T Dog’s Think Tank: O’Reilly, Mariotti aren’t going anywhere

Hope you enjoyed the little piece below. While the post was intended for comedy, the antics of the dummy duo – Bill O’Reilly and Jay Mariotti – are really no laughing matter.

It seems both “journalists” have been stepping up their antics as of late – with both men accused of sensationalism to the highest degree.

A lot of people are angry at these two, for a lot of obvious reasons, and would like to see them removed from their respective positions. But the hard truth is, they are not going anywhere.

Why? As long as O’Reilly and Mariotti have backing from their corporate owners, they are here to stay.

You would think both are related. Neither of them does serious journalism – they do stories without covering them and state absurd opinions rather than fact, and both have abrasive attitudes.

Now as you may know, these types of media personalities are nothing new – e.g. Joe Pyne, Morton Downey Jr., Geraldo Rivera, and others. There’s always a market for bombastic, over-the-top personalities, and always will be.

But as far as Big Media is concerned, the shitter they are, the better.

A perfect example of this comes in the latest controversy regarding Mariotti. There was a piece written by Rick Telander that was supposed on run on Wednesday, indirectly criticizing Mariotti for his negative columns on the White Sox, despite their winning record. This piece was rejected by Editor-In-Chief Michael Cook without explanation. Another column written by Telander on Friday was altered.

Now think about that. A column criticizing Mariotti was spiked, but those written by Mariotti – which usually contains personal attacks, inaccurate stories, and flat-out lies stays. Now you tell me which columnist gets the preferential treatment. The Sun-Times would fire Telander and the entire sports writing staff before they let Mariotti go.

Meanwhile, O’Reilly invites guests on his show who make wild accusations (“the Obama fist bump is terrorist”, etc.), continues to make flat-out lies about people, and sends reporters to ambush people who don’t agree with him.

And the rest of cable news isn’t any better. Keith Olbermann’s Countdown show on MSNBC does the same thing – only to the right and often rips into O’Reilly and Fox News on his show, while O’Reilly returns the favor. The cable news’ war of words is much like the WLS-WCFL and the B96 (WBBM-FM)-Z95 (WYTZ-FM) Top 40 music wars back in the day – only without the fun and with the meanness.

But what else do you expect from a media that is becoming more and more sensationalist by the day? Controversy sells. Journalistic integrity doesn’t matter to news organizations anymore – it’s not profitable. The truth doesn’t matter anymore either. As long as Big Media let nutballs like Jay Mariotti and Bill O’Reilly spew their warped views of society, the media is never going to regain its credibility – not that it matters to them. Only money does. Big Media could care less what the public thinks. They feel they don’t owe them anything.

And the growing contempt of the public by Big Media is growing. As I posted on Friday, TBS started “pausing” episodes of its off-network sitcoms to push The Bill Engvall Show, with the network basically telling viewers to screw off if they didn’t like it. This is arrogance to the highest degree. Is it any wonder why viewers are abandoning television and radio programming in droves to get programming from other sources (The Internet, DVDs, iPods, etc.) Media companies often forget they have to serve the public interest. But with their entities facing smaller circulation and audience numbers, they rely on sensationalism to get bigger numbers because their traditional business models they have relied on for decades are falling apart. And this is now more apparent as media companies consolidate more and more to get bigger.

Look at ESPN and SportsCenter, which is becoming a more embarrassing joke by the day. It seems the anchors are more interested in polishing their stand-up routines rather than giving us highlights while the show airs meaningless top 10 lists on topics they have already done a thousand times (The Top 10 coaching meltdowns – again!), letting the overrated Mike & Mike strut around the network like they own the place, and rerunning clips of White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen going off.

Does the last sentence sound familiar? That’s exactly what the cable news networks did a few months ago when it reran Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s sermon over and over. It’s no surprise ESPN takes this same stance with sports figures with the cable-news wannabe populating its sports shows with Mariotti and other self-smarming windbags like Chris Berman and Skip Bayless.

And let’s not forget the recent antics of Entertainment Tonight, when they reported on Angelina Jolie giving birth to twins. The only problem was, she didn’t give birth yet. ET was fooled by an impostor pretending to be Ms. Jolie’s assistant – and yet, the celebrity newsmagaine stood by its story, and even knew about it.

The media would never admit it is wrong on many stories. It has too much pride for that.

As I said before, there is no difference between TMZ, the National Enquirer, the Sun-Times, and the cable news networks. It’s all sensationalist junk, with no insight whatsoever.

And the media could care less, because sadly, there’s always an audience out there that gobbles this stuff up.

But as far as credibility goes, as long as O’Reilly and Mariotti are steering the ship of sensationalism, The Big Media Boat will continue to sink. The only thing is, the dumb duo’s fans – if any – are too stupid to get off the ship.