The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick takes a dim view of the sports blogosphere exulting in the laff riot that is Chris Berman’s YouTube bloopers. “These recordings made their way out of ESPN and then to the Internet,” rages Mushnick, “the new favorite stomping grounds for eavesdroppers, vandals, voyeurs and naughty little boys and girls of all ages.” Hey, he forgot “shitheads”.

While not normally moved to defend ESPN’s Chris Berman, he’s no less a sympathetic figure than any other victim of a theft.

And while Berman, who by now should have grown to fully respected status among American sportscasters, instead chooses to play the circus clown who shoots himself out of a cannon, he doesn’t deserve this kind of grief.

For starters, these recordings were stolen from ESPN.

Perhaps they were stolen by some young, male wise guy, someone from the demographic ESPN encourages to watch ESPN. But theft is theft. And unless Berman is legally being investigated, perhaps as a threat to national security, the distribution of his purloined workplace conversations make him the victim of a crime.

In Berman’s case, he was mugged not by himself but by an insider or insiders, a person or persons once and perhaps still with ESPN. Berman’s a crime victim. And there’s no better place for the unaccountable to do dirt to the accountable than the ‘net.

I guess we can only presume Phil wasn’t a big Negativland fan back in the day, either. I’ll tell you what’s really criminal, though. This story is so done and dusted, had Mushnick weighed in on the subject last Friday, he’d still be hopelessly behind the times. What’s worse, “stealing” a dusty videoclip from the ESPN archives, or Phil collecting a paycheck by editorializing on a subject the eavesdroppers, vandals and voyeurs have already covered to death?

While we’re on the matter of voyeurs, let’s not forget it was just last week Mushnick’s paper decided the sex life of a private citizen (neither charged nor suspected of a crime) was worthy of the front page. It’s a shame there’s not a major tabloid journalist wiling to defend Richard Benjamin‘s privacy, but perhaps we’ll have to wait for the photos of Boomer in a dog collar before the Post’s sports media maven is sufficiently outraged.