Three weeks ago, “Costas Now” re-appeared on HBO, touting a roundtable discussion on the role of internet media (i.e. blogging) in the sports industry. The show’s guests for the evening were “Friday Night Lights” author Buzz Bissinger, Deadspin.com editor Will Leitch, and Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Braylon Edwards. What could have been an intelligent conversation between men with differing views on what constitutes sports “news” quickly fell apart as Bissinger attacked Leitch, proclaiming, “I think you’re full of ****” less than two minutes into the show.
Bissinger, a Pulitzer Prize winner, then continued on an angry rant against Leitch and all sports bloggers, using profanity and sweeping generalizations to accuse bloggers of being profane and inaccurate. Predictably, Bissinger’s bitter tirade hurt himself more than Leitch or the sports blogosphere.
Aside from being massacred by bloggers everywhere (a group Bissinger would no doubt ignore), Bissinger’s fellow print journalists fell in line to criticize his lack of control. New York Times reporter Richard Sandomir called him the symbol of “the mainstream media’s fear and suspicion of [blogging’s] influence,” and the Wall Street Journal praised Leitch’s response to the episode, believing he showcased well-placed restraint and politeness when confronted by Bissinger.
To cap his stellar performance, Bissinger used one of RepMan’s favorite phrases, “perception is reality,” in an attempt to force Leitch to admit that public perception of blogs is poor and therefore blogs are a poor excuse for journalism. Maybe Bissinger should have repeated that statement to himself before going on national television because public perception of Mr. Bissinger is, well, not so great anymore.