Michael Bradley, my fellow columnist at the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana, has a good column regarding allegations that ESPN now is biased toward the SEC since it is running the new SEC Network.
Bradley knocks down that theory, detailing ESPN’s true bias.
ESPN’s more insidious influence comes when it promotes itself and its programming under the guise of presenting news. One had only to watch the SportsCenter that ran after Monday’s Washington-Dallas game to see that in action. It was bad enough that the network chose to provide World Series coverage a full half-hour into the show (ESPN doesn’t broadcast baseball’s signature event) or that it promoted Friday’s Lakers-Clippers NBA game (10:30 Eastern on ESPN) with meaningless Kobe Bryant interview footage before any World Series mention. That’s standard procedure for ESPN, which uses SportsCenter as an hours-long infomercial for its programming and to promote its broadcast partners. (The second story, after the Monday Night Football recap, was that the Jets would start Michael Vick at QB Sunday, as if anybody outside of Gotham – or inside of it, at this point – cares at all.)