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Mike Wise, You Can Do Better Than This

mike-wise.jpgI usually enjoy Washington Post columnist Mike Wise’s work, but, when it comes to writing about blogs, he must be stopped. Case in point, today’s column about the Redskins’ injury situation titled ‘Chicken Little, Alive and Blogging.’ Aside from the headline, here’s the part I take issue with:

It may not be DEFCON 1 in Ashburn, but don’t tell a few worried and neurotic folks in the blogosphere, where one poster writes: “What’s the point of waiting to panic in October? The gray skies descend upon us and the chill of autumn lingers like a used bathrobe.” Or this from DCSween: “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?”

And my personal favorite, from groundhogdayguy: “Don’t worry. The Skins have a 3rd round pick next year, so we can trade for a backup running back to beef up the inactive list.”

Sad and subversive as it is, I usually like to stoke such fears. I have no problem contributing to the insecurity of any team’s core fan base. But on this note I have to say: People, it’s the first of August, not the Ides of March. Breathe deeply.

My response after the jump …

He seems to use these quotes as a crutch to portray all Redskins fans and not just bloggers, but the headline and lead-in make this a blog thing, which he doesn’t understand. To organize the missteps, let’s list them out:

  1. By not naming a specific blog(s), he’s labeling the entire sports, football, and/or Redskins blogging community as “worried and neurotic.”
  2. A “poster” is someone who uses message boards. With blogs, posts are made by bloggers and comments are left by commenters.
  3. The “sad and subversive” quotes/comments are typical (and atypically funny) of fans devoted to a 5-11 team that’s made the playoffs twice in the past 15 seasons.

All told, what Wise does here is a) lets down the Post by not having a handle on the subject matter, b) insults bloggers by making negative generalizations about them and c) ridicules “posters” by username in their hometown paper.

Making this more glaring is that The Post handles sports blogging well. I’m partial to Dan Steinberg (DC Sports Bog) because of The Blog Show, but their beat writers go the extra mile with blogs of their own (see: Barry Svrluga’s Nationals Journal, see also: Jason LaCanfora’s Redskins Insider), and columnist Sally Jenkins even quoted Free Darko on the front page.

So, please, Mr. Wise, the next time you want to write about blogs, study up beforehand (I suggest starting here). Given this and your previous anti-blogging piece, you’re now 0-for-2, a swing-and-a-miss away from permanent sadness and subversiveness in the eyes of worried and neurotic bloggers like me.

Update: DCSween and groundhogdayguy are commenters on Redskins Insider, and DCSween even made a guest post there earlier this year. So it turns out that Wise is ridiculing Washington Post blog users in the column, which, from a business standpoint, must be worse than if he were ridiculing users of a non-Post site such as Hogs Haven.

Update No. 2: Ben Folsom over at The Curly R skewers Wise’s column. 

D.C. sports fan and digital media guy that's been doing this since 2004. Once threw a football further than Chris Cooley.



  1. littles

    August 2, 2007 at 10:23 AM

    that’s a fantastic photo of wise!

  2. DCOptimist

    August 2, 2007 at 11:13 AM

    Don’t forget Tarik. His Capitals Insider is superb. Also, unlike Wise’s columns, it does not feature a smuggish portrait next to his byline. That’s some handy advice, too: don’t put a picture of yourself above your writing that makes you look like a condescending ass (even if your writing confirms as much).

  3. Jamie Mottram

    August 2, 2007 at 11:36 AM

    Littles, I wanted to use the photo of Wise in his Homeland Security tee that Steinz posted last week, but it appears that pic has been removed from the Bog.

    Optimist, I’m not nearly as big a fan of the Caps as I am the Skins and the Nats, so my level of familiarity wasn’t high enough to mention Tarik and his Caps Insider. I’m glad you did though.

  4. Dan Steinberg

    August 2, 2007 at 11:52 AM

    Disagree. Disagree disagree disagree. From your quote: “a few worried and neurotic folks in the blogosphere.” A few. That’s all he wrote.

    He was joking. This is a man who wore a Darth Vader t-shirt tucked into fishing shorts to an NFL practice the other day. If that doesn’t scream “friend of the bloggers,” I don’t know what does.

    Wise is, bar none, the most fun guy in sports journalism. He is friends with all. He has no pretensions. Bloggers like fun, right? You all should be friends.

  5. dmothe30

    August 2, 2007 at 12:06 PM

    This is a man who wore a Darth Vader t-shirt tucked into fishing shorts to an NFL practice the other day.

    That’s fantastic!

  6. Bobtimist

    August 2, 2007 at 12:30 PM

    The thing lost in all of this finger-wagging is Wise’s embrace of the ’tism!

  7. hogshaven

    August 2, 2007 at 1:10 PM

    I’d be more worried about the sky falling but I don’t get cable in my mom’s basement.

  8. Jamie Mottram

    August 2, 2007 at 1:16 PM

    I guess Steinz disagrees, which is his right. As for Wise being a “fun guy,” I sat next to him at a game and he was cool, but he could have been wearing a Wizznutzz t-shirt and that would still have nothing to do with this.

  9. Awful Announcing

    August 3, 2007 at 1:35 AM

    I dunno….this seems pretty tongue in cheek. No “older” person knows the true definition of a blog. Also…

    Am I the only one that’s happy as hell our players won’t suffer a season ending injury in the preseason?

    Let’s rest the entire team for the preseason.

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