Here at Balls.ie we try to cover all aspects of sport. One of the most discussed things in sport is how the media covers it. Fans love to hate presenters and journalists if they feel they aren't doing their job well. So to reflect these discussions we are unveiling the first ever Balls.ie media power rankings. From best to worst, here are the figures in the media that have been making headlines recently.
T-1. David Walsh and Paul Kimmage
For years anyone who dared criticise Lance Armstrong was, in the rider's own words, "run over". A few weeks ago Paul Kimmage was out of work and facing a lawsuit from the UCI while David Walsh was having to staunchly defend his reporting and writing. Now Kimmage and Walsh are vindicated and Armstong is using eye drops to force some moisture out of his eye sockets while talking to Oprah. Tonight will be particularly poignant for Walsh as he appears on the Late Late Show, 13 years after he outraged people by linking Stephen Roche to a doping scandal on air.
This could go to the organisation as a whole or to reporters Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey who wrote the Manti Teo hoax girlfriend story. It was a sensational piece of journalism and for those who haven't read it the gist is: A high profile college football player was tricked into having a long term relationship with a girl online who he had never met. He was told she had died of leukemia and the media and the football player played the story up throughout the year and he gained a lot of sympathy. The season ended and it turned out the "girl" was in fact a man who and played a trick on Teo. If that sounds confusing and stupid, that is because it is confusing and stupid. And Deadspin captured the story perfectly.
4. Didi Hamann
Didi Hamann has proved to be quite a popular pundit when he appears on RTE with the criticism usually directed at his strange scouse twang. Recently he was involved in a huge twitter war with Joey Barton that quickly descended into very harsh personal attacks. Hamann was applauded for not stooping to Barton's level and won plenty of admirers as a result. The lesson is, to paraphrase Newstalk's Ken Early, you shouldn't get into a war of words with someone who doesn't understand basic social interaction.
5. Oprah Winfrey
Opinion is split on the job Oprah did in interviewing Lance Armstrong. Some felt she got a lot out of him while others, including Paul Kimmage, felt she should have been tougher with her follow-up questions. In her defence Armstrong is a slippery as they come and has the remarkable ability of appearing to lie even as he tells the truth. If nothing else Oprah's questions led to the creation of this video, which is far better than the interview itself.
6. Marty Morrissey
It's been a tough few weeks for fans of Marty "The Banter Panther" Morrissey. On the one hand Marty got a promotion to become RTE's GAA correspondent. What that entails is unclear as he currently permeates almost every aspect of RTE's coverage as it is. That was the good but the bad was oh so very bad. After building up a solid following on twitter, the Marty Morrissey parody account known lovingly as the "Banter Panther" was purchased and changed by thescore.ie. A sad day for fans of parody accounts. Let's just hope they leave fake Gerry Thornley alone. That kind of online upheaval would certainly cause outrage.
7. Daryl "Moose" Johnston
Moose Johnston is an unknown quantity to many but he appeared for the first time on Sky Sports' NFL coverage last weekend. His analysis was fine. His dress sense was not. Wearing a jacket this ugly should really be a firable offence. Even Ken Egan wouldn't stoop this low.
8. Colin Murray
Last and least is outgoing MOTD2 presenter Colin Murray. Murray doesn't so much love football as he does bantering with the boys about football. In a culture where everyone is expected to bow down to the ex-player that style is going to rub a lot of people the wrong way. Of course it also doesn't help that he is unfunny and comes across as unlikable. Here's hoping that this demotion encompasses all TV work. If people thought his banter with football players was bad, hopefully people caught his darts coverage. He even managed the impossible task of sucking the life out of Bobby George.