Chin Music

I will try to put the flap concerning Ben Azar's (from the Daily Bruin) offensive (and idiotic) take on Dorrell critics behind us. DumpDorrell.com is staying on the issue. I am sure we can count on them to aggressively follow up on the matter using arguments and rationale based on reality, and more importantly facts, that expose Dorrell as an average coach at best.

But, before moving on, I wanted to share a couple thoughts. Some newbies on this blog were wondering, why did we go so hard after a student? Well, for those who have been around BN for a long time, you know if we read a piece in a traditional media outlet that has something to do with UCLA football, hoops, and the greater UCLA sports fan base, that is out of line, offensive, and frankly devoid of facts and reality based rationally, we are going to talk about it. We will write about it. And we will go after the writer of that garbage hard.

It is called holding writers accountable for what he or she writes. I really don’t want to get into any sort of blog triumphalism over this. All of you who read BN and other college (or political) blogs know the schpill about accountability in the blogosphere, which is non-existant in the traditional media. Well, we wanted to make sure that the young Mr. Azar and his colleagues over at the Daily Bootlicker get a taste of that from time to time. And, no, I don’t see anything wrong with savaging our school’s student newspaper by calling it the Daily Bootlicker, considering how it celebrated/glorified a loss to Southern Cal as some sort of "moral victory." In my view, that celebrating/accepting of a loss to Southern Cal (just so the company line that UCLA programs are headed in the right direction can be advanced) is tantamount to treason for anyone who has sworn his or her allegiance to Bruin blue and gold.

But, back to the issue at hand. For those who think that our post on Azar and the Daily Bruin is not making a difference and is not making the staff of the DB think about what they are writing, I wanted to share with you an email, we received yesterday. This is from a student reporter, who works in the sports section of the Daily Bruin [the reporters name and information on what beat she covers, and the name of the editor she mentions are redacted]:

Hello. My name is [*********], and I wanted to voice some of my thoughts over the ongoing feud between BruinsNation and the Daily Bruin. I would like to start on a good note, stating that I often enjoy what I read online from you guys, some of it is very informative and gives a good opinion on the happenings at UCLA. That being said, I'd also like to voice some concerns. I myself am a writer for the Daily Bruin sports section. You may not have seen my name, as I write for the [*********], but as an aspiring sports writer, I hold my position with great pride. The application for an internship at the Bruin, especially with sports, is a highly sought-after one. The Daily Bruin, while it may not always print what people want to read, prides itself on its ability to give the UCLA students information in a classy, informative, and in depth manner. I am not saying that what Ben Azar wrote in his column was the best choice, and indeed it was not, but to rip the entire Daily Bruin staff as incompetent and discard the paper itself as worthless is both very shortsighted and immature. Many students put in valuable time to produce a good product, and the ENTIRE Sports section should not be held responsible for what was one writer's statements. As a news source, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and I know that [*********] (Editor) tries to reflect that, running pieces that critique our programs in order to provide a full scope of knowledge on the happenings at UCLA. Maybe Coach Dorrell doesn't deserve another year, and maybe he does, but we should be fair and view the one person's (not the entire section's) opinion on the subject. The same goes for David Woods, who expressed his thoughts on the students earlier this month. While I didn't agree, I respect his right to express his opinion, as I do yours. This does not mean, however, that ripping a paper that is the product of the hard work and dedication of students is the right path. Many sports writers at the Bruin love what they do and take it very seriously. Thank you for your time, and I hope that we'll be able to correspond on a lighter note the next time around.
Instead of replying to that individual via email, I will give my response here on BN.

I appreciate the fact they are reading BN. Good for them. I sure hope they read all the information we share and write not only here on BN, but also what other knowledgeable Bruin fan share in other online communities as well (blogrolled here on BN).

There is no reason for the DB reporters to take our criticisms/calling out of their paper so personally. Instead of getting concerned about our criticisms, perhaps they ought to focus on what is making the student newspaper such a target of criticisms, and often reducing it to another joke just like the Trojan Times. If the DB sports section wants to remain relevant in the broader conversation concerning UCLA sports, then it simply has to do a better job of putting out better work product. And they are not going to get that done by cutting and pasting company lines coming out of Morgan Center and by launching ad hominem, baseless, insulting, scurrilous attacks against critics of the current Bruin head coaches.

Sure, everyone is entitled to an opinion. But that doesn’t mean that individuals should be immune from ridicule and criticism, when they comes up with a product that not only embarrasses that individual, but it embarrasses the university and its larger community, which happens to include all of us.

Also, the emailer didn’t mention it. But, based on a couple of comments I have seen here, it seems like there is some sort of sentiment that we should take it easy on individuals like Azar and Woods just because they are students. That is just nonsense. I remember the main sports editor of the DB when I was at UCLA. I remember the kid (initials EB) had the guts to call out Terry Donahue for the way he had his team unprepared for the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin (95) and for how be stabbed Rick Neuhisel in the back by not promoting him to OC (instead bringing in Toledo from A&M). EB got a lot of heat from that article which included indirect threat of physical violence. But he didn’t complain about it.

So, the sympathizers of the Daily Bruin writers ought to stop whining and instead figure out how to encourage their colleagues/friends toiling away at that horrible sport department to come up with better work product based on facts and reason. For example, our own MIMBruin offered up easy suggestions on how to write a cogent column making the case for Dorrell without launching into ad hominem attacks on his Bruin critics:
To argue the other side? Easy to see, even if I don't agree. In no particular order:

(1) In the midst of increasing media scrutiny against the professional integrity (e.g. violations of NCAA agent rules), academic integrity (e.g. Spanish 3 at Trade Tech), and moral integrity (e.g. sexual assault charges being quietly dismissed by alums in the city attorney's office) of not only our cross-town rival, but numerous big-time programs across the country (i.e. Ohio State, Colorado, Florida State, Cal) Dorrell has helped maintain and cement the integrity of UCLA Athletics. Winning the right way still counts.

(2) After years of disregard and neglect, Dorrell's program has re-established recruiting ties to Crenshaw and Long Beach Poly and other local schools. This not only bodes well for football recruiting in the short-term, but can promote UCLA's non-football recruiting and outreach, athletically AND academically, to inner-city and minority populations, who have been underrepresented in recent freshman classes.

(3) Dorrell has established a winning record at home the past two years. Attendance has gradually climbed, thus increasing ticket and concession and merchandise revenue for the program.

(4) Tyrone Willingham was dismissed after 4 years, and many sportswriters around the country critiqued the decision as coming too soon, citing race-based and non-race-based issues. Race aside, a four-year tenure bending in firing, barely one year removed from a Pac-10 Coach of the Year Award, would only further the knee-jerk, hot-tempered hiring practices of college athletics. Dorrell's team and program is in place now. Fair and rational judgment should come this year. This fifth year is crucial.

(5) Dorrell has aggressively sought minority assistant coaches, and sought them from the NFL and college ranks. Several of those assistants who have left the program have gone on to the NFL (Bienemy, also our TE coach last year?), further fostering the reputation of UCLA as a program that can help prepare talented players for the pros.
See. That’s not very difficult to do. Even if I don’t agree with the overall argument that Dorrell has the UCLA program going in the right direction, I could at least respect someone making those arguments while not painting critics of Dorrell as some kind of out of mainstream crazy conspiracy theorists.

Anyways, we will move on. But, at this point, it would be prudent for Ben Azar and his editor to issue some sort of apology to DD and other Dorrell critics for making that LaRouche comparison. Otherwise, it won’t help them much to undercut the perception that they have turned our campus newspaper into nothing but a Bootlicking news source parroting the company line. And, in turn, they shouldn’t complain about the brush back pitch coming their way, like they got yesterday. As you can see, they can sure hear the chin music. Let’s hope it encourages them to do a better job in reporting about UCLA sports. Better/quality product out of the DB sports section will help UCLA students become more sophisticated and engaged in our sports program, which will ultimately help extend and preserve the incredible and unmatched tradition of Bruin athletics.

So you can see a little chin music is a good thing.

GO BRUINS.
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