With Net Neutrality the hot topic today, in particular this article in the New York Times, I thought I’d post an op-ed I wrote about the topic for a Media Law class last semester. I can’t say I’ve stayed up to date on how the issue has evolved since the time this was written (November), so if anybody has new information they’d like to contribute, feel free to post in the comments. Here it is:
We’ve all seen it; we’ve all been captivated by it; we’ve allowed ourselves not to question it because it’s the American journalistic dream: take boring old news and make it interesting to the average consumer. John Oliver, television’s newest comedy anchor, has been great for American awareness. Unlike his contemporaries, Oliver has managed to not only entertain, but also to incite protest. The foremost example has been Oliver’s rant on Net Neutrality, in which he compelled Internet commenters to send complaints to the Federal Communications Commission, urging it to reconsider legislation that would, according to Oliver, fix a problem that doesn’t exist. And comment they did, as the FCC’s website crashed as a result of a wave of traffic the very next day.
A large feature of analytics is a focus on process. It involves dissecting the thinking behind decisions more than the decisions themselves, since there is so much variance involved in outcomes. There are so few large decisions that ever come our way, and by evaluating process you can filter out that variance. One of the problems with fans assessing coaches and general managers is that we either judge based on outcomes – which is faulty because of the impact of that variance – or we attempt to get inside the heads of people whom we likely have never met, and whom all we have to go on is decisions themselves, media reports, and press conferences.
The Bears today fired Head Coach Marc Trestman after a very disappointing 5-11 season marred by locker room controversies after coming into the season with Super Bowl aspirations. General Manager Phil Emery was also let go, the man who had hired Trestman two seasons ago. The decisions were completely defensible. For a team with this much talent to perform so poorly was simply unacceptable, and there wasn’t anything to suggest a turnaround for next season in the last few pitiful weeks of the season.
When I started this blog, I made sure to apologize for the fact that there would be some non-hockey/non-analytics/non-sports content, and I’ve realized lately that I haven’t followed through on…you know…what I apologized for. It’s a well-known fact that many sportswriters like Bruce Springsteen. I don’t know why this is other than to say he’s amazing, so I’m not sure why everybody doesn’t. I’ve had the opportunity to attend one full Springsteen concert (3h45 mins in length) and he’s simply the best there is live. But even beyond that, his imagery and lyrical abilities are both excellent, and having read his biography I can tell you that there are a lot of fascinating stories behind the music he’s written that make me appreciate him even more as an artist. With that, for those interested, here are my picks for the Top 10 Springsteen songs. These are objectively correct and beyond reproach, but feel free to comment/tweet your own faves so that I can tell you whether or not they are acceptable choices.