sister, I don't think you'd be singing the same tune, Stu.

It makes him human.

That's right, human. Do O.J.'s actions make him human and not a creep? I get that everybody puts sports figures on a pedestal - especially ones with a squeaky clean image like Tiger had. But what Tiger did makes him a creep, not the worst person in the world, but a creep. One affair, maybe human. At least nine? Welcome to Creepville.

I don't condone what Tiger has done, but calling him names for failings in his personal life is hypocritical.
Only if Allan is as big a "sexmonger" as Tiger. I don't cheat on my wife. If I were to call Tiger a sexual deviant, I don't think I am being hypocritical.

I don't get it.
THAT is for DANG sure.

Why are people so upset about something that doesn't concern them in the least?
Because people like YOU bring us the information that "doesn't concern (us) in the least." You can't report of the shortcomings of athletes for years and years on Sportcenter, and then take this sort of stand. THAT is being hypocritical.


  1. Allan, Stuart is right. How can you say that Tiger is a moron? Clearly, the true moron is good ol' Stu. (But in all seriousness folks, Tiger's quite the moron himself.)

  2. I agree that the things BooYa said are ridiculous, but I don't agree with your objectivity assessment. First, this looks like a mailbag. Most mailbags I've ever read, especially sports mailbags, are completely biased. They're opinions, and idiots write to these "experts" for their opinions. And they're given.

    And though I do think that journalistic objectivity in often bragged about but seldom used, I don't think this is an example. I don't think AsCoolAsTheOtherSideOfThePillow was trying to come off as unbiased, given the nature of feature.

  3. Fair enough, John. So I think "shameless" is okay to use, but maybe "apologist" would be more appropriate than "bias"?

  4. Both Allen and Stu are wrong. Allen is wrong because Tiger went to Stanford and morons don't go to college at Stanford. So while Tiger's intellect isn't in question it is clear that he didn't follow How to Cheat 101 (I really hope this doesn't comes across that I am condoning what he did), which is more a matter of hubris than anything else.

    Stu is wrong because as a member of the sports media empire otherwise known as ESPN he is part of the machine that has brought the fans closer to lives of athletes than ever before and then to complain about fans knowing personal information about those same athletes is ridiculous. Also consider where Stuart is coming from. There have been so many skirt chasers at ESPN, that an entire book was written about it, and Stuart Scott himself has been accused of that as well (be warned, liberal use of the f--- word in the link)

    Also Scott, if we are going to create an unfaithfulness index, wouldn't carrying on a long term, affair with a single individual be as unfaithful as hooking up with different individuals?

  5. Is his blog affiliated with ESPN or is it personal? When I read a personal blog I expect and accept that the author is going to share his personal feelings and opinions. However, he reveals a lack of character (supported by the reasons you listed) that, to me, is more disturbing than biased reporting.