Stop blaming the bloggers

Here in Dallas, we worship the Cowboys. Well, at least most folks do. Anything associated with the Cowboys is big news, and everybody has an opinion. One of the most opinionated is Dale Hansen, venerable sports guy with WFAA-TV. Hansen has reached the pinnacle of sports broadcasters. His godlike status (hey, the guy’s good) enables him to take on sacred cows, even his own employer.

So it wasn’t surprising that he did just that over the widely circulated story of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones blabbing on about Bill Parcels and Tim Tebow in a grainy video shot unawares in a bar as Jones gabbed with fans. In legal parlance, this is “shop talk,” and you’re not supposed to be punished for shop talk.

In this day and age of “anybody’s a reporter,” however, people such as Jones have to be more careful.

Anyway, Hansen railed against WFAA-TV for showing the video. According to Ed Bark, here’s what went down:

“Yet another example of the decline of journalism as we once knew it,” Hansen told viewers. “Our business now too many times is a fat kid in a t‑shirt in his mother’s basement eating Cheetos and writing his blogs. And we make it news. Jerry Jones in a bar being Jerry Jones is not news to me. And the fact that some creep slides up to Jones, records the conversation without Jones knowing, then tries to sell that recording and that becomes news is an embarrassment to us all.”

A couple of things. One, I think WFAA’s news director made the right call. How can you NOT show this video, when it’s the most talked about thing in the market? Not showing the video would send a message to their viewers all right, but not the message Hansen thinks it would send. Two, notice how Hansen assigns blame for the whole thing to bloggers.

“Our business now too many times is a fat kid in a t‑shirt in his mother’s basement eating Cheetos and writing his blogs.”

Mr. Hansen, with all due respect, that’s horseshit stereotyping, and it’s wrong on so many fronts. It’s ignorant, deliberate demagoguery, and just plain incorrect.

I organized a blogger meet-up in San Francisco many years ago that was largely a success. We made t‑shirts for everybody to mark the occasion, but the TV station made mostly XL and XXLs, believing, as Hansen does, that “bloggers” were fat people with nothing better to do. Of the 200 plus people in attendance, maybe a handful were overweight, and it really gripes me that an industry icon like Dale Hansen would drag this notion out of the mud pit and use it like this.

Rather than look in the mirror, far too many traditional media types prefer to blame the blogosphere for their woes, when the fact is that the decline in trust in the press in this country began long before the first blog was ever made. Bloggers, in part, Mr. Hansen, are a RESPONSE to the decline in trust in the press, Ed Bark’s blog being a good example.

So get off your pedestal, Mr. Hansen, because you’re suffering from oxygen deprivation. Jerry Jones? He’s a fat cat silk stocking that apparently drinks too much. He makes a nice stadium, though, and he certainly doesn’t need your defense.

How about sounding off on paying $75 just to park there. Never mind. That’s a different rant.


  1. Kevin Selle says

    I’ve looked at a fair amount of comment on the topic and am stunned. Yes, Jones is a public figure with a big ego and a big mouth and subject to different rules. Hansen is entitled to his opinion. What amazes me is the focus on how brave it was of him to call out station management on the air. They knew the publicity stunt value of Hansen being “unplugged”.

    That is one of the real failures of journalism.

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