Here are some words that, in this particular order, do not refer to anything that exists: “parody sports-style game show.” What does that mean? Does “parody” modify “sports-style” or “game show” or “sports-style game show”? What is a “sports-style game show”? “Double Dare”? Would this be a parody of “Double Dare”? I’m happy to report that we’ll soon learn what one media organization thinks that term means, thanks to the money-drunk Bloomberg Politics team.
The Politico’s Hadas Gold reported yesterday on an email Bloomberg’s Matt Negrin has been sending out to reporters expected to attend a conservative campaign event in South Carolina this weekend. Here is a teaser for a very bad idea that does not, unfortunately, resemble a parody of “Double Dare.”
“It’s a parody sports-style game show that stars the reporters who cover candidates. The idea is that we’ll interview reporters before they go into the post-speech media scrum, and then afterward, like ESPN would interview athletes before and after a game. And of course during the scrum, we’ll go all in with our fancy schmancy cameras,” Negrin wrote in an email to one reporter and shared with the On Media blog.
There’s even a “semi-arbitrary point system,” 10 points for every 10 seconds in the “core” of the scrum, and 50 points for getting a quote from a candidate.
The segment will air on “With All Due Respect,” the largely unwatched Bloomberg Politics web and cable chat show, and it will be called “ScrumZone.” I appreciate, at least, that this bad idea has an appropriately off-putting name. (Imagine, like, a strip mall sports bar called “ScrumZone.” Imagine the wings and mozzarella sticks and patrons at “ScrumZone.” “Hey, man, we’re heading to ScrumZone after work to watch some college hoops, you in?” No, thanks, I am busy tonight and forever.)
There are fun (“fun”) ways to combine the “political reporting” and “game show” genres. Steve Kornacki sometimes hosts a quiz show based on recent political news on his MSNBC weekend morning show. It’s purposefully campy and silly. It also — and this is a distinction that probably doesn’t mean much to a political reporting shop run in part by Mark Halperin — tests knowledge, not access.
I cannot stress enough how little sense this idea makes. When ESPN interviews athletes prior to and after sporting matches, ESPN is not hosting a game show. ESPN is not assigning scores to the athletes. In fact, the athletes receive their points — or win them, rather — during the “game.” This is more like if NBC Sports invented a “game show” where they interview ESPN sideline reporters after games and award them points for talking to the people who actually participated in the game. That would be a bad idea for a show, and it would make no sense, and no one would want to watch it. “ScrumZone.”
The most puzzling question related to this game show is why Michael Bloomberg, the unpleasant but not unintelligent billionaire media mogul, is paying for it.