About a month back I passed on the bit of information that Bob Costas was going to hold a live "Town Hall Meeting" and Deadspin's Will Leitch was going to be a guest. Well that special is airing on HBO tonight at 10pm. There's a collection of interesting guests (Wilbon, Mad Dog, Joe Buck, Dan Patrick) and they'll cover everything from Blogging to Athletes and the Media. You can view the whole rundown here, but I wanted to point out an interview that Costas did today with the Orlando Sentinel...
WW: Yes, we're struggling a bit at the newspaper getting used to issues such as this.Those are just small chunks of a very interesting interview, but I still can't for the life of me get past the fact that neither of them know what they're talking about. I love how it's only bloggers who do "personal attacks" (Jay Mariotti, Skip Bayless) and how commenters=bloggers. I know I've been riled about this topic in the past, but I think it's just a joke at this point. I hope Will portrays this tonight, and I don't know how many times we (bloggers) have to say this, but bloggers aren't replacing a "dying medium". It's just another option in the ever-growing evolution of Sports Media.
BC: Look, everyone has a right to this technology. But if you're just a blogger -- just a get-a-life type -- no one's going to pay much attention to it because it's not going to have much merit. That's not all bloggers, but that's the hypothetical guy who's just posting comments after your column. This was misinterpreted as saying all bloggers are losers. . . . Now, I won't back off. A huge percentage of bloggers adhere to little of no standards and do little or no reporting and engage in personal attacks. But do all? No.
WW: Does the ESPN-zation of sports bother you? For example, does it bother you that ESPN seems to have every columnist on the country on its payroll and that these journalists seem to take a black or white position on every topic?
BC: Well, it's not like I'm losing sleep over it, but I think any reasonable person rolls their eyes to a certain extent about that. It's just not possible for a reasonable person to be that stoked up about 15 different sports topics every day -- to have a passionate black-and white, thumbs up-thumbs-down opinion on every single sports topic. That just defies common sense. And yet if that's the fuel on which this engine runs, then if you want to be on the air you have to come with a "take" on these topics that doesn't allow for much subtlety or shades of gray. So everything is buy-sell, true-false, fact or fiction. But very, very few people I know view many topics that way.
WW: And does that bother you, in terms of the journalism?
BC: It's just entertainment. At its best it's just informed conversation.
It should be a great program tonight, and hopefully this will be the first step towards everyone realizing they need option, but I have a feeling it won't. Someday people will just settle down and give Sports Blogging the same attention that Tech, Entertainment, and Political Blogs (just not today and I'm fine with that).
Update: Thanks to an Anon commenter we now know that Mose Schrute will be attending as well....
Shameless Program Note (FJM)
Costas to explore state of sports media in HBO town hall meeting (Orlando Sentinel)
Rundown of the Next Costas Now on HBO (Fang's Bites)