Today on KNBR, Press Democrat sports columnist Lowell Cohn proved to the world that he has made a miraculous transformation from gasbag columnist to Nobel Prize-winning psychiatrist.
49ers President Jed York will never have to seek therapy; all he has to do is listen to Dr. Cohn.
In a stunning reversal of populist wisdom, Cohn revealed that gasbaggers really do more than blow smoke.
They inhale (something).
Cohn is ripe for so much fun material, but let's start with Journalism 101.
You would think such an esteemed sports columnist has the intellect to trust his own judgment, but Cohn demonstrated the incompetence that has characterized so much of his grub over the years.
In this case, he needed assistance or reassurance to pose simple questions at a news conference that most 10th-graders on any school newspaper could formulate. (No insult intended to 10th-graders on newspapers; that's where I got my start.)
"That morning I phoned Ira, Ira Miller; everyone knows Ira," he told his KNBR hosts today. "...And I said, 'Jed's going to have this press conference, I want to ask some questions, but I want to ask the right questions.'
"Ira would be the guy to call, so we went over it. We, he is terrific at this, and he said, 'Ask him how he can reassure the fans, but he really won't answer that. So then you say, who will you talk to?' Those were the two questions I had written in my notebook and they were Ira questions."
Seriously? You've just earned a smiley face, Lowell.
First of all, York knows there is no reassurance until the 49ers return to winning. Until then, it's all talk. York knows this.
However, from a purely journalistic perspective, let me get this correct: Lowell Cohn of The Press Democrat phones a former Chronicle colleague, whom he holds in high esteem, to ask him what to ask Jed York?
Or to confirm the questions he thought of posing?
Nothing against Miller, but are you kidding me? Is this beginning reporting? Either way, it makes one wonder.
Well, then again, I've read Cohn since I could run without my knees hurting, so I shouldn't be surprised.
Then Cohn does what so many do in public life: He attempted to revise history and to say he wants to see his foe succeed, when he really wants to see him crash and burn.
And, oh, by the way, Cohn will do all he can to help York crash and burn.
Today's interview was the latest installment.
Here is a part of the exchange of Cohn versus York at York's news conference earlier this week that led to the focus of today's KNBR interview:
Cohn: Can you assure the fanbase you have the expertise to hire a general manager?
Cohn: Who are you going to talk to to help you?
Jed: Who would you talk to if you were me?
Cohn: I would talk to very good owners and general managers around the league who know more than you do.
Jed: Like my uncle who’s won five Super Bowls and some other folks like the Krafts and folks like that who have built championship-caliber teams.
Cohn: I wish you could tell us some more. This is for the fanbase, not just for us.
Jed: I think my uncle is probably the best person out there for me to talk to. There are a lot of other people I will talk to but my uncle is the person I’ll get the most advice from.
You cannot blame York for his retort because of the, at times, caustic history between the two, and between Cohn and the 49ers dating back years.
Cohn was basically telling York that he was not qualified, and York knew it. He isn't stupid. His smackdown was appropriate, given the source.
But then, playing the part to perfection, Cohn issued the insult that he must have dreamed about delivering for days:
"I would talk to very good owners and general managers around the league who know more than you do."
York might have thought, "Yeah, well, if I had a choice, I'd talk to columnists who know more than you do, you sniveling little worn-out weasel."
Then again, I could be wrong.
Cohn told his KNBR hosts, after issuing a weasel-like snicker, of his thoughts following York's statement:
"That's the best you can do? If I were doing it, I would say, 'We have a plan. ...' Then I said, 'Who will you talk to?' And his response was, which I didn't write, but I will say it on the air, I consider snotty."
Cohn, exposing his exceedingly thin skin, emphasized "snotty."
Really, Lowell? I thought York was quite succinct and polite.
So the offended Cohn responded by insulting York. That's good journalism, Lowell. Way to upgrade the profession.
If you think I'm being overly critical, just read what Cohn then said on KNBR, revealing his hurt and angry feelings:
"He burned me up, because he was messing with me."
Remember your headline on one column, Lowell?
"Jed (the Prince) York talks"
Oh, but there's more from the KNBR interview:
"I have nothing personal against him," Cohn must have said with his fingers crossed behind his back. "He has been accessible to me. He has been civil to me. He has been a crummy team president."
For the record, he's been team president for just about two years, and you've been a crummy columnist for how many decades?
"He's a baloney guy up to now, just like [Mike] Singletary," Cohn said with relish. "He gets another shot because his parents own the team. OK, I'm not saying he can't do well, but he hasn't done well."
Yeah, I remember feeling some of that envy too, but I got over it.
For the record, the 49ers nation cheered when York hired Singletary as head coach.
"I call him the prince of York," the commoner Cohn said so ever cleverly. "It's sort of like he's got it by divine right. Again, I believe he's earnest, I do. I believe he wants to do well. I don't think he's clever enough to, to know where to go for good help."
He was clever enough to smack you down and to "mess" with your fragile ego, Lowell.
Plus, Lowell, I think he told you that he has spoken to others, such as Eddie DeBartolo, the Krafts and probably other professionals he hasn't named.
He actually answered your question.
When asked by one of the KNBR hosts if he was being ageist, as I once was about York, Cohn said:
"I do think he is young. I think he is younger than 29. I also say this—I could be wrong, and if I am, I apologize, [but] when I see him I see a sense of entitlement. I do. That this is all coming to him and that he deserves it. And I think that impedes him. I think that impedes his judgment."
I suppose Cohn would just love Jed if he had a Bill Walsh, John McVay, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig, Jerry Rice, etc.
Too bad for timing. Guess York doesn't have that divine right after all.
Even though Cohn has a deep, sincere and abiding desire to see a divinely ordained York succeed, he revealed what must be his own divinely inspired gem:
"I don't blame his age," Cohn bellowed. "I blame him! ... He needs to learn maturity and he needs to have someone help him learn wisdom. I think if he can get those, maybe he can do a good job."
Look in the mirror, Lowell.
"This is a possibility, I don't know; maybe he is not bright," Cohn said. "Seriously [host's name]. I talk to him, he's cordial, he has good manners. Maybe he's just not a bright guy and he can't learn."
Thank you, Dr. Cohn. You have been so cleverly successful in accomplishing what some psychiatrists spend their lifetimes trying to do: diagnose themselves.
When they finally achieve success, they retire, as you should.