Ombudsman Tackles Taylor Coverage And Cowherd

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Many of you probably have already seen the lastest entry from our friend the ESPN Ombudsman Ms. Schrieber, but if you haven't it's a must read. This is by far the best account of the perils that ESPN deals with in regards to reporting and it's an eye opening piece into race relations regarding athletes. I still think ESPN's coverage was deplorable, but it's not like they were the only ones who did a bad job.

As far as Cowherd, well what can you say? I think the Ombudsman sums it up best, and I'm going to do my best to keep his name of these pages. He doesn't even deserve the attention.

With the notable exception of ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd, ESPN's commentators did better than many in the mainstream media at reining in the impulse to speculate, pontificate and prematurely assign responsibility for Taylor's death. Cowherd, however, trusted his "gut feeling" to guide him to "the truth." His gut told him that Taylor's "history of really, really bad judgment, really really bad judgment" had caught up with him, and even if the emerging reports that Taylor had "cleaned up his act" were true, "Well, yeah, just because you clean the rug doesn't mean you got everything out. Sometimes you've got stains, stuff so deep it never ever leaves."

Most other ESPN commentators seemed to understand that when it comes to race, crime and sports, the last source to be trusted is one's gut, which tends to be lined with bilious stereotypes and prejudices. Some commentators, including Michael Wilbon of "Pardon The Interruption," admitted to not being surprised by the shooting, of suspecting a link to Taylor's past associates or enemies, but they aired their presumptions tentatively, with sadness or anger at the "senseless death" of yet another young black man, not in the gloating, know-it-all voice that many of Cowherd's listeners called "appalling" and "indecent" in their e-mails to me.
Well said. Hopefully media personalities can learn from this and not be so quick to judge. It's tough to wait for the facts and I wasn't very patient, but knee jerk reactions never put you in a good place. It's not about being right or wrong or making the story about yourself.

Proportion, perspective missing ingredients in news coverage (ESPN Ombudsman)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 12:19 PM

15 Comments:

Hopefully the Worldwide Leader just gets rid of Cowherd.

Brett said...
Dec 11, 2007, 1:00:00 PM  

His ratings are great. They will not get rid of him. He says a lot of things that a lot of people think, including the Sean Taylor stuff. Bigger names than Cowherd (Kornheiser and Wilbon) were "surprised" that this was apparently a random act. I was shocked, but I am allowed to be.

Ace Duncan said...
Dec 11, 2007, 1:13:00 PM  

I wish he would be punished, since what he said was pretty shrute-like, but he won't be due to his popularity.

To honor his baseless speculation, I foresee a few possible conclusions for Cowherd's career with ESPN:

a. Is fired after pulling a Don Imus-like incident that spreads in a similar manner
b. Popularity wanes after a few years due to act becoming stale and trite, is let go/reassigned
c. Jumps to "mainstream" radio, tries to follow Imus/Stern path

I don't see him staying with ESPN for his career, due to the style of show he does and that I don't think their shelf life is the best.

Also - how do they determine radio ratings? I see that Cowherd's consistently noted as having good ratings, but unlike TV, I have no idea how this is determined.

Fred Morlan said...
Dec 11, 2007, 1:32:00 PM  

who's colin cowherd?
never heard of her

Anonymous said...
Dec 11, 2007, 1:45:00 PM  

Fred- radio ratings are usually compiled by Arbitron, the radio version of Nielsen, and the "books" come out once every quarter.
http://www.arbitron.com/about/home.htm

Bruce said...
Dec 11, 2007, 1:48:00 PM  

Excellent; thanks Bruce!

Fred Morlan said...
Dec 11, 2007, 1:52:00 PM  

I was looking forward to this month's Ombudsman column. Thanks to Greenberg, Cowherd, and Herbstreit's actions over the past month, it's the only page I read on ESPN's site now.

Anonymous said...
Dec 11, 2007, 2:00:00 PM  

Knowing ESPN, I'm sure Cowherd is in line for a promotion when he should be fired and set on fire.

GMoney said...
Dec 11, 2007, 3:59:00 PM  

just some comments on radio books. Unlike TV which has Neilsen families and these people sign on for a specific term to have their viewing monitored, arbitron books are sent to people at random in specific radio markets and they are asked to log the time and call letters of the stations they are listening to. It is done in 15 minute blocks.

The problem most people have with radio ratings books is that different people are sampled each quarter. So one quarter a more 'urban' area may get more books in that market and the hip-hop, top 40 stations will do well. Then next quarter a more 'rural' area will get them and you will see a spike in country and mix station ratings. Then you might get more of a 'suburban' skewed book the next quarter and your sports and classic/heritage rock stations do better.

There will always be books scattered through out the whole market but you can almost tell book-to-book where the majority went. Also news/talk stations do very well in the winter months in the colder climates or in the south during hurricane season because of the weather. More people listen to N/T in a bad weather condition because of the constant updates.

A sports talk show like Cowherd's could always "get good ratings" because he is a national show scattered in different time slots (via a tape delay/time zone differences), on both AM and FM stations and based on signal stregth and advertising for show. Where I am in the Northeast Cowherd is on a low power AM station whose signal travels about 10 miles with a stiff breeze pushing it. I am less than 20 miles from the studio yet I can not hear the station at home so my guess is he gets killed in my market.

Sorry to be long winded but I hope it helps you better understand how the ratings are done.

Steve said...
Dec 11, 2007, 4:16:00 PM  

Here's to hoping more stations begin picking up Dan Patrick and kick Cowturd to the curb.

I've been listening to DP online every morning. Plus I can't wait for Kornheiser to come back to radio in January.

Chip Wesley said...
Dec 11, 2007, 9:51:00 PM  

Cowherd is just such a douchebag.

NHZ said...
Dec 12, 2007, 3:36:00 AM  

I'd like to kick cowturd in the nuts.....

Tom said...
Dec 12, 2007, 11:54:00 AM  

Dan Patrick is an insipid name dropper. He has no substance. Cowherd can be arrogant and annoying, and tends to beat dead horses to death, but at least he will state his opinions without worrying about who he pisses off, unlike Patrick.

Ace Duncan said...
Dec 13, 2007, 9:42:00 AM  

Hi friends ,
Knowing ESPN, I think Cowherd is in competitive for a promotion.
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