So I’m sitting here watching ESPN’s news magazine show, E:60, and I’m about ready to vomit. When the show was announced, I was excited at the prospect of deep sports journalism on TV. When the first couple shows felt contrived, I gave them a pass. It was still in its infancy afterall.
Now, I just can’t believe how bad it is. The main problem is how overproduced each piece is. It feels polished, manicured and fake. On that note, I’ll go as far as to say they push some ethical boundaries of journalism. Apparent dramatizations aren’t clearly marked. Thanks to ESPN’s size, conflicts of interest are unavoidable, but the show doesn’t do enough to avoid them. For example, as ESPN begins to broadcast NASCAR races, and as NASCAR deals with a lawsuit from a female minority employee, another minority woman involved in the sports is profiled as “the most powerful woman in NASCAR” by E:60. Fishy? I’d say so.
The footage of E:60’s journalists pitching and discussing stories is a good idea gone horribly wrong. Once agian, the fact that it is overproduced is to blame. No one ever stutters, stammers or looks lost. Nothing feels authentic or spontaneous. If challenged by a colleague, the reporter always has an answer ready to go. Jeremy Schaap does nothing to dispell notions that he’s arrogant and smarmy. While pitching what would become a patronizing and worthless segment on baseball in China, Schaap goes out of his way to identify Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang as Chinese. Schaap has already noted that Wang is from Taiwan, but he feels no compunction about calling Wang Chinese for argument’s sake. Maybe Wang doesn’t mind being called Chinese, but there’s a chance he doesn’t like it at all, and Schaap should know better.