Ombudsman Ohlmeyer Flays ESPN’s ‘Decision’

Former NBC Prez Don Ohlmeyer is currently scratching his media-criticism itch as ESPN’s ombudsman, and he has delivered a scathing — and exhaustive — rebuke of the network over its role in televising “The Decision,” the special in which NBA star LeBron James announced that he was jumping to the Miami Heat.

Those with the time can read the entire thing, but if not, I’ll provide a few of selected highlights:

– The way the special was handled is “a metaphor for what ails the media today.”

– “No matter how convoluted the intellectual gymnastics, ESPN ‘paid’ for exclusive access to a news story.”

– “As to transparency, ESPN failed miserably where it mattered most.”

– “There are certainly times when criticism is justified — and this was one of them.”

– “An increasing amount of ombudsman mail contains an undercurrent that questions the network’s honesty and integrity.”

Ouch.

Ohlmeyer also closes with a warning, saying that while ESPN can brush off the criticism, “it does so at its own peril.”

I’d agree — though having Ohlmeyer, someone with enough screw-you money to fulfill the ombudsman function as a hobby, is certainly a good place to start.

And since Ohlmeyer rightly notes the need for transparency, full disclosure: I currently write a weekly column for Foxsports.com in addition to my duties at Variety, and have already weighed in with an earlier criticism regarding “The Decision.”

More Voices

  • Hollywood Safe Workplace

    Why Hollywood Needs to Lead the Way in Showing How to Create a Safer Workplace

    Former NBC Prez Don Ohlmeyer is currently scratching his media-criticism itch as ESPN’s ombudsman, and he has delivered a scathing — and exhaustive — rebuke of the network over its role in televising “The Decision,” the special in which NBA star LeBron James announced that he was jumping to the Miami Heat. Those with the […]

  • Seven Seconds

    Fighting the Racial Bias at the Core of Hollywood’s Cop Shows (Guest Column)

    Former NBC Prez Don Ohlmeyer is currently scratching his media-criticism itch as ESPN’s ombudsman, and he has delivered a scathing — and exhaustive — rebuke of the network over its role in televising “The Decision,” the special in which NBA star LeBron James announced that he was jumping to the Miami Heat. Those with the […]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial

    Column: Documentarian Barry Avrich Ponders Whether Harvey Weinstein Will Be Convicted

    Former NBC Prez Don Ohlmeyer is currently scratching his media-criticism itch as ESPN’s ombudsman, and he has delivered a scathing — and exhaustive — rebuke of the network over its role in televising “The Decision,” the special in which NBA star LeBron James announced that he was jumping to the Miami Heat. Those with the […]

  • Janet Mock Pose

    'Pose' Writer Janet Mock on Making History With Trans Storytelling (Guest Column)

    Former NBC Prez Don Ohlmeyer is currently scratching his media-criticism itch as ESPN’s ombudsman, and he has delivered a scathing — and exhaustive — rebuke of the network over its role in televising “The Decision,” the special in which NBA star LeBron James announced that he was jumping to the Miami Heat. Those with the […]

  • Tony Awards Sightlines Column

    How to Produce the Tony Awards: 5 Unsolicited Tips

    Former NBC Prez Don Ohlmeyer is currently scratching his media-criticism itch as ESPN’s ombudsman, and he has delivered a scathing — and exhaustive — rebuke of the network over its role in televising “The Decision,” the special in which NBA star LeBron James announced that he was jumping to the Miami Heat. Those with the […]

  • Under the Silver Lake

    Cannes 2018's Hidden Thrill: The Opportunity to Find New Voices

    Former NBC Prez Don Ohlmeyer is currently scratching his media-criticism itch as ESPN’s ombudsman, and he has delivered a scathing — and exhaustive — rebuke of the network over its role in televising “The Decision,” the special in which NBA star LeBron James announced that he was jumping to the Miami Heat. Those with the […]

  • Kathryn Bigelow Kathryn Bigelow poses backstage

    It's Time for Action, Not Promises, to Get More Women in Filmmaking (Guest Column)

    Former NBC Prez Don Ohlmeyer is currently scratching his media-criticism itch as ESPN’s ombudsman, and he has delivered a scathing — and exhaustive — rebuke of the network over its role in televising “The Decision,” the special in which NBA star LeBron James announced that he was jumping to the Miami Heat. Those with the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content