Monday, September 21, 2015

Are All Opinions Created Equal?

Update is at bottom of this post

The answer to the hed above is of course not. But I got into a very very minor disagreement with The Red & Black sports folks today when they posted their SEC power rankings, which has Georgia #1 and Ole Miss (which beat Bama, at Bama) as #4 (behind Bama?). I pointed in a tweet to a different SEC power rankings that also came out today, which has Ole Miss as #1, LSU #2, UGA #3. That makes sense to me, though I might squeeze UGA above LSU.

I pointed this out in a Twitter exchange seen below:
So, can some opinions be more or less accurate than other opinions?

Of course they can.

I'm an expert in certain areas. I've published extensively on new media and politics, on how people learn from the media, and other areas such as the media's role in conspiracy theories. My opinion on these topics mattert matters more than the opinion of the kid who sacks my groceries at Kroger, or even UGA undergraduates. Look at the list of people voting in that SEC Country poll, pros in the field, versus the sports staff at The R&B, which while good, aren't pros (yet). Ole Miss got 13 first place votes in the pro power ranking. UGA got 2.

I love The R&B and the students do a good job there, but to name UGA #1 is a mistake for two reasons. First, it's just wrong. I'm a UGA fan, but Ole Miss beats a damn good Bama team at Bama, UGA stomps a weak USC team in its own stadium. Look at how the Rebels jumped in national polls. Wow.

Second, in sports journalism you really want to avoid looking like a homer.

So no, not all opinions are created equal. Even in something as subjective as sports, which, if you read 538, you know sports can also be objective as you crank out the analyses.


The paper responded with its lead editorial to my post, which manages to both waste valuable journalistic real estate and fails to fairly represent the post above, a j-fail. I never said student journalists "don't belong" and said the R&B staff are good (read it above).

Nor does the editorial respond in a rigorous way to how wrong they were in their initial ranking, nor does it address the risk of being seen as a homer. After all, every other power ranking I could find, pro or otherwise, had Ole Miss #1. You're at UGA, you put UGA #1, and you don't get it? Still? Sigh.

All that said and in full transparency -- something apparently not valued everywhere -- I provide a screenshot of the article below in case you didn't see it this week in print. There's no online version I can find, at least not yet. I apologize for the quality of the screenshot. I also especially love the condescending art that manages to miss my beard. Not sure which one I'm supposed to be, but I guess the guy with the glasses. Or the other one, who looks Trumpesque. If you click on the art, it should be easier to read.

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