Sunday, June 12, 2011

Does ESPN coverage have Heat slant?

To be fair, ESPN is not in front of my face 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. But the last month or so, as the NBA playoffs have gone along, I've grown more and more disgusted with the "Worldwide Leader".

In journalism, one of the harshest charges you can claim is bias, and I don't throw it out there easily based on one particular incident. It has to be more than a coincidence. It has to be a pattern.

That said, if we have learned anything recently, it's hard not to call out ESPN for a perceived slant toward the Heat. In all likelihood, it's not intended. There's not some ESPN executive sitting in an office in Bristol, Conn., ordering their network to slant coverage.

Yes, I'm in Cleveland. No, I wasn't happy with the way LeBron James left. But there comes a time when we have to move on. And James or no James, it doesn't matter.

It's obvious in subtle ways, like "The Lead" items on the Bottom Line that sound like this - "Heat looks to get back on track vs. Mavs", "LeBron's fourth-quarter struggles doom Heat" and so on. It's obvious when an intro video for any game in this NBA Finals series has more Heat highlights. It's obvious in the amount of attention devoted on "SportsCenter" and on to what Miami is doing and not doing regardless of the outcome. It's obvious on ESPN Radio when the lead subject on, say, "Mike and Mike in the Morning" after Game 5 was how much James is struggling in the last five minutes of a game.

Hang on a second. Call me crazy, but isn't there another team in this series? Going into Game 6, wasn't said team one win away from a championship?

Without stretching this topic any further than necessary, just watch or listen. Pay close attention to ESPN and all of its platforms and ask yourself, "Are the two teams in this NBA Finals getting equal attention?"

From this corner, the answer is obvious, and it's embarrassing to a media entity who should know better.

- Chris Lillstrung


Anonymous Z said...

I've always thought they had bias, especially towards the SEC and Miami. I'm glad I'm not the only person who's noticed this.

June 12, 2011 at 6:07 PM 

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