Not Being Critical But…


Oh Nooooooo…Mushnick HATES us!!!

So you’re sitting in your office, doing a good job, no one bothering you and, as fate would have it, you even won an award last year for “Employee of the Year” by the big office. Then you log onto your computer and begin surfing the web and you find a writer who happens to hate your company, can’t stand the job you’re doing and thinks that everything you have done in the last 15 years is a bunch of crap.

What do you do?

Do you defend yourself? What if you can see some truth in the criticism but you’re not sold on the fact that the other party knows exactly what he’s talking about? Or do you just leave it alone and not worry about it.

Well…I’m not one to worry about what others think about me or my job but I figured it might be fun to show you what a New York Post television critic thinks of my occupation. There are several articles that he has written but instead of linking to his articles, I figured I would just copy and paste a few of his comments. It’s always interesting to get feedback about what you do. I get a lot of positive feedback from the people who hire me and those I work with. I figure the ultimate compliment that anyone can give me is a “call back.” Being an independent, it’s always great when a company hires me on a regular basis and for them to hire me time and time again truly is the highest compliment that anyone can give me. So truthfully…this writer doesn’t really affect me personally one bit and he’s not writing about me personally either. But his criticism is aimed at my job and so I feel the need to defend the work I do and those I work with and I’m curious to what others think. Is The Post’s TV/Radio columnist, Phil Mushnick, correct in his assessment? Or do you like what you’re seeing out of me and my co-workers?

From a January 22nd post titled “Tips on how to survive overblown playoff telecasts”:

“Beyond the score, time, quarter and timeouts remaining, ignore all graphics — unless you need a good laugh. CBS lately has demanded our attention to read graphics that seem to have been downloaded by a hacker with a great sense of TV satire or by someone on loan from ESPN.”

I’m not totally sure what graphics he is talking about here but we have some of the best statisticians in the business that we work with. We have several people who comb over stats and box scores looking for informative and interesting statistics that we can put into graphic form in hopes that we are ENHANCING the viewing experience. Granted, I don’t feel that people sitting at home should have to read a sportscast, but I would like to think that we add to the viewing experience by letting you know if someone has just broken a team record or if a game has become lopsided in any way other than just the score. We put a lot of time and effort into making a game seem special without forcing graphics onto the screen. Many of our producers and directors feel the same way about graphics. A lot of the time we get waved off if the stats don’t pertain to what the talent is talking about or if the situation doesn’t warrant them. So I totally disagree with Mr. Phil Mushnick’s off-handed comment and I do take that one somewhat personally because I work for CBS and I DO know sports and I don’t feel that we have done anything that is out of order as far as the amount of graphics that we use to support the game.

On January 9th he posted this:

“The Giants had fourth-and-1-inch when FOX posted this graphic for your application and enlightenment: ‘Giants 4 of 13 on 4th down this season.’ And Joe Buck read it aloud for emphasis! Fourth and an inch, fourth and 15 yards, they’re all the same!”

Actually…I disagree with Mushnick. A 4th & 1 inch situation is NOT the same as a 4th & 15. The odds are much greater that a team can get an inch. So realistically that statistic & graphic probably don’t apply in this case. But I have to admit, I have used a graphic like that simply because it works in this situation and it does tell the viewer something about whether the team will go for it or not. But if I wanted it to be MORE informative, I would break it down to 4th down situations UNDER 5 yards. THEN it might work best. At least, that’s MY opinion.

Finally…on October 16th of last year he wrote in an article titled “Time For Sports To Go In A Different Direction” where he called for…“The elimination of all needless, meaningless and misleading graphics and statistics, most of which have been programmed by people who simply do not understand the nature of the games they’re assigned to address.”

Well…here’s the rub, Mr. Mushnick…we DO understand the nature of the games we’re assigned to address (who talks like that?) and it comes as no surprise that you don’t seem to appreciate our work out here in “TV Land,” but after reading a few of YOUR posts and looking at your criticism of us, I think it’s only fair to assess YOUR work…

In a January post, Mr. Mushnick had to post the following:

“There are mistakes, then there are mistakes. Yesterday, in this space, I wrote that Richie Ashburn and Jack Whitaker were among a number of Philadelphia-based sports voices to have died in the last two years. Well, Ashburn died in 1997, and Whitaker, 88, is, for crying out loud, alive! As golfer Roberto De Vicenzo once said, “What a stupid I am!”

I think it’s only fair when I say that if I’m a writer at a paper or news source in New York, you’d think that I could get on a computer and Google search to make sure that if I’m gonna pronounce someone dead, they should AT LEAST be dead! It’s not like you’re live on television or on the radio. You have unlimited resources and you just killed a man who is still living! In most newsrooms, if you do this you get fired. Just ask Adam Jacobi, who was the unlucky CBS staffer who got the axe after he erroneously reported that Joe Paterno had died before the fact. Wonder if Jack Whitaker would have anything to say to Mr. Mushnick about this?

So my final thoughts are these…not every television personality can be perfect. Not every graphic is gonna be pertinent to the outcome of a game. Not every camera angle or replay is going to be exactly right. We are all human out here and we all make mistakes. Unfortunately, unlike yourself, we don’t have hours to go research every detail so we occasionally get something wrong. That being said, I’m not going to take your articles seriously. I hear what you’re saying and in some cases, I don’t totally disagree. You’re like Andy Rooney. You’re opinionated and maybe a little mired in the old days. But you’re one step ahead of Rooney who, unlike Jack Whitaker who is still alive, passed away in November of last year. And I know that’s true ’cause I Googled it to make sure…

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2 Responses to Not Being Critical But…

  1. Amber says:

    How can he believe people who watch sports for a living do not understand the games? I like the stats, and you shouldn’t pay attention. He sounds like an overblown windbag that just likes to hear himself speak.

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