The other day on MLB Now, patient host Brian Kenny disagreed with other panelists on the stature of Cleveland’s Michael Brantley. His fellow pundits rated Brantley one of the MLB’s top left fielders after his .327- 20 HR- 97 RBI-23 of 24 SB season. Kenny said one breakout year among his five with the Indians did not establish Brantley as an elite player. We sided with the panelists, but have come to respect Kenny’s refusal to embrace a majority viewpoint, help even a near-unanimous one.
“My go-to move,” Kenny has written (in Sports on Earth) ”… is to bluntly point out the gap between perception and reality. Swimming against the tide is a full-time job, but there’s always plenty of work.”
The gap between widely pitched biased accounts in the field of international politics should concern all of us who depend on home-based media for our news. The positive spin on the way our team plays the game against overseas opponents is seldom challenged for one main reason: stories involving the adversaries are seldom covered first-hand; “objective” media reports, therefore, are, in fact, official Team USA versions of the reality.
Robert Parry of Consortium News identified a typical example of what can only be called propaganda in last Saturday’s NY Times. Under a story headed “WAR IS EXPLODING ANEW IN THE UKRAINE” – in this case, covered by reporters on the scene – the “paper of record” disregarded the crucial basis of the conflict. Parry identifies the deviousness this way:
“One way the Times has falsified the Ukraine narrative is by dating the origins of the crisis to several months after the crisis actually began. So, the lead story in Saturday’s editions ignored the actual chronology of events and started the clock with the appearance of Russian troops in Crimea in spring 2014…In other words, the story doesn’t start in fall 2013 with the extraordinary U.S. intervention in Ukrainian political affairs – spearheaded by American neocons, such as… Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain – nor with the U.S.-backed coup on Feb. 22, 2014, which ousted (the)elected President…and put one of Nuland’s chosen leaders… in as Prime Minister.”
Early this week, columnist Tom Friedman added his blame-the-Russians spin to the falsified narrative. Sad how we count on the Times for straight news, and how misguided is that trust.
One more thing: Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader and no friend of Vladimir Putin, laments the “triumphalism” of Team USA, which, he says, is dragging the world into a new “cold war.”
Not a ‘Money’ Movie Review: “American Sniper” lionizes the most despicable aspects of U.S. society—the gun culture, the blind adoration of the military, the belief that we have an innate right…to…banish( ) compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth…Many Americans…trapped in a stagnant economy… yearn for the supposed moral renewal and rigid, militarized control the movie venerates. These passions, if realized, will extinguish what is left of our now-anemic open society.”– Chris Hedges, TruthDig
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Ron’s Darling: In an MLB Now on-air survey of the game’s current “best hitters,” John Smoltz and the Times’ Tyler Kepner chose Tigers Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, respectively, as the best. Ron Darling, whose broadcasting work with SNY and TBS, gives him greater opportunity to see more players in action than his colleagues do, submitted a less-acknowledged name; “ Freddie Freeman (of Atlanta) is amazing; he hits the ball with power to left and right…I don’t see anyone else like him.”
Slack-Time: Let’s cut new Commish Rob Manfred some slack: he sounds like he’ll be an acceptable leader, if not a strong one. On the one hand, he wants to make attracting “kids” to the game a priority, on the other, he clearly has no intention to work with the networks to get at least one World Series game played in daylight. Yet, Manfred surely knows failure to challenge a TV schedule that insures most playoff games end near midnight on the East Coast is an effective way to discourage youthful – and even adult – interest in the game.
Dubious Legacy: More disturbing to Mets fans – what’s left of them – is Manfred’s obvious embrace of Bud Selig’s cronyism toward financially beleaguered Fred Wilpon. The new MLB boss has burdened himself with that legacy despite the embarrassment Wilpon’s continued control of the Mets is afflicting on the game and the commissioner’s office.
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)