Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Our New American Hero

So the NCAA plans to conduct a "thorough investigation" into the source of a leaked bracket that spread like wildfire across social media on Sunday--before their "broadcast partner" CBS had a chance to reveal all of the Men's Basketball Tournament matchups.  Given the Association's track record of investigative success (see Cam Newton getting away with being paid to play for Auburn) our one-man bracket-buster is likely safe.  However, I'm hoping that he is actually outed--as all of America would like to thank him for his service.

In case you weren't watching, CBS decided to slow-roll the brackets this year as part of a two-hour broadcast.  Instead of telling us who the number one seeds were, taking a commercial break, giving us the first region, a commercial break, and then revealing the next region, so on and so on--giving us the complete brackets in about 20-minutes--we got talking heads blathering about how excited they were to see the matchups, then discussion about the four number one seeds, then one bracket revealed followed by predictions and discussions about those first 16-games--rather than moving on to the next region right away.  Punctuating the idiocy was Charles Barkley being totally incapable of making his picks work properly on a touch-screen--all while the nation screamed for the next region to be revealed.

It was after about 45-minutes of this obvious effort to prolong viewership and artificially boost ratings that our "leaker" took matters into his own hands and put up the complete bracket on social media.  As you might expect, the post spread like wildfire with my "retweet" of it being "retweeted" several hundred times as well.  At first, there was apprehension--as there are "fake leaks" all the time.  But as CBS slowly showed more of the matchups, we all realized that the bracket we'd had in our hands for sometime already was in fact correct.

CBS now claims that it was well aware of the leaked bracket and that it was indeed correct--but they maintain that it did not influence their presentation--which still took an hour and 20-minutes to reveal all of the regions.  And it is that attitude that shows exactly why conventional electronic media is assisting in its own demise.  In a day and age when people have come to expect immediate information (and social media reaction), on Sunday, CBS pretended that it could withhold whatever it wanted from the people--just because they can.  But as more and more traditional outlets are discovering, the non-broadcasters have the means to scoop them whenever they want.  My suggestion to them would be to reveal the brackets in the first 15-minutes of next year's Selection Sunday show--then give us actual intelligent discussion and analysis of the matchups to keep us watching--and see what the ratings are for that.

So here's hoping that the NCAA really does find our "bracket leaker" and that his name is revealed to the rest of the country--because I can guarantee he will never have to pay for a drink for the rest of this year.

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