ESPN/Wickersham & the Patriots Wolff & Trump: Selling Dupes The Same Narrative

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ESPN/Wickersham & the Patriots Wolff & Trump: Selling Dupes The Same Narrative

Curly: Hey! What’s this stuff for any­way?
Larry: Why, it’s a cleaner, ya chump!
Curly: I know, it’s auto pol­ish.
Moe: You boys really wanna know what it’s for?
Larry & Curly: [together]: Yeah.
Moe: It’s for sale, now get busy sell­ing it.

The Three Stooges, Dizzy Doc­tors 1937

The New Year started in a bad way for the lib­eral news and sports media.

For the news media you had Pres­i­dent Trump fin­ish­ing strong, between Israel and the Tax cuts and worst of all the low­est recorded black unem­ploy­ment rate since the gov­ern­ment started tak­ing fig­ures by race. Add to that the prospect of a deal that would pro­duce a bor­der wall as the price for legal­iz­ing the “dream­ers” (ille­gal immi­grants brought to the US as chil­dren) you had a nar­ra­tive of Trump suc­cess that was not only con­trary to the nar­ra­tive they’ve been sell­ing all year, but unap­peal­ing to their niche mar­ket that has become increas­ingly anti trump.

At the NFL things weren’t look­ing much bet­ter, not only did you have a 2nd straight year of big rat­ings drops, thanks to the protests dur­ing the national anthem that con­tin­ued all the way to the final week of the sea­son but you had the prospect of the New Eng­land Patri­ots fea­tur­ing Trump fans/​friends Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft once again turn­ing the entire play­off sea­son until Super­bowl Sun­day into an afterthought.

After all what’s the point of watch­ing the wild card and play­off rounds when every­body “knows” that the only ques­tion is: Can any­body get by Brady /​Belichick and the Patriots?

That’s the prob­lem, both the news and sports media are stuck with two nar­ra­tives of suc­cess (Trump & the Pats) that don’t appeal to a cus­tomer base that hates the for­mer or is bored with the later.

That’s where Michael Wolff and ESPN’s Seth Wick­er­sham come in. Both have come out with “bomb­shell” nar­ra­tives that the news and sports media CAN sell.

Sud­denly instead of ISIS in retreat, the Econ­omy mov­ing for­ward and the Rus­sia /​GPS Inves­ti­ga­tions sud­denly turn­ing on the left instead of Trump the Wolff Book give the MSM a nar­ra­tive of a Trump White House occu­pied by a pres­i­dent who doesn’t want the job, of peo­ple who think he’s a trai­tor or a nut and sup­pos­edly the biggest detrac­tor of this admin­is­tra­tion is the guy who ran his cam­paign. It’s Trump vs Ban­non and the MSM is bring­ing you a front row seat

It doesn’t mat­ter how improb­a­ble all this is, or the lack of actual evi­dence or even the lack of cred­i­bil­ity of the sto­ry­teller for an entire week the print, online and cable media have a nar­ra­tive that they can sell to their cus­tomer base.

For ESPN and sports talk radio it’s the same thing. Instead of once again dron­ing on about the Patriots/​Belichick sys­tem seem­ingly immune to injury and try­ing to sell a Tom Brady “decline” when he is once again the lead­ing con­tender for league MVP and is two wins away from his 8th super­bowl appear­ance and three wins away from his sixth ring, sud­denly we have a tale of jeal­ously, rivalry and the longest run­ning dynasty since the Yan­kees of Sten­gel or the Celtics of Auer­bach about to destroy itself as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick fight it out to the death.

These aren’t two dif­fer­ent sto­ries, this is the same story being sold for the same rea­son to pivot from a story that won’t grab the eye­balls and ears of their cus­tomer base to a story that will.

Now for ESPN and the sports media this nar­ra­tive will sell the dupes that nar­ra­tive right up until the Patri­ots actu­ally appear in play­off games and the “Patri­ots falling apart” meme meets a less team try­ing to beat them. While in any sin­gle game any­thing can hap­pen, the meme can’t stick unless they actu­ally lose.

The Trump nar­ra­tive will endure a bit longer sus­tained by the media bub­ble until the real­i­ties of the econ­omy or Iran and the Norks or the Trump count picks or the tough votes for red state Dem sen­a­tors force them out of the bub­ble and into real life.

And then they’ll find a new nar­ra­tive to sell, because right now it’s all about the dol­lars because it’s the only thing they are sure of until the Democ­rats actu­ally win con­trol of something.



If you’d like to con­tinue to sup­port inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ism, please con­sider hit­ting DaTip­Jar here.



Con­sider sub­scrib­ing. If we can get 92 more sub­scribers at $20 a month I can do this full time with­out worry.


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Finally might I sug­gest my book Hail Mary the Per­fect Protes­tant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excel­lent Gift.

Curly: Hey! What’s this stuff for anyway?
Larry: Why, it’s a cleaner, ya chump!
Curly: I know, it’s auto polish.
Moe: You boys really wanna know what it’s for?
Larry & Curly: [together]: Yeah.
Moe: It’s for sale, now get busy selling it.

The Three Stooges, Dizzy Doctors 1937

The New Year started in a bad way for the liberal news and sports media.

For the news media you had President Trump finishing strong, between Israel and the Tax cuts and worst of all the lowest recorded black unemployment rate since the government started taking figures by race. Add to that the prospect of a deal that would produce a border wall as the price for legalizing the “dreamers” (illegal immigrants brought to the US as children) you had a narrative of Trump success that was not only contrary to the narrative they’ve been selling all year, but unappealing to their niche market that has become increasingly anti trump.

At the NFL things weren’t looking much better, not only did you have a 2nd straight year of big ratings drops, thanks to the protests during the national anthem that continued all the way to the final week of the season but you had the prospect of the New England Patriots featuring Trump fans/friends Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft once again turning the entire playoff season until Superbowl Sunday into an afterthought.

After all what’s the point of watching the wild card and playoff rounds when everybody “knows” that the only question is:  Can anybody get by Brady / Belichick and the Patriots?

That’s the problem, both the news and sports media are stuck with two narratives of success (Trump & the Pats) that don’t appeal to a customer base that hates the former or is bored with the later.

That’s where Michael Wolff and ESPN’s Seth Wickersham come in. Both have come out with “bombshell” narratives that the news and sports media CAN sell.

Suddenly instead of ISIS in retreat, the Economy moving forward and the Russia / GPS Investigations suddenly turning on the left instead of Trump the Wolff Book give the MSM a narrative of a Trump White House occupied by a president who doesn’t want the job, of people who think he’s a traitor or a nut and supposedly the biggest detractor of this administration is the guy who ran his campaign. It’s Trump vs Bannon and the MSM is bringing you a front row seat

It doesn’t matter how improbable all this is, or the lack of actual evidence or even the lack of credibility of the storyteller for an entire week the print, online and cable media have a narrative that they can sell to their customer base.

For ESPN and sports talk radio it’s the same thing. Instead of once again droning on about the Patriots/Belichick system seemingly immune to injury and trying to sell a Tom Brady “decline” when he is once again the leading contender for league MVP and is two wins away from his 8th superbowl appearance and three wins away from his sixth ring, suddenly we have a tale of jealously, rivalry and the longest running dynasty since the Yankees of Stengel or the Celtics of Auerbach about to destroy itself as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick fight it out to the death.

These aren’t two different stories, this is the same story being sold for the same reason to pivot from a story that won’t grab the eyeballs and ears of their customer base  to a story that will.  

Now for ESPN and the sports media this narrative will sell the dupes that narrative right up until the Patriots actually appear in playoff games and the “Patriots falling apart” meme meets a less team trying to beat them.  While in any single game anything can happen, the  meme can’t stick unless they actually lose.

The Trump narrative will endure a bit longer sustained by the media bubble until the realities of the economy or Iran and the Norks or the Trump count picks or the tough votes for red state Dem senators force them out of the bubble and into real life.

And then they’ll find a new narrative to sell, because right now it’s all about the dollars because it’s the only thing they are sure of until the Democrats actually win control of something.



If you’d like to continue to support independent journalism, please consider hitting DaTipJar here.



Consider subscribing.  If we can get 92 more subscribers at $20 a month I can do this full time without worry.


Choose a Subscription level


Finally might I suggest my book  Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.