Bob Costas and His Random Acts of Sociology

As Mollie noted in her column below, Bob Costas used the killing of a woman to lobby for gun control. Smokey the Bear, who constantly told us, “Matches don’t start forest fires, people do,” still has Costas at a disadvantage when identifying cause and effect.

Too often when an individual act like Jovan Belcher shooting his girlfriend occurs, folks like Costas try to find blame in the rest of us as if it’s our fault; or the gun’s fault – anyone but the killer’s fault. I suppose a case can be made that sociology and sports reporting are similar in that each requires commenting on the works of others. Bob seems to dabble in both.

However, this isn’t the first time Bob has shown a tin ear when it comes to knowing what is going on in the world.

Recall if you will the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The media was in an hysterical tizzy before the opening ceremonies. They were certain that during the Parade of Nations, America would be soundly booed when our athletes entered the arena (although Europeans whistle to show opprobrium; they don’t boo). The reason for the booing was supposed to be world-wide displeasure with America’s invasion of Iraq. Eleanor Clift, screaming for liberals everywhere, resolutely predicted booing. NBC’s Olympic commentators Katie Couric and Bob Costas were giddy with anticipation waiting for our American athletes to be booed or whistled.

To the media, this booing or whistling was to provide them with a chance to say, “See, we told you the world hates America because of George W. Bush.” The reaction of the crowd was to be a certain and final referendum on how the world feels about America and our foreign policy.

As the many nations proceeded into the arena, each received applause. When the Americans entered, to the liberal media’s horror, the crowd erupted in applause with far more volume and vigor than they cheered for most other nations. Not only did they fail to make sounds of disapproval, they made an effort to show approval.

The liberals needed emergency spin so Bob Costas provided it. He instantly commented that the crowd perceived a difference between the American people and the American government, so they were cheering only for our athletes.

Let’s review Bob’s illogic. When he believed (and hoped) Americans would be booed, it was certainly because the crowd would be commenting on America’s foreign policy. When they cheered instead, it suddenly became impossible for the crowd to comment on America’s foreign policy. No room for America as a nation to win under Bob’s rules. We could only lose.

Now how did Costas know the crowd’s cheering was purposely directed at our people and decidedly not for our government? A moment before the applause he was convinced of the opposite. Did Super Bob fly about the arena and poll thousands of cheering people in one split second to find that they still denounce American policy despite their cheers? More likely, Costas was quick to perpetuate a lie.

 I like Costas on sports. On sociology? Whether it’s guns or foreign policy, I don’t like him so much.

  1. Ed Driscoll
    C

    I like Costas on sports. On sociology? Whether it’s guns or foreign policy, I don’t like him so much.

    And global warming as well. Though oddly, Bob’s halftime advice on that topic — also during a Cowboys-Eagles Sunday Night Football game — consisted of demanding the viewer turn off the 75 watt bulb in his kitchen, rather than say, the Philadelphia Eagles extinguishing the 57,000,000 watts of klieg lights used to illuminate Lincoln Financial Field.

  2. liberal jim

    Everyone I know had the TV muted or was busy in the bathroom.  The only people that seem to have heard him were people who have nothing better to do than talk about it.  Costas says what he says because he knows he will get comments from the echo chamber of the NE and West coast.   You proved him correct.  You don’t honestly think real people sit there at halftime and listen to these buffoons.

  3. Vance Richards

    If the murder had been a strangulation, would Costas be arguing against thumbs?

  4. Matthew K. Tabor

    It’s such an important lesson to remember: In your sphere, speak up. Outside your sphere, listen.

  5. Mollie Hemingway

    Media critic Howard Kurtz tweeted about “outrage directed at Costas for injecting a serious topic into something supposedly as frivolous as sports.”

    First off, I reject the idea that sports are frivolous. But was outrage over Costas’ comments people being upset that he introduced a serious topic?

    Yes, he picked precisely the wrong venue for a silly rant. But that’s just it, too — he didn’t introduce a serious discussion of gun control. He introduced a litany of cliches that wouldn’t be acceptable on a high school debate squad … from precisely one side of a debate before bodies from a tragedy had even cooled.

  6. Jimmy Carter

    I knew better than to watch… I just knew better.

    I can’t find it, but remember when the same NBC sports cast did their program in the dark with green up lighting in order to “raise awareness (if I remember correctly)” of alternative energy or something a few years ago? They were pleading Us to conserve energy, and I did by turning them off.

    Man, I can’t stomach them people.

    “Hey, jerk, I’m trying to watch football.”

  7. Devereaux

    ?Has anyone noticed that there is not a single person arguing that had Kadandra had a weapon, she might be alive.

  8. Chris Campion

    Costas:  Good at sports commentary.  Not much good at sports, or anything else.

    But there won’t be a lot of career downside for him running his mouth, which is probably why he felt both the need and the urgency to speak The Costas Mind.

  9. AUMom
    Devereaux: ?Has anyone noticed that there is not a single person arguing that had Kadandra had a weapon, she might be alive. · 10 minutes ago

    AUDad commented exactly this in the LA Times comment section.  He ended with a plea to women to keep the means to defend themselves legal.

  10. AR
    Devereaux: ?Has anyone noticed that there is not a single person arguing that had Kadandra had a weapon, she might be alive. · 10 minutes ago

    Here’s a compelling argument:

    http://doubleplusundead.com/2012/12/03/an-open-letter-to-bob-costas-and-jason-whitlock/

  11. Brian McMenomy

    Perhaps he should explain his position to one of my drivers, who recently found an intruder in his garage.  This driver is an older gentleman, but instead of getting his tail kicked (or worse), he was able to detain the intruder until the police came.  Why?  The .357 leveled at the guy’s chest probably had something to do with it. 

    The real sadness of this is a young man that took the life of his girlfriend, then seeing nothing but futility and crushing guilt for his murderous act, decided that the world would be better off without him.  The gun didn’t do that; HE did.  Costas’ opportunism only adds to the stain of a horrid situation.  His self-important smugness made it even worse.

  12. Butters

    Even if Costas had made a statement in favor of gun rights, it would have been inappropriate. 

    Our own Pat Sajak has strong opinions, but he knows viewers don’t tune in to WoF to hear his political views. It would be sucker punching a captive audience. He finds other outlets to express his views.

  13. flownover

    The tawdry facts of the case are obscured with a rant by Jason Whitlock, who is grabbing his 15 minutes.

    The mother of the child was out at a Trey Songz concert until 1 or so in the morning, necessitating the presence of the mother in law. The shooter, KC Chief Belcher was on the town with another woman, getting publicly drunk in a bar and had parked his Bentley in front of her house overnight. He got up in the morning, drove over to his house, confronted the victim and shot her.  He was probably informed of her activities by someone by text and enraged to the point of mindless violence.  The continuing controversy and possible coverup of concussive brain damage is being discussed. Six NFL players have committed suicide in the past year or so, many of them identified as victims of those repetitive injuries. Costas may well be diverting the discussion away from the lifestyle choices of Belcher and the NFL’s complicity on the job injury side. 

    Sort of like blaming something on ayoutube video,  but the media would never do that…

  14. Kervinlee
    Brian McMenomy: 

    The real sadness of this is a young man that took the life of his girlfriend, then seeing nothing but futility and crushing guilt for his murderous act, decided that the world would be better off without him.  The gun didn’t do that; HE did.  

    I have owned firearms my entire adult life; in more than 35 years there has never been a moment when I or anyone else was ever in the slightest bit of danger from me or my guns. I have never thought of using a gun to gain an advantage and don’t anticipate ever doing so. I love guns but loathe violence, as I suspect most of us do.

  15. Sisyphus

    Moral vanity. But I don’t watch the NFL any longer for the same reason I don’t watch the Olympics. Corrupt owners, organizers, and players. I get enough of that at the polls.

  16. EJHill

    I don’t know Costas but I know plenty like him.

    Those of us in the sports television business are privileged to work in the candy store of life and we know it. We make a good living watching young gifted men play little boys games. There is an unreality to it all.

    Every once in a while real life intrudes and does so in a horrible way. Terrorists in an Olympic village, the ripples of Little Lake Nellie, a man taught to express himself in controlled violence loses the control… We grasp for words because this is not the language we speak. We feel compelled to say something, anything really. And then we do and something stupid falls out.

    For Costas, it makes no difference that some nations have higher non-firearms related homicides per capita than we have murders with guns. It makes no difference that some nations with gun bans had lower rates than the US even before their bans and it makes no difference that some cultures with low murder rates demand gun ownership.

    The man with the mic is compelled to opine. What a pity.

  17. Roberto
    Ningrim: Our own Pat Sajak has strong opinions, but he knows viewers don’t tune in to WoF to hear his political views. It would be sucker punching a captive audience. He finds other outlets to express his views. · 1 hour ago

    Good point. In fact if I may raise a far more important topic than Mr. Costas silly rambling, where is Mr. Sajak?!

    The good fellow has not engaged with the Ricochet community in over a month now. Over thirty days, it is most distressing. 

  18. dittoheadadt
    liberal jim: Everyone I know had the TV muted or was busy in the bathroom.  The only people that seem to have heard him were people who have nothing better to do than talk about it.  Costas says what he says because he knows he will get comments from the echo chamber of the NE and West coast.   You proved him correct.  You don’t honestly think real people sit there at halftime and listen to these buffoons.

    So are you saying commercial ad buys at halftime cost $0 and the halftime Nielsens drop to zero as well?

  19. E. Lee Zimmerman

    Costas has always been one of those voices I just ignore.  He’s entitled to his gibberish, just as much as I am to mine.  Would I make a fool of my communication skills in front of a bajillion people like Bobby did?  No.

  20. Sisyphus

    If we want to cure Costas of commentary on public affairs, just put him in the ring with with Richard Epstein, and place Dr. Epstein on his kill setting. Not only will Costas be unable to respond seriously, he will likely be unable to frame a complete sentence by Round 2.

    His marker will read, “Cut himself accidentally 57 times while filming a shaving commercial.”