Wednesday, March 9, 2016
If sports were covered like politics
"That's all for the weather, let's go over to Jake Kershaw with sports."
"Thanks Wendy. A busy sports night all around, lot of action going on so let's get right to it. In baseball action, the Orioles took 3 innings, the Rays 2 and they tied in the other four innings. In other action in MLB, the Cubs took 4 innings while the Cardinals took 2 with a virtual tie in the other three. Moving on to football, the Ravens won in a blowout, taking three quarters while the Bengals got one...."
"Ummm, Jake, that's all well and good, but what about the final scores?"
"Jonathan, it only matters how many innings or quarters you win. I used to think final scores mattered, but then I started watching you and the other news anchors talking about the campaigns for the democratic and republican nomination and all you talk about is how many states each candidate won. All along I thought it was delegate totals that mattered, but all you and the other news anchors and analysts talk about is the number of states won, not the delegates, in those states. So obviously me, being the lowly sports guy, learned from you and now just report how many states, errr, innings or quarters, that teams win."
"Jake, that's not how it works, you need to know the score."
"You keep saying that, Jonathan, but didn't you just get done telling me it was a big night for Bernie Sanders because he won Michigan? You didn't tell me the score, just that he won Michigan and Hillary Clinton won Mississippi. So they tied 1-1. But if you look at the delegate count overall, Sanders won 69 and Clinton won 87. But you and your colleagues keep telling me the score was 1-1. So when I say the Ravens won 3-1, it makes just as much sense. And sure, if you want to count total runs, the Rays beat the Orioles 7-4, but they only outscored the Orioles in two innings while the Orioles outscored the Rays in three innings, so using what I've learned from you, I've converted all the sports coverage to saying who won certain periods or innings rather than final scores."
"Jake, people need to know the final score, that's why they tune in."
"You would think, Jonathan, you would think. But watching you news guys cover this election, it's pretty obvious that people tune in for the drama. Saying Clinton picked up roughly 20 more delegates is fine and accurate and all, but saying Clinton and Sanders split the two states and it's a closer race now, well that's drama. That will get people to tune in. And while 7-4 seems close in the Orioles game, 3-2 is much closer and creates much more drama and it's also factually correct."
"But it's not the innings that count, it's the runs. Come on Jake."
"And it's not the states that count, it's the delegates. So when you change your coverage and start talking about delegates, I'll go back to giving people the final score. You know, the useful information people need and not something useless like who won what state."