Saturday, April 5, 2008

Kirby and Olmsted

Imagine a professional basketball team that has been lousy for quite some time (think the Knicks). It is late in the third quarter of yet another miserable game—they are getting trounced, 78–46. But just before the buzzer, their point guard makes a spin move to free himself, launches a three-pointer, and … swish, knocks it home. As the players walk to their benches, the opposing coach gives the guard a long stare, and at last finally nods, “Nice shot.”

All of a sudden David Kirby and Dan Olmsted come running out of the stands. They construct a massive podium at center court, unfurl gaudy streamers from the highest rafters, switch the spotlights to their loudest beam. After gathering up every reporter, celebrity and dogcatcher they can possibly find, they instruct the point guard to take center stage and recall in excruciating detail that fateful and decisive moment, the earth-shattering occasion when the opposing coach finally admitted, “Nice shot.” And with an awkwardness only they can muster, each now grabs the microphone for himself and shouts with fire alarm glee, “See, that proves it—we were right all along. This is the greatest basketball team that ever lived!”

I hope Kirby and Olmsted are not forgotten. I hope they receive all the undying attention they seem to so desperately crave. Most bad journalists simply fade into obscurity, but how much better if they were made into bright and shining examples—like flaming skulls on a wooden stake. When they build the Woodward and Bernstein Wannabes Hall of Fame, I nominate Kirby and Olmsted inductees number one and number two.

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