Monday, May 4, 2009

I Hate To...

Waste time dissecting sports talk radio, but like The Big Lead, I found myself "increasingly infuriated" while listening to Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason attempted hit-job on Sports Illustrated's Selena Roberts this morning. And I hadn't blogged in a while, so why not start again tonight.

Let me preface this by saying, I actually like Boomer & Carton, even if I don't always agree with them. And I realize that much of Carton's behavior is just part of his shtick. But I was still disgusted with how they treated Roberts when she was a guest on their show today. I don't think I've ever heard them treat a guest more hostility--and, in this case, I think their tone, if not Carton's line of questioning, was completely unjustified. 

My complaints:
  • First, Carton HAS NOT READ THE BOOK. He's entire opinion is based on two excerpts--which I'm not convinced he's actually read--that were clearly publicized because they will generate in the most interest in the book. They represent a small section of what is likely a much more detailed piece of work that will provide context as to why these seemingly small stories--such as the Hooter's tipping incident--play a role in understanding ARod as a man.
  • Carton has consistently been extraordinarily sexist. I assume the "Girl of the Week" segment and "Do You Know More Sports Than  A Housewife?" are standard fare for sports-talk radio. However, anyone that's listened to Carton talk about or to women know he's goes far beyond that. The disdain he has shown for women sports journalists, in particular, would make Zeke Mowatt blush. I'm fairly certain he called Roberts a lesbian last week and, today, referred to her as "babe". I'd be willing to bet Carton would not have the same problems with this book if it was written by a man. Their interview with the Details writer that wrote about ARod was much more civilized, for instance.
  • He accuses Roberts of "going after" ARod, wondering why anyone would want to learn all these details about his private life. Ummm, Carton is always among the first people to jump on these personal details when they come out in the paper, especially when they're about ARod (Carton even admits he essentially has a hard-on for ARod). And he didn't question why people wanted to know about the sordid details of the Cowboys players when he had Jeff Pearlman on to discuss his book. Carton seemed to rather enjoy hearing those stories, in fact.
  • Carton continually refers to her reporting during the Duke lacrosse case. I will admit I haven't extentsively researched it -- and realize it wasn't journalism's finest moment -- but her reasoning for not apologizing seems clear: Even after all the facts of the case have come out, she still believes there was a cultural problem within the program. Should she have to apologize for having an opinion?
  • On the issue of sourcing, Carton's logic seems lacking. He insist that Roberts should have on-the-record sources if she is going to say ARod may have tipped pitches. However, she --and every other journalists -- had on-the-record sources in the Duke lacrosse case, which, as Carton gleefully mentioned, turned out to be wrong. She, on the other hand, had off-the-record sources for her ARod using steroid stories, which turned out to be right. I don't necessarily like anonmymous sources, but that doesn't mean you can't use them to get at the truth. What matters is not the type of source, but the quality. And if the steroid story is any indication, Roberts has good ones on ARod. 
I could really care less about ARod. And I'm not going to read the book. But the way Boomer and Carton treated Roberts today was unprofessional and inexcusable. 

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