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And Another Thing

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Sports journalism on a respirator

... which is not, lest anyone mistake it for such, like oysters on the half-shell.

This one landed on my radar courtesy of the best sports blog out there, Charles Pierce's on Boston.com. The link is here. I heartily encourage you to read it. It'll jump your IQ 50 points.

Anyway ... Pierce recently weighed in on Newsday's new policy for its sports department, which is, they're going to be kinder and gentler in tone. Violators have seen their stories pulled. At least one columnist quit.

Here's the best part: Newsday is now owned by James and Charles Dolan, who also own the Knicks and Rangers. A 5-year-old could, accordingly, connect the dots between that and the new less-critical sports coverage.

To be sure, the Dolans swear they didn't have anything to do with the policy, and Newsday editor Debby Krenek insists their coverage has been "tough and fair." You may be reasonably infer from this that there is, indeed, prime real estate in the middle of the Okefenokee Swamp that's going for a song these days.

You may also reasonably infer, as I've been saying for some time, that print journalism continues to commit suicide at an alarming pace. The transparency of Newsday's go-easy-on-'em policy, over and above muzzling the last people on earth who should be muzzled, is hardly unique in the violence it does to journalism. Consider the even more outrageous case of the Asbury Park Press, which has taken to using teams' own public relations reps to cover the beat for them -- all the while, with admirably straight faces, insisting that journalistic integrity will be preserved.

Me, I'm trying to think where a tough old curmudgeon such as Dick Young would find a place in this compromised new landscape. Young once famously led a game column about a classic Dodgers gag job with the sentence, "The tree that grows in Brooklyn is an apple tree."

Some kinder, gentler Newsday editor would have no doubt changed that to something like "The boys gave it their all yesterday, but the fates were against them."

Now that sings. Not.

Ben Smith's blog.

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