The Plain Dealer and Rush Limbaugh: The only time they will be lumped together by similarity

January 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

The story begins when I was still in high school, somewhere around 16 or 17. I listened to Rush for the first time. I was interested in politics, had no idea which way to lean in my opinions, and thusly was open to any and every avenue. Rush irritated me, I loathed his pompous, matter-of-fact opinions, although it was juxtaposed by the fact that that I found him to be extremely insightful and have a welcomed perspective, all at the same time.

I thought to myself, “if only he were more humble, and less iron-fisted in his views. He has a lot of pointed things to say, and he could change many opinions, but his method is so obnoxious and oppressive that they aggravate to the point that one is not open to hear the points, but rather retract defensively.” Moreover, the question of why always loomed in regard for Rush, until I figured it out a few years later.

That takes us to the Plain Dealer, not in general, but specifically the sports section. The notions are the exact same. The fundamentalist views of playing to the base, for the PD it is the fans instead of political, but nonetheless the same. For Tony Grossi, and to a lesser extent Mary Kay Cabot and Terry Pluto, they are effectually the exact same as Rush Limbaugh. They will, beyond all else, play to the base.

As for Rush Limbaugh, the realization came when I became slightly more jaded in life, in particular that money and ratings is the prime motivation. As such, it is far more advantageous for him to galvanize a staunch and devout following than it is to open oneself up to subjectivity by attempting to sway a broad cross-section of the public. Basically, if Rush were to be less adamant, and tone down the rhetoric, he would sway many more opinions. His method, as it stands, creates not a wider fan base, rather a more faithful fan base. Therefore, by my Limbaugh theory of media, it is far more worthwhile and profitable to “preach to the choir,” than to assume a missionary type role.

Now back to the PD, with that same type of logic, it is better to reiterate the same knee-jerk reactions of fans, than it is to educate those reading. For instance, public outcry for a coaching change means that the PD should echo those sentiments without regard to the outcome. Case and point: Eric Mangini. Moreover, the Cleveland Browns organization is beholden to those paying for tickets, i.e. those being echoed. Therefore, and to some extent, we the fans have to take a portion of the responsibility, and project another portion upon all the media outlets with similar disdain.

Actually, the similarities between Rush and the PD beat writers leaves some requirement for apology to Mr. Limbaugh. Regardless of ones own political views, each person should recognize Rush as an authority in his field. As such, his assessment of current events and various motivations are deduced down to form his own opinions. Whereas, in the case of the Plain Dealer, the opinions are predetermined and then the “causality” is retrofitted as is seen fit. So where Rush Limbaugh is in a position of “preaching to the choir,” it is based off of broad based notions and generalized sentiments, while the PD cherry picks specific instances.

If there was a city wide time machine, we probably would be better off all going out and buying Todd Philcox jerseys than hating Belichick. The same is true with Eric Mangini, with hack beat reporters questioning everything he does. Case and point, the week 16 onside kick attempt against the Ravens. The odds were 60-40 in the Browns favor, while losing the game, to a favored divisional opponent, with absolutely no future implications for the Browns, yet the “preach to the choir” reporters, like Tony Grossi, questioned it with every chance they got. That was utterly disgraceful.

In the end, however, it is not even really a question of the journalists incompetence, it is a reflection on the fans. We accept, and often embrace, ineptitude in the journalism and broadcasting professions. The fact of the matter is, they are not in their jobs because they know the game of football, they are there because they have a degree that states they know a given industry, that is it. The HR departments at the Plain Dealer or STO, even more legitimate enterprises, would not know where to begin with questions of ‘football strategy’ or anything of the like. Further, it comes down to lowly bloggers, and a few more credible sources, to put the pieces together: beyond what happened, but why they happened.

When all is said and done, the Plain Dealer, and sources of the like, have connections. They are vital for telling readers who practiced, what NFL policy a player violated, and who is expected to play, but their opinions are not worth the newsprint they are printed on. Therefore, it is up to the fans, the real fans to sift though the drivel, and find those worth listening to. I, for one, would put my knowledge of the game, not useless bygone stats, but strategy of the game, moderated by coaches and GMs, against any journalist.

Moreover on the subject of the written word on football, enjoy the lowly blogger that you stumble across. That hapless guy that writes, not for a paycheck, but because he love his favorite team. He may not have the degree that that those HR departments are looking for, but at least he knows what he is talking about. He may not say what you want to hear, but he makes coherent sense, even if it is wordy and markedly unpolished. At the bare minimum, at least there is no doubt if he is patronizingly telling you what you want to hear. For me, this is not a career, though I hold on to a glimmer of hope, this is just an outlet on a game that I enjoy.


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