Tuesday, November 15, 2011

ESPN Agenda Still Bothers Stewart

It was just a post-race press conference after the Sprint Cup Series race in Phoenix on Sunday. The second and third place drivers were sitting on a stage with three chairs only feet away from the NASCAR media corps.

The laptops were buzzing as various media members asked questions that they would be including in online stories, radio updates and TV reports. Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards looked tired, but both were very pleased they had continued the championship fight by finishing behind winner Kasey Kahne.

Shannon Spake currently is a utility player for ESPN. She works on NASCAR Now, is a part-time pit reporter and provides NASCAR news for various ESPN outlets like SportsCenter. Her question was different in tone from the previous media inquiries.

Spake: We watch you come in and sit down next to each other after battling on the track. What is it like to sit down and have to talk about your race and the Chase next to the guy you're battling?

Stewart: We've been doing this how long together? I mean, it's no different. Our demeanor isn't any different than we always are.

It's you guys and ESPN that loves to try to build that crap in between everybody. The total drama network, for sure. At least they're consistent about it.

Everybody at ESPN is consistent about it.

I don't see it being any different than normal. If you want, we can eliminate the chair, if that will make you feel better.

Edwards: We're good.

Stewart: I think that answers your question, though, doesn't it? Can you make sure everybody at ESPN understands that? Thank you.

Edwards: Thanks, Tony (laughter).

While the media session rolled on, one important thing to remember is that all of this was streamed live on NASCAR.com as part of the normal post-race online feed. NASCAR fans on the Internet saw this as it happened.

It was the fall of 2007 when Stewart first clashed with ESPN over a perceived agenda of TV-driven hype and innuendo. His target was then NASCAR Now reporter David Amber, who had absolutely no motorsports experience. Amber tossed a loaded question to Stewart. It did not go well.

"If every time we do an interview you want to stand here and dig-up dirt, you might as well go and find somebody else because we will wait until you leave," said Stewart. "Do we always have to leave with a dagger in our back from ESPN? That's all I'm curious about." Click here to read the original TDP column from 2007.

Over the past few years, ESPN has assembled a solid group of reporters who work for NASCAR Now, ESPN the Magazine and the ESPN.com website. In stark contrast to these veterans, many other ESPN news and anchor personalities have to be literally force-fed NASCAR content.

Inside the live race telecasts, ESPN continues to juggle a complicated agenda. Norby Williamson, the executive in charge of both studio and remote production, emphasizes what he calls "storytelling" in event coverage. That has shifted the focus from catering to the hardcore fan to more of a hunt for stories within the race itself.

In 2008, both Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke out about ESPN's repeated use of a heated radio conversation between Stewart and then crew chief Greg Zipadelli moments after the Richmond Sprint Cup Series race.

What was shown to TV viewers and Internet users was the outburst, but not the apology that was offered minutes later. The video clip was used all over the ESPN TV networks and the ESPN.com website for days after the race.

"I think it's just poor taste by the networks and I'm seeing it too often," said Dale Earnhardt Jr., making reference to multiple problems this season.

"That's ESPN," said Stewart. "We've had a terrible relationship with ESPN for years. We've been very outspoken with them as a company about how they treat the drivers, treat the teams."

"They're a (TV) production team that wants to do everything they can to stir the pot up," continued Stewart. "It's no secret ESPN and I don't get along."

"Do they have a right to air it?" Stewart continued. "Absolutely. Trust me, if there's anything negative I do, ESPN is going to pick up on it and run with it every chance they get."

"That just shows you what's important to them (ESPN). It's not the positive things in the sport. They want to pick up on everything negative they can," said Stewart.

"It's taking it too far where they're putting those type of conversations on network television and it's getting the kind of press it's getting," said Earnhardt. "It looks terrible for Tony. (It was) heat of the moment. You're going to say things you regret and I'm sure he regrets saying what he said and maybe Zippy regrets coming back at him."

"It's just what angle do they (ESPN) want to work with and how they use that," Stewart said. "Should they or shouldn't they? I don't think it's right or wrong. I don't think right or wrong comes into play."

It's really about class...or the lack of it," said Earnhardt.
Click here to read the entire TDP column.

We recently saw Dr. Jerry Punch press a clearly embarrassed Joe Gibbs for a verdict on the continued employment of Kyle Busch when it was apparent a decision had not been made. Gibbs was gracious, but Punch kept chasing what was just not there.

This past weekend, Nationwide Series driver Jason Leffler halted pit reporter Jamie Little in her tracks after she skewed his words from a previous answer about his accident with Elliott Sadler. Little was trying to drive up the conflict level between the two, despite Leffler just having said the accident was his fault.

It's a fine line to walk between calling the race on TV and also trying to develop stories or pay-off topics set-up in the pre-race show. Jumping from the reality of simply racing and moving to the scripted agenda of conflict has not been the best mix.

As ESPN now heads into its final Sprint Cup Series race in year 5 of covering the sport, what is your opinion of the network's efforts to date? Thanks as always for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Additional story links on this topic:
Just how big is the Cup drivers vs. ESPN feud? (from 11/2/08)
The two faces of ESPN on display (from 9/14/08)
Why SportsCenter hates NASCAR (from 6/16/11)


Anonymous said...

I have never been a fan of Tony Stewart the driver, but I have always admired Tony Stewart the person ready to speak his mind honestly. Even when I disagree with him, I respect him for being willing to state his opinion. Most of the drivers are too busy plugging sponsors and being politically correct with NASCAR to say anything of significance.

My respect for Tony Stewart is strong. I have little respect for ESPN. Periodically, they do something right and I start to wonder if they finally get it. Then they do something cheap and/or stupid, and they lose whatever credibility they had built up.

I did not see the interview of Joe Gibbs by Dr. Jerry Punch. Even in his dark days as pxp, I still respected him for the way he could interview people. I lost a little respect for him based on the description of the Joe Gibbs interview. I guess we can all have an off day. Let's just hope Dr. Punch hasn't been corrupted by the ESPN culture.

Anonymous said...

Of course many at ESPN have a disdain for NASCAR. Do we not remember the ESPN crew relegated to doing interviews outside of the racetrack the years they did not cover the races?

I for one prefer ESPN's coverage of the races over FOX (annoying rednecks DW and Larry) and TNT. Jerry Punch is too dramatic, but he's only one person. And I have a handy button on my remote control called "MUTE". ;)

Jonathan said...

Yeah somthing needs to happen! Nascar wake up the broadcasts suck, the network covers, treats Nascar like its the WNBA! I cant stand it anymore and from the looks of things neither can the drivers!!! Something is going to change and 10 years down the road when ESPN is begging to get Nascar back I hope they get what they have coming!

Anonymous said...

I agree that Espn has a long history of antagonizing drivers into saying something controversial. The quality of the individuals they've had covering Nascar have been totally ridiculous. I'll be kind and spare them by not publicly mentioning their names (you can relax now Suzy...). But, as I look back at all the Networks, the Espn digging up dirt crap pales in significance to the fact that all the networks do a p-poor job of covering the sport. There are tons of people in the booth, on pit road and on the Nascar TV shows that don't know anything about Nascar racing, have never changed a spark plug and couldn't locate a harmonic balancer if their life depended on it. Throw in the conflicts of interest many of them have and Nascar threatening everyone with fines for telling the truth and you have a toxic Witches Brew. It is what it is. The Espn crap is nothing compared to the larger issues in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for Tony! It has been obvious that nascar is not going to force a change and it has been obvious that espn is not going to change because the rabble are complaining. For the good of the sport, that leaves just the drivers, teams, and sponsors to say espn's coverage is crap. Sponsors are leaving! Somebody needs to stand up and say the emperor is naked! MC

MRM4 said...

The product ESPN puts out is not good. But that goes for a lot of things they cover. Monday Night Football is terrible. They always have an agenda.

Look at their coverage, or lack of coverage, in the early days of the Penn State scandal. They were nowhere to be found until Paterno was fired. As much as I dislike Comcast, I hope the Comcast/NBC combo will get their act together and give ESPN some competition. They need it.

Bill said...

Anon @1:17 AM, is that an official ESPN rebuttal? I would like to hear what they say about it, if anything. No argument is fair without a rebuttal.

I'm also curious if Sheriff Mike(Helton)sat Tony down after that. Even current and future ESPN employee Carl Edwards reluctantly agreed with Tony's comments.

Go Smoke, Go!

David Evertsen said...

It is amazing what ESPN will try to start with NASCAR drivers but would never cross that line with NFL, NBA, MLB players, coachers or owners because, they are too close to them. Maybe someone will read this from ESPN/NASCAR and realize they let the games play out why can't they let the race play out.. Tony and Dale Jr. where right back then and still are now.

OSBORNK said...

ESPN doesn't televise a race. They script and televise a reality show. They use the formula for a reality show and direct the show in an attempt to make the action on the track fit the weekly script. They have to show or invent controversy and conflict because it is necessary in any reality show.

ESPN has no interest in simply showing the race as it happens. REAL race fans simply want to see the race as it happens, warts and all.

Anonymous said...

Wow JD

Pot Calling Kettle Black?

TDP does not know anything about focusing in on negative items and repeating them and the perceived angles on them?

Its almost as bad as this Website, who tends to pick on Everything ESPN does wrong and tries to stir the pot.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon, I welcome your comments, but would point out that if ESPN was producing telecasts that fans enjoyed, this would not be an issue that has now spanned five years.

Bill said...

It just occurred to me that Spake's question comes from a stick & ball perspective.

Football/baseball/basketball/hockey teams live in their own cities, practice at their own facilities, and only see their opponent on gameday.

What if the Dallas Cowboys were forced to prepare for their upcoming game with the Washington Redskins on adjacent practice fields with no privacy fence or wall between them, and forced to share the same film rooms, weight rooms and locker rooms.

All that would be preposterous in the stick and ball world, but that's what happens in NASCAR.

Tony's and Carl's garage areas are next to each other, so secrets are very fleeting. Plus, all the drivers are corralled together in the same motorcoach lot, so they see each other constantly, their kids and wives are friends, etc.

None of that happens in football! So when Carl and Tony sat beside each other at the press conference, it wasn't the slightest bit unusual or uncomfortable for them.

Most fans don't realize this either, and it would be a feather in ESPN's cap to explore this unusual dynamic, rather than look like blithering idiots.

GinaV24 said...

I don't blame Stewart for being annoyed by all the manufactured hype and I'm not a fan of his.

What I want is accurate coverage of the race and the stories by ALL the networks. If I want drama, I'll watch soap operas (and I'm not dissing soaps by any means) or prime time tv.

This is a problem not only in sports, but also in the news. Too often opinion is being passed along as fact.

I come down on Stewart and Leffler's side of this discussion.

rich said...

Osbornk, I think that you are right. I had never thought of it in that way, but they want a reality show.
All of the Disney offerings are that way. Check out GMA as compared to the other two networks morning show. They constantly build up drama and over emphasis something to make it what it is not.
I just watched the 1998 Fontana race on tape. It was just amazing how different the current broadcast from ESPN is to their old way of broadcasting.
Eventually I hope that the pendulum will swing back.

Anonymous said...


TDP: I would point out that if ESPN was producing telecasts that THE 23 FANS ON THIS SITE enjoyed, this would not be an issue that has now spanned five years.


Also as It relates to my last post...If Tony Stewart did not repeatedly do or say things to call for reaction, than perhaps ESPN and Others would not report on it. For Example: NEW HAMPSHIRE Tony VL: "we got rid of some dead weight"

Where do you think all these drivers think they would be without this coverage?

Nature Boy said...

I don't understand why Tony is upset here because he's the one, since his victory in Martinsville, that's been talking some trash about catching Carl. He needs to just chill.

Bass_Masters said...

ESPN OUGHT TO look for the stories and OUGHT TO try to find the drama. However, they should not go out of their way to distort what actually occurs. That's the line I think they should draw, and there's probably some gray area in there. This particular question seemed pretty legit. I think a lot of fans might be interested in knowing if a championship battle this tight makes anything personal or not, because drivers at this level are obviously highly competitive and often very emotional. But obviously Smoke is reacting based on his larger belief that ESPN is willing to distort things and "manufacture" hype. I think for most race fans, there's plenty of drama without additional hype, and maybe ESPN tries too hard sometimes to make racing "accessible" to the "casual fan" without just letting events speak for themselves.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Simply a case of the tail wagging the dog - ESPN dictating to NASCAR how it presents the sport ...very disrespectful attitude toward the sport from the suits in Bristol down to the pit reporters ...disappointed to hear Dr Punch's inane questioning of Joe Gibbs ...Jamie Little is useless, but unfortunately Jason Leffler's professional response went over her head ...pit reporters have no place doing play-by-play as they often do when supposedly conveying strategy from pit road ...as a fan of the sport for more than 50 years, I'm frustrated at the poor coverage by FOX, TNT and ESPN ...the best production comes with SPEED's truck series shows ...I can't for one minute imagine 'Big Bill' or 'Bill Jr' tolerating the for-profit only disregard of the sport by the broadcast partners ...while his grandfather and father were building the sport, Brian was at play far from the reality of the business ...and it shows ...my report card: FOX (D, they cannot control DW) ...ESPN (F, they intrude on the racing with a scripted broadcast) ...TNT (C, they only have a handful of races) ...SPEED (B, very strong production values, present actual racing, capture personalities of the drivers) ...I've grown weary of the virtually unwatchable broadcasts ...sadly, MRN, the voice of NASCAR, is not available on the broadcast networks

sbaker17 said...

Anonymous said...

TDP: I would point out that if ESPN was producing telecasts that THE 23 FANS ON THIS SITE enjoyed, this would not be an issue that has now spanned five years.


Also as It relates to my last post...If Tony Stewart did not repeatedly do or say things to call for reaction, than perhaps ESPN and Others would not report on it. For Example: NEW HAMPSHIRE Tony VL: "we got rid of some dead weight"

Where do you think all these drivers think they would be without this coverage?

November 15, 2011 9:37 AM

Is that you Rusty?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:37PM,

The audience used to be 7-9 million TV viewers. This issue today is not about me, ratings or the drivers.

It's just a post to ask you about your personal perception of how you view ESPN's coverage of the sport over the last five years heading into Homestead.

If you like the coverage, please tell us what points you enjoy and what you think ESPN brings to the table.

The irony of being called an unabashed promoter of Allen Bestwick in one post and an ESPN hater in the next is not lost on me.


bevo said...

This wouldn't even be an issue if ESPN had long ago established the line between their entertainment side and actual event coverage/ sports information. That line hasn't been blurred, it's been obliterated. The crowning moment of course being The Decision.

The idea of a media company "partnering" with a sanctioning body has huge conflicts when it comes to this kind of issue. The number one example is the current ESPN college conference realignment.

Lest we forget ESPN is Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.

52 yr. fan said...

I'm very proud of Tony. It's time someone put ESPN in it's place. They continue to prove
that they want to be a reality/drama show instead of a
sports reporting network. I am so
tired of Jamie Little and her scripted goofy questions. If ESPN would spend more time analysing their camera work and forget about creating drama they
would have a better product.

Thanks for another great column JD.

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that this website will, in today's column, try to tie in a loss of viewership to the quality of the broadcasts, when last week this same website cautions us not to assume that an increase in viewership means the broadcasts are getting better.

Kind of a double-edged sword, isn't it?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Nowhere in this column or any response was that done. Your attempts to deflect the reality of the ESPN coverage are not going to work.

If you would like to share your views on this season's coverage, we are all ears.

GinaV24 said...

sbaker17, naw, it can't be crusty - he doesn't write that well.

AveryNH said...

Tony has always given the media a hard time. I love watching him lay it out on reporters who try to stir crap up and create stories that try to fit they're bias. He gets a kick out of it too. I just hope he can stay calm all week cus espn is going to push hard to paint whatever picture they want to draw in as many people.

KoHoSo said...

As one that is forced to watch ESPN for the college sports that I enjoy, it is obvious that Stewart is correct about them. No, they don't treat stick-and-ball players to the same harsh extent that they do drivers, but the agenda is still the same -- get a story brewing because the game in and of itself is not enough. Thankfully, their camera work during football, basketball, and occasional hockey game allows one to ignore the likes of Craig James, Dick Vitale (the DW of college basketball), and the trash they pass off as halftime reports. If only we got the same in NASCAR instead of mostly seeing nothing but one and two car parades that have driven me away from caring about the last part of this season.

Like others, I do have hope that the new NBC Sports Network will take a different route as they try to become a major player once the convert from being Versus. Then again, I wonder if that is just an empty promise considering how badly they bungle the Olympics every two years.

Keith said...

Tony argues with all media members. I heard an interview Tony did outside of his hauler at Richmond with Jenna Fryer, in which he commented about how good ESPN's Marty Smith's question was just to belittle Jenna and mock her question.

Shannon asked her question based on the verbal barbs that had been thrown around by Tony. She perhaps saw Carl as being uncomfortable sitting there and her question was a compare and contrast style question, where she would then have turned to Carl and asked the same question to compare their reactions.

Am I mistaken, or didn't you go to journalism school John?

I think Tony is a great driver, but I wouldn't be inclined to use his interview answers as an example of the garage's feelings toward ESPN. Didn't he punch a newspaper reporter? Apparently all that you have to do is pay him millions of dollars and don't bother him and he will be fine.

He, like most drivers want everything their way, always. The racing consumers pay the driver's salaries, so their level of comfort while being interviewed isn't my concern. There is nothing quite like big tough NASCAR millionaires whining about the media. Those reporters are so mean!

Suck it up, answer the question, then they are allowed to cash the check.

Daly Planet Editor said...


The drivers were sitting there joking and laughing. Shannon's awkward question, loaded with just the kind of BS that ESPN is famous for, changed the entire mood.

As I said in my column, the reason we know this is because it was streamed live. No chance for you or your fellow co-workers to spin this one.

This issue has nothing to do with Jenna Fryer or newspaper reporters. It's a post asking for your opinion on whether or not you agree with Stewart that ESPN has an management agenda to stir things up to generate content for the multiple platforms.

If your opinion is that drivers should just tolerate it as part of the NASCAR media world, that's just fine.

Your attempts to link me, other media members or even other sports into this issue are not flying.

Nice to see you back in the spin zone again.


Anonymous said...

If a commenter points out that there were 4.5 million people tuned in to watch the last race, what reason would there be for you to shoot back that there USED to be 7-9 million viewers back in the day, if not to insinuate that the drop in viewers relates to the broadcast?

Back to the matter at hand, I don't consider Shannon's question to be out of line. Tony's response, though, is typical of him and shows a lack of understanding and respect for the media.

And no, because I know I will be accused of it, I do not work for ESPN.

Anonymous said...

The stars of sports television are the Faces Of ESPN. Everything else you see while watching one of these many channels is B-roll.

In reality, too many of ESPN's employees should be Under-Fives, as evidenced by the topic of today's post.

Zieke said...

I was not a particular fan of Tony's until I was enlightened to all the good things he does for folks and charities. The sleeze bags at ESPN are irritating to say the least, and Tony makes no bones about it. I see nothing wrong with his behavior at all.

glenc1 said...

Well...hasn't this been an interesting day at TDP. I have always had mixed feelings on Stewart, who sometimes still acts like a 14 year old (ie, the ‘dead weight’ comments—no wonder he’s still single). But on this particular subject, I agree to a point. I find it interesting that Stewart watches enough ESPN to have an opinion about it.

I don’t think it’s easy, as NASCAR has always wanted such control over the media. They won’t ask the ‘tough’ questions much of the time, but some do seem incapable of going with the moment, rather than asking whatever they’d planned regardless. Sometimes a driver has answered a question before it was asked and they ask it *anyways* (there was an example a couple of weeks ago…can’t remember who exactly, Edwards maybe…). Personally, I used to think Dale Earnhardt used to say controversial stuff just because he knew it would be good for the press. Let’s not forget, Stewart helped start all this with his ‘they’d better look out’ comments, so I’m not going to entirely blame the reporters for following up.

Still, the fact that they try and make drama is apparent with many of their sports. The ‘how do you feel’ questions are just lame. They may be trying to think of things to ask that aren’t the same tired questions we hear every week. But still I cringe at times with Jamie, Shannon, and Vince, or some bozo on Sportscenter actually mocks it. The disrespect for the sport bothers me more than anything else. You don’t get that from Fryer or Hinton. But…the ‘voice of NASCAR’, MRN covering itself gives me pause for thought also—if we criticize ESPN for having Brad & Rusty & Carl, you have to have some reservations about the ‘in house’ broadcasters being objective as well, much as I sometimes choose it.

As far as ratings go-quite honestly, it’s not like we have a choice to change the channel. Same for any sport, the contract is with whomever and you’re stuck with it. One difference is, you’re more likely, I think, to stick with say, your NFL or college team rather than racing, particularly if your favorite is never mentioned and you’re already disappointed in the direction they’re going.

Anonymous said...

@Bill @9:24 That's a very perceptive comment about how NASCAR drivers, crews, and reporters essentially live together for 10 months of the year.

I think ESPN reporters may sensationalize because of the maxim in TV news: "If it bleeds, it leads." They're fighting for space on Sports Center and ESPN News with the stick and ball sports. They have to lobby for time with producers who didn't grow up with NASCAR.

Another part of the motivation may be the actual length of the season. The season began with the Bud Shootout on Feb. 12 and ends in Las Vegas at the awards banquet after next Sunday's race in Homestead. That's 42 weeks, the longest season of any major sport, except perhaps golf.

So from early February until Thanksgiving, ESPN reporters have to find compelling angles. They perceive that they're serving viewers for whom the race is just another dish on this weekend's sports buffet.

I don't know if ESPN has research to back it up, but ESPN clearly believes the bulk of its viewership is not made up of loyal fans who punch up Jayski every day and multitask during the race reading and posting comments on your live blog.

sue said...

As much as I adore Tony and have been a big fan of his for many years sometimes he can be a blowhard. This is not the first time he's taken Shannon to task for a question he deemed a nuisance. He's had a love hate relationship with the media for many years and I for one understand why. But he's also biting the hand that feeds him. In an article by Dustin Long this week he showed that 47% of the winnings from the Richmond race came from tv revenue. Who employs Shannon that's right espn. Love em or hate em the tv rights negotiated by Nascar will pay for Tonys log mansion, planes,dirt tracks etc.

There's a time and place for everything and I'm quite tired of this never ending story about Tony and the media. So if I were Eddie Jarvis I would just tell Tony to keep it tight lipped. He's not going to win with the press. The press tries every angle they can to try to push Tony's buttons. We all know it, they know it and Tony knows it. Its just a game. Hoping to get that one sound bite.

Ben in N.C. said...

Funny, last evening as MNF was coming on, I thought about how media types on ESPN DEMAND that guys like Junior and Aaron Rogers be roll models to kids and when they slip up, they use that to boost their own ratings for weeks when it was the media that provoked the "star" into sayingor doing something innappropriate. But last night, as I'm sure plenty of moms and dads tuned in to MNF with their kids only to see ESPN running "breaking news" about Sandusky and what he had admitted to. No parent should have to be explaining stuff like that during a football game. ESPN stinks. Not just with Nascar. Watch the drivel they broadcast from 5-7 ANY night of the week to see what I'm talking about. Do we really need all these analysis about games we enjoy? I'm mean I really dont give a s#$t what Ditka(a has been) thinks about Cam Newton. Unreal. In 2011 and post 9-11, you are not allowed to enjoy anything anymore. It is cialis reminding me of this or that at every chance I get, or my home may be broke into if I don't have that. Pitiful.

Fed Up said...

This is one thing that bothers about Stewart is his attitude towards the media. He acts like its so beneath his diginity to answer a question, regardless of HOW MANY TIMES ITS BEEN ASKED, with a civil response. the only time you see Tony being Civil to the media is when he or his charaties can benefit from that. We've heard the stories of him walking away from children, and the excuse given is that he's at his job..really? If being "bothered" by his fans is too much to ask for, and being civil to the very media members that he has on occasion used, then get out of the public eye, you dolt.
And I consider myself to be a fan of his, however, doesn't make me blind to his faults. And Stewart's media bias deserves no more interviews. Lets see how his sponsors like that with no air time.

Keith said...

John - my point was that when it is convenient to Tony he suddenly likes an ESPN question (Marty's). However, when it's not convenient to Tony, he slams the ESPN reporter (Shannon's).

Just saying the problem might be Tony. Just saying.

Dot said...

Great column JD. How long have the Planeteers been complaining about them? Glad to see Tony go off on them as well. We don't call them BSPN for nothing, emphasis on the BS.

I don't know how your column appears or not on Jayski JD, but I noticed you weren't listed today. I guess it's true that the truth hurts.

Anonymous said...

That is no way to talk to the media. NASCAR needs to levy a hefty points penalty against Stewart and place him on probation for next year. I could care less what that does to the championship.

sbaker17 said...

GinaV24 said...
sbaker17, naw, it can't be crusty - he doesn't write that well.

November 15, 2011 11:39 AM

It should be: "Don't write that good."
No doubt about it.

RWar24 said...

It all stems from the comment Tony made in Victory Lane. When asked about him being just 7 points behind Carl, Tony says that he's coming after him (paraphrased). A typical comment from a driver trying to make a statement about going after a championship. Instead of leaving it at that, what does ESPN do? They take the comment and tried to create a huge story out of absolutely nothing. As mentioned before, it's typical ESPN. As a fan, I see it as typical ESPN and it's gets old. Kudos for Stewart and other drivers starting to call them out on their questions and/or comments. ESPN tries so hard to turn everything into Friday night Fight Night and it's completely meaningless. But that's why they loved the Ky. Busch situation so much. They want confrontation and controversy. Perhaps one of these days ESPN will get their collective heads out of their rumps and change their demeanor and focus on the true stories.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I appreciate that follow-up, Keith.

Tom said...

Interesting side note on the matter of decreased TV audience:
While listening to Sirius Speedway (second hour) today, Dave Moody mentioned MRN's ratings for Phoenix were up 13 percent from a year ago.
Take with it what you will, but I'm in the camp where the radio guys "tell" the picture of the race a lot better than the TV folks do.

Anonymous said...

John, this is an interesting commentary you make.

Part of what makes drivers such as Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards so fascinating and polarizes fans on one side or the other is neither one of them sounds like they took a moment to repeat the question to their own PR consultants, wait for the consultants to email the sponsors for their position, carefully construct a safe and official response, then memorize and spit it back out in a monotone.

Love him or hate him, Tony Stewart is not the 48 driver. (My distaste for him is so great I can't bear to type his name. He's a great driver, but about the dullest personality on the circuit.) If you $%#! off Smoke, he won't hide his disdain. It's as if he has a mild case of Tourette's Syndrome.

Stewart is my second favorite driver, BECAUSE he's not some PR consultant's dream date. He makes NASCAR interesting. (On the track, he's respectful to his competitors, unlike Shrub.
He limits his bad behavior to words and tone, and even then, it's mild.)

We more drivers like Smoke, not less.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Tom, if you noticed the media has been very careful to only compare TV ratings with last year.

In fact, the trend has been down for the last six years and 2010 was just the pits.

The fact that things pushed up a bit this season is great, but the big total viewer numbers for the sport are long gone.