Friday, September 01, 2006

East Coast Bias grows as it sleeps

Back to Bill Plaschke’s take on west coast "intelligence" ...

Putting aside pre-disposed opinions based on regionalism – which is the crux of the east coast bias – one of the most significant elements influencing east coast media is a simple lack of knowledge. As some journalists in the eastern time zone readily admit, they don’t actually see west coast teams because … they fall asleep! Tony Kornheiser, for example, has for years admitted to dozing off before the end of late night games.

Honestly, having lived on the east coast now for several football seasons, it can be pretty tough for adults with real lives to stay awake, let alone fully observant, for any game that starts at 10:00 pm and ends after 1:00 am. No where is this issue more evident than in the Sunday sports sections of east coast newspapers, which often list the “late” start times of west coast games, rather than the final scores.

The result is a reliance on "conventional wisdom" (another form of the east coast bias) which allows east coast journalists and the fans who follow them to fall back on what they know … and even worse, what they think they know.

For instance, not too many people saw Reggie Bush gain 513 yards vs. Fresno State last season because the game started at 10:15 pm EST. Sure they may have been blown away by Reggie’s stats and SportCenter highlights the next morning … but the fact is he already won his Heisman on the tall grass in the minds of voters.

I can’t quite say, as Plaschke does, that West Coast fans are smarter and more sophisticated. But, he is right in that it’s all about reality versus perception.

It’s difficult to perceive the reality of college football – regardless of how smart or sophisticated you might be – when you’re asleep.

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