Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Bob Raissman (pictured, inset) is a columnist for the NY Daily News who more often than not writes about sports on TV. Normally we wouldn't take the time to critique main stream media critics because we'd never get anything else done. However, Raissman's February 15 column pretty much demanded a rebuttal.

Raissman covered several topics that day and included a harsh judgment about Ampex2000, who posted five of the six Chris Berman clips on YouTube.


There are a few video clips — nearly nine years old — circulating on various Web sites, and being e-mailed around the industry, of ESPN's Chris Berman inside the studio. The stuff on tape isn't flattering, to say the least.

One shows Berman flirting with a female colleague. Another shows him throwing a tantrum on the set. There's also a montage of Berman dropping multiple F-bombs. Bad behavior? You bet. But not as abhorrent as that of one who would actually sneak around, tape a colleague and either give the video to someone (or hold on to it himself all these years) before releasing it in order to embarrass Berman.

No, what Berman did on those videos pales — big-time — in comparison to the covert actions of the lowlife who taped him and made sure the video was widely distributed. If Berman is such a bad guy, and someone had a beef with him, they should have gotten in his face. Or taken the problem directly to ESPN management. That would have required guts. Anyone who would basically spy on a colleague is lacking in that department.

Before this creep — or creeps — decided to release the tape, then get their kicks at Berman's expense, they should have asked one question: Would they like the same thing done to them?

This from a guy who writes potentially unflattering things about people FOR A LIVING! Care to bet if those criticized by Raissman in the past wondered how he would feel if the tables were turned?

So let's turn them. And to be sporting, we'll only reference the February 15 column.

What are the chances that the person who taped Berman was sneaking around covertly through dark hallways, hoping to avoid being spotted? Raissman accuses the person of "spying" on Berman. When studio cameras are on, the images from them pass countless monitors, tape machines and eyeballs, so how the hell is that spying? Material like this has been recorded for years not only from where it was shot, but on satellite back hauls, Vyvyx taps, etc. This was something new back in 2000? Please.

And how about getting in Berman's face to settle a problem? Damn right it would have required guts. It would have required stupidity too. Talent having other people removed or reassigned is a regular occurrence in show business. Vice versa? Not so much. There are only so many David and Goliath stories out there.

Raissman also suggested to take problems directly to ESPN management. To management, Berman equals revenue and a technician is little more than a replaceable piece of equipment. It takes sexual harassment-type lawsuits such as those filed against Berman’s on-camera colleagues to get so much as a slapped wrist. Going to management about these issues is a quick way to becoming unemployed.

Chances are that these tapes were only played privately a few times for amusement then sat around gathering dust for years. Tapes like these exist everywhere in the industry and weren't necessarily made to deliberately embarrass the people in them. Ampex2000 said it took the original "Chris Berman Goes Crazy" posting on YouTube to even remember that he had the Berman clips in his collection in the first place.

But what of Raissman’s own professional conflict of interest potentially coloring his "reporting" for the Daily News? Read on from the same day’s column.

Is there a mistake in the list of nominees for the New York Emmy Awards?

Looking at the play-by-play category, you see Gary Cohen (SNY/Mets) but no Yankees voices from YES. And looking at the analyst category, there's Ron Darling (SNY/Mets), but no Yankees voices from YES.

There must be a mistake, right?

After all, nearly the entire YES Nets broadcast crew, Marv Albert, Ian (The Bird) Eagle and Mark Jackson, was nominated for Emmys. So how the heck could YES' Yanks yackers possibly come up empty? Especially when the gang at Al Yankzeera has a cast of thousands working the Bombers' booth.

No mistake. We checked the list over and over again, shook it 100 times, and no YES Yankees voices fell out.

What a shame. Guess Al Yank really misses Jim Kaat.

No need for the YES men to whine or hang their heads. Maybe David Cone can turn things around after he stops answering questions about his name surfacing during the House Oversight Committee hearing on the Mitchell Report.

Think Raissman harbors some bitterness towards the Yankees and their owned-and-operated YES Network?

Many local and national columnists have negative feelings towards the Yankees that get published regularly, so that's hardly an issue. That is, until you learn that Raissman also appears regularly on-camera for SNY, the New York outlet that happens to be co-owned by the rival Mets.

In Raissman's mind it's okay to gloat over someone's failures (YES) from his high profile authority position (Daily News) while not immediately making clear that doing so also favors his other interests (SNY). How does that compute?

Perhaps Raissman was so offended by Ampex2000 because he ultimately fears for himself. Maybe there's a concern that something he said or did near a camera will someday find its way to YouTube.

Rather than stress accountability, Raissman chose to blame the messenger and label him a "creep" for bringing the public something factual about a well known person.

A long look in the mirror may be in order, sir.

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