Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CTV, not a sports writer, should bear the Brunt

Apologies for devoting a second post to this, but William Houston went off about Stephen Brunt, along other Globe & Mail reporters and two dozen-ish on-air people from the CTV/TSN corporate family, taking part in the Olympic torch relay (as noted previously).

Apparently Brunt's justification given on Prime Time Sports stuck in Houston's craw.
"But this is a commercial endeavor. The torch relay, God love it, which is going to make people tear up and is a lovely thing, and a way of including people in the Olympic process, is sponsored. And it is corporate and underwritten. And spots were sold as part of the sponsorship package. . . . This is all part of the machinery of the Olympic Games." (emphasis mine)

Far be it to question William Houston, he knows all this backwards and forwards, but the assertion the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) gave spots in the torch relay to sponsors seems like more of a story. It's in keeping with what a few people have been saying, that if you turn on a TV these days it's tough to tell who's putting on the 2010 Olympics, CTV or the nation of Canada.

Fair is fair, and it's ridiculous Brunt is getting tall-poppyed over someone else's decision. Like Dustin Parkes from Drunk Jays Fans actually seemed a lot more clear-eyed than Houston, commenting:
"Seriously? Because Brunt is going to run with the Olympic torch for a few hundred metres in Newfoundland, he is suddenly deemed biased toward the Vancouver Olympics? I’m all for critical thinking and cynicism, but it’s a joke to suggest that something this miniscule will affect anyone’s coverage, let alone Stephen Brunt’s."
Honestly, if one didn't know better you'd think this all stemmed from older journos' propriety over ethics. Veteran TV writer Bill Brioux had a post at TV Feeds My Family that touched on all this being "a bit queasy for some of us who are old enough to remember journalistic standards to witness colleagues acting as cheerleaders." (Emphasis mine.) Brioux had a point media coverage is less adversarial, although that isn't necessarily because of the people on the writing side. Brioux was a good sport when called on it, as Brunt would be if people questioned his objectivity. Based on 20 years of reading his columns, it can probably be filed under "not an issue." Someone should tell Houston.


Superfun happy slide said...

Would Brunt question a conflict of interest? Sure he would, just like his dogmatic attempts to demonize Number 99 for his lack of voice during the Desert Dog Drama in Hell, I mean Phoenix. The biggest mistake a journalist or media organization can make is to have the story be about them and that is exactly what the Unholy Trinity has done by placing their marketable icons in the torch relay. I'll always be a fan of Brunt's writing, excluding the Bobby Orr crap, but he has allowed the powers-that-be to skew his normally sound judgement in this case. Run Steven Run . . . away from the relay.

Dennis Prouse said...

The Olympics jumped the shark a long time ago. With all the artificial corporate boosterism going on now, complete with Pepsi inventing a cheer, does anything really surprise you anymore? I am surprised they haven't sold naming rights to the opening and closing ceremonies, although I am sure that is coming soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Why worry? Ever notice that most of the true sporting nations have plenty of advertising (along with plenty of fans for a VARIETY of sports).