Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cuban's Real Goal: Control the Media

I realize I'm a bit late on this, but hey, I've got a life and a job that keeps me hopping. Yet, I feel this topic is important enough to warrant a response.

Last week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban went on one of his rants and asked the question: "What's the role of the sports media?" (For one, we're here to fix your grammatical errors like I just did your headline.) I'll admit I'm not a regular reader of Cuban's blog, but I hear this is a relatively short post. Still, he rambled for 1,510 words.

And I thought I could go on and on.

From what I gather from this rant, Cuban is tired of the "silly" questions the media members asks from time to time and the "negative troll headline" writers.

I'll admit, some of the questions professional athletes get asked these days can be a little unnecessary and silly for anyone to try to answer. Asking a player who'll be a free agent in TWO years where they think they will be playing for is really reaching. Of course, one can dream about where they'd like to be, but with so many variables between now and then, there's no way of knowing where any of us will be in two years.

(Honestly, I know what the media person is hoping for in asking that question. They are hoping the athlete says something such as "I'd love to play with Player X for Team Z." Instant story for the reporter as the next day's headline will read: "Player Y Looking To Play for Team Z in 2 Years." Note to athletes: follow Derek Jeter and Tom Brady's lead. Be bland in your interviews and give the media nothing to pile on.)

And yes, Mr. Cuban, there are media members are write negatively. All the time. These are the people I like to call the 'Glass half empty' crew. No matter how good things really are, it's bad. And when it's bad, it's worse. No one can do anything right. But really, society as a whole is not any different. Some people can't see the positive in anything.

While the Negative Nancy reporting can get tiresome to read and hear from time to time, the only thing worse is what Cuban seems to want: the Cheerleader. The Cheerleader does nothing but praise and pump up everything the team does. It is very rah rah all the way. The problem with the Cheerleader is that they turn a blind eye to anything which resembles an issue or problem, especially a serious one. Occasionally, the Cheerleader will try to cover up an issue with more fluff.

I realize we live in a day and age where we are our own media. As a SID, I know this very well. All can have their own website, twitter feed and Facebook page. Every single one of us can get whatever news we want the world to know out there for anyone and everyone to see.

That said, we need the media. No, we must have the media.

The Fourth Estate keeps us honest, holds us accountable. When doing the job correctly and properly, the media shines the light of truth on us.

Cuban, it seems to me, wants to control the message. And really, any in public/media relations wants to do that. PR folk are all about presenting a certain image of the organization. The problem arises when an organization tries to cram the mantra they're tauting at the moment in hopes the media and/or public will overlook an glaring issue. Mistakes happen. To everyone. And in every single situation, honesty is always the best policy.

Don't want negative press or have your 'slip ups' end up in the news? Here's three easy steps for you: 1. Don't do anything stupid or something you'll regret, 2. think before you speak, and 3. best honest and speak the truth.

One last note: Cuban complained about "Internet reporters." Hate to break this to him, but if every media member is reports on the Internet. TV, newspaper, magazine, they all do. In fact, some might call Cuban an "Internet reporter" based on the fact he blogs.

Pot meet kettle.


  1. Unfortunately, Cuban banning social media people from the locker room will not negate dumb questions. Some of the dumbest I've heard at pressers have come from real newspaper people.

  2. Chris, I totally agree. It's not the method of reporting that breeds the stupidity, it's the reporter. It certainly wasn't a social media person who asked Doug Williams at Super Bowl XXII, "How long have you been a black quarterback?" Not sure Mark Zuckerberg was born then.