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Saturday, January 3, 2015


Joe Rexrode is the best sports reporter in the Detroit market, let's get that out of the way right here at the top. We are not criticizing the work of Rexrode, nor are we saying he is part of a pro-Michigan conspiracy at the Detroit Free Press. But he works in a blue-biased-bubble at the Freep (though that publication is not necessarily the worst offender in yellow-and-blue journalism).

So it wasn't surprising to see a very unflattering picture of Spartan Football Head Coach Mark Dantonio topping an article that claimed he was somehow inadequate because he wanted to talk about the Cotton Bowl at a Cotton Bowl press conference. You may recall only a few short days ago how the sports media was trying to hijack every interview with every sports figure and turn it into a Jim Harbaugh Retrospective. Dantonio was the only one to put a lid on such attempts, closing off the impulse to distort every American sporting event into a showcase for the University of Michigan.

He was right to do so. Dantonio knew that he wasn't a guest on the Jim Rome Show in Dallas, he was coaching a team to play in the Cotton Bowl.

Dantonio wanted questions about his team and/or
his coaches, and maybe a few about Baylor as well.
Not another episode of "All About Michigan".

Shawn Windsor of the Freep attacked Dantonio the next day, claiming he was deficient for not playing along with the sports media bias in favor of UM. Windsor essentially was saying that the MSU Head Coach should have bowed down, bent over, and taken it with a smile. When Dantonio didn't play along, Windsor slapped him around in a nasty article with an even nastier picture of the Spartan leader who was obviously squinting in the sunlight when the photo was taken.

Nobody seems to have a picture of Harbaugh with his player's blood smeared all over his own face, so such a photo would be a rarity. The Freep, however, has hundreds (if not thousands) of photos of Dantonio in which he's not squinting in the direct sunlight. For "SOME REASON", they chose a bad photo of Dantonio to publish the day after Harbaugh's hiring and the day before MSU's bowl game.

So I logged in to the Rexrode weekly chat to ask about it. We bring you the text exchange for your review.


  • Michigan folks have behaved disgracefully on a regular basis towards Michigan State, both formally and informally, officially and non-officially, for decades. Mark Dantonio is repeatedly criticized for standing up LIKE A MAN against such nonsense. In your professional opinion, what is he supposed to do under these circumstances? It was a Cotton Bowl press conference, not an end-of-year summary with all topics on the table.
    by SpartanMan82 2:25 PM yesterday
  • First of all, some folks on both sides of this rivalry act disgracefully. And again on Harbaugh questions -- the news was official yesterday, an hour before Dantonio spoke. How in the world would anyone think that doesn't get asked? Urban Meyer got asked. Rich Rod got asked, etc., etc. Come on. It's news.
    by Joe Rexrode 2:26 PM yesterday
    • You deny the "Blue Wall" at the Freep because YOU'RE NOT PART OF IT. You obviously do a great job and everybody knows it. But how can you ignore the snarky article by Shawn Windsor, and especially the incredibly unflattering picture of Mark Dantonio along with it? That's a bad picture, man, one that should not be used in a professional publication. He is obviously squinting from the sunlight, not a good shot. This was a "smear-article" concocted only to hurt the image of MSU. Was Harbaugh also asked to comment on every other conference team that has played in, or will play in, a bowl game? Of course not, he's treated with kid gloves. NOT YOUR FAULT, JOE, BUT YOU ARE WORKING IN A "BLUE WALL WORLD".
      by SpartanMan82 2:26 PM yesterday
      • See, you're wrong there. I was in the top-secret Free Press meeting in which we talked about the best way to put out this "smear article" to help continue aiding Michigan and undercutting MSU. I have now been promoted to Blue Wall Lieutenant from Blue Wall Private.
        by Joe Rexrode 2:27 PM yesterday
          by Joe Rexrode 2:27 PM yesterday
          • (Sorry, sometimes I think I'm having a mid-life crisis. This Reese's Cup should help).
            by Joe Rexrode 2:28 PM yesterday
            • If you don't answer questions about Michigan during this chat, why should Mark Dantonio answer questions about Michigan during his COTTON BOWL PRESS CONFERENCE???
              by SpartanMan82 2:28 PM yesterday
              • YEAH, GREAT LOGIC.
                by Joe Rexrode 2:28 PM yesterday
              • Could not agree more of SpartanMan82 take on Shawnie's article. That is not even close. Glad to see Coach Dantonio put an end to the "bright shinny object" adoration going on on the Eastern side of the State.
                by USMCSPARTAN(Ret.) December 31, 2014 at 2:41 PM

              • Final attempt on the Shawn Windsor smear article. I understand that the question was asked and I accept that reality. I also understand the answer that was given, and I appreciate that reality. My objection is to the feature article that was written and published, condemning Dantonio for being real, and especially THAT AWFUL PICTURE. The picture is the giveaway to the media (bias) agenda.
                by SpartanMan82 December 31, 2014 at 2:45 PM
                • Oh, absolutely. That was a key part of our #BlueWall meeting.

                  • Thanks for participating in the New Year's Eve chat, everyone. Enjoy the holiday, please -- please -- be safe tonight. And next week I'll bring the minutes from the #BlueWall meeting so you can see what we have planned next! But seriously, thanks and take care.


                  Rexrode did a stand-up job defending his colleague while dodging the main point. I made it absolutely clear that I wasn't charging him with complicity, but he just laughed-off the whole idea. That's okay, as we can count on him to continue to produce outstanding work on a regular basis. But it remains quite possible that one reason the Freep (finally) hired/promoted him was to establish an easy and convenient counter-strike to claims of media-bias in favor of their beloved University of Michigan.

                  Joe Rexrode provides excellent professional coverage of MSU Football and Men's Basketball, and we can all appreciate that very much. His employers, however, have not consistently shaken the habit of bowing down to the Blue Gods in Ann Arbor, almost always at the expense of Michigan State.

                  Keep up the great work, Joe Rexrode!

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                  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

                    1. Bill,

                      Linking to a self serving and negative article what not be in alignment with the purpose of this website. Please see my other comments posted separately.

                    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

                    3. The article in question, is the Windsor piece. I found it, but if you're going to rag on something, you might want to provide a link. If only so readers can reference it.. Just a tidbit. I'm sure those Blue Wall Alumni Journalists (BWAJ's) could give you some more tips.. They obviously know something.

                    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

                  2. Rexrode: "First of all, some folks on both sides of this rivalry act disgracefully. And again on Harbaugh questions -- the news was official yesterday, an hour before Dantonio spoke. How in the world would anyone think that doesn't get asked? Urban Meyer got asked. Rich Rod got asked, etc., etc. Come on. It's news."

                    ME: Fair enough, it's news. I would expect the reporter to ask the question, but why should you expect our coach to comment on what is going on in a rival program during a Cotton Bowl press conference - a game in which the rival was not playing? There is no solid reason why he should answer questions that become a advertisement for the rival program during a time that, in a non-blue world, would be a spotlight on his team - not a rival's team.

                    The Blue Wall issue is partially about the fact the question is asked (in a role reversal, it would not be asked), but the bigger Blue Wall issue is demonstrated by the reaction of Dantonio not playing along (the negative article and photo). On the photo - someone at the paper DECIDES what photo should be used. The photo is NOT randomly generated. There is a bias. The sports media is loaded with graduates from Ann Arbor U and fans thereof. They have an agenda in everything they do. In and of itself, it's not a big deal, but multiplied by hundreds of tiny little episodes per year, has an impact on public perception. Why do you think people believe there is a "Michigan Difference" when, in fact, they are just like everyone else?

                    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

                    2. And it's easier to just delete your trashy comments, as we will do soon. No need for you to waste your time trying to waste our time. Your future comments will be deleted on sight, regardless of content.

                      You are nothing but a chUMp in disguise, acting like a Spartan. You love your blue boys, whether or not you ever attended UM or even know how to get to Ann Arbor. We offend you, and we understand that.

                      GOODBYE chUMp!

                    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

                    4. and I'm sorry if speaking the truth offends you, I enjoy being a level headed fan who can call a spade a spade. But you hide behind your Green Shrub of Conspiracy, it definitely make you sound intelligent.

                    5. There was no place for that question at that time, period. You will notice that Dantonio quickly, clearly, and easily answered that same question within the last few days, at a DIFFERENT TIME AND PLACE.

                      Those uncontrollable urges by the sports media to create a blue-and-yellow frame around every sports story remains UNACCEPTABLE. Dantonio has stood up to that nonsense, and Windsor put him down for standing upright.

                      Any of your comments that call any of us names will be deleted, as has been done above.

                    6. P.S. "Speaking the truth" comprises MOST of what we do on this web site.

                    7. I called you an idiot, so you deleted my comment.. That's too bad, because in it I state that I loved the fact that Dantonio didn't give them the time of day regarding AA. We agree you idiot, and I said as much, but you don't like what I have to say, and your only answer is to silence me.. Much like the Nazi's.

                      The only wall I see, is this site's wall to block out intelligent thought... you don't even realize Rexrode is making fun of you.. id**t.

                    8. and you'll literally have to point this out to me, because I have no idea where the link to the Windsor article is... If it's the bold type regarding the bad photo of Coach D, it's not linked.

                    9. Correction on the link. It was always the Rexrode Chat that was linked, not the Windsor article.

                      Rexrode is clearly making fun of THE IDEA THAT THERE IS ANY BIAS in the sports media. He is not specifically "making fun of me". He has responded in similar fashion to everybody else who makes the same claim. In that sense, it is he that has his head in the sand. Nevertheless, he does a great job at what his job is.

                      The Nazi reference is a great one to describe the "Blue Wall Syndrome". Hitler controlled the media first in order to set up his larger agenda. While we cannot identify a "Hitler" in this scenario, the techniques are similar. And yes, Bill, there ARE people planning these things out in secret meetings, though they may not be twirling their mustaches.

                      You need to control yourself with the name-calling. We don't have to give you the time of day. Some of us want to interact with you, others not so much. But in the end, if you oppose our mission, we simply ask you to leave. You have not convinced us of anything other than you buy into the whole Michigan-is-great theory.

                  3. "There is a Michigan Difference, evidenced by the fact that AA landed Harbaugh..." And I guess that Difference was also evidenced when Rich Rod and Brady were landed? This guy reminds me of Animal House. "Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" Don't interrupt him, he's on a roll. Probably waiting in the WalMart sporting department for the 2014 UM bowl game paraphernalia to arrive.


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