Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Media Malfeasance!

Disclosure #1:  The headline of this post might be a little hyperbolic. Note that I said "might" and "a little."

Disclosure #2:  Some un-Christian-like profanity is sure to follow. So if that bothers you, consider this to be one of those new agey things called "trigger warnings."

Regardless of whether you're talking about sports media or political media or entertainment media or general news media, it is almost too easy to berate the so-called mainstream portion of that media for pretending to be objective. However, that is all the more reason to berate them: If they would drop the pretense then there would be no need to call them on it, but drop it they won't, so calling them on it is something we (by which I mean "I") feel driven to do.

The case in point that has my blood boiling right now is last night's coverage, by NBC Sports Network, of Game Two of the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins. It is said that NBC stands for National Broadcasting Company, but I'm quite sure it actually stands for either National Bruins Company or National Boston Corporation.

You might have heard -- because NBC said so ad nauseam and some other outlets followed their lead -- that the officials screwed the Bruins 1) by not calling Anton Stralman for slashing Brad Marchand on a late scoring chance, and 2) by calling David Pastrnak for high-sticking Victor Hedman when Pastrnak's high-stick caused Hedman's own stick (rather than Pastrnak's) to open a faucet of blood just below Hedman's eye.

What you might not have heard -- because NBC didn't bother to make an issue of it -- is that during the same game, Tory Krug was not called when he blatantly slashed Brayden Point in the back, nor was he called when he blatanly slashed Yanni Gourde in the shin.

Brad Marchand is the dirtiest player in the league and a direct threat to everyone's health when he is on the ice. His entire career has been built largely (not entirely, but largely) on headhunting opponents and delivering cheap shot after cheap shot without receiving any punishment that is commensurate with his sins. Last night he delivered a vice-like pinch to the neck of Tyler Johnson, as if he was a Vulcan trying to KO a Klingon, and of course he was not called... At another time last night, while a scrum was being broken up, he opened his mouth and started to bite someone's arm, then stopped at the very last instant when he realized the arm belonged to an official and not a Lightning player... But of course you might not have heard about those ratty infractions by The Rat Himself, because NBC didn't bother to make an issue of them.

After the game, NBC studio analyst Jeremy Roenick waxed poetic in high dudgeon about the injustices he perceived as having been visited upon the Boston Bruins by the one non-call and one debatable call mentioned three paragraphs above -- but he said not a word about any injustices being visited upon the Tampa Bay Lightning by the three and a half non-calls mentioned one and two paragraphs above. (Roenick, by the way, was born in Boston and attended the prestigious Thayer Academy in nearby Braintree, Massachusetts.)

Mike Milbury was also apopleptic about the injustices he perceived as having been visited upon the Bruins by the same non-calls that bothered Roenick, and he too said not a word about any injustices being visited upon the Lightning by the same non-calls that Roenick failed to mention. (Milbury, by the way, was also born in Boston, and his entire 12-year NHL playing career was spent playing for the Bruins -- and the most famous thing about his playing career happened at a 1979 road game when he went into the stands to confront a fan, and ripped off the fan's shoe and attacked him with it by striking him in the head.)

In the postgame presser, at least one "even-handed" media member was sure to ask Boston Coach Bruce Cassidy about the non-call when Stralman slashed Marchand. But of course, nobody bothered to bring up the non-call when Marchand Vulcanized Johnson's neck, or Marchand's (hyperbole alert) ruefully aborted venture into cannibalism, or Krug's serial slashing.

And I have to mention Pierre McGuire's reaction when Charlie McAvoy scored late in the first period to tie the game after the Lightning had dominated most of the period. In McGuire's favor I have to say that he has no discernible tie to the Bruins organ-eye-zation or the city of Boston, but it was hard not to notice that he -- in the words of someone I have been friends with for 18 years -- "practically orgasmed" on-air when McAvoy scored.

If the mainstream sports media would stop pretending they are neutral, none of this would matter. But they do pretend they are neutral, and as a result their depictions of games carry greater weight than they deserve, and because of that greater weight, their depictions of games are what history will remember of the games. And that is a fucking travesty if not an outright fucking disgrace, so I say fuck them.

As far as the officiating in Game Two between Tampa Bay and Boston was concerned, it was like most NHL officiating, which means it was bad. But as is also the case with most NHL officiating, the bad calls went against both teams and cancelled themselves out, with neither team being either more screwed or more blessed than the other. The team that won was the team that deserved to win, and for the mainstream sports media to suggest otherwise is a fucking travesty if not an outright fucking disgrace, so I say fuck them.

And for anybody anywhere, media member or otherwise, to suggest that the Boston Bruins -- who have employed dirty rat fuck Brad Marchand since the Year of Our Lord 2009 -- have somehow been screwed by officiating, is the most grotesque fucking travesty of all time if not the most grotesque fucking disgrace of all time, so I say fuck them.

I will never forget Game Seven of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, played in Boston, when the Bruins unleashed Terminator-style thuggery and were not called for a single penalty the entire game, enabling them to eek out a 1-0 victory against, yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The fact that not one so-called neutral media member acknowledges how fucking of a travesty that was means that they should be fucking ignored. Fuck them.

The Bruins might win this current series. They may well be the better team. But the Lightning outplayed them in both of the first two games, despite those games being split, and for the fucking media to act like the Bruins got screwed is a fucking travesty if not a fucking disgrace.

So in closing, just in case you didn't get where I was going with any of this: Fuck The Media.

Disclosure #3:  I actually like Jeremy Roenick, but come on JR, that was ridiculous of you last night!

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