(This post is part of a fundraiser for 826 Boston, a non-profit tutoring and writing center that provides free help to kids at underserved schools. For a donation of $50 or more, readers can get me to write anything about hockey they want, so donate today to make me say stuff by clicking here. I probably don’t believe the nonsense below, which was requested by Gus Booth.)
One of the things you often hear about in the NHL these days, at least if you hang out on Twitter a lot (big mistake, bucko!), is that there are a lot of bad, lazy reporters out there covering the sport and holding rather lucrative jobs with a lot of influence.
This much is indisputably true. The vast majority of these guys are probably in their mid 50s to early 60s and have been covering the sport since before there was an internet to tell them how wrong they are about it (usually very). Often, these reporters have their writing passed around online and people get mad about it. They say, “Look at what this idiot wrote! He is provably wrong here!” and then sometimes they even write their own things proving that the provably wrong thing was indeed wrong.
But there is a subset of Hockey Twitter which holds the ideal that sharing such Bad Content is actually beneficial to the Bad Content Creator. Because all it does is drive pageviews and ratings or whatever, and makes them look better and more popular.
This view is dumb for a number of reasons:
- The world of Hockey Twitter Getting Mad is pretty small.
I have a decent number of followers on Twitter and when I share bad columns, I have the option to look at how many people clicked through. It’s rarely more than 100. The amount this sharing actually moves anyone’s needle is minimal.
- Bad reporting should be called out whenever possible.
These guys have big voices, and even if you’re sitting there like, “Dah jeez, I hope no one else looks at this,” guess what buddy: Plenty of people at it anyway!
- Sometimes calling it out leads to good or at least enjoyable outcomes.
You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need. (I came up with that. Don’t steal it.) And often what you need is not to get all steamed about Another Bad Column by one of the same four or five Bad Content Creators, but rather to laugh at it.
I’ll give you two good examples from one columnist who is wrong a pretty healthy percentage of the time: Steve Simmons. Remember the time Tyler Dellow went on the radio in Toronto and humiliated him and Simmons got so mad he started yelling? If not, here it is:
Remember the time Pension Plan Puppets did the legwork and figured out Simmons lied about the Phil Kessel hot dogs rumor and Keith Olbermann made fun of him on national TV? If not, here it is:
See? That’s just one bad columnist and it’s two hilarious moments because someone read the columns and shared the columns. These are ideal outcomes, of course. Most of the time you can view it as a particularly poignant reminder that baby boomers are literally the exact reason why print media is dying. It’s only very rarely that the slop these guys write gets debunked and ridiculed so hilariously.
But just like you don’t golf hoping to drop a fairway shot within three inches of the pin, when it happens, it brings you so much joy that you’ll keep booking tee times for the rest of the summer.
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