Podcasts: The true culprit in the Charissa Thompson controversy

The backlash against Charissa Thompson, justified as it is, misses the bigger point. Podcasts are dumb. After aggregating sports personalities saying stupid stuff for two years, there’s more idiotic news made on podcasts than on social media at this point. The entire medium is based on talking long enough to say something interesting. Society acts like time is our most precious resource, and yet people devote hours to listening to other human beings meander through a conversation. Thompson’s admission to making up sideline reports was due to a glaring lack of self-awareness, but also due to an overabundance of accessibility. The comments didn’t even originate from her own pod; it was from a Pardon My Take, and it seemed likely the sound-byte would get sports media in a tizzy. There’s no one louder than self-righteous journalists whose profession has been disgraced. The world needs another “Why Charissa screwed up” column like it needs another podcast. I’m not defending her. I’m slandering my own industry, because when there’s no news, we create it. The goal is to say something interesting or funny or polarizing while hoping the constant stream of garbage spilling out of your brain doesn’t get you in trouble. The difference is no matter how scripted the podcast, it’s spontaneous, and an orator isn’t afforded a chance to collect their thoughts and edit later. Even with those advantages, writers still get words twisted. Thompson was just chatting without a net and blurted out a career-threatening anecdote about sideline reporting. The news cycle caught her, and now she’s backpedaling. The only way for modern journos to avoid vomiting all over their career is to talk less. Capitalism forced journalism to procreate with content creation, and podcasts are the offspring. They’re a necessary evil. My views of social media and podcasting have taken a Ron Swanson-ian turn since I’ve dislodged both from my life. Far be it for me to say what’s dumber: Recording your stream of consciousness for others to sift through, or telling Big Cat that you used to make up sideline reports, and not immediately asking for it to be struck from the record?