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Old School, New School: Bissinger vs. Leitch

Posted on | May 2, 2008 | No Comments

I stumbled into the Buzz Bissinger-Will Leitch pissing match today, while trying to get to my Comcast email account. It started with an alluring headline: We Took Their Jobs. That post, by Lee Russakoff, who blogs for Comcast, got me started as he analyzed the televised smackdown between the writer and the blogger. (Memo to Russakoff: you’re a blogger. blog like one. I think you were making a good point, but you lost me at word 2,167. Thanks for noting).

Anyway, check out the video of the Bissinger-Leitch meeting on Bob Costas’ show. It’s alarming on sooooo many levels.
Leitch runs Deadspin, which is a snarky sports site with a huge audience. Argue with the tone and lack of decorum (as Costas and Bissinger did loudly), but as blogs go, Leitch has built a good one. Bissinger, who wrote and is making a mint off Friday Night Lights, is in his fifties but he comes off sounding like he’s 83. Bitter, angry, and (he acknowledges) worried about this future, Bissinger rails in an almost comic way about bloggers. Costas, who has turned pomposity into a fine art in his career, makes a few weak attempts at fair questions, but he’s clearly in the “you ain’t us and you’ll never be us” camp.
Leitch, it seemed to me, didn’t truly grasp the root of their anger. He’s a blogger and a newspaper fan. He doesn’t pretend to be in the business of killing “traditional journalism.” He’s giving a voice to the fans, who always speak a different language than sportswriters. Sure a lot of the comments are vial and stupid, but if Deadspin is to continue to make a business out of its blog, those issues will work themselves out.
I straddle both worlds. I love newspapers–I subscribe to four of them and dozens of RSS feeds too. But there’s room for both.
It’s not about the death of newspapers; it’s about their evolution.
Finally, it was ironic that while Costas and Bissinger were lambasting Deadspin as a place for “gratuitous pot shots” and foul language, the Costas show itself contained gratuitous potshots and foul language.
Bob, you probably got great ratings, and Web versions of that video have gotten lots of traffic. You play the game too, you old-school knucklehead. Spare me the sermons.

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No Responses to “Old School, New School: Bissinger vs. Leitch”

  1. Loring Wirbel
    May 2nd, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

    Costas may be an acolyte to stupidity, but Bissinger comes off as beyond help — like Richard Dawkins screaming that everyone who is spiritual in any way deserves to have their children taken away. Bissinger makes all journalism traditionalists look stupid. Could someone please shoot this man?rhzgn

  2. Frank
    May 3rd, 2008 @ 4:50 am

    Mainstream media better find someone better than Bissinger for its defense. Or he will kill it off all by himself.

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