It is deservedly called the worldwide leader in sports, but perhaps the #1 criticism of ESPN over the years has been its unabashed and frequent self-promotion.
Now, a pair of stories over the past week and ESPN's involvement in each have made the network the story - deservedly or not - and left it under fire.
First, a hotel peephole video surfaced of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, who was filmed in the nude without her consent. Andrews' representatives and ESPN acknowledged the grainy video was her and that they would seek civil and criminal action.
Erin Andrews was the victim of an abhorrent act, one no fault of ESPN's.
However, the network's reaction - particularly its banning of the New York Post after the paper printed Erin Andrews nude pics - was questionable, some feel.
The Post's gossip page ran an item Thursday blaming ESPN for its letter to the website hosting the hotel peephole video that ultimately outed Erin Andrews.
One columnist even wrote, "The fact is one person committed the crime, but all of us, including ESPN, contributed to this revealing peep at our culture."
First, there was the Erin Andrews tape. Then the Ben Roethlisberger case.
When a Nevada woman named Andrea McNulty filed a civil suit accusing the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback of sexually assaulting her in the hotel where she worked last summer, ESPN did not report it on TV or on its website.
Its reasoning: "A policy of not running stories based on civil suits without a criminal investigation or without conducting its own reporting."
ESPN claimed to be taking the high road by not reporting the lawsuit, but as it pertained to Ben Roethlisberger, many wondered if ESPN was refusing to only to stay in good standing with one of the country's most high-profile athletes.
Finally, three days after the story broke, ESPN reported it, saying it was just waiting for either Roethlisberger or law enforcement to make a statement.
Any news organization has the right to set standards by which it will report a story, of course. But the New York Times reported it, and given that it involved a sports figure, it's a little odd that the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" did not.
If nothing else, ESPN's impartiality and role in creating more news than it reports is a subject being hotly debated in journalism circles.