Haley's Poker Blog

No bad beats, but still a poker blog... hence the anguish.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

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?

4 Comments:

Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

An interesting theory, though this strikes me as less calculating. I'm convinced Kreidler somewhere along the way wrote an anti-D'Amato piece (and there have been many occasions to do so), there establishing a position regarding the ex-senator that he then revived here.

I know Phil Gordon is not the easiest person from whom to get a quote, but I'd love to hear what he thinks of Kreidler's article.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Gene said...

Haley,

Read your post earlier and I meant to leave a comment, looks like we were on the same wavelength. Yeah, he's getting pilloried over at ESPN, and deservedly so. It's one thing to rip on poker and the PPA--that's totally fine with me, make your case. It's another to make a fool of yourself by butchering the facts and proving again and again you don't know what you're talking about.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Haley said...

Thanks for stopping by, guys.

Shamus, I think you're very likely right about Kreidler's motives, but I was questioning exactly how this made it through ESPN's editorial oversight. In a nutshell, it shouldn't have.

Gene, I agree that neither the PPA nor Senator Pothole is saintly, and in fact, my next post on this site is going to point out a few more instances where the PPA just seems to keep on shooting itself in the foot. Note that I'm not as anti-PPA as, say, Gary Carson, or as pro-PPA as someone like Bill Rini. (Hiya, Gary and Bill!) I just find myself unable to endorse and embrace the organization, for a slew of reasons. And you did such a good job of dissecting Kreidler's gilded turd that there wasn't much reason for me to go through the same process. Way to take it off the sheet, Gene.

6:45 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

"Kreidler's gilded turd"

The perfect description ...

9:55 AM  

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