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[personal profile] max_boma
I've been pondering lately why I burn out so easily on news. It happens with both general news and sports news, but it's easier to explain with sports news.

The perpetual news cycle means that sports media are constantly churning for content. There are so many sports networks, there aren't enough games for them to cover. So, there are a few things that networks and websites do to use the capacity they have.
  • Invent sports
  • Extend the definition of what's news
  • Invent news
  • "fantasy" leagues
Mixed martial arts, or ultimate fighting? I suppose it's a sport in that there are competitors and something that vaguely resembles a set of rules, but why would anyone go out of their way to market a more vicious sport? The "X Games"? ESPN admits they created them or chose them from the extreme variants of existing sports. Aerial maneuvers with snowmobiles? It's all fun and games and ratings until someone gets killed because he missed a stunt. Poker? That's even less of a "sport" than auto racing. There's no physical exertion involved in it.

Now that there's so much capacity for content about sports, the "off seasons" for sports are now all news all the time. Free agents? Let's get hourly updates on the best left-handed relief pitchers! Someone threw off a mound for the second time since a major injury? That's almost as much news as the first time! College football bowl games seemed to be as much about "which of these players are pro prospects?" as they were about the scores and the teams involved. College players hoping to go is second in absurdity, though, to the hype about high school players signing letters of intent to play college football. These are team sports; it's news when the team adds or drops a player. After that, wait until they show up at training camp or spring training, and don't get really serious until the actual season begins. Until then, it's all meaningless speculation.

By the way, Sports Illustrated devoted most of their issue the week after the Super Bowl issue to analysis of what each NFL teams needs to do for next season. Before free agency, before the draft, before off-season training activities.
It's Michael Jordan's 50th birthday today. Is that a reason for him to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated? Talk about inventing news! Celebrity games on the NBA All-Star game weekend! Comparisons of which year's dunk contest results were most disappointing! 

I care about the results of games and matches. I care about the standings in the league or conference. I care about who the best team is. I'm curious if some team will come out of some minor conference or low place in last year's rankings to surge to a great season. I don't care about betting spreads (who cares how money is being bet on games, unless you yourself are a bettor?), and I don't care about "fantasy" leagues. How productive an offensive player is part of what system he's in and who he plays with. You can't just pluck glamorous players into one team and put them on the field. Just ask the New York Yankees, New York Knicks, Boston Red Sox, or Washington Redskins. They've had some good seasons, but they've also had horrible implosions where talents didn't mesh and millions were misspent. 

If I have any interest about Manti Teo, it's about whether he's draft by a team for which he's a good fit. I don't care if his draft "stock" plunged because he had an imaginary girlfriend or if because he had a poor scouting combine. I don't want to know about the scouting combine; I'll just wait for the draft (Now! Over! Three! Days! of! Drama!) and see where he'll be going to training camp.

Most of this applies to "real" news as well. I don't want speculation about who might be a presidential candidate in three years; I'm barely interested in who might be a Senatorial candidate in a year and a half, or who might run for a vacant Representative seat in an interim election. I'm not as interested in what might be cut due to sequestration as I am in what's being done to prevent it. I'm more interested in how our spending levels compare to 30 years ago than I am in how our politicians compare themselves to Reagan.

Cut the fluff. If you don't have anything substantive to say, put up an LOLcat picture and stay off the air for an hour.

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February 2013

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