It’s me, it’s me, it’s JDB…and this article is going to perturb some of you. But first…
Dolt of the Week:
“NOT EVEN GOING TO READ THE ARTICLE, but moving to TBS is not good. TNT gets more eyes on their shows than TBS. They’ve been promoted during NBA games. I guess if they get more money to move that’s a good thing, but going to take a hit in that demo they love.” – Facebook User Comment
*Checks the numbers from April 2021 that has TBS as the #4 most watched cable network in the country…*
Good on you, man. Stop checking those facts and stick to your opinion, no matter what…
Does anyone actually read anymore, or does social media exist as nothing more than a self-serving echo bubble for uninformed opinions?
Anyway, on to the point of this article.
Defending Dave Meltzer
As I was listening to the latest NODQ Review, something stood out to me about a comment made by Virtue: I can’t recall exactly what it was word-for-word, but it was an inflammatory comment towards Dave Meltzer and journalists. He then later seemed confused as why cable news shows take up the top spots in cable ratings.
Again, TBS ranks #4. Fox News, MSNBC, Home and Garden, TBS, CNN. Those are your top 5 cable networks (per ratings) as of April 2021.
On one hand, this is a person that doesn’t seem to watch or care for news, and then on the other hand, takes time to call out journalists? That’s almost like ripping on professional wrestlers when you don’t watch wrestling, isn’t it? Yes, I know cable news isn’t the same as publications or online news, but dismissing those in a field while seemingly knowing little about it is a bit baffling.
There are many people like this. He’s not alone. They are never afraid to call out something they have no investment or knowledge in, nor likely even watch. And it’s the same for the news industry, and it’s the same for guys like Dave Meltzer. Let’s dig in.
A Decorated Journalist
According to Frank Deford, long-time editor and writer at Sports Illustrated and The National, Meltzer is the best sports reporter in the country. Meltzer has won awards from the prestigious Cauliflower Alley Club and the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
He started the Wrestling Observer (in print) in 1982, which was considered the first true ‘non-kayfabe’ source of pro wrestling news. As a wrestling/MMA historian, he has written several books and likely has forgotten more wrestling history than most fans will ever know.
He holds a degree in journalism from San Jose State University, and has frequently lectured at Stanford University. He has written for multiple major publications throughout his career.
Maybe all of these mean nothing to you, but the facts support his decorated journalist status. There is a reason why he garners so much respect from multiple industries.
Let’s move on.
Scoops ≠ News
From TNA’s cancellation by Destination America to the reformation of the nWo (Hogan/Nash fingerpoke of doom), to leaked Wrestlemania cards, Meltzer has had the inside scoop on a lot of stories in his career. Even J.J. Dillon has gone on record stating that Meltzer’s inside scoops from private WWF board meetings would “drive Vince nuts”.
But the occasional “scoop” on a story isn’t the same as reporting everyday news, and people seem to not to be able to tell the difference.
If one were to read an edition of the Wrestling Observer, it’s going to be filled with the week’s happenings in pro wrestling. This is information gathered from interviews with talent, news releases from wrestling promotions, TV ratings, match results etc.
A very small portion of it may (or may not be) “rumors.”
I would guess over 90% of all news comes from publicly available sources, reports, interviews, statistics, press releases, etc. Dave isn’t doing anything different than other well-respected journalists in the field. I am a former journalist, and getting scoops is not something that happens all of the time.
However, people want to misguidedly credit his career to the WWF Steroid Scandal or the Montreal Screwjob (which he covered both extensively). But the truth is Meltzer was doing this for over a decade beforehand. The Wrestling Observer was already finding good circulation and gaining more attention and respect from those within the industry by the mid-80s.
Lastly, plans do change in pro wrestling. A reported rumor/scoop doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong, because as we’ve seen with Vince McMahon, plans do truly change last minute at times.
You Likely Wouldn’t Be Here If It Weren’t for Dave
Dirt-sheets exist, in major part, because Dave Meltzer decided to cover the wrestling industry in a way it wasn’t at the time. While a publication like Pro Wrestling Illustrated covered the business from a kayfabe perspective, Meltzer was the first to cover it like a “real” sport.
These beginnings are what would spurn just about every major wrestling news site running today. They owe a little, or a lot, to Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer which started decades ago.
Does it mean he’s infallible? Of course not. Like any journalist who tries to get the “scoop”, there are times where said information is wrong. It happens in and outside of the wrestling news industry. Meltzer, like all of us, can make mistakes. And that’s okay.
Regardless, he’s now at a point in his career now where he’s simply giving opinions on Bryan Alvarez’s radio show more than he is getting wrestling scoops. Yes, he’s not a WWE fan. Neither am I. That’s what makes it an opinion…
Yet, people take these opinions as news (they aren’t news). Know the difference.
There are so many uninformed people with hate for journalists for absolutely no reason. They don’t have experience in the news industry, they rarely understand how the process of obtaining news and earning the trust of reliable sources work, and they’re likely not going to bother to look at any news story objectively.
It’s not just Meltzer, either; Dave Scherer, Sean Ross Sapp, Wade Keller, the list goes on of other notable wrestling journalists. Yet they all follow the same practices as any other journalist would. Most times they get it right; sometimes they don’t.
What I see more with those who demonize Dave is their lack of understanding of the news industry as a whole. The problem isn’t Dave Meltzer, it’s probably you.
If I’m being honest, it’s some fans’ inability to separate an opinion from fact, or a rumor from straight news is what’s bringing down the wrestling fanbase. It’s forming an uninformed public opinion resulting in a collective facepalm from those who utilize critical thinking and common sense.
The dismissal of experts and misunderstanding of the news industry isn’t just sinking the country’s collective IQ and turning the gullible into QAnon supporting conspiracy theorists, it’s hurting the wrestling industry as well.
But what do I know? This is just the opinion of a college educated person who worked in the news industry…
Random Note: Anyone find it interesting that WWE announces live July shows in TEXAS weeks after AEW announces live July shows in TEXAS? Yes? No?