Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Controlling the Media

Interesting story about the ways in which sports leagues are trying to control and monopolize media coverage via the limitation of reporter and photographer access and threats of revoking credentials of those who cross the line. The NFL, as usual, seems to be taking the most heavy-handed approach, but the NCAA, NASCAR, golf, and MLB have all had their moments recently.

The justification for these rules was summed up thusly:

The owners can do that for a simple reason: They’re owners. “It’s our facility,” says Karl Swanson, spokesman for the Washington Redskins, a team viewed by the press as particularly hard-line on this issue.

Karl Swanson may have a point as it relates to his employer's FedEx Field, which was (mostly) privately funded, but the vast majority of arenas, ballparks, and stadiums are not. As such, it strikes me that teams should be cautious before going Big Brother on the local media, lest some local politician decide to take the position that the tax dollars being used to subsidize these facilities entitle them to a bit more oversight than was originally anticipated.


64cardinals said...

If the teams don't own the stadium (as most don't these days), they do (for the most part) pay leasing rights for the use of the facility. That being said, they do have a right to limit access to those that they want.

If you rented a house, someone else would own it. But if you're paying every month, you want some right as to who has access.

Diesel said...

I chuckle every time I hear sports teams start clamping down on the media. It has never worked, because there's no bigger group of red-asses than old sports writers, and they end up absolutely KILLING teams in the media that act heavy handed. And no matter what anyone says, it's good for no one when every columnist in town is climbing your ass.

On the other hand, if you give them lots of access, tons of chicken fingers and soft-serve ice cream in the media buffets, and let them ride the charter on road trips every so often, you've likely just bought yourself a season of the kind of fawning coverage that would make the average Sports Information Director blush.

Osmodious said...

They learned this from the Bush administration (current)...only invite people who already like you; if someone slips through and asks a question you don't like, ignore/lie/attack and then kick them out (or at least don't let them come back). Who is more answerable to 'the people' than our elected officials? If they can get away with that kind of stuff, why can't the sports organizations?

Please note that I think this is all reprehensible...I'm just theorizing that it is where they learned that they can get away with doing it.