The Pravdafication of Paid Websites

In the old days of the Soviet Union, Pravda was correctly characterized as a "Soviet Communist Party mouthpiece[, a] Propaganda tool[, and] Vladimir Lenin's prized distributor of dogma."  During the Cold War, Pravda (ironically, Russian for "truth"), Pravda was notorious as a font of misinformation and propaganda for the Communist Party.  

So too it has become, we are sad to say, for paid websites like those on the Scout and Rivals networks.  These websites are commercial enterprises which seek to maximize profit.  What's wrong with that?  Nothing, in the abstract.  However, originally these websites were much like the blog phenomenon.  They were outsiders to the MSM, and could offer cutting-edge and sometimes harsh insight and analysis.  But as the reach and readership of these message boards and websites increases, so too did their need for content, and for access to the athletic department.  When the athletic department is embattled, and digging in its heels against decreasing attendance and donations as a result of incompetent coaching, the athletic department and coaches can (explicitly or implicitly) condition access upon favorable reporting.  We all know and remember this from the Lavin days.

Fast forward to August 2005, change the cast of characters slightly, and you end up with this, the Pravdafication of paid websites.  (Warning, this "article" is probably best read in a haze of incense, while wearing Birkenstocks and a tie-dyed tee shirt.)

Yesterday, Frank Strasser, the erstwhile Venice artist-turned-Internet "journalist" filed this story, which lends credence to the speculation that the practice reports are indeed propaganda.

This article is so filled with Blindoese and propoganda that, as a public service to you, the readers, we have decided it deserves a complete translation and debunking.

The UCLA footballers conducted the second of two-a-day practices in shorts and shells under spectacular blue skies Monday, in sizzling summer heat. But then as `60s era poet laureate Bob Dylan once twanged: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

Notice the techniques at play here.  First, it's typically verbose, and ultimately says very little.  Second, has a nonsensical musical reference which leaves the reader confused and adds little to the story, other than an unnecessary and out-of-place stylistic device.  Finally, the references to the weather distract from the real issues and attempt to evoke positive emotions of beautiful weather.  It is nothing more than the continuation of the theme Maverick has commented on that open practices are a salve for bleacher bums.

This appeared to be a beautiful day in Westwood well before practice even began, when Brigham Harwell strode briskly past, looking every bit the fit young student athlete. Last time we saw the talented starting defensive tackle he was trying out new cructches on the sidelines at Drake Stadium, after spraining an ankle during Saturday's scrimmage. Today: no discernable limp.

This crucial paragraph leaves the reader with the impression that Harwell is completely healthy.  Not so, reports Jill Painter, "Defensive tackle Brigham Harwell (ankle) missed the morning practice but was jogging in the afternoon."  Lonnie White reports that Nate Skaggs practiced in place of Harwell, who has been "hampered" by his ankle injury.

The light breeze [snipping out mindless drivel] continued to blow good news the Bruins way, when cub sensation Gavin Ketchum bounded out onto Spaulding Field reporting for active WR duty, sporting his spanking clean #10 practice whites.

According to Karl Dorrell, however, from the LA Times report, Ketchum is "not quite in the shape that he should be."  What becomes increasly clear is a systematic practice of minimizing injuries in the Strasser propoganda piece.

Next we're told that

Aaron Perez and Justin Medlock took turns spanking punts, which spiraled high into the wild blue yonder.
and later that "Punter Aaron Perez appears to be settling in and getting more comfortable. He has improved from spring to fall."  The lede is obviously buried here, as only later in the article is it finally admitted that Perez has struggled with consistency.  

In contrast, Painter led with the punting story, and many message board commenters have expressed serious reservations about Perez.  According to Painter, Perez "has been inconsistent throughout camp and in the scrimmage Saturday."

Again, the pattern is evident.  The paid message boards are attempting to paint a rosy picture, even writing misleading articles and attempting to minimize all negative information.  

There's not much more worth commenting on the article, but the bottom line is this: paid websites are increasly nothing more than propoganda machines for the Morgan-Murphy Axis, and it is a sad day indeed when the dead tree MSM gives fans a more accurate, straightforward account than websites which charge their subscribers for the privilege of being misled and fed propoganda.  

When reading these reports, it's probably best to take them with a grain of salt, much as one would the reported exploits of Kim  Jong Il, whom North Korean propoganda outfits refer to "as a renaissance man who has flown fighter aircraft, written operas and shot 11 holes-in-one in his first try at golf."

The only question left is, is Frank available to cover Dorrell's next golf game?

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