This morning, Axios media reporter Sara Fischer dropped one of the worst data analyses I can remember:
The media's obsession w "Succession" drew outsized coverage, disproportionate to reader interest— Sara Fischer (@sarafischer) June 6, 2023
—While there's no question "Succession" was a hit, the coverage was likely driven more by media's obsession with its own industry rather than consumer interesthttps://t.co/NHWTNI3qzX
Beyond the innate humor of someone writing a clickbait article about a show they say doesn’t work as clickbait, just know (as Fischer does), that media outlets tend not to write 1,000 articles on a topic that doesn’t click well. Quite the opposite, in fact! Which is why Succession’s 17K average over 1,000 articles is more impressive than Young Sheldon’s 65.3K over 56 articles in the same way a Volvo is better for driving cross-country than a Jaguar but not for winning a drag race. They’re both cars in the sense Succession and Young Sheldon are both TV shows, but that’s about all they have in common. In this case, dishonesty is plainly the point, to obscure the astral levels of projection going on, but thinking about all this led to a poorly timed tweet from MassLive’s Chris Cotillo that was, if not from the same bucket, a distant cousin of the same:
There was a lot of discourse over the winter about the Red Sox making tough 40-man cuts like Matt Barnes, Jeter Downs, Connor Seabold, Frank German and others.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) June 6, 2023
Two months later, pretty much every one of the 13 players they DFA'd/released has been awful.https://t.co/3yAFsMU58R
The main difference here is that Cotillo is being honest. As a beat reporter he is exposed to a level of Sox-related freakouts I cannot and do not want to imagine. He also has to write far more pieces than most people, and recently wrote about the flip side of this coin. So I understand it all, but also: No. As an editor for this website, I am at least loosely attuned to what Sox fans are truly riled up about, and when former OTM site manager Matt Collins, Barnes’s number one fan, said he understood the move, I’m calling bullshit. Not only that, but the Downs DFA makes the opposite point about the front office’s clairvoyance, and anyone getting upset about Connor Seabold in February deserves — nay, begs — to be forgotten.
So yeah, I thought the article was a little weird before a friend piped in and reminded me just how weird it is:
While I am here blocking anyone that makes me remember how well Eovaldi, Wacha and JD are doing— Eric J. Alves (@Eric_Alves87) June 6, 2023
That’s to say nothing of the hubbub over the admittedly struggling Xander Bogaerts, but it paints a vastly different picture of Boston’s decision-making, at least in the short term. Just as Fischer’s data is correct, Cotillo is correct that of the 13 players he mentioned, no one is lighting the world on fire (anymore, at least; Franchy Cordero sure did for a bit). It just ignores the context that, at the very least, levels it out, context like: “Hey, doesn’t the outcry at letting Eovaldi leave dwarf that of everyone on this list put together?” Which I think it does but I might be wrong.
Whatever. My points are as follows:
1) I understand people have to write a lot of stories and I try to be sympathetic to that.
2) In these cases, I’m unsympathetic to the arguments being presented.
3) Fischer’s story is misinformation, whereas Cotillo’s is unintentional fluff, but the former primed me to write about the latter, so in a sense he’s catching a stray and for that I’m sorry, but not as sorry as I am that Nasty Nate’s on another team. And he did write about Wacha and Eovaldi, so again, his bases are generally covered.
This just hit me the wrong way. That’s all.