Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

You Talkin' to Me? Bias in national broadcasters?

From: Gonzalez, John

To: Fox, Ashley; Fitzpatrick, Frank

Subject: Broadcast bias?

Matt Millen and Joe Theismann were in town Thursday night as part of the NFL Network broadcasting crew. Seems that no matter who calls the games - Cris Collinsworth, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Al Michaels - fans here complain that the TV talking heads have an anti-Philly bias. I've heard a lot of moaning during big baseball and hockey games, too. (The Sixers haven't played a big game in a long while.)

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  • Do you buy that the national broadcasters don't dig Philly?

    From: Fitzpatrick, Frank

    To: Fox, Ashley; Gonzalez, John

    Subject: Broadcast bias?

    Now you've hit a nerve. I've long felt the best way to distinguish between real fans and knuckleheads is to ask their opinion of national broadcasters when Philly teams are involved. The knuckleheads invariably feel the national guys are biased. We've all heard it a million times. "I turn off the sound and listen to (fill in the blank) because (fill in the blank) hates the (fill in the blank)." And it's not just here. Fans everywhere have been conditioned to believe broadcasters should share their fanaticism. It's the result of too many homer broadcasters and the widely held notion that fans are somehow part of the team. And, though no one has asked, I think Buck is the best there is.

    From: Gonzalez, John

    To: Fox, Ashley; Fitzpatrick, Frank

    Subject: Broadcast bias?

    I knew this would be your kind of topic, Fitz.

    Yeah, I don't buy it either. I don't think the national broadcasters care one way or the other about our teams or New York's or Boston's. They fly in. They fly out. They're constantly on the move. The notion that they spend time actively hating Philly has always amused me. And I dig Buck, too. He's smart and funny and fair.

    Then again, part of sports is rooting for someone. The other part, at least around here, is rooting against someone. Both can be enjoyable.

    From: Fox, Ashley

    To: Fitzpatrick, Frank; Gonzalez, John

    Subject: Broadcast bias?

    I agree with Fitz that this notion of broadcasters being biased for or against teams is popular but misguided. I'm sure some of it stems from natural allegiances. Troy Aikman played for the Cowboys. Jaws played for the Eagles. I don't think either of those guys is necessarily biased, but they are extremely informed about their respective teams, in part because of their histories and their interests.

    Now Gruden is a different animal. I love him, but the next time he criticizes a team, player, or coach will be his first.

    From: Gonzalez, John

    To: Fox, Ashley; Fitzpatrick, Frank

    Subject: Broadcast bias?

    You're right. Gruden is a national homer. I wonder if ESPN has a bucket beneath his chair to catch all the slobber.

     

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