When I started writing this blog more than 3 years ago, it was in response to traditional media‘s habit of twisting interviews to fit the headlines they wanted to create. Major newspapers and TV News outlets were given the benefit of the doubt when it came to credibility. I wanted to believe that there was a goal of getting the facts right that extended as far as the sports and entertainment pages. I actually thought that by posting email exchanges that were the basis of articles, media would respond by increasing their efforts to get the story right. Their fact checking would become more stringent.
Less than a year later, I questioned who had higher standards, bloggers or traditional media like the NY Times and used this blog to give another example of conclusion intersecting with an interview to create an article. I wrote the blog posts because I still wanted to believe that traditional media had every reason to maintain their integrity as a differentiation from bloggers.
That was then, 2005. Its much different today. Today, the story is the asset. Credibility. Integrity. Get the story right. Each are concepts of a bygone era. The fact that these elements of big media are gone are proofed in the most simple of lines in a newspaper or TV crawl.
Today in the Transactions section of the sports page of the Dallas Morning News, I read that Chauncey Billups agreed to sign a deal with the Detroit Pistons. This is the simplest of questions. Its completely binary. Either he did or he didn’t, Its in the most throwaway of all sections of the sports pages and the newspaper itself. There is no incremental value to readers or the paper to have this tidbit in the paper. Its not a scoop. Its not going to sell papers. Yet the Morning News proved it didnt care enough to get the answer to a Yes or No question correct.
Wanna bet they just pulled this as fact from a sports blog ?
****UPDATE ** as of this morning i read on this Justin Rogers’ blog just how the “signing” of Billups became fact, According this report it was a beat writer on talk radio that “reported the signing” after which it was reported through various outlets as fact. So if this blog is accurate, (I dont have the time or inclination to fact check for this element ) would have lost my bet that it came from a blog, but the fact that the Morning News reported this in their transactions section without taking the very simple step of calling the player’s agent as Justin did, just further confirms my point that accuracy is no longer part of the program for many in media. *****
Thats the simplest example I could find, but there are many.
Today traditional media uses blog posts as authoritative. If its written in a blog, it must be true. This creates the opportunity to create “single source” stories. Get one interview, read an interview of the same person on a blog and use that as “confirmation” that whatever your source told you is true
Its actually pretty amusing that daily newspapers with hundreds of thousands of readers per day have so little regard for their credibility that they will use as a resource, blogs that are probably only read by the author, a few friends and the media person who found it in a search
Here is a newsflash, 99.9 percent of blogs are long tail and have fewer than 25 readers per post.. They write because they can.
It creates a lot of humorous situations that entertain at least me.
The past few weeks one of my former employees wanted to make a statement about our legal relationship and get his perspective covered in the media. No problem at all. The media people he spoke to asked me for a comment. I didnt give one. One media outlet wrote it as fact, then bloggers jumped in. The more bloggers jumped in covering what the other bloggers had to say about what the first bloggers said.
When I asked a local “reporter” why he was covering this when he only had one side and he knew i wasnt going to give a response, he said it was because his “editors thought it had become a national story”, I guess his bosses read blogs.. Then another media outlet, despite my no comment email response decided to take responses from months ago and present them in their story as if they were made in response to their current request. Nice.
Then several media national news organizations decided it was a story to be put on the wires. My favorite was the AP headline of “Cuban Claims….” then went on to say that neither I, nor the Mavs would respond to an email request. Next in the humur line were the typical talk radio idiots with the “Just Shut Up ” stuff. One of my buddies emailed and asked me how I would like for him to vote. I guess No Comment doesn’t work anymore.
Sports media is not alone in this. One of the cable news networks was having fun with me after I had done an interview with them. Now they could have just used the interview material they had, but instead, each time they presented the story they created, my role in the story changed just a little bit. Their producers would email me, i would tell them that i had nothing more to say. Then I would watch for their comments during various shows and each time, it morphed. At somepoint they must have gotten bored with it, or thought i was being too entertained at their expense, so they stopped covering it.
Thats how the media has evolved in 3 years. In 2004 they misused quotes. Today, they don’t even require quotes. They just make things up