This Charissa Thompson backlash, justified as it is, misses the bigger point, and if I may add 2 cents to the towering pile, it’s this: Podcasts are dumb. After two years of aggregating sports personalities saying stupid stuff, there’s more idiotic news made on podcasts than on social media at this point. The entire medium is based on talking long enough to say something interesting.
Society acts like time is our most precious resource, and yet people devote hours to listening to other human beings meander through a conversation. Thompson’s admission to making up sideline reports was a product of a glaring lack of self-awareness, but also due to an overabundance of accessibility. The comments didn’t even originate from her own pod; it was a Barfstool production (Pardon My Take), and I bet even the intern who edited that episode knew the sound-byte would get sports media in a tizzy.
“I’ve said this before, so I haven’t been fired for saying it, but I’ll say it again. I would make up the report sometimes because A, the coach wouldn’t come out at halftime or it was too late and I was like, ‘I didn’t want to screw up the report,’ so I was like, ‘I’m just going to make this up,’” said Thompson, who hosts Amazon’s Thursday Night Football studio show.
There’s no one louder than self-righteous journalists whose profession has been disgraced. The world needs another “Why Charissa screwed up” column like it needs another podcast. I’m not defending her. I’m slandering my own industry, because when there’s no news, we create it.
That’s literally what I do two to three times a day. Now I’m not making things up — at least not without a disclaimer — but the goal is to say something interesting or funny or polarizing while hoping the constant stream of garbage spilling out of your brain doesn’t get you in trouble.
The difference is no matter how scripted the podcast, it’s spontaneous, and an orator isn’t afforded a chance to collect their thoughts and edit later. Even with those advantages, writers still get words twisted. Thompson was just chatting without a net and blurted out a career-threatening anecdote about sideline reporting.
She’s backpedaling faster than Sauce Gardner because the news cycle got her. The only way for modern journos to avoid vomiting all over their career is to talk less, and seeing as that’s how talking heads make their money, it’s a big ask.
Capitalism forced journalism to procreate with content creation, and podcasts are the offspring. They’re a necessary evil. My views of social media and podcasting have taken a Ron Swanson-ian turn since I’ve dislodged both from my life, so take this rant accordingly.
Far be it for me to say what’s dumber: Recording your stream of consciousness for others to sift through, or telling Big Cat that you used to make up sideline reports, and not immediately asking for it to be struck from the record?