"When the news breaks, we fix it." "Freedom of the press applies only to those who own one." And, "Never argue with someone who buys their ink by the barrel."
All of those are famous quips uttered about the media, sometimes by the media itself. But the gist of each describes when the media gets too full of itself to remember that its job is to report a story. The media is seldom the story.
But that little forget-me-not reared its ugly head in a fit of self-importance after the Cleveland Browns decided to block the national media from attending its rookie minicamp, the star attraction of which is new quarterback Johnny Manziel.
You'd never know Manziel is the real story when hearing spitting-mad rants like those by the NFL Network's Michael Silver about being blocked by the Browns. Sitting next to him on the set May 16 was former NFL players Heath Evans and Willie McGinest. They defended the Browns' blockade of national talking heads.
As former players, Evans and McGinest understood the Browns' actions from a position of experience -- they know how much the media can distract from achieving success in the NFL. Silver, who never played a down in the NFL, had only one position to defend -- his own fragile ego which was shattered by a football team he looks down upon.
He wasn't the only one. Former WJW-TV Cleveland sportscaster Vince Cellini who now works for NBA-TV gave more insight on why the national media feels so hurt. In short, because they think they are better. First, start with Cellini's Twitter page where he describes himself as a "neighborhood kid made good." The phase "made good" is often used by media who make it "big." And to them, making it big makes them a better person.
Cellini made this clear in a Twitter exchange with me on May 18 about the Browns blocking the national media from rookie minicamp. After hearing a radio interview of Peter King, he began complaining about the blockout via Twitter, to which I responded. The opening comments in our exchange appear below....
I replied by sharing a link to a wonderful on-air rip-job of the national media by 92.3 FM The Fan's Ken Carmen, from May 16. Cellini's response to Carmen's "let 'em have it" diatribe reveals that he, as a member of the national media, are apparently the only ones who can effectively report about Manziel Fever....
That's when it became clear that these protests from the national media aren't about Manziel at all. It's about themselves. They act like they were castrated. They feel they can do a better job about reporting this story rather turning around local coverage or pictures of Browns' minicamp, which the Northeast Ohio reporters were allowed by the Browns to cover. If there was any doubt about this "coverage castration," see Cellini's response to my provocative statement....
It's great to be confident about one's abilities, but it's also important to be humble and to trust your colleagues. If you can't, what does that say about you? Even the great Walter Cronkite was humble, yet he's one of the few reporters who is remembered long after he's gone. The public remembers the stories and the characters in those stories. Seldom do they remember the storytellers.