ESPN.com's Mark Kreidler: Independent Buffoon or Corporate Lackey?
ESPN.com's Mark Kreidler has authored a piece, published yesterday, that begins with the signing of Alfonse D'Amato as chairman of the PPA, and ends by taking a broad swipe at the whole of online poker. It's a wretched piece, full of half-truths, misinformation, badly interpreted statistics and at least one flat-out personal attack, and while "shit journalism" has its place in the world (for better or worse), this one's a prime example of why one doesn't want to make a mess of one's own nest. The piece appeared on the front page of ESPN's own Poker Club, populated by the very same online poker players Kriedler chooses to slap.
A dunderheaded, vacuous move. Or was it?
Given that the piece is appallingly short of meeting professionally standards, one has to wonder about motive. It's not about why the piece was written --- because any idiot can vomit forth inane wordage --- but about how the piece managed to pass editorial muster and see the light of day. This one smells bad.
Maybe, just maybe, Kreidler's taking one for the (ESPN) team. ESPN's WSOP broadcasts remain a staple of the network's off-primetime programming, and there's no doubt that ratings for all poker programs are off in general. The biggest reason for the decline isn't because people no longer want to watch poker on TV, but rather, that there are so many poker programs to choose from.
Given that many televised poker programs are sponsored in whole or in part by online sites, anything that damages those sites therefore makes sense, in a lefthanded sort of way, to ESPN's bottom line. It'd be a fool's quest of sorts, thinking that making a Fox Sports Net's or Game Show Network's selection of poker programs disappear would somehow be good for the game, but ESPN has no interest in poker itself. ESPN only cares in milking poker for whatever can be added to ESPN's own bottom line.
It's good to see folks like Daniel Negreanu quickly speak out against the article. While the story shouldn't be yanked, despite its appalling inaccuracies, it certainly should be subject to some sort of rebuttal. It would also be interesting to see what will happen with name players in the absence of such a rebuttal or followup. Do you think Negreanu would decline an interview opportunity with ESPN at next year's opportunity, as a way of making a statement against the publishing of crap by ESPN.com?
I highly doubt that, cynical person that I am. But we shall see, won't we?