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Even the Sports Report Is Biased, Big-League!

Harlan Coben is the author of the international bestsellers "Tell No One," "Fool Me Once," "Long Lost" and "Hold Tight." His latest novel, "Home," published in September.
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During the third quarter of Super Bowl LI, sports analyst Jake Schmoe came on the radio and said, “With the Atlanta Falcons leading, 28-3, I predict a Falcon victory over the New England Patriots.”

Jake Schmoe was wrong.

Two days later, Jake reads off scores during a Sports Update. “And in NBA action, the Miami Heat beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 115-113. Let’s take some calls. Hello?”

“Fake news, Jake.”

“Excuse me?”

“The Timberwolves won.”

“Uh, no, they didn’t. As I just reported-- ”

“Fake news, Jake! Remember when you said the Falcons were going to win?”

“Yes, I looked at the score in the third quarter and-- ”

“That’s your problem, SportsTard. You lied about that. You’re lying about this.”

“No, see, that was an analysis. This is news.”

“Prove it, snowbird! Prove the Timberwolves lost.”

“Well, OK, if you watch a video of the game, the score will show that the Heat won by two.”

“And suppose I didn’t record it? Hello, remember a little thing called the Super Bowl?? Were you right about that?”

“I have the box score right here. Goran Dragic had 33 points. It’s the Heat’s 11th straight win.”

“Where’s your reporting when the Heat lose, Jake? Huh? I haven’t heard you say the Heat lost in days!”

“Right, but they’ve won 11 straight so-- ”

“So you only say bad things about the Timberwolves, not the Heat. Talk about bias. Both sides, Jake. Where’s the bad news on the Heat?”

“Um.”

“And I found a website that says the Timberwolves won. Want to see?”

“No.”

“You already confessed that you said the Falcons were going to win, right?”

“Likely to win, yes.”

“So we’ve already established that you’re a Falcon-loving liar.”

“That’s not the same thing.”

“So now EVERY SINGLE TIME you report a score I don’t like, I’m just going to say, ‘You lied about the Patriots and now you’re lying about my favorite team.’”

“I see.”

“I can do this for months. Years maybe.”

“I’m sure you can.”

“So you better just report that my team won, Jake, you understand? The Timberwolves won.”

“I’m going to report the scores of the game.”

“You mean like you did with the Super Bowl, you lying puck? And another thing: Stop criticizing the coach. He’s the coach, right?”

“He is.”

“The owner hired him.”

“Right.”

“So you should never EVER question his decisions.”

“But what if I think he’s wrong about play-calling? Or personnel choices. Or-- ”

“He can't be wrong, Jake. How can he be wrong? The owner hired him! He’s the coach.”

“He’s fallible.”

“You’re just a sore loser, Jake.”

“Right, I’ve got another call coming in.”

“Good, because I don’t listen to your show anyway.”

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Harlan Coben at hc@harlancoben.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Stacey Shick at sshick@bloomberg.net