"What's good for General Motors is good for the country." Or so the pop culture saying once went.
There may have been a time when sports fans could have offered a twist on that old chestnut: What's good for ESPN is good for American sports.
As The New York Times, SI and CJR point out in discussing the network's influence over college football and its distancing from a tough investigation of the NFL and head injuries, that case is getting harder to make.
The Columbia Journalism Review puts it this way:
[H]ere’s the rub: many of the institutions that ESPN is supposed to cover would also not be where they are today if not for ESPN.
Then again, all this may do nothing to harm the network's popularity with U.S. men.