Friday, February 5, 2010
Roush Blasts TV Commentators Again
There certainly have been some interesting agendas revealed this week in Daytona. From Danica Patrick's masterful manipulation of the media to seven hours of media day being webcast on NASCAR.com, it has been fun to watch.
The Trackside program on SPEED was the source of the most recent TDP column. The first show of the season aired at 7PM Friday night and featured guests Jack Roush and Brad Keselowski. The show is hosted by Steve Byrnes and the panelists are Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond.
Roush was seated next to Waltrip on the set and he spoke about various topics including his teams, his goals for this season and his personal history in the sport. Then, Waltrip brought up a topic that once again generated some controversy.
Click here for the TDP story relating the comments about the NASCAR TV partners made by Roush on the January media tour in the Charlotte, NC area. The Roush comments were so off-the-wall that several of the TV networks felt compelled to respond immediately.
"You know Jack," said Waltrip. "I reluctantly bring this subject up but I would not be doing my job if I didn't. I read where you felt that maybe the media had been a little biased or hadn't been fair or maybe too critical. What were you thinking?"
"The thing that was on my mind is I don't watch a lot of baseball," said Roush. "But I watch the playoffs for basketball, hockey...when it comes down to our final ten races I watch that in all the series if I can...and it came to my attention and I spoke to that...I thought the people who announce the other sports were more supportive of the sanctioning bodies and of the sport(s) itself than some of us (in the NASCAR media) have been."
Roush then looked directly at Waltrip and continued:
"And I'll say than you have been some days," Roush commented. "That's not saying that you don't have heart for what you doing and everybody at the table and everybody else that picks up a microphone does not have passion for what they do."
"But, we need to make the most we can of the exciting dimensions of the things we have going on and not look at the things that would be negative that would be possibly not absolutely agreed upon by everybody."
Darrell Waltrip then emphasized to Roush that everyone involved on the media side loves the sport, has their own opinions and sees things differently. Waltrip reminded Roush the each owner also has their own agenda and the media has to sort through those issues.
Roush then brought up another item from his original interview:
"And we all have our own prejudices." he said. "We've had fights and the ones that we didn't finish the way we wanted to, so sometimes we like to fight when we shouldn't."
Roush was speaking to the point that he made in the NASCAR.com column where he stated that some TV announcers are still grinding personal axes left over from their driving days. Roush specifically called-out Rusty Wallace and Waltrip.
There are a couple of points to be discussed and then we are going to ask for your comments. The line between public relations and journalism is that PR is all about controlling what is said and journalism is all about making sure everything is said.
The Roush belief that somehow TV commentators shrouded the sport in a dark cloud is laughable. On the other hand, the longtime problem that we have discussed many times is that personalities like Wallace, Waltrip, Brad Daugherty and even Phil Parsons have ongoing direct business dealings inside the very sport on which they comment.
Where do you come down on the recent Roush comments? Is ESPN a network that speaks to the reality of NASCAR while SPEED shows like Trackside, Raceday and Victory Lane are all about public relations? Is Roush delivering a NASCAR message to the TV partners to watch their step this season?
The theories have been flying in the TDP email about why one owner suddenly is advancing this theory that "TV negativity" is to blame for the issues of last season's declining attendance and TV ratings. While you earlier read the response from the TV networks, it may be the silence from NASCAR itself on this topic that may be speaking the loudest.
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