That's the question posed by MarketWatch columnist Jon Friedman, who gives the WWL a thorough Bissingering based on the recent "lowbrow or boorish behavior" of some of ESPN's talent. Specifically, the incidents involving Jemele Hill, Dana Jacobson, and Bonnie Bernstein, respectively. Friedman's piece, titled "ESPN: The sports leader in embarrassment" goes after Senior Vice President and Executive Editor John Walsh for an explanation to the recent spate of inappropriateness coming out of Bristol.
Walsh answered carefully, explaining that he feels all of the incidents were handled appropriately and that, considering the enormous amounts of media content they push out, three incidents are not so bad.
"We'd rather the scoreboard says none," Walsh said. "But if the scoreboard says three (examples), we endure." He called them "three separate instances" and added: "Trying to group them together, I think, would not be a wise thing for you."
Friedman disagrees. In his story he writes, "In the news business, journalists will chalk up something out of the ordinary as an aberration. But when it happens twice, we wonder if it is a pattern. By the third time, it can reasonably be called a trend" and "ESPN rejects the idea that there is a pattern of recklessness in its ranks, but I'm not so sure."
Yes, that ESPN is contributing to the collective dumbing-down of our society with its lowbrow humor and boorish behavior. Welcome to the new media landscape.
Update: ESPN VP Of PR Josh Krulewitz sent this comment to Deadspin about Friedman's column:
"Obviously we disagree with the premise of an ESPN trend. As we said, the three incidents in the article were very unfortunate, yet unrelated. Mistakes happen across our industry and others. We tend to be the focus given the large amount of content we produce and the more than 1,000 personalities we employ. What's important is, when situations arise, we take them seriously and address them."
I guess they only address these issues with the women.
ESPN: The sports leader in embarrassment [MarketWatch]