H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger’s latest give & take with The Starting Five’ Michael Tillery is not completely without merit ; the former has some relatively sensible things to say about the state of modern journalism, Philadelphia’s sporting scene and his own career. That said, Bissinger has hardly cooled off regarding tackling dummy Will Leitch, nor has he developed a particularly sophisticated take on a medium other than his own.
MT: Could Deadspin be seen as chickens coming home to roost regarding the lack of check and balance for conventional journalism? Growing up I would read a journalist and had the want to voice my opinion but that opinion was never heard. Whether or not it was in a letter to the editor or some other form of complaint. Could blogs be seen as that check and balance for journalistic culpability?
Buzz: Yeah! I think that™s the best of blogs when they do that¦where there is an interplay. People say why pick on Deadspin? Well, it is the most popular sports blog in the country. I don™t see that type of rational dialogue taking place. When I see the comments and replies that people make to a Deadspin post, it™s not rational argument. It™s all about the one liner that maybe can get me on Stewart™s (Jon) show or Stephen Colbert. They all think they™re much funnier than they are. It adds to this era of mockery that we live in. That™s not true of every blog. There™s one called the Beer Leaguer that covers the Phillies where the posts are rational and so are the comments. It™s all about what™s happening with the Phillies and what™s happening with Howard (Ryan), and Myers (Brett) etc. Do the Phillies need another pitcher and the like. It does give the fan a voice to give their opinions. I think that™s great. I think most blogs are used to make idiotic comments that they think are funny. To me it shows that they need to do something else with their lives because they have way too much time on their hands.
There is one big difference to what I did on Costas Now and bloggers. I didn™t hide behind anything. I didn™t hide behind some silly email handle or some silly name. I was myself. That was my name. My email is public and that™s a big difference. Blogs should insist that people use their real names. Would they still get the same amount of hits if they are really for change?
Post whatever you want but you gotta use your real name and it™s gotta be verified.
They™ll never do it because it™s a money game, let™s face it. The more posts you get, the more hits you get, the more money you make. That™s not just to entertain us. That™s also to make money.
Deadspin is in it to make money.
Not for the first time, Bissinger’s argument ends up being reduced to a pure matter of taste. He’s professed respect for “information based” blogs, selectively ignoring how some of those he’s cited engage in the same low-brow pranksterism he claims to despise. And how thin would our mainstream print publications be if they were all purely “information based”? While Bissinger thankfully acknowledges sports yack radio is at least as toxic as the blogosphere, he’s yet to propose a ban on newspaper editorials.
The topic of anonymity is a rather desperate one to raise. The blog Bissinger has criticized most loudly, Deadspin, makes no secret of it’s primary author/editor or publisher. If he’s referring to non-moderated comments, has he spent much time surveying the cretinous reader efforts at least one recently sold Tribune Co. property allows on their site(s)? Why, precisely, are blogs being held to a higher standard than major newspapers that have been publishing for nearly 70 years? Could it have anything to do with Bissinger being a somewhat pilloried figure in the blogosphere long before his pseudo-historic encounter with Leitch?
Finally, if Bissinger believes Nick Denton’s commercial enterprise is all-too willing to pander to make a buck, at least the Pulitzer Winner can sleep at night knowing that he’s only toiled for classy establishments that were only interested in the intellectual stimulation of their readers.