News You Can't Use
Mentioning an unsubstantiated rumor makes you a perpetrator of the rumor. Mentioning an unsubstantiated rumor in a major media outlet makes you a gross perpetrator of the rumor. This is a fact, there’s no debating it, case closed.
Which makes many in our local sports media gross perpetrators of unsubstantiated rumors. Nice.
Some weeks ago, Lane Kiffin was mentioned in a speculative report as a potential candidate for the
Now the rumors of Kiffin’s wandering eye have resurfaced, thanks to a site that at least has the self awareness to put its unsubstantiated rumors under the banner of “Rumor Mill.” The site claimed that Kiffin was outraged at not getting the
So, this morning we are faced with more speculative palaver. This is how one Bay Area outlet poured gasoline on the fire while, of course, implying that we not shoot the messenger: “Still, the rumor persisted until Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino resigned Tuesday and accepted the Arkansas job. That prompted even more Kiffin mentions, though nary a single one cited a named source… When asked if he had any desire to take a college coaching job at any point, Kiffin said: ‘No, no. I
This is how the media perpetrators cling to the illusion of occupying the high road. Of course it’s not okay to initiate unsubstantiated rumors, but, hey, if someone else starts one and we just report on and perpetuate the rumor, well, by golly, it’s all in a good day’s work. Is it 3 p.m. yet? I could use a good vodka tonic. I’m exhausted by all of my original reporting. I wore the leather right off my shoe today.
Let’s be clear about one thing: irresponsible and unsubstantiated rumors can later be proven true, but that doesn’t make them any less irresponsible and unsubstantiated. Could Lane Kiffin jump ship for
The news about Bobby Petrino bolting
Just because a rumor exists doesn’t mean you have to report on it. Really. You could just ignore it. The previous rumor was dead wrong, and the new one doesn’t cite a single named source. You don’t have to bite on every piece of bait in the information ocean, do you? Get a professional grip, folks.
On one final hypocritical note, we should observe that the mainstream media are constantly trying to draw a distinction between themselves and mere “bloggers.” This distinction allegedly rests on the notion of journalistic standards (we know it has nothing to do with writing talent, that’s for sure), to which bloggers supposedly aren’t beholden.
And yet the mainstream media are more than happy to let the blogger tail wag their dog on a slow news day, biting on juicy internet-fueled rumors that should be ignored rather than perpetuated.
And that, Raiders fans, is news you can't use.P.S. The editor of the aforementioned "Rumor Mill" site is featured in the current issue of Sports Illustrated, in which he admits that he is not bound by traditional journalistic standards (who is anymore?), and in which he is quoted as saying, "We don't report rumors as hard news. We trust our readers to know the difference." And yet we apparently can't trust some members of the local sports media to know the difference. Go figure.
Labels: News You Can't Use