The Fred Wilpon Files: Whatever Happened To Bob Raissman?

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There was once a sports media critic in this town named Bob Raissman. He was a must-read, whether you agreed with him or not. I always felt he was more even-handed than the Post’s resident finger-pointer Phil Mushnick (still a great read, even though I agree with what he says about 2% of the time), while the current king of media watchdogs, Neil Best, didn’t start his Sportswatch column until 2005. So for me, it was Raissman and Mushnick, Mushnick and Raissman.

Raissman was never afraid to take on any subject, went out of his way to find and promote new talent, and was always willing to take on any opponent, even a powerful baseball owner:

Does anyone believe Wilpon, a successful businessman, did not make every attempt, work every angle, ask a slew of questions of all baseball sources at his disposal (not just Phillips), before opening his wallet to bring in a player like, well, let’s say, Mo Vaughn? Does anyone believe Phillips squashed the idea of Alex Rodriguez coming to the Mets without Wilpon’s input and approval? “Fred and I are only as good as the info we get,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon told the Daily News’ Adam Rubin. Hogwash. That’s not the issue. When the “info” was good, and the Mets went to the playoffs and World Series, Fred Wilpon shared in the credit. Now, ownership says recent “info” provided by Phillips was bad. Does that mean Wilpon should not share the blame? You can’t have it both ways.

Then, the Daily News became a sponsor of SportsNet NY, buying ad time on the partly-owned Wilpon network and producing the “Daily News Live” show, of which Raissman is a regular contributor.

Now, it is rare that any critical commentary of Fred Wilpon makes the Daily News period, let alone Raissman’s column. In fact, when Wilpon’s post-Madoff “Love Me, Feel Sorry for Me” media campaign that blew up in his face, there was Raissman, defending the man he once mocked as “Skill Sets”:

“Wilpon can’t win. Face it, for years, in times of Mets turmoil, he’s been hammered for being PR’d up and carefully choosing his words. Now, when he flaps his yap, the heat comes down. In reality, Wilpon was just parroting what plenty of fans, and media types, have already said” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/24).

Then again, we’re talking about a guy who crossed the picket line during the 1991 strike at the NYDN, so having a conflict of interest isn’t anything new to Raissman.


2 thoughts on “The Fred Wilpon Files: Whatever Happened To Bob Raissman?

    Metamucil said:
    December 23, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Great piece.
    But Mark, you did not go far enough.
    Just about the entire Daily News sports staff is on the SNY-Wilpons take.
    Biggest conflict of interest in New York city sports journalism.
    Madden, Harper, Raissman, Martino, Smith, I Team (they were all over defending the Wilpons in the Madoff suit). Lupica is the worst. I hear he brokered the SNY-News deal since he is CLOSE friends with Jeff and Fred. They all live in Connecticut and they gold together all the time. You can search for tournaments they run together online.
    And Lupica even writes that he “just talked to Jeff Wilpon on his cell phone..” all the time.
    And Lupica ALWAY writes positive about the Wilpons and Mets (his radio show is even worse. big back-slapping Mets poop). And he slams the Jets, Yanks etc. all the time.
    Madden, Harper and the rest do the same.
    In addition, The Daily News owner, Mort Zuckerman, is friends with the Wilpons.
    So dig deeper, study News clips, editorials, columns etc.
    More dirt to be found on this News-Wilpons-Mets conflict of interest.
    You agree?

      Mark Healey responded:
      December 30, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      I agree that as a sponsor of the Mets through SNY, the Daily News’ coverage — especially during the Picard / Madoff proceedings — was very slanted. Throw in the relationship that certain NYDN stalwarts have with certain Mets executives and one can even hat there certainty is a conflict of interest. However, I would not paint all of the journos there with the same brush. The same should be said for the Post, which emplys , IMO, some of the best writers in the country.

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