Newspapers Need To De-Gum their Sports Columnists Writing about Tour

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Greatcube, Jul 22, 2003.

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  1. Greatcube

    Greatcube Guest

    I draw attention to the USA Column by Ian O'Connor on 07-22-03, page 9C entitled "Lance Finds Will
    and Away He Goes" (link...
    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/oconnor/2003-07-21-oconnor_x.htm ).

    Here, we see an example of the traditional sports writer pretending to posses some special knowledge
    and insight about the Tour de France, professional bike racing and the racing participants. But upon
    reading said article, anyone with the semblance of a brain can quickly deduce that in fact, the
    writer possess no such insight. Nor does he possess any special knowledge or point of view about the
    sport to which he desires to draw the readers' attention.. In an apparent attempt to make converts
    of NASCAR and professional wrestling devotees into cycle racing fans, Mr. O'Connor draws parallels
    between Lance Armstrong with American athletes in other sports, such as football, baseball and
    basketball. In fact, Mr. O'Connor does this very often; so much so that almost each sentence gives
    Mr. O'Connor another opportunity to pound his point of view into our head, as though he is a
    jackhammer and we, the reader, are the woeful subject of his machine.

    The only question I have is this...does Mr. O'Connor know anything about cycle racing? If he does, I
    am mystified by his statement " Out of respect and, perhaps, out of pity, the Tour de France pack
    waited for Armstrong " ...Out of pity, Mr. O'Connor? Pity for what? Because he fell off his bike?
    Because he is a cancer survivor? Maybe because this is one of the last remaining sports where there
    is a semblance of savoir fare. This would not have occurred to Mr. O'Connor, however, because in the
    same paragraph, he suggests, with his special insights, that the Tour's leaders, in the event of a
    fall "should never, ever, extend him ( Lance) any such courtesy" of waiting for him lest they might
    lose the race. The concept of professional honor amongst athletes is a remote concept to Mr.
    O'Connor's "special insights", apparently.

    Sal Ruibal, who also follows the race for the same paper, and more in the mold of Samuel Abt from
    the NY Times, does a fairly decent job. Why, then, does the newspaper throw the likes of Mr.
    O'Connor into a task where he knows little about the subject matter, and seems to care little about
    it as well? If Mr. O'Connor has an overwhelming need to relate every subject matter he writes about
    to baseball, basketball, or football, why then can't the newspaper just keep him in that arena, and
    spare us of his special insights about bike racing?

    Let's keep cycle racing the stuff of Red Smith, Bud Greenspan documentaries, and Jorgen Leth's " A
    Sunday in Hell" and not the trite garbage we see in the popular press, so that we may be spared from
    " Gummization".....the process of "dumbing-down" a sport by using the likes of Kirsten Gum to give
    us their "special insights".
     
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  2. Roger Bogda

    Roger Bogda Guest

    I don't think your criticism is justified, I read the article. Consider that someone who usually
    covers other sports is talking about cycling....can't be anything but good. I agree I would have
    preferred that he not use the word "pity" but the first rule of PR is that people are talking, once
    that happens then you can work on what they are saying. Also consider if a guy is going to write a
    column promoting a sport he doesn't know all that much, that he wants to appear stupid? I think not.

    If you want to do dome serious criticism, check out this monument to ignorance:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/page2/s/armstrong/030718.html

    If you haven't read it, I recommend you do. I find it just plain dumb and sent Jim Armstrong an
    email at the Denver Post defending his right to his opinion but not his ignoance. If you want to
    express your thoughts to Jim, the email address is [email protected] This is a generic address,
    so make sure to put Attention Jim Armstrong in the subject line.

    Roger Bogda

    "GreatCube" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I draw attention to the USA Column by Ian O'Connor on 07-22-03, page 9C entitled "Lance Finds Will
    > and Away He Goes" (link...
    > http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/oconnor/2003-07-21-oconnor_x.htm ).
    >
    > Here, we see an example of the traditional sports writer pretending to posses some special
    > knowledge and insight about the Tour de France, professional bike racing and the racing
    > participants. But upon reading said article, anyone with the semblance of a brain can quickly
    > deduce that in fact, the writer possess no such insight. Nor does he possess any special knowledge
    > or point of view about the sport to which he desires to draw the readers' attention.. In an
    > apparent attempt to make converts of NASCAR and professional wrestling devotees into cycle racing
    > fans, Mr. O'Connor draws parallels between Lance Armstrong with American athletes in other sports,
    > such as football, baseball and basketball. In fact, Mr. O'Connor does this very often; so much so
    > that almost each sentence gives Mr. O'Connor another opportunity to pound his point of view into
    > our head, as though he is a jackhammer and we, the reader, are the woeful subject of his machine.
    >
    > The only question I have is this...does Mr. O'Connor know anything about cycle racing? If he does,
    > I am mystified by his statement " Out of respect and, perhaps, out of pity, the Tour de France
    > pack waited for Armstrong " ...Out of pity, Mr. O'Connor? Pity for what? Because he fell off his
    > bike? Because he is a cancer survivor? Maybe because this is one of the last remaining sports
    > where there is a semblance of savoir fare. This would not have occurred to Mr. O'Connor, however,
    > because in the same paragraph, he suggests, with his special insights, that the Tour's leaders, in
    > the event of a fall "should never, ever, extend him ( Lance) any such courtesy" of waiting for him
    > lest they might lose the race. The concept of professional honor amongst athletes is a remote
    > concept to Mr. O'Connor's "special insights", apparently.
    >
    > Sal Ruibal, who also follows the race for the same paper, and more in the mold of Samuel Abt from
    > the NY Times, does a fairly decent job. Why, then, does the newspaper throw the likes of Mr.
    > O'Connor into a task where he knows little about the subject matter, and seems to care little
    > about it as well? If Mr. O'Connor has an overwhelming need to relate every subject matter he
    > writes about to baseball, basketball, or football, why then can't the newspaper just keep him in
    > that arena, and spare us of his special insights about bike racing?
    >
    >
    > Let's keep cycle racing the stuff of Red Smith, Bud Greenspan documentaries, and Jorgen Leth's " A
    > Sunday in Hell" and not the trite garbage we see in the popular press, so that we may be spared
    > from " Gummization".....the process of "dumbing-down" a sport by using the likes of Kirsten Gum to
    > give us their "special insights".
     
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