- "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..."
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I was at a local watering hole recently with a friend where there were multiple television screens on the wall showing various sports. We were primarily interested in a particular baseball game which we watched for about an hour. Next to the game was another screen featuring five talking heads analyzing sports. Both sets were muted as there was already too much noise in the establishment. We had no problem watching the game, which was actually pleasurable without the constant chatter of a pompous announcer, but the talking heads were rather amusing as they chatted and argued in a very animated manner. I didn't know what they were saying, but the histrionics was rather obvious.
While I was sitting there, with the televisions side-by-side, it occurred to me that whatever the talking heads were saying was inconsequential as what really mattered were the players and coaches having to actually play the game. I suspect the talking heads were intelligent, and good speakers, but I wouldn't be surprised if none of them had actually played the sport.
I'm not sure why we watch such people (I chose to watch the game instead), but I suspect people tune into such shows to learn some inside tips, to find out what people are saying about their favorite teams, and to form opinions. It's certainly not for entertainment.
Years ago, sporting events were televised with limited opinions from sportscasters, just play-by-play normally. This all changed with Howard Cosell on ABC's Monday Night Football who would chatter incessantly throughout the game. It was also at this time when saloons started to hold raffles with the winner being allowed to throw a brick through the TV screen the moment Cosell's image appeared.
We also see this same phenomenon in the area of politics, where the various networks analyze the news of the day and give their spin on what it all means. Frankly, I find most of these talking heads are as accurate as the sports analysts, which is not particularly good. Again, most have not played the game, including yours truly. I may have been active in political groups and campaigns, but I have never served as a politician, at least not yet.
It bothers me the news media tries to tell the public what to think, and how to think. In other words, how to form opinions aligned with theirs. We have always been a nation who enjoys debate and studying issues, but I object to the news media trying to impose their sense of morality on me in terms of what is right and wrong.
Thanks to the Internet and social media, we now have the means to express our political opinions at a mind-boggling rate, both in volume and frequency. This means anyone with a social media account or access to a content management system (a blog), can now voice their opinion, some more eloquently than others. This means we are now being bombarded with more opinion than ever before. The reason for it is simple, the people are not happy with the rhetoric coming from the news media, and are trying to forge their own alliances. For example, in my case I have a lot of people following my columns from around the world. I have also grown from just blogging to having my articles published in other publications and my audio segments used in a variety of places.
Again, if people subscribe to the point-of-view of the talking heads, they are likely to parrot their comments through social media. Repeating the same talking point over and over again, doesn't make it right. Yes, I want people to consider my opinion, but I certainly do not have all the answers and, as such, want them to think and discuss the topics I bring before them. Maybe asking people to think for themselves is asking too much. Some people prefer to have others do the thinking for them so they can blame the person later should something go awry. Instead, I encourage people to think for themselves.
I have always tried to be fair and honest in my writings, but I am still attacked for my positions, be it in politics or business. Receiving nasty hate mail from disgruntled readers is one thing, getting banned from publications and social media groups is another. I've had to deal with both. I have also felt that if I'm not pissing someone off, I'm not doing my job.
Here is one last note for you to consider; if there were no fans, there would obviously not be any talking heads in sports. Likewise, if there were no voters, there would be no Rachel Maddow, Brian Williams, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Chuck Todd, Lawrence O’Donnell, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, et al. Frankly, I think we need to go back to throwing bricks through television screens.
We must ever be cognizant that regardless of the vitriol of the news media, what is most important is the person who is actually in the arena, striving valiantly towards a noble cause, who dares greatly by sweating and taking punishment in performing their labor, who again and again feverishly works despite suffering setbacks. Believe me, that person's perspective is much different and nobler than those timid souls who jeer from the sidelines.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at email@example.com
For Tim's columns, see: timbryce.com
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