02.22.08

NewsCorp’s Bearded Conscience Weeps For The Victim, Chris Berman

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 2:41 pm by

The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick takes a dim view of the sports blogosphere exulting in the laff riot that is Chris Berman’s YouTube bloopers. “These recordings made their way out of ESPN and then to the Internet,” rages Mushnick, “the new favorite stomping grounds for eavesdroppers, vandals, voyeurs and naughty little boys and girls of all ages.” Hey, he forgot “shitheads”.

While not normally moved to defend ESPN’s Chris Berman, he’s no less a sympathetic figure than any other victim of a theft.

And while Berman, who by now should have grown to fully respected status among American sportscasters, instead chooses to play the circus clown who shoots himself out of a cannon, he doesn’t deserve this kind of grief.

For starters, these recordings were stolen from ESPN.

Perhaps they were stolen by some young, male wise guy, someone from the demographic ESPN encourages to watch ESPN. But theft is theft. And unless Berman is legally being investigated, perhaps as a threat to national security, the distribution of his purloined workplace conversations make him the victim of a crime.

In Berman’s case, he was mugged not by himself but by an insider or insiders, a person or persons once and perhaps still with ESPN. Berman’s a crime victim. And there’s no better place for the unaccountable to do dirt to the accountable than the ‘net.

I guess we can only presume Phil wasn’t a big Negativland fan back in the day, either. I’ll tell you what’s really criminal, though. This story is so done and dusted, had Mushnick weighed in on the subject last Friday, he’d still be hopelessly behind the times. What’s worse, “stealing” a dusty videoclip from the ESPN archives, or Phil collecting a paycheck by editorializing on a subject the eavesdroppers, vandals and voyeurs have already covered to death?

While we’re on the matter of voyeurs, let’s not forget it was just last week Mushnick’s paper decided the sex life of a private citizen (neither charged nor suspected of a crime) was worthy of the front page. It’s a shame there’s not a major tabloid journalist wiling to defend Richard Benjamin‘s privacy, but perhaps we’ll have to wait for the photos of Boomer in a dog collar before the Post’s sports media maven is sufficiently outraged.

3 Responses to “NewsCorp’s Bearded Conscience Weeps For The Victim, Chris Berman”

  1. Nick says:

    I’ve always been confused by Mushnick’s shtick. All of his taking the media to task is undermined by the simple fact that he writes for the Post.

  2. GC says:

    there’s nothing weird about his taking the media to task — i mean, how many hours did Fox News spend Thursday blasting the NY Times’ McCain report as an intentional smear job? But in this instance, it’s a bit rich for him to call bloggers “eavesdroppers and voyeurs”. What real damage was done to Berman’s career by the YouTube clips? Is there really someone out there surprised to learn he’s occasionally profane and self-important?

    Conversely, Mushnick’s colleagues rang up a retired Montreal professor’s wife to tell her a) her husband had just emerged from a coma and b) oh, by the way, he’s a closeted masochist who pays women to slap him around. The gentleman in question wasn’t a movie star, political figure or ESPN personality. He’s just a 60-something dude whom however questionable his judgement might be, is mos def. not a criminal or doing anything that’s my business or yours. I suspect he and his family will have enough to work through without being named and shamed by a major newspaper.

    Perspective and civility is all well and good, but it oughta apply to people who aren’t famous sportscasters, too.

  3. Ha! The New Yor Post getting high and mighty. Now that’s irony.

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