The media isn’t helping

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For some reason, The Ringer published a podcast featuring special guest Ben Shapiro on Thursday. Yes, that Ben Shapiro, the only Ben Shapiro, the one adored by the right wing and mass murderers, as Deadspin reminds. Shapiro was a guest on Larry Wilmore’s podcast, because Larry Wilmore was at one time a guest on Shapiro’s podcast, and I guess we learned nothing from like, Jon Stewart going on Tucker Carlson’s show and how little damage trying to clown on him and his bow tie while having a discussion with him did to his stances and career.

How’d it go? Well, let’s take this bit from Deadspin’s piece, and you’ll understand in a hurry (you should also read that piece in full for the full context, if you’re unaware of who this goblin is):

At this point, the discussion has become excruciating and meaningless. Shapiro’s citing a nine-year-old study he read about in a magazine to argue that women have it pretty good. What he left out is that this is only the case for women in major cities who are unmarried and childless—that is to say, they have no families and devote themselves wholly to their jobs. That’s not a sign of progress; that’s depressing. But to Shapiro, it proves women should be paid less since they have babies and take time off, and since it came from a study, the cool kid’s philosopher can pretend he has an argument based in evidence.

Wilmore isn’t prepared to dispute it—why would he have researched a nine-year-old study that’s not relevant to the topic at hand?—so the takeaway for The Ringer’s audience is that Ben Shapiro has a reasonable argument, when he’s actually a drawstring toy with four superficial talking points who relies on his talking speed to “win” an argument, and will get tilted if anyone rebuts him with direct questions. Shapiro relitigates anything if given the chance, and Wilmore gave him an hour on a podcast.

I wouldn’t say The Ringer is a true media darling of the left or anything like that, but it at least is at that Vox level where you expect some of the writers and content creators to be more to the left and allowed to be that way, while there are some neoliberal elements still hanging around that keep it from being as left as its most radical elements would prefer. The Ringer employs Michael Baumann, for instance, who you probably read if you’re subscribed to this newsletter, and if you’re subscribed to this newsletter… well, you get it. So, seeing one of The Ringer’s contributors bring Shapiro (who is just an awful human being) on their podcast and giving him an hour to attempt to make sense is depressing and counterproductive for everyone except some advertisers and investors who will surely love the extra attention a “name” like this will get in what will surely be deemed a Controversial Episode.

The Ringer isn’t the only media outlet getting an eyebrow raise from me at the end of this week, either. In my inbox yesterday was a message from Baseball America, with the subject, “Want to Become a Sports Owner? Why You Should Consider Baseball.” It is a “Message From Our Partners” and can be viewed in a browser as well, so have at it. It’s very strange, for a number of reasons.

It gives three reasons why baseball is the sport for those with cash dreaming of becoming part of the problem. The first is market size, as there are over 500 teams out there waiting for your to write a very big check to acquire them. The second is investment size, and I’d like to let the way this is written breathe a bit, so here’s the quote:

Certainly, it helps to be a billionaire, as virtually all MLB franchises are valued north of $1 billion, but there are opportunities at various participation levels:

  • MLB – $1 billion+

  • MLB Minority Interest – $10 million+

  • MiLB – $10 million+

  • MiLB Minority Interest – $250,000+

  • Independent Professional – $300,000+

  • Collegiate Summer League – $50,000+

This oh-so-helpful message ends with a call to privately contact the group that put this study together (Whitecap Sports Group) that presumably also paid Baseball America for this chance to advertise to the future labor exploiters on their email list. Before that end, though, Whitecap via Baseball America reminds you that owning a baseball team, especially at the minor league and summer collegiate level, “offers advantages to an owner that are largely unavailable in other sports, whether that be due to the structure of the affiliation agreement (where applicable) or guidelines as they relate to maintaining amateur status.”

They’re talking about how minor-league owners don’t have to pay for their players or even at this stage of late (ballpark) capitalism, even their stadiums, right? The exploitation of the players is mostly handled by the MLB teams themselves, and MiLB owners are there to make sure everything is in working order when they aren’t counting their money. This is an ad basically saying you don’t have to do anything for your investment to pay off, because the structural setup is such that getting your foot in the door is the hardest part of the job.

And the last bit about “maintaining amateur status” is also telling, since college players can’t be paid to play the sport, lest they give up their amateur status and ability to play college ball. Have $50,000 to invest in a team that won’t see you paying players, but will see you selling tickets and merchandise and concessions, without you having to share any of those profits? Have we got the email advertisement from our partners for you.

Why does the Shapiro guest spot at The Ringer exist, and why does this advertisement to become a future exploitative boss exist through Baseball America? Giving time to the Debate Me crowd is just expanding their audience and giving them a platform, when deplatforming is so obviously the way to go with these cretins. And Baseball America should know firsthand, given how much of their coverage has to do with amateurs and minor-league players, how awful the very fixable playing and living conditions are for both college amateurs and minor-league players, and yet, space is given to their corporate partners to encourage you to be the one to not help fix those playing and living conditions, but instead benefit from their awfulness, if only you’ve got a little cash set aside to do so.

  • Zack Greinke thinks throwing a no-hitter would be “a hassle,” which is certainly one of the most Zack Greinke things to ever have been quoted.

  • This on why the United States Women’s National Team needs to be paid is an important read, but I would also like to remind you that it’s not just because the women’s team is awesome that they deserve to be paid on par with the men, who are… not awesome. If they were as middling and infuriating as their counterparts, the USWNT would still deserve fair and equitable pay instead of what they currently get, which is low enough to merit the team suing its own bosses for more.

  • This is also a good time to share this from a week ago, on how the USWNT’s fight for equal pay is a fight for all of women’s sports.

  • The Padres are in kind of a weird position with Chris Paddock, as he has a strict innings limit this year given his career-high of 90 frames from last season, so they demoted him to the minors to make space on the roster for a pitcher they can use in the meantime. It’s probably not going to impact his service time, as Ginny Searle points out, but it’s worth keeping an eye on in case whoops, it does.

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