Tuesday, October 24, 2006

News You Can't Use

After Sunday’s game, I wrote: “The Raiders Haters will tell us not to get too carried away about beating up the lowly Cardinals. You know what?...You don’t tell me that the Raiders are the worst team in the NFL, and one of the worst teams in history, and that we’ll go 0-16, and then turn around and tell me that this victory is both meaningless and expected.”

I also wrote: “That scrambling sound you hear is the editors at ESPN trying to figure out how to fill the considerable editorial space that, until 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, was occupied with 'Raiders Will Go 0-16!' stories.”

I now present
this piece from ESPN, which proves that the Raider Take Crystal Ball is operating at maximum wattage.

For the past six weeks, several ESPN writers and broadcasters have obsessively bleated that the Raiders won’t win a game, that they’re the worst team in the NFL, one of the worst teams in history, etc. They devoted reams of web pages and chunks of air space to the cause.

Their fixation on the Raiders, who are merely one of many NFL teams on the skids, was pretty revealing, wasn't it? These Raiders Haters always tell us that the Raiders’ winning legacy has been dead for decades—so why do they act like it’s earth-shattering news when the Raiders don’t win? You can’t have it both ways.

Then, sensing that their pet story of 2006 was slipping away as the Cardinals came to town, ESPN paid a “reporter” to travel to Oakland on Sunday to witness—and, of course, belittle—the victory.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins—whom 7 out of 12 of ESPN’s “experts”
predicted would go to the playoffs this year—lost to the Packers at home on Sunday, dropping to a record of 1-6 without an ESPN reporter in sight. But remember, it’s the Raiders who are the big story at 1-5, even though not one of the aforementioned experts picked them to go to the playoffs.

Suddenly the ESPN party line, as established in this latest piece, is no longer that the Raiders are the worst team in the NFL and that they will go 0-16, it’s that this victory is meaningless. The story is no longer that the Raiders don’t have enough fans to fill a stadium, it’s that the fans are stupid for filling a stadium while their team is struggling (talk about a twisted premise!). The Cardinals fan who travels to Oakland to watch his “inept” team lose to the Raiders is portrayed with dignity, while Jose, who celebrates the Raiders victory at Ricky’s, is mocked.

To top it off, this latest ESPN hit piece is so sophomoric, predictable and biased that it should be required reading in Journalism 101 classes as an example of what, and how, not to write. Most of the story was likely written before the author’s plane even landed Oakland.

And that, Raiders fans, is news you can’t use.

P.S. Thanks to Mad Stork 83 and HorsecollarJack for tipping me off to this ESPN hit piece.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raidertake, why do you always bring up what ESPN says? Who the hell cares what ESPN says about us? I read your blogs to find out your viewpoints about the Raiders, why we won and lost each game, and your analysis about upcoming opponents. I dont read your blog to hear you whine and moan like a little girl about what ESPN is saying about us. You think anyone in the Raiders locker room gives a rats ass about what ESPN has to say? If you dont like it, then dont watch their channel or read any of their online columns. Where I live, Raider fans have a reputation of being constant whiners and complainers, and when I read your blogs when you cry about ESPN and "boo hoo they write that we suck" then it only furthers that reputation. Stick to the football talk, which is why I think most Raider fans come here to get. If you want to whine about ESPN, join the girl scouts. Its almost as bad as Allyoop and her constant whining about the refs in her columns every Monday. That girl would be a fantastic writer, but she loses all credibilty when she makes up those phantom calls about the refs. Just stick to Raider news and happenings bro.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Raider Take, for your insightful analysis. If the above posters don't want to read critiques of media coverage, then they can go to another site. Raider Take is a site for analysis, of the team and of the media. And your analysis is right on the money.

ESPN wants Raider fans to curl up and cry about their team. That way ESPN can write about how Raider fans are curling up and crying. It's a lose-lose situation. How many times do we have to hear that the Raiders ruined a potentially perfect 0-16 season? What a ridiculous premise, that a team should go out and lose, that it would be better for a team to lose.

I guess this ESPN piece replaces their regular Raider fan coverage, in which they drop a fan into the Black Hole, take pictures of painted faces, and then write about how Raider fans aren't really scary but are, in fact, good people.

The tag line on the shot of the little girl is pure bullshit. If ESPN had any integrity, they would make it easier for fans to write back.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Anon, you're not the first person to ask these questions: Why give these hacks the time of day? Don’t you know it’s always been this way? Why do you care?

I care because flawed coverage of the Oakland Raiders has had an unfair long-term debilitating effect on public perception of the team and its fans, which in turn has a negative effect on the team’s viability in Oakland. One article alone won’t have an lasting impact. But dozens of such articles, year after year, have definitely had an impact.

For example, I know people who don’t know squat about the Oakland Raiders yet have nevertheless formed a strong and negative opinion about Raiders experience. How is this possible? It’s possible because they’ve been grossly misinformed by major media outlets like ESPN, who have the resources and power to spread lies like the ones I carefully document in News You Can't Use.

Therefore, the goal of News You Can’t Use is to deliver a message: The Raider Nation is watching. We expect you to bring you’re “A Game” when writing about the Oakland Raiders. Check your facts. Back up your takes. Get it right.

This isn't whining. It's punching back. That's what Raiders do.

You say that no one in the Raiders locker room gives a rat's ass about what sportswriters have to say? Wrong. Just today, the Press Democrat published a piece talking about how Al Davis menaced a sportswriter on Sunday because of a piece the guy wrote last month. I look forward to having Mr. Davis in my Girl Scout troop.

So don't tell me that I shouldn't care about how our team is misrepresented in the media. The question is: why don't you?

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESPN is a giant toilet bowl of a network.
I don't even watch it anymore, and why would I ?
To see how fat Chris Berman can get ?
To see how many words Tom Jackson can mangle ?
To see how too much coke has fried the brain of sad Michael Irvin ?
To see how many facts Mortenson, & Clayton can get wrong ?
To see how thick Michele Tofoya, & Suzy Colby's mustache's can get ?

I think not. Same goes for that ESPN Ragazine as well.
It's all just garbage. Don't need it. End of story.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Right on as always. Every idiot in the world has been toeing the ESPN party line on the Raiders being "the worst". They, and other hater publications, SI, etc., seem to actively work to make the Raiders irrelevant with only negative coverage. I feel that we should collectively boycott these media outlets. Cancel subscriptions and let them know why. Bombard them with e-mails and phone calls until they get it right. As for this writer, she is lucky she did not go to school with the Raider fans she refers to, as clearly, she would be the girl that gets beat up.

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have to back up RT on this one, Anon (although, I have to agree with your point about AllyOop).

Sticking your fingers in your ear is not the answer to a media hell-bent on Raider-bashing. I won't go into the COMPLETE lack of logic to the piece highlighted here, but the tone and thrust of it is typical of coverage of the Raiders and does propagate a negative image that, as all who've attended a home game or know Raiders columns like these, are false.

Stand up against that false-hood. Look it square in the eye and question it...this is not some "conspiracy theory" but a long and (now, thankfully) well documented witch-hunt.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Piece as usual, RT...

hope you dont mind but i posted a link to it on the espn message board....

feel free to visit us sometime....

9:34 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Friends, I appreciate your takes!

Marinerdawg, thanks for spreading the word.

P.S. AllyOop is a friend of Raider Take, I'm happy to join her in the scout troop along with Mr. Davis.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Anon - Free will is a beautiful thing. As a consumer of the media, you have the right to choose what you read, watch, or listen to. Free speech allows you to voice your opinion.

Your rant "If you dont like it, then dont watch their channel or read any of their online columns." is a double-edged sword. If you don't like RT's thoughtful, insightful analysis of the media's coverage of the Raiders, don't visit the site. (or stick to the posts that are pure football analysis)

RT - The following paragraph from the piece is absolute horse $hit,

"I asked every Raiders fan I could find if 1-5 really feels any better than 0-5. To my amazement, every single one of them said "yes." I could not get one single Raiders fan to say, "Nope, we just beat the Cardinals and we still stink really bad." I wanted to tap the exulting Nation on the shoulder and whisper in its ear, "It was just one win, baby."

I'm sorry but this hack's sense of logic and reason is a complete insult to any intelligent human being. Why was she amazed about the response? In essence, she was asking "Which would make you happier...if your team won or lost?" What the F did she expect the answer to be?

I seriously think that the editors at ESPN give the writers a free pass whenever they are covering the Raiders to take as much liberty as they please with the facts. Have any of these high salaried "professionals" ever considered the notion of responsible journalism?

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the point is this, the RAIDERS have built a successful past as outlaws. We have a long history of doing things OUR way and winning OUR way because WINNING IS OUR WAY, the only way.

We've always embraced the "cast-offs", the "washed up", the "wasted talent", that other teams left for dead and won with them. "Just Win Baby!", "Commitment to Excellence" , you know the drill.

What they don't understand is that WE, as RAIDER fans, are oblivious to logic and reason when it comes OUR team. Every time the RAIDERS put on the Silver and Black and take the field, we think, some how, some way, they will find that RAIDER magic and win. That's just who we are.

We don't surrender to losing cause we're RAIDERS and we fight to the last Man, Woman, and Child (sometimes for real) Not only that, we expect our team to do the same. So NO, we are not sane and our refusal to acknowledge our recent past has left the haters more confused and angrier than ever.

That being said the media has never liked the RAIDERS, embraced the RAIDERS, or covered the RAIDERS in a balanced fashion. I, as a RAIDER fan, am proud of that fact that even at our worst we're news.

Still, let them do they're worst. Sooner rather than later the Autumn wind will come calling and I'm thinking you won't be worried about what the publications have to say when it does.
Just a thought.

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know it sad that so many Raider fans aren't happy when the team does something right. I swear they are happiest when the team is losing, the players are revolting, and the national media basically makes up stories about them. WE KNOW THE TEAM IS REBUILDING. WE KNOW THEY HAVE GONE 14-40 SINCE THE SUPER BOWL. The difference is we long to see the day when they return to prominence as one of the premiere teams in the NFL. Some of us who claim to be Raider fans DON'T want to see that day. They would rather wallow in the "my team sucks, whoa-is-me" mentality. Its really sad. One victory does not a season make, but it sure as hell is a step in the right direction. So if you're one of those pity-party Raider fans, go ahead and mope. Just don't bring the rest of us down with you.

1:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, check your facts and get it right. I do not write a column for raidernews.com, I (along with OreRaider) publish the columns.


5:25 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Some people, media included, just love to hate the Raiders (and their fans).

It's likely the media has taken such a strong posture against the Raiders because the Raiders historically don't keep the media informed like other teams. Therefore, we're more or less on their S-list.

That's the genius of the Raiders and Al Davis.

Marketing is a funny thing. People love to read (write) and watch the things they hate as much or more than the things they love; and indifference will get you nowhere.

Thus, negative media is better than no media. Face it, it's part of our persona. We'll never be a team like the beloved Cowboys. We're the hated Raiders.

That's not to say we shouldn't fight the good fight. Facts are facts, and it's irresponsible to report otherwise.

And, if you want to talk streaks, don't look at 14-40, we're 1-0.


6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT, thanks for the post. I wrote the writer of the article, and basically told her this:
"Raider fans are loyal to their team win or lose, a concept ESPN and their fair weathered bandwagon cannot understand; and that I would rather throw dirt on their network, than on the team I grew up with and love."
"Yes, they have been playing horrible football; which has been like salt on the wound of losing to a former coach. No I don't always agree with the decisions and moves from the guy in charge. But like a marriage, you are committed to work through these times to better your relationship. Because let's face it, every relationship has it's bad moments. But when you work through them, the reward and victory will never be replaced."
And it's true. You can leave, and go somewhere else, just like a marriage, but guess what? The same problems are going to appear. That's life! If you don't face your problems, and deal with them; they will haunt you the rest of your life.
That is what I like about the Raiders. We recognize that there are problems, and we do not run from them; but rather look to overcome them. I think we are stuck in a little rut; but we will get over this. This win is a start that builds confidence that we CAN get through this. Yes, a BIG win would be nice, but a BIG win starts with the winning little battles. That was the point of my email I sent to her.
I encourage you as Raider fans to send the writer of the said article, and voice your opinion on why you are a Raider Fan; and that her "opinion" on why this was a meaningless victory is wrong. Just a thought.

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT and Raider Nate-
Love it. Gotta fight back even though ESPN Page 2 is the A-ball version of sports reporting.

Great point about the Dolphins--where are all the media crushing this Super Bowl pick at 1-6?

Facts are right now we have the #5 defense in the league, better than average ST's and an O that improves weekly. If we stop turning the ball over [which will take care of itself with experience] we will beat some good teams. And soon. Like Sunday.

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job RT! I swear the worldwide losers of sports are at it again. Hey Anon who posted first,..Its called "News You Cant Use" for a reason. If you dont like it, dont read it. But ESPN will always rip the Raiders because they are the republican party of sports and we are independant. I was just watching baseball tonight last week and they were talking about how Pinella was going to clean up the Cubs and make them better and possibly a contender sooner than later. Go figure that one! Go RAIDERS!!!! Beat PITTSburg bloody on Sunday!

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont get why its so hard for everyone to understand that this really is just a 'backlash' from being soooo good in earler years.

it would be like if 20 years from now the yankees had 15 out of 17 losing seasons and lost 120 one year.

EVERYONE WOULD LOVE IT! because everyone gets so sick of the yankees being good.

the raiders were sooooo good from 67 till bout 85...thats 18 years of dominece....like 1 loss a year type dominence on average...so of course when you beat people that conssistently and always knock people out of the playoffs every year, people are going to dislike you.

so now 20 years later, the sports world is rejoicing in that the mighty have finally fallen. Im a raider fan, but if you look at the big picture it all makes sense.

you would see the same thing happen if the yankees became a terrible franchisae for the next 20 years!

8:46 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...


What attracted me to your site was your excellent work hacking the hacks. Sadly, sports journalism has always been this way, and it has infected news writing in all other fields as well. Just watch FOX News sometime.

Particularly entertaining, at the moment, is that there are now two articles attempting to take down Al Davis who reportedly "went off" on Scott Ostler in the Raider locker room the other day. Interesting that neither of those articles are written by Ostler. Even more interesting is that neither writer even saw the incident. They were responding either to what Ostler or somebody else told them. Neither even bothers to say that Al Davis' office refused to comment - because they didn't ask.

After years of experience, I've learned to deal with sports reporting this way...

1. Anything stated by the author is likely only partially true, and the story and the opinion contained therein is designed to cause controversy or entertainment. It has absolutely nothing to do with facts.

2. Quotes are generally taken out of context, and also reported in such a way as to inspire controversy or entertainment.

3. Conventional wisdom is created to cause controversy and entertainment - and it is almost never true.

Putting all these things together, one must read as many reports as possible to look for similarities and patterns. From these you can logically put the real story together yourself, and discern the actual context of the player quotes yourself.

There ARE a few good sports writers out there. But very few. No more than, maybe, five, nationally. Don't ask me for a list.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1-5 Haiku:

Victory alas!
First small step to climb uphill
Far from meaningless!

9:06 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Anon 8:46:

Apparently, then, somebody was napping from 2000 through 2002, when the Raiders dominated the AFC West, appeared in two AFC Championships and advanced to the Super Bowl. That wasn't 20 years ago. It was four years ago.

So I'm just not following your argument. As for the media rejoicing when the mighty have fallen, go right ahead, just be consistent and fair when doing it.

Just one example: The author glorifies a Cardinals fan as "legit" for traveling to Oakland to watch his team lose, then villifies Raiders fans for packing their own house to watch their team win.

You call that rejoicing, I call it inconsistent and illogical, and therefore indefensible.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

more on the fabulous al davis:


thanks monte!

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i never said i supported the rejoicing.....

its just that i can understand why the phenomenon happens....becuase it happens in microcosms to the yankees every now n then....the differenc is the yankees havnt had a complete and total colapse like we have yet...

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This isn't whining. It's punching back. That's what Raiders do."

But no-one is reading what you are writing, its pointless, you cant bring ESPN to account in front of the entire country.

You are wasting your time, the only thing that will alter perceptions is winning.

The team isnt viable in Oakland will leave, we all know that.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Anon, sorry, I didn't meant to suggest that you supported the rejoicing.

Like you, I expect, and at some level, understand it.

What I don't understand is conducting shoddy and inconsistent journalism in the process.

For every article highlighted in News You Can't Use, there many negative Raiders articles that are NOT highlighted because they are fair and journalistically sound.

I don't have a problem with negative Raiders media coverage. I have a problem with a select few writers who check their journalistic standards at the door when writing about the Raiders.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Umm, Anon 10:33, you are reading this, aren't you?

Raider Take has logged more than 215,000 visits and thousands of comments since its inception 14 months ago. Sure, that's chicken feed to an outlet like ESPN, but don't tell me "no one" is reading this web site. That's a direct insult to the Raider Nation.

P.S. I suspect that our "faida" friend is roaming around these parts in disguise. The remedial training is working.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raidertake, this was a good blog. While I disagree with your insinuation that ESPN is out to get the Raiders and their fans, I do agree that ESPN is... inconsistent, to say the least. As to my first point, just recall which franchise is more "marketable" for news and will sell stories better, the Raiders or the Dolphins? The Raiders, of course! For as much as both teams are struggling, the name Al Davis will always bring more attention than the name Nick Saban or even Daunte Culpepper. Even if it IS for the fun of it, the prevailing reason for it is that there are plenty of readers who will, well, read articles about the Raiders. A good parallel would be the Yankees--everyone wants them to lose, unless you're a Yankee fan. Steinbrenner's upset? Print it. People will read it. The day that Al Davis no longer represents the Raiders is the day that articles about the Raiders won't sell. Another parallel closer to home: the Niners. Once all the stars left and DeBartolo left, no one cared. No one cared if they lost and lost and lost except for the local media. Am I blaming Al? Hell no. I'm just saying that's just how it is. Besides, 0-16 is always a good story, especially if it's a franchise with a long history of winning and a long history of outright pride. But yeah, that article in Page 2 was silly, no matter how you try to spin it.

11:34 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

The difference between the way the press treated the 49ers and the Raiders...

I've talked to media people, and the difference seems to be this: Carman Policy used to meet sports reporters at Palo Alto bars, and he'd help the reporters pick up Stanford coeds. Al Davis doesn't like the press, doesn't offer interviews, and basically makes reporters work for living. Plus Al Davis has been a firebrand for more than 40 years. Everyone has a strong opinion about Al Davis, whether they know anything about him or not, and that creates controversy (which sells papers).

12:50 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Porter's back. The Raiders reduced his suspension to two games. According to the article, Porter had refused to work with the regular offense after being asked to work with the scout unit all season. That would seem to me to be the same as refusing to play, because he'd have to work with the regular unit before playing.

I still don't think the Raiders will play him, because with this many issues there can be no way that Porter is ready to go.

Porter will be required to abide by team rules and his contract by both the Raiders and the NFLPA.

1:15 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...


I have mixed emotions about Porter being reinstated. I believe he has a world of talent and can help the Raiders, but the whole incident has become a cancer to the team and its fans, regardless who's at fault.

My guess is Art Shell will continue to hide Porter behind the scenes as much as possible (i.e., off the active roster and away from the media), and somehow the Raiders will find a new home for him next year.

It's a real shame, but that's probably what it's come down to.

3:33 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...


I agree. At this point, the only thing that's going to get Porter on the field for the Raiders is an appology to the whole team, and an expressed commitment. I don't think Porter's mature enough to offer that.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

If sensible heads prevail, there is no reason that Porter couldn't earn his place back on the active roster.

Shell is stubborn and Porter is immature. All it would take is a leader like Sapp to get Porter, Shell, WR Coach Freddie B. to sit down for a 30 minute meeting to mediate a sensible solution.

It is in Porter's best interest to be a good employee for the remainder of the year and display his skills to the rest of the league. You would think that his agent would advise him about the career ramifications of a being inactive an entire season.

It is the Raiders best interest to field their best team to win and market one of their players for future compensation as long as Porter is abiding by team and league rules.

Having Porter shelved on the inactive list the rest of the year is a lose-lose proposition.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:17 PM  

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