Just happened to catch Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on Pardon the Interruption (all quotes are paraphrased). He was asked whether his rivalry with UNC coach Roy Williams has been exaggerated. “It’s exaggerated on every level!” he responded. “It’s what do you guys do, you’re in the exaggeration business!”
Wilbon or Kornheiser said something like, “well, you guys are hardly best friends.” Krzyzewski evinced some irritation, saying, “why don’t we talk about the game? What does it matter if he and I are not best friends, like the fact that he golfs and I don’t, or that I garden and he doesn’t. Who cares? Saturday’s game is going to come down to whether we can stop Hansbrough and whether they can stop us from shooting threes.”
Later on, when asked about Bob Knight’s future as a broadcaster, Krzyzewski said that broadcasters need to be much better at doing their job to “teach us the game, and teach us the history of the game.”
The media’s the exact same in sports and politics—the vast, vast bulk of coverage lacks any substance.
The difference is that in sports, it’s settled on the field— by performance. So someone like Krzyzewski doesn’t have to care if the media talks about nothing but an imaginary rivalry. Politics, though, is settled at the ballot box. It doesn’t really matter if you’re an incompetent, indifferent steward, and you secretly want to launch a bunch of counterproductive wars. If you can get the media to portray you as a regular guy, you just might get your chance. And the campaigns are much more about exaggerated, fake controversies than they are about anything that affects the real world.