Is this ethical – Part 2

Since the conversation on this topic was interesting, I thought it would be appropriate to add some more information and answer where I stand on the question. After all, I asked the question in my previous blog post, I didn’t answer it.

First , my opening comments as Will and I sat down for the interview. (these come courtesy of Will in an email to me about this subject)

>> WL: Okay. I want to start off actually, this is going to be
>> just a big Q&A, pretty much straight up and everything. So I want to
>> start …
>> MC: This is just for GQ now.
>> WL: Just for GQ, not for Deadspin. No Deadspin stuff, and no
>> … yeah, I have the journalist hat on. And I have the journalist
>> hat on at Deadspin, too, but anyway, let’s … another debate for
>> another time.
>> MC: We won’t call that journalism.
>> WL: Another debate for another time.

So i made it clear that I wanted no association with his blog at all.

Does his writing a piece about me with a link back to the very item that he knew I wanted nothing to do with constitute a lack of ethics ? I think so. It certainly is a major fuck you.

Does making the following comment “Cuban was not amused and spent most of the interview accusing Deadspin of being the Inside Edition of sports. So that was fun.) ” diminish the integrity of the interview itself ? Probably not, but to some readers of ValleyWag and GQ, it could. Unethical ? Probably not. Stupid business, definitely.

For the record, I certainly didnt spend most of the interview talking about his blog, but I certainly had fun at his expense from time to time and I never said it was off the record. Although , again, this was a GQ interview. Setup and arranged with the magazine with no consideration on my part as to who would do the piece until Will showed up.

Which leads to my conclusion about all of this.

Its my fault. I was stupid to think that the guy who runs Deadspin could stop being the guy who runs Deadspin. I should have asked for GQ to send someone else. Better yet, I should have stuck to my rules and only do interviews via email.

73 thoughts on “Is this ethical – Part 2

  1. Informative Article… AWESOME.

    Comment by Eliseo -

  2. Leitch has shown himself to be a creep who can\’t be trusted to keep his word. Sad truth — this is true of most journalists and bloggers. It\’s not that they\’re unethical so much as it is that they are dumb. All that \”unbiased reporting\” they do somehow limits their ability to do any real thinking, other than to come up with their dumb ideas for story lines, almost guaranteed to be shallow and hackneyed.

    What\’s more, all you dorks standing up for Leitch are saying one thing — don\’t give interviews to stupid reporters.

    Comment by walter -

  3. Mark, your explicit mention of the name of the blog just serves to advertise it. In the future, omit the name – the guy doesn\’t deserve it be mentioned.

    Comment by Jimmy -

  4. I think the reporter was clearly out of line. Mark, I read the interview and found your blunt takes quite refreshing and agreed with nearly everything you said. Given how many interview requests you undoubtedly receive, it must feel like a gut punch when you grant one, give a great interview, and then feel like you\’ve done your part…only to have the interviewer blatantly disregard your desire to not be a part of a blog you find distasteful. I hope this doesn\’t turn you off to all future interviews as I always enjoy reading what you have to say…even when I disagree with it.

    Comment by Drew Garabo -

  5. I agree with Terry Reeves. Today\’s generation do seem to have a looser interpretation of what is \”right and wrong\” in these types of situations. The rabid tabloid culture and Britney-ization of media means that if there can be any kind of \”buzz\” created by doing something, then a young writer is going to do it to get attention. He seems to have succeeded at that, but at what cost? Certainly, you will not be doing any further interviews with him, and it\’s questionable that you will do anymore for GQ. So he\’s cost himself and his employer an opportunity at having a connection with a newsmaker who people want are interested in hearing from. Yes, people can come to your blog, but a great interview with focused, intelligent questions can be more informative and enlightening.

    Bottom line, it probably was not ethical by yesterday\’s more respectable journalistic standards, but in today\’s \”anything goes\” media culture it\’s unfortunately the norm rather than the exception. As a business decision, it was flat out stupid. Short term gain, long term pain… bad strategy.

    Comment by Chris -

  6. So many people are missing the point here. As a journalist, here are the items that stick out:
    *Mark Cuban cannot stand the blog that the writer owns. Mr. Cuban specifically asked about how the interview would be used. Had the writer informed Cuban that he wanted to blog about the interview later, and on the site in question, Cuban would have denied the interview request or, as Cuban stated, asked for a different interviewer. This was a blatant sandbagging by the writer.

    *It is difficult to determine if the writer originally intended to blog about the interview, or just decided to let GQ be his advertising Spanish Fly by allowing them to foot the bill, then using the experience for his own personal gain. GQ can\’t be too happy about this, and will certainly have their legal eagles rework the writer\’s agreement for other \”journalists\”.

    *Is a blog ABOUT the interview the same as the interview/article itself? Good question. If the writer had hopes of ever interviewing Cuban again, the least he could have done would have been to give M.C. a heads up in advance of the blog. If Cuban was still adamantly against any mention of the interview on the site in question, do the simple thing and pull it. There are plenty of other things to write about.

    It seems in the blog the writer wanted to make his tiny wittle site seem more important than it actually is (\”Cuban…spent most of the interview accusing Deadspin…\”). But giving yourself blogging fodder under the guise of someone else\’s \”journalism hat\” only shows how short-sighted the writer is. Very soon his reputation will proceed him and his interviews will become one shot deals. Major magazines can have their pick of journalists that will simply do the work, then move on to the next piece. They don\’t need self-servers undermining efforts they paid for.

    Comment by Rick Bailey -

  7. MC – With your resources you can send a big signal to the industry here. Serve GQ with a lawsuit claiming breach of contract, which in this case was verbal, and with an agent of GQ (reporter). Let them sort it out on their end. If nothing else it will put all magazines/media on notice that such interviews should be expressly limited to the media outlet doing the interview unless explicitly agreed upon by both parties that some other media outlet may become involved.

    If it were me, that\’s what I\’d do. This guy should be fired, period.

    CW

    Comment by Curt -

  8. yes unethical. obivously there are a few exceptions but for the most part journalists are such scumbags.

    Comment by Joe -

  9. What is GQ\’s thoughts on this?

    Comment by David Mackey -

  10. I see your point now, its ethically wrong. But its still the internet and maybe he decided he must write about the interview.

    Comment by Robert Mena -

  11. All of this controversy is getting Will just what he wanted….more cyber ink and more attention. He lied and that was wrong, but he\’s a journalist and that\’s part of the job, right? Journalist..synonymous with papparazzi, I believe. Mark, you\’re famous, and thus fodder for every glitter seeking writer and opportunist. Ignore all of it and move on.

    Comment by CHansen -

  12. Let\’s say that GQ owns all the content from the interview (or that it be unethical to use any part of the interview not published in GQ for one\’s own private use)

    Did Leith used anything from the interview that was not pubished in GQ?

    It appears not.

    The only thing I can imagine be unethical is if the opinion piece in valleywag should have been in the GQ article, but was left out.

    If there was no good reason for it to be in the GQ article, then nothing unethical was done.

    If it should have been in the GQ article, but Leitch left it out to have for another purpose, then one perhaps has a claim of being unethical towards GQ (they paid for an article and perhaps didn\’t get the complete story, but one could also argue that if this was added something else might have been cut, so it becomes more of a matter of opinion that a matter of fact)

    But no one\’s made the claim that the valleywag article was content that should have been in the GQ article.

    Comment by sp -

  13. Ethics have to serve a practical purpose, not tie people\’s hands around their backs for arbitrary reasons. That said, Will pretty much \”kissed and told\”. The consequence seems to be that you\’re not going to kiss anyone from GQ in the future, and probably avoid kissing anyone, preferring an ASCII smiley in an email. So if Will did indeed violate ethics, the real victim is GQ and that whole genre of publication. GQ may or may not have formal or informal ethical policies for its reporters and contributors. I imagine that the editors have to talk about your blog posting with him, and I imagine that if he doesn\’t suffer some visible consequence, GQ may lose access to other prominent people.

    To sum up the ethics of kissing and telling, just ask Dan Rather if he\’d ever get big interviews if he editorialized or played out of turn. Does he get Saddam Hussein to sit down and answer questions if there\’s any chance that Rather would turn around and paint him as Hitler II? Of course, that why Dan Rather gets his share of public critics and haters, but that\’s the only reason he gets the interview. Will pretty much lost any access he might ever have to public figures with this boner, that is, unless said public figures want to use him to send a message. Thus Will is now officially a tool.

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  14. Fame…..some people earn it with talent coupled with hard work, you buy pieces of it everyday. Who gives a fuck about you and all your interviews? Instead of sticking to doing only email interviews, why don\’t you stick to shutting the hell up!

    Comment by jeff -

  15. Actually, I think many are skipping part of what Will said. He said \”just for GQ\”. Mark makes his money because of his brain, his thoughts, his ideas. He has a right to determine who gets access to his thoughts and where they are distributed. IMHO what will did was unethical and if you want to hire a lawyer he could pay for it. When he said \”just GQ\” and then sent it elsewhere without Mark\’s permission he broke a verbal agreement (could it be construed as a contract?)

    If I hire a contractor to remodel my kitchen and I ask him \”will it only be the kitchen, not the foyer?\” and he says \”only the kitchen\” the proceeds to remodel the kitchen and the bathroom, is that not unethical? Do I have to pay him for both?

    Mark\’s time and intellect are his just as my cash to pay the contractor is mine. I choose who I pay for what and Mark should be able to pay (grant interviews) for only what he wants. Especially if he is assured where it will be.

    Is this reaching, probably a bit. But people have been taken to court for a lot less in the US. By telling Mark \”only GQ\” and doing something else is wrong.

    Comment by Paul -

  16. Off topic — a writeup of last night\’s Mavs win over the Lakers mentioned a video of some of the guys singing Bohemian Rhapsody. Could you get this posted on YouTube, please? It\’d be a hit.

    Comment by John -

  17. Ethics is not definable, is not implementable, because it is not conscious; it involves not only our thinking, but also our feeling. Somehow, and somewhere this journalist lost his feeling! Maybe for a good reason, and may be without any good reason and/or intentions! But, as it is, it is you that can control the rules of this incident and it is you that can end it and begin the process of healing! Both sides are not happy! lets mend and make it good, again?

    Comment by Mitchell -

  18. By the way, where is it that you said that you wanted \”nothing to do\” with Deadspin? If that was truly your position, you should have made that much, much clearer.

    Comment by John -

  19. Mark,
    I don\’t think it\’s unethical, much like you re-hashing it in your own blog is not. The de-centralization of the media is a very good thing, and you may need to take some media training.

    That is all.

    Comment by Matt -

  20. It\’s clearly unethical–if you have to get into hairsplitting, \”what is is\” type of distinctions, then clearly the ethics are in doubt. It\’s not actionable or anything, but it\’s sleazy at the least.

    Comment by ted -

  21. First off I have to say that Blogging is not Journalism…

    I\’d have to say that what this guy did is unethical, you specifically asked him what he was going to do with it, he said no Deadspin stuff… It\’s pretty obvious that he mislead you.

    Comment by Gene -

  22. It would be interesting for you to make a copy of the tape of the interview available. Of course, that would mean Mr. Deadspin would have to make it available to you. As a media whore, I\’m sure he won\’t. He pimped you for his blog and took advantage. Not ethical. Why would he all of a sudden become…HUMAN? Sticking to email for interviews is safer. Some people are just not nice and he is one…

    Comment by JT Taylor -

  23. this changes my opinion. i\’ll even apologize for saying you had your pantys-in-a-bunch. i\’m sorry for jumping to conclusions.

    he said it wasn\’t for deadspin. he lied. that\’s unethical. it\’d be too much to assume he\’d be fired for it; this is the business world we\’re talking about here.

    Comment by messels -

  24. My belief:

    A man is only as good as his word – if his word is useless then so is the man

    Obviously WL gave his word to Mark by stating

    >> WL: Just for GQ, not for Deadspin. No Deadspin stuff, and no…\”

    then turned around and did something else making his word useless thus making WL . . . . well you can fill in the rest

    Comment by James -

  25. I\’m still giggling over the clown who claimed Leitch\’s actions were \”possibly illegal.\” Especially since he included a classic hedge sentence at the conclusion of his post.

    All together now: HA-HA!

    I wish he would show himself to take his lumps.

    Comment by Christopher -

  26. Mark- I run a B2B media business and I can assure you that none of my editors would have ever duped you into an interview, made a promise to keep things above board, and then go back on what they told you they wouldn\’t do. Some of the folks posting comments here saying for you to basically get over it have their heads up their asses.

    Comment by Henry Allain -

  27. In response to Craig and Ryan who seem to think that just because WL didn\’t write about it in Deadspin then its ok or ethical just look at what WL agreed upon for the interview…
    \”MC: This is just for GQ now.
    >> WL: Just for GQ, not for Deadspin. No Deadspin stuff, and no…\”

    Just because WL does not quote this directly on Deadspin is only part of the discussion. WL responded to MC that it is JUST FOR GQ, so an use outside of GQ is, in my book, unethical. Does it make it MORE ethical if you can twist your words somehow??

    To be ethical, WL could have responded to MC \”I\’m a journalist, what do you think???\”

    Comment by Mick -

  28. Blake, it also comes down to how you define the relationship between ValleyWag and Deadspin. The two sites are not run by the same individuals, but they have the same owner. I think some people see sister site as sites with active involvement with eachother, but I have never found that to be the case while I\’ve gone to deadspin. They two sites are meant to cover different things and appeal to different audiences, but sometimes stories cross over and I think this was a case. Nobody would confuse ABC News and ESPN, but ABC News does have a sports section on their website and they do mention sports from time to time. Does this mean someone employed by ESPN should not to a freelance article or spot for ABC News if given the opportunity, even if someone requested they not write it for ESPN the magazine?

    In general it\’s always better to err on the side of caution, if you don\’t want something said don\’t say \”don\’t say this here or there\” but have it be off the record. If a reporter agrees to not publish the interview somewhere, that doesn\’t mean they won\’t try to turn around and take what they can and make it fit somewhere else.

    Comment by Jason -

  29. It\’s a wonder people aren\’t getting this:

    Leitch didn\’t use any part of the interview on his blog. This is indisputable. He referenced it in a guest spot for another blog.

    Oh, the horror.

    Comment by Act -

  30. The two issues you seem to have here are Will \”reworking\” his piece which was supposed to be, in your eyes, a GQ only thing, and him doing an interview about your interview on a sister site of Deadspin.

    For the latter, I would equate it to someone agreeing to do a segment for Outside the lines for ESPN, and then not using the content of the interview but the interview itself in ESPN the Magazine. There are two distinct situations here. In scenario a) you are interviewed because someone thinks you have interesting and noteworthy input and opinion on a subject. The media is being a platform for your ideas to reach the masses. The reporter\’s job is to not interpret or expound on your thoughts. In scenario b) your interview becomes the story. What you say is diagnosed and discussed by all, including the reporter themselves. Often in journalism after a story or interview is done the journalist will state what their opinions on the interview itself was, how you came off in their eyes, and be free to disect the meaning and or honesty of your words.

    Will Leitch was doing scenario a) with you, and didn\’t represent that the scenario would be for anything other than the represented job. After he wrote it, story over and he moves on to scenario b). Since you had made your wishes known about Deadspin he refrained from disecting your interview on there, and instead did so on a website which, while owned by the same parent company, doesn\’t sign his Deadspin paycheck. He was basically being paid to do freelance opinion article about the interview itself, not you. So scenario a) subject is you, scenario b) the subject is the interview. While there was some new content added with his mention of your feelings of Deadspin, something should be said about both his use of parantheses and the positioning of his deadspin statement. In Will\’s mind it was nothing more than an interesting annecdote which lead into his piece, not part of the piece itself. While you could take issue with this, that\’s pretty much the end of the debate on this part. If you are calling for a ban of journalists taking interviews and writing clear opinion pieces about the interview at a later date, then interviews would be worthless because no discussion of them would ever be encouraged.

    Your first issue though is somewhat trickier, because we can\’t know exactly what GQ was hiring Will as. They had to have known that Will makes his readers aware of the work he does when it becomes available, and it\’s hard to blame them because if freelance artists didn\’t make sure people knew their name was out their they would be out of jobs. GQ likely hired will knowing that the interview would be mentioned on some of the websites affiliated with Will (noteably deadspin). I\’d even go so far to say that GQ wlecomed the article he did for ValleyWag. It contained six sentences from the interview (which was already published by GQ and served as a teaser for the rest of the GQ article, while still being sufficient information for the Valleywag piece. Again, the Valleywag piece isn\’t about you, it\’s about something you said in and interview, knowing it would be published. I believe GQ knows the difference between the two and were in general happy with Will\’s work (though the fallout he may have caused between the magazine and you I\’m sure they aren\’t thrilled about.)

    Tell me something Mr. Cuban, are your feelings the same on journalists who are paid to cover a beat or a magazine article, and then also find enough information while working it that they publish a book about it?

    Comment by Jason -

  31. Apologies for the double post but just read this comment when going through the conversation:
    \”I\’d say the closest thing you have to a beef is that you said that what happened in the GQ interview wasn\’t for Deadspin and then the post in question didn\’t appear on Deadspin, but as a guest post on its sister site, Valleywag. That\’s sly, but not unethical or illegal.\”

    This is exactly the problem, you boil it down and look at it logically and it\’s unethical and clearly violated what you asked to be done. But too many people look at it, as the above poster commented, and apply a postmodern spin and think \”well, technically, it didn\’t go on Deadspin, so…….\”. What a shame.

    Comment by Blake -

  32. There are times when i think you are a little too arrogant Mark, but that\’s probably a trait which helped you get where you are. In the case, however, I think your completely correct. This Will, is typical of many so called journalists nowdays: always pushing the truth and their ethics to the edge but selling it to themselves that everyone does it so it\’s not so bad. it\’s really a shame how so many people have lost a moral compass. Anyway, if I was you i\’d put him on the permanent ban list. You can\’t keep him from making snarky comments about you on the blog, but who really cares what some unethical punk or people who enjoy his stuff think about you.

    Comment by Blake -

  33. I agree fully that the rules should be adhered to.

    But I also agree that maybe another reporter/journalist should have been requested from the magazine. As a long-time radio news guy who does a weekly half-hour interview show, I\’ve lost numerous interviews with folks who understandably don\’t do \”live\” interviews anymore. I believe the audience are the ones who suffer in that case.

    …Just like the other reporters at GQ, who might have had an opportunity for a good interview and a chance to have a comfortable meeting with Mark, probably feel \’cheated\’ that their opportunity to do a good, satisfying job, was usurped by someone with other motives.

    That, to me, is the worst part of someone abusing the \’ethics\’…it creates an atmosphere where others who try their best are robbed of opportunities, and again, the reader/listener is robbed of some of the valuable information that can only be made available when the interviewer and subject feel at ease with each other — which doesn\’t happen over e-mail.

    Comment by Scott Burkett -

  34. I didn\’t read all the comments, but has any journalist answered on the topic?

    I myself am a journalist – the kind that is now referred to as a \”mojo\” – team supervisor and a blogger. I\’d NEVER use material from a piece/assignement/report that my employer asked me to do to feed my blog, unless there was an agreement both from my employer AND the subject on the matter.

    yes, Mark Cuban made a mistake, like we always do: he assumed that the writer would follow the same rules he have – which was ironed out in the email – and let his guard down.

    But from a journalist POV, what WL did was not OK. If he were one of my employee, I\’d have a serious talk with him.

    Sorry for the syntax, english is not my first language.

    Comment by Frederic Mailloux -

  35. I didn\’t read all the comments, but has any journalist answered on the topic?

    I myself am a journalist – the kind that is now referred to as a \”mojo\” – team supervisor and a blogger. I\’d NEVER use material from a piece/assignement/report that my employer asked me to do to feed my blog, unless there was an agreement both from my employer AND the subject on the matter.

    yes, Mark Cuban made a mistake, like we always do: he assumed that the writer would follow the same rules he have – which was ironed out in the email – and let his guard down.

    But from a journalist POV, what WL did was not OK. If he were one of my employee, I\’d have a serious talk with him.

    Sorry for the syntax, english is not my first language.

    Comment by Frederic Mailloux -

  36. Thanks for the follow-up post. I still don\’t think it was unethical–Leitch said the interview was for GQ, and that\’s where it ran. But again, the question is what obligation does he have not to discuss the interview in any other forum (barring contractual obligations). If someone interviews him while promoting his book and asks about you, can he not mention anything about the experience of interviewing you? You could argue that his comments exhibited a lack of professionalism (and certainly would be a reason not to speak with him again), but it doesn\’t suggest a lack of ethics.

    Comment by Joe -

  37. M-

    So, I went back and read the articles. While you have a point about the ethical nature of the process, I do think that you were treated fairly in the articles. In fact, most of the original blog centered on the hypocrisy that is the old-guard MLB owners.

    As a side note, let me know if there is anything that those of us an Chicago can do to help you get the Cubbies. Would love to see you sitting in the bleachers.

    Comment by Andrew -

  38. He did this for one reason and one reason only:

    TO SELL BOOKS!

    Comment by Joe M. -

  39. The crazy thing about all this is all the publicity \”Deadspin\” is getting from all this. I checked it out and ended up reading about the Heat.

    Comment by david -

  40. Mark,

    At first, I thought you were in the wrong because there appeared to be no conversation about the journalist using the interview as the basis for a blog post. Now, I see that the issue was raised, and it was clear the material was not supposed to be for Deadspin or another blog.

    I\’m not sure why Will felt it had to blog about it but perhaps the temptation was too much for him to resist. He broke the \”rules\” – shame on him.

    Comment by Mark Evans -

  41. Ryan, I agree with You.

    Comment by BSVC Tags -

  42. I still think it\’s OK. In fact, the Valleywag post reads more like an indictment of old-school sports team owners than a shot at you. It even includes the line: \”It helps that he was pretty much right about everything he was initially criticized for.\”

    I\’d say the closest thing you have to a beef is that you said that what happened in the GQ interview wasn\’t for Deadspin and then the post in question didn\’t appear on Deadspin, but as a guest post on its sister site, Valleywag. That\’s sly, but not unethical or illegal. You wouldn\’t have avoided that even if you had stuck to the email interview only policy.

    The two posts and discussion here have probably given the Valleywag post more attention than it would have gotten, anyway.

    Comment by Jeff Beckham -

  43. very interesting view into the life of a man like you, Mark! First, that you have to be SO SO careful of agreements you make with media. And second, that even someone you trust and communicate clearly with can\’t be trusted in the context of business and media.

    A slight glimpse at how extreme things can be for those in the spotlight.

    Honestly, my first thought on reading this topic (yesterday\’s post) was that blogs should be seen more as diaries, not as media (although that line is obviously BLURRED by the way that every media outlet has some farm of \”bloggers\” giving the \”REAL\” story as they see it.) Blogs shouldn\’t be censored, in my eyes. Almost to the degree of \”can\’t be held against you\” (too utopian).

    It is difficult for me to accept any constraints on blogs.

    But this guy did break trust…which FEELS un-ethical. And i think the only way for you to fix such a thing is to say, as you have in this post, \”lesson learned\”.

    peace and thanks!

    Comment by Bryan Paynter -

  44. It would not normally be unethical to blog about an interview that you conducted.

    However, it IS unethical to misrepresent yourself, which WL did in this comment:
    >> MC: This is just for GQ now.
    >> WL: Just for GQ, not for Deadspin. No Deadspin stuff.

    Maybe the content of the interview was in GQ only, but WL did use information he only had gotten through the misrepresentation for the Deadspin blog. That is unethical, IMO.

    Also, it is unethical to do work for one company while \”on-the-clock\” for another, without authorization. Say I work for Company A and also Company B, it would be unethical to do work benefitting Company A that I only could have gotten while doing something for Company B, unless company B had knowledge of, and gave authorization to do so.

    That said, I do enjoy Deadspin.

    Comment by Justin -

  45. I don\’t know how this can be confusing ethically. If a writer says he\’s writing a story for Newsweek, and then publishes part of that story in the National Enquirer, we\’d all think he was a fraud — and we\’d be right. Mostly, celebrities are agreeing to appear in a specific magazine for a specific reason — and everyone involved in real magazine journalism knows and accepts that. The fact is that if Mark wanted to be in Valleywag, Deadspin, Life and Style, O or any other outlet, he could be. He chose to be in GQ. And then he got screwed.

    Comment by terrence222 -

  46. when I am reading your second post about this issue, I start to think about the same situation in my country. In the past, propably no one here will take it as an ethical issue to discuss, but for the sake of internet, we have a free platform to express our ideas. I also met the same discussion here.

    Comment by Echo -

  47. Since it\’s football season…

    Journalism is like pro football. There are all sorts of elaborate rules and penalties and elements of \”sportsmanship\” or \”ethics\”, but at the end of the day, it\’s a violent, nasty game.

    In simplest form, you tried to control this dude\’s access to your thoughts (i.e. it\’s ok for you to write about me for X magazine, but not for Y blog), and he knocked you on your ass. Maybe it was after the whistle, and maybe a little dirty….but so what?

    His readers want to see stuff they can\’t get anywhere else – and he got it – an interview with the mighty Mark Cuban. Put yourself in the reader\’s shoes – do you want to read about stuff that has been fully blessed by the interviewee – or stuff that\’s interesting? Stuff that might even piss them off a bit?

    Otherwise what\’s the point? There are plenty of media outlets that deliver an endless stream of perfectly polished, pre-approved crap. Isn\’t the blogosphere the great hope for changing all of that?

    Comment by JC -

  48. This is a very interesting discussion. However, I think there should be some very important facts pointed out.

    1- ValleyWag is not Leitch\’s blog. His blog is Deadspin.

    2- He did not re-use the article for GQ. In fact, he didn\’t even re-purpose it. All he did was use a quote. He could just as easily done a quick Google search and pulled up a quote regarding your desire to purchase the Cubs that\’s floating around out there and used that instead.

    3- To reiterate, the post on ValleyWag was not based on your interview at all. It was an opinion piece on how professional sports are becoming stagnant by not allowing innovators into the \”boys\’ club\” that is sports ownership.

    However, that is an analysis from a pure \”plain meaning\” perspective. So while what Leitch did is probably not unethical on its face, it is probably a bit shady. Despite not violating the letter of the law (Mark said no Deadspin, ValleyWag is no Deadspin,) Leitch probably violated the spirit of the law (Mark\’s consistently expressing his dislike for Deadspin.)

    It is irrefutable that there is a consistent tone across all Gawker Media blogs. Obviously, there are some where the snark volume is turned up to 11 (Gawker), and there are others where it is a more tolerable level (Deadspin.) However, this does seem to be the general tone that Gawker Media is \”going for.\” Essentially, my point is that Leitch probably could/should have inferred that Mark did not want Leitch to leverage their interview in any way in any outlet other than GQ.

    So basically, unethical? Probably not. Immoral is probably a bit strong as well. I guess the word I am looking for is crafty or sly. Then again, Leitch could always claim that he didn\’t put it on Deadspin, thus he doesn\’t see what the issue is, however he\’s a pretty sharp guy and should have probably understood that \”just GQ\” meant \”just GQ.\”

    Comment by Keith -

  49. The minute you \”had fun at his expense from time to time\” you opened the door for him to take off the GQ hat. You can\’t fall back on \”this was a GQ interview\” if you were the one that was bringing up the non-GQ history. At least that my opinion (and for the record I\’m a fan of this blog and Deadspin…go figure).

    Comment by jay -

  50. Mark, I\’ve subscribed to GQ since 2001 and I have to say that the quality of their articles has gone downhill in the past 2-3 years. They used to write decent profiles of individuals, provide in-depth essays from freelance writers and were moderately, but not overtly political. Now, ever since the previous editor-in-chief (Art Cooper) stepped down, every article has to compete with Maxim in terms of low-brow humor, be \”hip\” and trendy like Cosmo or something, and has to rip on every conservative politician at least 30 times (not that I disagree, but I don\’t need to be inundated in a men\’s magazine).

    Similarly, Esquire has turned into a rag in the same light and magazines may have jumped the shark in terms of their editors\’ inflated perception of themselves in the world.

    That rant aside, I\’m not surprised you were the victim of someone\’s personal agenda with GQ.

    Comment by Jim -

  51. I am having a problem deciding which is the bigger crisis today. This one or the Elite Diggers whose lives have been destroyed by the new Digg algorithm. http://smartstartup.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/01/digg-offers-to.html

    Comment by Billionaire Strategies -

  52. Aren\’t these the same people who turned off TVs at CES? It seems that having Gawker Mediaaffiliated persons on staff is a liability for most news organizations, and since most of them are downsizing, those people will be the first to get fired.

    Comment by Dom -

  53. I\’m on the fence on this one. When you set ground rules for an interview, they should be adhered to to the strictest degree. But I don\’t think you should resolve to only interview via e-mail. You might perceive it as an advantage (controlled responses, written record, etc.), but the writer may only get a one-dimensional view. If there is one thing you are not, it is one-dimensional. So is that really an advantage?
    Sometimes you will get burned — you\’re a public figure. But I think the sum tota of the coverage of you, your brand, your team, will reflect acurately the image you are attempting to project.

    Comment by Jim_S -

  54. Rebeccalee – where did he use it on Deadspin? Just because Deadspin and Valleywag are Gawker Media blogs doesn\’t make Valleywag \”his blog\”. The only mention of any of this on Deadspin is a little three sentence mention since commenters and readers where mentioning it already and a link to both Mark\’s blog on the topic and the Valleywag post he wrote. He didn\’t lie about not using any of it on Deadspin and then doing so.

    Comment by Schrute Bucks -

  55. He said he wasn\’t going to use it for his blog and he did. He lied. That in itself is unethical.

    Comment by Rebeccalee Coventry -

  56. Great point Ryan.

    Comment by Landon Howell -

  57. Mark –

    I love deadspin and I respect you as the smartest business person there is. I don\’t know here, I\’d say that if I were interviewing with WL, I\’d expect WL to post it on every media outlet there is. Just like if I were interviewing with Mike Tirico, I\’d expect for him to talk about it on Monday Night Football, basketball programs, his radio show, golf, and anything else he is involved with.

    Also, if you answers were true for GQ, why weren\’t they true for deadspin?

    Comment by Ryan -

  58. Yeah, I was with you before, but in this context, not so much…

    Leitch\’s comments for Valley Wag seem OK. It was an INTERVIEW on another site, he took one quote from you and expanded it to an entirely differently concept that the article for GQ.

    It was an annecdote from one of his many experiences.
    And you have to note that he DIDN\’T use anything from your interview on Deadspin. He did an interview for another site.

    I\’ve gotta go with non-unethical here.
    (Note entirely clean, but certainly not unethical)

    Comment by FrankTheTank -

  59. Mark – get over it. Will also wrote you a note of apology… but I don\’t see THAT posted on your blog. Who\’s being unethical now?

    He didn\’t use any new material for his blog post… and they weren\’t even on Deadspin.

    Posts like this are part of the reason I quit reading your blog. You make a mountain out of a mole hill when America quits paying you attention for 5 minutes.

    Go buy something.

    Comment by Landon Howell -

  60. This is turning into a real tempest in a teapot.

    Comment by Billionaire Strategies -

  61. I don\’t know, it appears we have incompatible definitions of ethics.
    If I ask someone not to do something, and they agree not to, and do so
    anyway, how is that ethical? Now wonder we\’re in trouble.

    BTW, I don\’t believe it\’s stupid to trust someone. We generally tend
    to trust a person when they give us their word. That\’s normal
    behavior, I hope.

    Comment by Toni -

  62. You said you did not want this used on Deadspin. Give me a link to show where Will Leitch used any part of that interview on Deadspin. Until you do, WL did nothing wrong.

    Comment by Craig -

  63. It\’s certainly not ethical, but it is easily avoided. He\’s probably trying to create any attention for his blog that he can, just for the link bait.

    Comment by brother -

  64. Last night on the TV series Criminal Minds they had a lady agent who was using a serial killer to boost her career and get the attention brought to her with his killings and his capture – given this is a TV show BUT how is what Will did any different? He is using an interview he did for GQ (and Mark clearly made it clear that it was just for GQ), GQ paid for his travel and everything then he (Will) goes off and uses his interview with Mark to help promote himself and get himself in the \”spotlight\”. Sorry, but in my book that is unethical. A man (or woman) ask you something and makes themselves clear and you give him a answer and make yourself clear then turn around and do the opposite – not only is that unethical but also unmoral in my book!!!

    Comment by James -

  65. What is the issue with this?

    You act like the \”cool\” owner with all this money, running the team like any real fan would. Then you get all pissy and act like a little child because quiet possibly the MOST influential sports blog on these here internets linked to an interview with you?

    How about focusing on putting a team together that can win an NBA Championship instead of standing in the stands yelling like a jack-ass. Dirk apparently takes after the owner and curls up like a little kid whenever he feels like he\’s wronged.

    Comment by Kage -

  66. Actually Mike, the context in which Will provided \”extra insight\” was Cuban himself responding to an earlier post on Deadspin – not the sort of thing that would be easy or apporpriate to insert into a GQ piece. However, JUST the sort of thing that would be appropriate to mention on Deadspin. However, since Will had agreed not to post anything about this on Deadspin, it ended up on a sister publication – Valleywag. Furthermore, Cuban isn\’t disputing the fact that there was talk during the course of the interview about Deadspin and its relative merits. If he didn\’t want it to show up on Deadspin, he should have done what famous people do when they do not wish what they say to be publicized – kept his mouth shut.

    The mistake Cuban – and you Mike – is making here is thinking for one second that \”journalism\” (you can call it good, you can call it bad – it doesn\’t matter for our purposes) should have anything at all to do with \”business\”. Journalists themselves thinking it does it what is killing journalism and LOOOOOONG ago killed sports journalism.

    Will was offering fresh perspectives on a public figure we the public wish perspectives on. He did so close to – but not out of – the boundaries of engagement as agreed to by the subject. I too admire Mark Cuban, but he is behaving like a petulant child here.

    Comment by Microbano -

  67. under your thinking, will was allowed to interview you for gq and never mention it again on his site, or anywhere outside the realm of gq. wow, that\’s remarkable. i didn\’t realize a gq interview was so top secret. i guess he should\’ve kept the details locked up next to the kennedy assassination and area 51 pictures. so if seymour hersh interviews osama bin laden for the new yorker, he can\’t talk about it after the publication on nbc nightly news. interesting.

    your interview was done months ago, and he never used any of the questions, answers, etc. on his site. stop your whining. no malfeasance was done.

    Comment by jrg -

  68. I think this was unethical. It was also stupid. Does he think that this will help him get more interviews? GQ should fire him.

    Comment by Mike -

  69. Ironic that this post itself gives more traffic to the very site you wouldn\’t want to give traffic to.

    Comment by Jimmy Cheng -

  70. Act, first of all, the article is most likely not WL\’s IP. He was likely contracted as work-for-hire, which means the article and the rights belong to GQ.

    Microbano, WL didn\’t just quote the article, he provided extra insight (\”Cuban was not amused and spent most of the interview accusing Deadspin of being the Inside Edition of sports. So that was fun.\”). That\’s information that didn\’t appear in the original article. Not the same as just linking or quoting.

    Add it all up, it\’s a crappy thing to do, and unethical. He said one thing (\”It\’s just for GQ\”) and did another.

    Comment by Mike -

  71. One thing I have learned about many of the young people of today, they are very short sided. The future does not exist to them except how they play it out in their minds.

    Basically, many are complete idiots that really have never been taught right from wrong and therefore wrong is what they see it to be.

    What he did was wrong. You have learned a valuable lesson. I would imagine these two posts are not going to help much with his future but I am sure he thinks this is the best thing that ever could have happened to his \”career\”.

    I guess he would be right in case his future bosses are as clueless as he is.

    Comment by Search Engine Optimization - Terry Reeves -

  72. Mark, again, I think you\’re missing the point here. The content of the interview WAS and REMAINS solely for GQ. As Will has pointed out in his subsequent responses, he merely quoted the interview on Valleywag – and to extend that, I should point out that Deadspin simply alerted its readership to the existence of this kerfuffle.

    If there were a blog bill of rights, the first stanza would deal with the inalienable right to take any and everything to the most meta level possible. Writing about stuff one wrote about is a mainstay of non-fiction – and do you think for one second that if you HAD conducted the interview via email that that would have insulated you from Will writing about that series of correspondence?

    PS – Nice, largely ignored, bitch slap of Tony Snow on Bill Maher. I noticed he didn\’t really change the substance of his argument when you informed him that in fact you ARE qualified to have a \”technical conversation\”. Bravo.

    Comment by Microbano -

  73. My friend, this all reeks of a childish immaturity. Will Leitch made reference to you (in a positive light, nonetheless) in his book, and this reference was posted on Valley. He quoted an article that he himself wrote, and that is his intellectual property. Why is this a problem? Because you dislike the blog he posted it on? That\’s ludicrous.

    This has nothing to do with \’ethics.\’ It has everything to do with some outlandish personal vendetta you have against Deadspin. If you complained about every journalist– official of blogger– who ever said anything about you, you spend the rest of your life complaining.

    Bluntly, why such a stick up your ass?

    Comment by Act -

Comments are closed.