Mike Kueber's Blog

January 27, 2014

Richard Sherman and Muhammad Ali

Filed under: Culture,Sports — Mike Kueber @ 3:50 am
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The mainstream media has shifted into overdrive this weekend to defend Seattle’s thuggish Richard Sherman.  This morning, The Sports Reporters couldn’t have a lively discussion of Sherman because all of the reporters agreed that the prior condemnation of Sherman was excessive.  One of them (I think it was Jackie MacMullan) even compared Sherman to Muhammad Ali, one of the most revered persons in sport.

I might reluctantly concede that Ali is one of the most revered persons in sport, but any reverence has nothing to do with his brash boasting before the Sonny Liston fight or his arrogant put-downs of Smoking Joe Frazier.  Ali’s placement in the pantheon of sports stars is due to his religious anti-war stand.  It has nothing to do with his trash-talking.

Richard Sherman, you are nothing like Muhammad Ali.  Yet.

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.