Jim Harbaugh

Cohn: 49ers ‘need to teach Harbaugh how to interact with the media’

As I was finishing up the post that effectively took the metaphorical bridge that never really existed between myself and the Cohn family and detonated it with a ton of C-4, Lowell Cohn wrote a piece titled “Advice to the 49ers.” It isn’t that long (unlike my last post), so I’ll reprint it in full:

The 49ers need to help Jim Harbaugh. They need to teach Harbaugh how to interact with the media and how to act in public.

No matter what you think, Harbaugh is a flop with the media. You may think it doesn’t matter, but it does. He is the face of the franchise. He is sarcastic and juvenile and that helps no one.

The Niners need to hire a consultant who can teach Harbaugh how to conduct himself, how to answer tough questions, how to smooth some of his many rough edges. Harbaugh and the consultant could role play or do whatever media consultants do.

FYI, this could pay dividends for Harbaugh. The media tends to give a longer rope to coaches and players they like. Someone should tell this to Harbaugh. He won’t always win 14 games. He needs to build up some goodwill for the team and for him.

What are the chances of the Niners taking Cohn’s advice? Probably about the same as me buying the same Tiki Barber jersey the woman in front of me was wearing during the NFC Championship Game.

“Hey Jim, if you have a minute could you take a break from working on the passing game and do a trial run with this media consultant? You’ll be you, and he’ll be Lowell. It’ll be a hoot!”

Let’s take a look at the last paragraph, specifically the part about “a longer rope.” Now, we all know this to be true. Those who work in the media are technically people too, and it’s impossible to keep an objective perspective on everything.

Pot, meet kettle

I’m no different, even though I write for MBN (Mom’s Basement Nation). I covered two Stanford games this past season and neither time was I given a seat in the press box.

The first time was during the Oregon game, when the press box was so full I had no choice but to drive back to my San Francisco apartment to watch the game on DVR delay because I couldn’t see the field. Since I have no ties to Stanford, my first reaction as I trudged the two miles from the stadium back to my car was to silently root against the Cardinal for the rest of time. That is, until I realized I was acting like a spoiled brat (or an 11-year-old!).

Not exactly something I’m proud of, but I could see how people who work in the industry for years/decades can form opinions and hold grudges about things that fans never consider. After some time to cool off I understood that there’s no logical reason for any school or team to lay out the red carpet for a freelancer/blogger like myself, and I actually found myself rooting for the Cardinal in the Fiesta Bowl.

(Side note: I’m clearly not a journalist, since I lost my voice at both Niners playoff games and spent all that time thinking about whether or not to root for Stanford. On that note, my mom just came down and put in a fresh load of laundry. I HATE it when she does that when I’m BLOGGING!)

My challenge, if I actually break into this business full-time (and good luck with that if I keep writing posts that denigrate local media icons), is to remain professional at all times — even if teams and people I’m trying to cover make my job more difficult.

Cohn sees the backlash he’s facing as a sign that fans side with authority (teams, players and coaches). I think it has more to do with fans tiring of media personalities making themselves the story. However, for many in the profession that’s how one makes a name and subsequently increases his or her earning power. Cohn’s page views are surely through the roof this week — if you’re an editor for the Press Democrat you’re probably very pleased with his recent coverage of the 49ers’ head coach.

What now?

The best part about all this? Now I can’t wait until the next Harbaugh press conference. Will Cohn ask more questions designed to get a reaction from Harbaugh? Will this lead to a kindler, gentler Harbaugh, simply so he can make life easier for himself and the Niners’ PR staff?

Probably not. Harbaugh seems pretty set in his ways, and pressure from a Santa Rosa columnist probably isn’t going to shake his resolve. He’s been pretty successful so far as a coach without playing the media game the same way Bill Walsh or even Mike Nolan did. Even if columnists offered him extra rope, knowing Harbaugh he’d probably decline.

32 Comments

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32 Comments on "Cohn: 49ers ‘need to teach Harbaugh how to interact with the media’"

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DM
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DM
” I think it has more to do with fans tiring of media personalities making themselves the story.” This quote sums up the way I have felt about overall journalism ever since I graduated from college, with a degree in journalism, and subsequently got so soured on the industry and the application process I gave it up. Why the hell would Jim Harbaugh need “rope” from Lowell Cohn, or Ray Ratto, or Matt Maiocco, or Murph and Mac, or whoever? Win games, that’s all he needs to do, and when he stops doing that, maybe his rope will run out… Read more »
Foosh
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Foosh

Lowell just hates the Niners. This was his lead in last night to a story on the Warriors: “On my way to the Super Bowl with the 49ers, I got diverted to Oracle Arena, where the Warriors’ season lives, sort of, as opposed to the 49ers’ season, which doesn’t.”

Rich
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Rich

I think he does just fine. Lowell Cohn on the other hand…

JT
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JT

Jed York is not a fan of Cohn either, so he’s probably loving all of this. I bet he and Harbaugh had a good laugh over it.

B.A. Rich
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B.A. Rich

Who IS a fan of Cohn?

Rich
Guest
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Rich

There’s a guy here with the screenname “Stan” who seems to be a Cohn supporter.

Daniel Hunt
Member
Member
Daniel Hunt

The Cohns have a few sock puppets

Licky
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Member
Licky

Who is Lowell Cohn?

fact275
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fact275

Considering the replies to his pitiful attacks on Harbaugh, Lowell Cohn must be hoping he gets banished further north.

Jon
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Jon

I will be honest…I didnt finish the article. But I think Harbaugh knows exactly what he is doing. Does it fit the journalists’ agenda? No. but I think he knows that.

I find Harbaugh is very tactical when it comes to dealing with the media and word choice.

B.A. Rich
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Member
B.A. Rich

I completely agree, very tactical. You can tell he really thinks about what words he uses.
It probably comes from being a player and experiencing his quotes or teammates quotes taken out of context by a writer to make for a better article.

Stan
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Member
Stan
Harbaugh wins-good for him. But if you think only Lowell Cohn doesn’t like him..ask Andrew Luck who says he “polarizes people”..and that was BEFORE the 49er season started. Other coaches enjoy beating the sore loser and rub it in winner. He’s not a likeable person,and doesn’t care about it,then expect questions that don’t make him happy Jim. He’s been the pampered athlete almost all his life-he has to revert to when he was 11 I guess to when was last he worried about lifes real problems. Now,a multi millionaire he almost demands to only be spoken to in his approved… Read more »
Stan
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Stan

and add a exclamation mark after “lifes real problems”. The man has lived in a fantasy world all his life,enabled.

Foosh
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Foosh

I think Stan is Lowell Cohn in disguise.

Stan
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Member
Stan

Lol-Harbaughs “blue collar”..when he coached at Stanford he had his own state of the art marble custom bathroom built,heated toilet seat..Yeah, real blue collar!

Daniel Hunt
Member
Member
Daniel Hunt
He’s not a likable person…. according to a giant douchebag that no one cares about and who asks repeatedly asinine questions by the name of Lowell Cohn. The team, the organization, the fans, everyone else likes him just fine. And just for the record, I’ve read the press conferences and seen the tape too. And I like him more for it, not that I’m anywhere near as thick as Lowell Cohn to suggest that this matters. Long story short, THIS ISN’T A CONTROVERSY, or a hot debate or anything of the sort. This is one d-bag exposing himself as an… Read more »
Stan
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Stan

Comment hidden?? FREE SPEECH!

doug
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doug

I’m convinced Stan is either A) Lowell, B) actually 11 years old, hence the terrible logic, or C) just saying all this to aggravate us and get a laugh.

MoragaJohn
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MoragaJohn

I think Stan is a hoot… shinning every on… at least when you can understand what he posts. smile

Paperback Writer
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Paperback Writer
Cohn making a fool of himself. stereotypes all jocks as dumb meatheads. Cohn is a one trick pony same ol s……time after time after whine. He’s feigning as a would be shrink – he THINKS (LOL) – but comes off as 10 year old having a hissy-fit in front of his 5th grade teacher. A leftover Howard Cosell with none of the talent or (anti)charisma. Couldn’t make it in NY- so comes here and learns nothing in all these years. OK don’t read him, I know – BUT I don’t but he keeps popping up on TV now! Yes, he… Read more »
Tom
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Tom

LOL Cohn is such a buffoon!!

Jeff
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Jeff

Cohn is such a blowhard!! I think he is just upset because the new coach in town isnt kissing the long time bay area journalists’ ass. I see Belichick act standoff-ish and snarky at ALL his press conferences and no one seems to care. Of course all of those wins and SBs will give a little more leeway, but still.

Stan
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Stan

Rather then Harbaugh reading the room-Harbaugh wants the room to read him. Maybe Lowell does too. Again,he’s a columnist and his opinion is his opinion. At least unlike the others..who will write “I never thought Jim was this or that”..when he hits a losing year or more,Lowell is honest to say it now.
I got to admit-the hostile reaction to his article,is some suprise. Its scarily near Sandusky level.

Daniel Hunt
Member
Member
Daniel Hunt
Hey ‘Stan’, why so surprised? Your, errr, I mean the, article was petulant, and reeked of dishonesty. People simply aren’t as stupid as you, errr…, Lowell seems to think they are. They see through the petulant passive aggressive concern trolling and the very low character it reveals in its author. Now, if this Lowell person that is not you were to have any sense of honor, and were to have leveled an honestly rendered and level headed critique of the popular 49er coach- i.e. one that was not so clearly wrapped a consequence of that person’s overwhelming self-absorption and profound… Read more »
ayetee
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ayetee

Cohn thinks he’s the “media”? My advice,”Don’t flatter yourself.”

MoragaJohn
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MoragaJohn

Hey Stan, Lowell thinks whatever he writes is the “truth”???… not opinion. Check out his rebuttal to his “11 year old” piece… “Is Lowell rude to the Niners and Jim Harbaugh?” Interesting he’s writing in the third person don’t you think?

Simon
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Member
Simon

Who cares what Lowell Cohn says?

He’s irrelevant and boring. I was thrilled when the Chronicle dumped him years ago.

What difference does it make what he thinks of Jim Harbaugh?

The GooseLG
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The GooseLG
BASG, great article. I have beena Cohn fan for a long time as Cohn ‘thinks differently’ than most sports journalists. He sees beyond the traditional X and O’s and captures elements of the sporting landscpae that aren’t often discussed. That being said, Cohn definately has a personal vendetta against Harbaugh and the 49ers under the York regime. He has lost his sense of objectivity with regards to Niners. That being said, I don’t blame journalists for taking it personally when head coaches and players are condescending and mean to them as they are simply trying to do their job.a Frankly,… Read more »
MoragaJohn
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Member
MoragaJohn
IMO, Harbaugh could and should strive to “get a little better today than he was yesterday” at pressers. He certainly appears to be adversarial and slightly acerbic most of the time… HOWEVER, if you haven’t noticed, there are certain types of questions that are more likely to elicit those kinds of responses than others. It is brain surgery to figure out what those kinds of questions are… YET, IMO, the media does not choose to avoid those questions but rather continue to ask them in the guise of doing their job even though they fully know in advance what kind… Read more »
MoragaJohn
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Member
MoragaJohn

I actually meant… it is NOT brain surgery. Allot to be said for proof reading… or typing i guess???

Stan
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Member
Stan

I heard Lowell on Comcast..and when asked who the most beloved sports figure in the bay area is? He answered “I,Lowell Cohn”. See? how can you argue with that?

MoragaJohn
Guest
Member
MoragaJohn

Hey Stan, if you really heard Lowell say that… was his tongue firmly implanted in cheek? For some reason, I get the feeling he was serious. Anyway, what’s up with all your posts being lightened out? Just asking?

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