We're Already in the Sportsmax Era


If there is room in the take-o-sphere for two divergent thoughts on the SportsMax sketch featured in a refreshingly enjoyable Saturday Night Live with Timothee Chalamet, please allow me to wade into those waters. The first is how much fun it is to consider to yourself, or with a group of media-savvy friends, which sportscasters would staff such an outlet. It's an absolute delight and people of all political persuasions can enjoy the mental comeuppance of their ill-intentioned adversaries falling victim to hilarity and shame while bending over backward to appease an audience with a ideological proclivity.

Go ahead. Cast one for the left and cast one for the right. It's a decent mental exercise and reveals a lot about how you see those familiar faces in your mind's eye.

It's less enjoyable when one considers how this is essentially the existing model for straight news outlets, which are dealing everyday with matters import far more pressing than the damn New York Jets. It's not a great reflection of where we are and where we're going.

Which leads to the second point. The realization that this bit is only funny because it hits so close to home. Because it's not a far-fetched glimpse into a possible future. A professed sports channel so blinded by political issues that it can't report the Jets score correctly may not exist. But its spirit is certainly alive and active online. Across parties.

Again, it's not productive to name names but much like the casting vision before, you can come up with a few yourself. Candidly, The Big Lead is far more political that it was five years ago or even a two years ago. It's gone from deep purple to blue and we have less ideological diversity than we used to. I'm not reluctant to share that because being honest about that stance helps things from veering into a SportsMax type area.

It's something I personally think about and try to keep in check. Even then, there are plenty of times when advocacy shades fairness and editorial remit caters to too few.

Why? Because that's what the business rewards dictate. People don't want the news, they want the news to reinforce their world view. They don't want to hear that their team lost to State by 20, they want to hear how they were cheated. They want to hear how being ranked No. 7 in the AP poll is an international conspiracy. They want to feel good. To create their own cocoon that's never going to challenge them. It's long been an arm's race to create the biggest, most unique one.

Now it's about who can draw the most passionate one, with no mind given to how misguided that passion may be. All of this to say: SportsMax is already in the fingerprints and DNA of almost everything being consumed in media. It's just so much more fun to laugh at it than really consider how bleak of a future it portends, based on the present.