June 19, 2001 


 Issue #5

A Tangled Web of Intrigue

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A Letter to the Editor of the NY Daily News: I Hate Bob Raissman!!!

Mr. Leon Carter
Sports Editor,
New York Daily News
450 W. 33rd St.
New York, N.Y. 10001

Dear Mr. Carter,

     I would like to inquire about a position as sports media columnist at the New York Daily News. After Bob Raissman’s deplorable attempt at ‘reporting’ in his June 12 column, you must be considering a change!

     I presume that Mr. Raissman’s job description requires him to report on and criticize actual performances by members of the New York media. Nevertheless, in last Tuesday’s column he incorrectly attributed some inflammatory comments to WFAN radio host Steve Somers, who did not in fact call the New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens a ‘coward’ on the air or even within earshot of a living being. On the air, Mr. Somers told his audience that Mr. Raissman later admitted to never having heard Somers speak the quote that he, Raissman, had attributed to him. Mr. Michael Kay, mentioned in the same column, likewise pointed out on the air that the piece contained inaccuracies, which created unnecessary conflict between himself and Somers. I am sure that Mr. Raissman did not intend to besmirch Mr. Somers’ name by fabricating false quotes. Instead, his error is merely a sloppy piece of reporting by someone who has not written a meaningful column or served a useful purpose to your newspaper in a long time. (It is also interesting that despite Raissman’s admission to Somers, he did not take steps to have a retraction printed).

     This brings me to a valuable point that I learned in law school: a writer earns respect and attention by meticulous research of facts and a knowledge of his target audience. The inaccuracies in the June 12 article confirm my belief that Mr. Raissman’s column is by and large unreadable. I am not just talking about the fact that he speaks in outdated jargon that would make your paper’s venerable Bill Gallo cringe. Raissman wastes far too much time discussing and, perhaps, imagining spats between various members of the media for the purpose of making news himself. When it comes to writing a serious piece on the media business, his attempts at analysis fail to penetrate a sponge. He insults the intelligence of the everyday sports fanatic.

     I am left with the question, "How did this man get his job?" Does the Daily News keep him on board because he will work for free (or in return for moustache trimmings)? I realize that his column is a minute part of the sports section and does not sell your paper. Nevertheless, wouldn’t you like it if your newspaper had some consistently serious and thoughtful analysis of the sports business? The few times Mr. Raissman has bothered to write about issues such as the MSG-YankeeNets dispute, he has shown an uneducated opinion about the legal consequences that bind sports – instead deferring to foolish statements such as ‘moles tell me.’ You might as well have Mitchell Fink do Raissman’s job.

     The obvious strength of your newspaper is its glorious assortment of columnists such as Lupica, Madden, and Gallo -- as well as your great beat writers. Consequently, I realize that your newspaper’s objectives and expectations probably do not include any attempts at rivaling Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal. Nevertheless, you are lacking a capable columnist who can write an article that doesn’t offend the sensibilities or trust of readers. Almost any fan who watches sports on television or listens to it on the radio can come up with content comparable or better than Raissman’s outlook. Find someone more capable that Bob Raissman or just fill his space with an ad! Thank You.


Butch Rogaine

June 19, 2001

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