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Saturday, October 12, 2013


Just when you thought things were starting to even out in so many ways on the MSU-vs-UM front, we come across yet another example of the sometimes subtle media bias against the Spartans. This one comes from the Lansing State Journal (LSJ).

The LSJ is the largest newspaper in the Lansing market, with a significant web presence and a long history of extensive local sports coverage. It is arguably the "cradle of columnists", having produced the great Joe Rexrode most recently, and before him, Lynn Henning and Jack Ebling.

But this latest little feature includes an embedded bias against MSU. This is a poll that asks readers to vote for the "best game at Spartan Stadium". There are ten choices, many of them classics. They have the 10-10 tie, the Levi Jackson game, and most recently, the "Little Giants" and "Rocket" walk-off wins. I voted for the 1974 game, as I was there and Jackson broke through a hole right in front of us and blazed down the sideline into pandemonium.

You might find a similar reader poll in different cities about their own home school team, with an array of big-game memories to choose from. On the surface, seems pretty tame.

But a closer look reveals that three of the ten choices were games that were lost by MSU, two to Notre Dame and one to Iowa. All three were nasty, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking losses. How do these choices make their way onto such a list?

For comparison, consider the same reader poll if it appeared in the Ann Arbor News, asking what were the best games ever played at Michigan Stadium. And suppose that three of the choices were the 28-27 loss to MSU in 1990, the 34-32 loss to Appalachian State in 2008, and any of a zillion times that Woody crushed their seasons in the final game. Would that make sense? Do you think people might question the sense of the local newspaper to suggest that such terrible games - - - from the local perspective - - - should ever be considered on a list of ten from the hundreds that have been played?

I can't believe any such article would appear in the Ann Arbor media (including Detroit) and I don't believe one ever has. I can't prove a negative, but until somebody shows me evidence of such a piece, I'm asserting here and now that it hasn't. Let me add that it won't in the future, either.

Most folks don't notice such a local insult because they just make a different choice and probably only think about a few of the games in the list afterwards, anyway. But don't overlook the fact that people in this area are exposed to what amounts to a "low-level of radiation" of anti-MSU bias in the mainstream media on a consistent basis. That same media then labels Spartan fans and supporters as having an "inferiority complex".

Bottom Line: It doesn't make sense to suggest that Michigan State folks would enjoy or in any way prefer a home loss to a home victory. With hundreds of home wins on record, why would a major news agency offer not one, but several losses on a short list for fans to vote on? The underlying message from such original media pieces influences the way people think about MSU, almost as if by design.

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