Mike Kueber's Blog

April 8, 2015

John Saunders is rooting for the home team

Filed under: Culture,Media,Sports — Mike Kueber @ 9:41 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This week on The Sports Reporters, John Saunders’s “Parting Shot” consisted of his lament that there were no black coaches in the Final Four and only one in the Sweet Sixteen. According to Saunders, this development is not a mere aberration. Rather, it is a reflection of a disturbing trend in college basketball – i.e., the return of racial discrimination. How else would you explain that during the last decade, the percentage of black coaches decreased from 25% to 22%? (Maybe the fact that blacks comprise on 13% of America has something to do with that.) How else would you explain that twelve black coaches had been fired this year alone? (Maybe they didn’t win enough games.)

I don’t begrudge a black man for rooting for black coaches. I was rooting for Wisconsin because it started four white guys while the other three teams had none, and I wanted the Wisconsin players to show that white men could play winning basketball. I considered the Wisconsin players to be underdogs, and I suppose Saunders continues to think of black coaches as underdogs, too, even though they have had and continue to have plenty of opportunity to prove their merit.

If I were famous, however, I suspect that my rooting for the white team would be challenged by many as racist, whereas Saunders’s statement sailed by without any concern.

Of course, Saunders has a history of this. A few months ago, he was euphoric over a Chicago little-league team, Jackie Robinson West, winning a national championship because it was all-black. Again, this is rooting for the underdog. Unfortunately, the team was stripped of the title a few months later because of illegal recruiting.

No one will accuse Saunders of being politically correct, but, of course, he is.

March 27, 2011

Sunday morning talk shows

Sundays are special to me partly because of Sunday morning talk shows.  It’s probably a sign of the times that my three favorite shows can be found on three relatively new channels:

  1. ESPN’s The Sports Reporters.  I have loved this show for at least 15 years.  I remember Tina Spencer and I often sitting in my office for too long on Monday afternoons in A Building, comparing notes about the show, which we watched religiously.  Dick Schaap was the host until September 2001, when he died unexpectedly from surgical complications, and he was replaced by John Saunders.  Although Schaap seemed the perfect host, Saunders has equaled him.  The rotating three-guest panel often includes newspaper reporters Mike Lupica (NYC), Bob Ryan (Boston), or Mitch Albom (Detroit).
  2. CNN’s Reliable Sources.  This show is exceptional not only because its host Howie Kurtz is such a smart, middle-of-the-road questioner, but also because of the subject matter – i.e., the media.  I am fascinated by the role of the media in modern politics, even though the media has a generally-accepted bias toward liberal positions.
  3. FOX’s FOX News Sunday.  I have only recently started watching FOX News Sunday (FNS).  As with the other three major Sunday Morning Shows – NBC’ s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation, and ABC’s This Week – they key to success is the host.  FNS’s host is Chris Wallace, and he has the same traits as Howie Kurtz – he is smart and middle-of-the-road.  (Although Wallace is the son of 60 Minutes’ Mike Wallace, he was raised by another newsman.)  

On this morning’s FNS, Wallace reported something disturbing.  He said that the Obama administration had made Secretaries Hillary Clinton and Bob Gates available to the talk shows on the other three networks, but not to FNS even though FNS often has higher ratings that two of the other three shows.  If that were true, that would indicate that the Obama administration was getting paranoid about FOX.  But I haven’t  been able to confirm that Wallace’s statement about the ratings was true.  According to the latest ratings that I could find from mid-February 2011, NBC, CBS, and ABC had ratings that were roughly comparable, while the ratings for FSN were about one-half of theirs.

Regardless of the ratings, Wallace’s show is better than his competitors’.  Some might suggest that Wallace is a conservative, but he reportedly has been a registered Democrat for many years.  I will attempt to learn whether he misspoke when he said his show was more popular than Face the Nation and This Week.