Friday, February 01, 2008

Ethics: Sports media

Super Bowl week always has an outlandish quality to it. Journalists covering the event have to breakdown the different teams and then try and find different angles--funny features and stories that tug at heart strings--to fill our insatiable need for coverage. It's the Super Bowl! And this is an American spectacle in all its gaudy beauty, and this is a game, after all, in which many people tune-in to watch...the commercials. Sometimes the excitement of Super Bowl week leads to a desperation for stories. But product pitches are not supposed to be a part of news coverage. Yahoo Sports, which has been hiring some good reporters lately, has this interview with John Elway giving his take on Tom Brady. The reporter asks Elway some questions, but he also says, "I know you're here for Mastercard so touch on that when we're done." After the formal interview he invites Elway to chat about Mastercard because "everyone is here promoting something." Then Elway plugs Mastercard, and Sam's Club because it is a good place to get "big TVs and steaks." Call me Old School, but couldn't Yahoo have edited the commercial pitch out of the interview? Incredibly cheesy, and it puts into question the credibility of Yahoo Sports as a journalistic enterprise.


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