The Death of Trust
About a month ago, on one of Chet Coppock’s social discussions, I posted that we’d all find out Konerko was injured for much of the second half of the season. Didn’t know except by observation. Now it has been confirmed.
But that is not the point: I defended White sox TV guy Hawk Harrelson a week ago as a fan advocate. Much like Harry Caray or even Santo, these are Chicago-centric guys who represent the fans. Now I alter that view a little because the Hawk did not serve us well by covering Konerko’s injury. He is not stupid. He is around the team (as he constantly reminds us) every day. He had to know something was up and yet not a hint.
Sure, he works for (is approved by) the team. So he is in a dicey situation. Harry and Santo each played the ignoramus; they didn’t know what they didn’t know but they did not know they rooted for the team they covered. Harry had a history of this in town already before he was asked to move along by the White Sox. He had successfully already blatantly campaigned for two MVPS, Sandberg and Dawson.
But Harrelson let us down by covering a truth.
Even though I have had old friends transition from print to electronic media (Brent Musburger was but the first, though many forget he started as a Chicago newspaper man) the demands of each remain imprtasntly different.
Writers know their work is there for perpetuity, a record that can be reread and shown to have been issued, though the tradeout is we get to be the recorded diary of a time and place.
Broadcasters say it and then it is usually in the wind, even with recording devices. The truth is, most mundane exclamations are not saved or are taped over.
Major league broadcasters are more analyzed, of course, and what they say is more likely to be saved and rehashed.
And that is to the detriment of Harrelson here.
He does not truly represent the listeners who lack the access he has. We rely on him to tell us the truth as our eyes and ears. When he does not, it is a bigger failure than simply being a sock monkey for the team to play with.
It is the violation of the implied trust between listener and broadcaster, the fan and the fan advocate, a winner and a loser.