The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Keith Olbermann, BYU’s Honor Code, and other Friday Foibles

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I used to like Keith Olberman.  I mean I don’t hate the man or anything, I don’t know him personally, but I don’t care much for him any more.  When he was on ESPN he was enjoyable to watch, quick witted, funny, and knowledgeable.  Now he just seems angry.

Maybe he’s dealing with regrets about leaving ESPN and the sports gig.  Regrets sometimes make us angry.  Maybe he’s still mad at losing his deal with MSNBC .  Although it could be argued his “release” happened partly due to his anger, so maybe that wasn’t the tipping point.  Maybe he’s just frustrated with his growing irrelevance in exile on Current TV, his newest home for political assassination attempts and overall mean spirited dart throwing platform.  I don’t know what caused it, but I don’t care for it and it appears a majority of Americans don’t care for it either regardless of their personal world views or ideologies.

The latest example of the angry man syndrome KO exhibits came in a “read between the lines” tweet about S.E. Cupp, conservative columnist for the New York Daily News and radio commentator on Glenn Beck’s syndicated network Mercury Inc.  Ms. Cupp expressed her opinion about Planned Parenthood on the Joy Behar show recently and apparently Mr. Olbermann didn’t like her opinion and proceeded to make his feelings known through his twitter feed.

That got the attention of a few more tweeps.

Realizing what he just implied (only he knows if it was intentional or not) he starts to back peddle.

I am actually quite impressed with how fast Keith can run backwards!

I couldn’t help myself and jumped into the tweetness of the moment

No reply from Keith.  I guess I just don’t have enough followers…kinda like Keith.

The Brandon Davies saga at BYU may have simmered down a bit now that March Madness is over and Jimmer Fredette is eying the NBA, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hot topic any more.  A sports blog called DeadSpin posted a blog authored by Luke O’Brien and Darron Smith making a case for racism in the BYU Honor Code system and the way its enforced.

The two proceeded to use statistics with little to no citation, quotes from former black athletes (and it should be noted every athlete they interviewed was a disgruntled player who had run into problems with the Honor Code and had an obvious axe to grind), and lots of he said – she said, rumor, and innuendo.  They didn’t have a single quote from a black athlete who enjoyed his/her experience at BYU even though many of them have since come forward to speak out against the article and its implications.   Ronny Brown, Brian Kehl, Brian Logan, Justin Robinson and Brandon Bradley, all tell a very different tale when you ask them about their experience at BYU.

Instead the authors focused on Thomas Stancil, Ray Hudson and Tico Pringle all players who despite their talents could never break into the starting lineup and ultimately got into trouble with the Honor Code resulting in their dismissal from BYU.

The bottom line here is the article was severely one sided, with apparently little or no attempts to bring any balance to the story.  That under any circumstance is at the least poor journalism and at worst a hatchet job.

Some light may be shed on that theory by considering who wrote the article.  I had a hard time finding out who Luke O’Brien is but I found a website that said he was an award winning journalist, but didn’t mention what awards or from what sources.  It said he has had articles published by the Atlantic, Fortune, Details, Rolling Stone, Fast Company, The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, Boston Magazine and Slate and that he’s a graduate of Harvard and Columbia.  Seems if all that was true he’d know better than to publish such a one sided story seriously lacking in adequate attribution and citation.

Darron Smith is a former BYU Professor of Sociology who was dismissed from the school after writing a book critical of the LDS faith for its handling of black members and its priesthood throughout its history.  Smith is a Mormon himself, but is very vocal about his belief that the LDS Church should do more to right the wrongs of racism in the early days of the church.  His dismissal from BYU however, could lead one to believe this is a bit of payback.  I’m not saying that is the case because no one knows his motivation but him.

In a recent radio interview, Smith said he held no animosity toward BYU or the church but felt there were inequities and racism being exhibited in the way the BYU Honor Code is enforced particularly when it comes to black athletes, who according to the numbers cited in the article, represent a disproportionate percentage of students dismissed for Honor Code violations.    He also seemed to balk a bit when asked why he didn’t include any positive experiences by athletes like those mentioned here.

I don’t doubt Smith’s sincerity or passion about the subject of race at BYU and if there is racism involved it needs to be exposed and rooted out.  I don’t believe it is institutionalized or widespread, and those coming out in opposition to this article agree.  Deadspin doesn’t have all the details of each case either, just the comments of some former players who got kicked out or left BYU who happen to be black.

There are two sides to every story.  This could have been an informative and thought provoking article had it been balanced, but as written, its nothing more than a fire starter.

This is just too good to pass up.  Conservatives certainly have their flaws and imperfections but when placed side by side with Liberals and Progressives the principles of conservatism shine brightly.

Case in Point: Financial Guru Neil Cavuto goes head to head with Democrat Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.  Its almost mean to let this woman speak on national television with no handlers there to protect her.  Texas must be so proud.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FUN.

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