Bob Costas: Media can’t just call ‘fouls’ on one side


GLENDALE, AZ – SEPTEMBER 11: Sunday Night Football commentator Bob Costas sits on set before the NFL game between the New England Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. New England won 23-21. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — In a divided world, sports help to bring people together, sportscaster Bob Costas says.

He told Chris Cuomo, on the incoming NewsNation anchor’s podcast, that “as cheesy as it sounds,” a grandmother or grandfather can take their grandchild to a ballgame, and they can all enjoy it.

“It’s also a callback to every game that they’ve seen before,” Costas said. In a wide-ranging interview on “The Chris Cuomo Project” released Tuesday, the host of HBO’s “Back on the Record” reflected on his career and the media.

“You can walk into a ballpark and people of disparate backgrounds, people who wouldn’t necessarily go to the same concert, will go to the same ballgame. And in that moment, they’re generally rooting for the same team. They’re rooting for the home team. So there’s that,” he added.

People’s love for Vin Scully, the longtime Dodgers broadcaster who died in August at the age of 94, exemplifies the unifying power of sports, Costas said.

“Every game he broadcast right to the end was simultaneously a news bulletin and a flashback,” Costas said. “A 20-year-old Dodger fan could feel — maybe not the same level, because it wasn’t the same amount of experience. — but he felt affection for Vin Scully, and so did his 80-year-old grandmother or grandfather.”

There is, however, more “toxicity” when it comes to politics, Costas acknowledged.

“Someone has to emerge,” Costas said. “Someone, maybe not just one person, maybe it’s a group of people, but as a presidential candidate, a Democrat, and a Republican, who are willing to say, ‘Look, these are our principles shared and particular to our party, but there are universal principles of honesty, and of civility, and shared American principles, and we’re going to disavow the worst of what our respective parties have been about.”

Journalists, Costas added, have to call out both sides as well.

“If we’re talking about media, you’re not an honest broker if you’re only calling fouls on one side,” he said.

In addition, Costas said business models where media companies center stirring their audience’s emotions and resentments rather than their ideals, only get people more addicted to outrage.

“It’s like asking McDonald’s to sell vegetables,” Costas said. “Might be a good thing, but that’s not what they’re selling.”

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