I get that ESPN is moving away from having an independent Ombudsman, and I know what the Poynter Institute is, but I’m still not quite sure what they’re doing with these monthly articles.  And their first column didn’t help me in that regard.  The duo of McCombs and McBride (sounds like a law firm) decided to tackle President Obama’s plug of a charity during his annual bracket discussion with Andy Katz, and here’s what we learned….

Even before ESPN filmed what has become its annual installment of Barack-etology, Obama’s critics chimed in, suggesting that the leader of the free world had better things to do, given the civil unrest throughout Middle East and North Africa, and the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown in Japan.

Katz and the rest of ESPN’s crew were not surprised when the president’s staffers informed them that Obama planned first to plug the relief site. Katz said he never felt pressured by the White House to leave the president’s remarks intact as a condition of the interview……

….Sources, guests and partners will always try to influence ESPN content. Everyone wants to plug their favorite charity, Doria said. Although it seems innocuous, most of the time ESPN cuts the material because it isn’t central to the story.

Those are tough choices to make. Aid to Japan had nothing to do with the president’s NCAA picks. But Katz went into the story thinking it was relevant, so the charity plug made the cut. Ultimately the ESPN staff directly involved in the story had a lot of independence….

….Will that make it harder for the next producer to say no to a source who wants to plug a charity? That’s going to be a constant battle no matter what, one that the front-line professionals at ESPN are accustomed to tackling

I’m so confused.  So the article is on whether or not ESPN lets every guest plug something?  Because if that’s the case, I’m pretty sure First Take and Mike & Mike gave someone plugging something every five seconds.  Or is it that the President shouldn’t be doing a bracket when there are so many problems in the world?  Also, is anyone really pissed that the President would plug relief for a country that is facing one of the biggest tragedies of our lifetime??? 

Maybe it was a slow news month for controversies at ESPN, but I would hope they could come up with something better for their next installment.

Straight to the point (ESPN)

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