Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Skip the Middleman

Faced with threats of irrelevancy, one might expect Dan to work harder and produce work that provides a unique perspective for his readers. Instead, Dan either lashes out with vitriolic attacks or produces columns that are little more than transcripts of press conferences.

Today, in a tribute to his capitulation, Dan combines the vitriol with the laziness.

The column is ostensibly about John Henry, but Dan manages to twist it around to his white whale, Curt Schilling, leading with a couple of shots at Schilling and a Patriots/Matt Walsh reference. Just the type of stuff you would expect.

What is most striking about the column, though, is how unnecessary Dan is. You can skip the middleman and decide for yourself. has a video of the Curt Schilling interview session, which the Boston Globe was not invited to. The reader can watch the video and make her mind up about Schilling's attitude. No longer does she need to rely on Dan's dubious characterization that Schilling is "mad at the ball club." Further, outside of the shots at Schilling, the column is just a straight rehash of Henry's statements. A transcript posted on a blog could easily take the place of most of Dan's column. It would probably be a whole lot cheaper for the struggling NY Times Empire, too.


Anonymous said...

The best bit?

Any plans to talk to Curt?

"About this? It's a medical issue."

But you have to admit the whole situation is a little awkward.

"Sometimes there are things that are awkward," said the owner. "You can't avoid them. It's really awkward talking with you."

Can't argue with that one.


Chris said...

It's rather tough being a relevant communicator of sports news and information when the generators of that news and information effectively (and willfully) lock you out. You reap what you sow, CHB. Not being invited to events like this makes the Boston Globe a complete charade and a laughingstock. Three cheers for '38 Pitches' and all the other 'new media' ways we can learn about our sports franchises. The Globe has ceased being relevant.

Anonymous said...

I get the impression that Henry is answering Shanks's questions like someone would do when approached by crazy person in the street...

Henry was probably walking away from Shank, looing over his shoulder in fear, thinking to himself "...please go away...don't follow me... I don't know you... I don't want to be seen talking to you...why are you stalking me like this..."

Dan Kennedy said...

Henry had one good observation in Shaughnessy's column that I don't think I've seen anywhere else ... that Dr. Morton is acting as the "anti-placebo," helping to convince Schilling that there's no way the rehab route will work. Then again, Morton may be right.

Dave M said...

Agreed that Henry had some interesting things to say. I just loved his last quote. And have to give credit to Shaughnessy for running it.

I wonder if anyone associated with the Sox has any respect for Shaughnessy. It sure doesn't seem that way...

Objectivebruce said...

Yeah, we're learning a lot from 38 pitches (last update before yesterday: February 7).

Yes, let us skip the columnist and rely entirely on the unvarnished words of The Great Schill. It's amusing that so many take such great glee when a public figure involved in a matter of public controversy chooses to speak only before hand-picked media. For all his talking, when Schilling holds a gang-bang session with reporters, and he selects the reporters to participate, he's showing that he's a gutless bag of wind. What would have happened if Shaughnessy was there? The Great Schill, Boston's Paper Tiger, was afraid to find out. If a politician did this, we would all be outraged

dbvader said...

You need to work on that reading comprehension thing that you always talk about.

My point isn't that we should get rid of columnists but that they have to do more than submit transcripts of press conferences or launch vitriolic personal attacks.

Why should should Schilling put up with Shank's purposefully antagonistic questions? Shank has made his bed now he has to lie in it. Also, what questions were not asked? Are you questioning Rob Bradford's journalistic ethics?

Chris said...

CHB has alienated too many people within the Boston sports universe to win any invitations to meaningful events. Yes, that was Shaughnessy you saw standing in the very, very back of a crowd of reporters at Super Bowl Media Day. Yes, Shaughnessy--who must have submitted a giant expense report after his junket--was relegated to back-of-the-bus status among his media brethren. It was comical seeing him stand way in the back in a very timid sort of way. Why even send a media hack like him, who has absolutely NO cache within the Boston sports community?

Shaughnessy's 'varnish' is pure crap.

Anonymous said...

Shaughnessey may in fact be controversial, scratch that, he is controversial, many times calling it as he sees it. Personally I find that much more interesting (and many times more informative) than the "yes men" who cover the Sox.

There is no question Curt Schilling has been one of the most important parts of the Red Sox success on the field. His Sox number should be retired, he should be in the Sox HOF (hopefully the Cooperstown HOF some day). But let's not act like he does not irritate all of us some times. His constant self promotion or waxing poetic on any number of topics.

To say Shaughnessy is irrelevant is just not factually true. He is the lead sports writer in the city's most popular paper. Who are you comparing him to, the voices of WEEI?

The parking lot charade the other day was absurd, how can any of you deny this? If Andy Petite did the same thing earlier this week, you wouldve all called him a coward, yet Schilling gets a free pass.

Objectivebruce said...

dbvader, back to the reading comprehension class.

Never mentioned Bradford. He may someday be an outstanding beat reporter.

Haven't seen a tape of the whole Great Schill interview so I can't say specifically what wasn't asked. But I do know that when you eliminate people whose reporting on you has been tough, you change the dynamic of the news conference. Example one: The daily football press and its ability to be completely intimidated by first Parcells then Belichick both of whom consistently dictated the tone of their news conferences.

Giving individual interviews to people who you think will be sympathetic is as old as Gutenberg and it is a personal preference can't really be knocked. That's vastly different from Schilling's antics. It is nothing less than cowardice to restrict the attendees when holding gang-bang availabilities on a subject about which people have been trying to get you answer questions (especially after your skip-the-middleman blog goes silent for a dozen days).

dbvader said...

Way to confuse the issues, OB.

Bradford was one of the reporters questioning Schilling. You claim that the process was somehow corrupt. What did Bradford and the other reporters not ask that the fearless Shank would have?

Your purposeful ignorance is sweet. It is very easy to find a video of the interview. I think I linked to it. That was the point of my skip the middleman reference. You can watch the video of Schilling talking to the press and do not need CHB's intentional mischaracterization. You can also find a transcript of Henry's press conference. If you are going to write a column about the two things, you need to do more than what Shank did.

paul said...

"Giving individual interviews to people who you think will be sympathetic is as old as Gutenberg and it is a personal preference can't really be knocked."

Steve Gutenberg? He's doesn't give too many interviews nowadays. He's waiting around for a Police Academy reunion movie.

(See, that's a joke OB)

Anonymous said...


First, Schilling is biased, yes. But is Shank going to give us anything even remotely objective? No. Even for a columnist, he's got an agenda that has nothing to do with reporting and everything to do with a vendetta.

Second, of course we'd be outraged if a politician did this. But last time I check, Schilling was a baseball pitcher.

Third, "paper tiger?" Way to get a little touch of Sino-American idiom in there, bunky!

Your Pal,


ObjectiveBruce said...

The process is not "corrupt," hiding in a by-invitation-only gang-bang interview is cowardly. No reporter is going to refuse to participate -- it would be "corrupt" for them to ignore the news because they don't like the forum in which it is found.

What questions weren't asked? I have no idea what the non-invited would have asked. Nobody does. They were excluded. Therein lines the problem.

Shaughnessy's printing of extensive quotes from Henry was appropriate. Bradford didn't do much with the story; from Shaughnessy we got a better perspective on how the owner sees things. Unfortunately, the knee-jerk critics see a quote longer than a single-sentence graf and start to spew.

Good point on paper tiger, Timmy, although (not that it matters) I was thinking more of Plimpton's Paper Tiger since it was about a journalist as an athlete and the construction is obscure but apt as applied to The Great Schill's venture into the athlete as a journalist.

Oh, and I'm not Dan.

Anonymous said...


Who's responsible for the "Ideas" section?

Your pal,

Timmy (beat ya to the pejorative punch, bunky!)