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.
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