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Ed Driscoll

Heh: ‘Don’t Blame Costas, Blame the Microphone’

December 4th, 2012 - 3:59 pm

Rush Limbaugh has a little fun with America’s favorite blow-dried sports sociologist:

Byron York says (paraphrasing), “Look at that, ESPN just goes nuts to get rid of Limbaugh, but Costas over at NBC, perfectly fine.”  Like I said yesterday, the reason Costas can do it is because his bosses agree with what he said.  It’s no more complicated than that, the old NBC/HBO cabal.  They’re interchangeable.  They go back and forth, the people that work there, and he said what the bosses there agree with, so it wasn’t any problem.

But I don’t blame Bob Costas.  I blame the microphone.  I blame the microphone.  If that microphone hadn’t been on, nobody would know what Costas said.  If you stop and think about it, it’s the microphone’s fault.  Costas, he’s up there, he’s in the broadcast booth at halftime.

* * * * * *

But if nobody would have turned on his microphone, nobody would have known what he said.  So whose fault is it, really?  Is it Bob’s or is it the microphones?  ‘Cause it’s a tough call.  It’s a tough call, just like Snerdley, he totally understands where I’m going with this. If Bob Costas’ microphone hadn’t been on there would not be a problem today, at least for Bob.  You know, NBC might now want to think about getting rid of microphones.  I mean, look at the damage.

Hey, if only NBC hadn’t abandoned its one-off experiment in 1980 to broadcast an NFL game without announcers, they — and perhaps television sports in general — wouldn’t be in the mess they are today.

Meanwhile, at Commentary, Peter Wehner dubs Costas a wannabe Howard Cosell:

The first is that both Costas and Whitlock, in commenting on the murder-suicide, focused on handguns rather than on the man who ruthlessly killed the mother of his daughter before killing himself. It tells you a very great deal when the moral outrage is directed not at the killer but at the weapon.

Beyond that, though, is that Costas seems to be suffering from the early stages of Cosell-ism—the belief that Americans are longing for Costas to use his perch as a sports commentator to offer social commentary. In fact, we’re not. There are plenty of other places we can turn to if we want to hear supercilious and shallow critiques on public policy matters. Most of us don’t believe the host of a sporting event has any particular wisdom to offer us on social policy in the wake of a brutal murder-suicide. And Sunday night, Bob Costas proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. If he wants to play Bill Moyers, then Costas should host his own program on PBS rather than hijack an NFL halftime show.

Of course, what made Cosell interesting was his incredible schizophrenia. You have to admire, for sheer chutzpah, any man who could — and I assume this must have happened at least once in the same week — rip major league sports on a regular basis for their unprofessionalism and buffoonish immaturity…and then without batting an eye, don the canary yellow ABC sportscasters blazer to host Battle of the Network Stars:

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But then, whom the gods destroy, they first order to work for Fred Silverman.

(And Jeff Zucker, come to think of it.)

Update: While Costas has issued a non-apology sorta-kinda-backtrack for his actions, perhaps we can feel some sympathy for him on one level. I mean, it’s not like he has any other platform for his political thoughts. If only NBC wasn’t so cash strapped, and television bandwidth so impossible to acquire, they might one day be able to put together some sort of spin-off network, where their anchors could go — maybe even encouraged! — to display their inner leftist for all to see.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

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