Everyone's a Critic

Media members love to criticize. You might think we're hard on athletes or coaches, but where many of us excel (be it professionally or just personally) is in criticizing one another. You can count me as one who enjoys few things more than writing a good media column.

After all, it's easier to piggyback on some other reporter's original thought and pass judgment on it than to come up with one all on our own.

It's not just reporters who have this penchant, either.

I see the phenomenon played out just about every time two or more people are trying to decide where to eat. The first person says, "Where do you want to go?" and the second responds, "It doesn't matter to me, wherever you want to go will be fine." Then, when the first person suggests a place all hell breaks loose.

All of a sudden, person two has thought of 10 reasons why that would be a good place to eat and 20 places why it wouldn't, and the "Where do you want to go?" dance continues.

But this is no normal media column. This is a media column about a media column about a question asked of Colorado Coach Dan Hawkins on Saturday. And you might be shocked that a talking head you often see on ESPN got some facts wrong – bad wrong – in what turned out to be a hit piece on Alabama.

Woody Paige, of the Denver Post and ESPN's goober show "Around the Horn" (I know because Paige wore the "Around the Horn" hooded sweatshirt to the press conference Saturday and later in the media hospitality room at the hotel), started his Sunday morning story (linked here) this way:

The question Saturday morning to Colorado coach Dan Hawkins from an Alabama sportswriter, who apparently had been sniffing glue, was: "Do you consider this game David vs. Goliath?"

My immediate reaction was: Isn't it more like David vs. Samson after he had a haircut?

Then Paige went on to mock the questioner, Nick Saban and "Alabamans" (sic).

The problem? The press conference question Paige based his entire column on was asked by a local Shreveport radio guy named Tom Pace. The press conference started around 11 a.m., so one would think Paige had plenty of time to verify the identity of the questioner before writing his column, but it wasn't to be.

Far from thinking Alabama is Goliath, the contingent of Alabama media people I spoke to were trying to figure out which team was supposed to be David and which was Goliath. And anyway, as Jay Barker pointed out before the January 3, 1993 Sugar Bowl, David beat Goliath handily.

At the game Sunday night, Tuscaloosa News sports writer Tommy Deas (and ‘BAMA Magazine alumnus) approached Paige to set the record straight. According to Deas, Paige said he had since found out about the error in fact and that Paige indicated to him there would be some sort of correction. I found none in Paige's Monday morning column (linked here).

So maybe it was Paige who is Goliath, and Deas who is David? Maybe having his mug on ESPN has given Paige more freedom to write what he wants? Maybe it is Paige who has been sniffing glue? And maybe, just maybe, I'll find that correction online some time soon.

That's my media column.

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