A Sad Day in Journalism

I will not buy anything written by or produced by Sports Illustrated. I will not go to their website and read articles there either. They will not receive ad revenue from this one reader.  I will not buy the books of their reporters. SI is the supermarket tabloid of sports. I am done with them.

Their irresponsible journalism not only defames individuals and puts black eyes on professional sports, but also protects the names of those breaking the law. Their hiring of controversial “journalists” further gives me reason to stay away.

They have no respect for the field of journalism. The swimsuit issue is a prime example of that. Sports Illustrated is only interested in making money at the exploitation of other people.

Yes, Alex Rodriguez made a colossal mistake. He took a substance with the hope that it would enhance his performance. He made a health mistake by injecting himself with a narcotic, and one purchased on the street in a foreign country. Further more, he did not even know how to use the substance properly. He consulted no team physician. He consulted no union representatives. He then lied about it in an interview. For all of those reasons, he is stupid.

As a voluntary participant of the 2003 drug testing that was used to determine the depth of the drug problem in Major League Baseball Alex agreed to anonymously play his part. He may or may not have been one of the names on that list. We still do not know for certain.

There is also a matter of Gene Orza’s alleged tipping of players coming up for tests. Who has the evidence that he tipped off players? Has a player come forward with that information? Has someone from the Player’s Union stepped forward with it? Who was it? Until names are made public and statements are able to be investigated we are left with pure speculation. Until evidence is made public we only have a man being brought out to slaughter.

Wild accusations from unnamed sources, if unproven, is libel. With no names to back up these claims, Sports Illustrated is not only being defamatory, but libelous as well. That is against the law. For all we know, those four anonymous sources of theirs who claim Alex’s name is on the list do not exist. Without the names of the sources behind Orza’s accusations, it can not be proved to have happened.

This article is nothing short of sensationalism.

For all we know, Selena Roberts and David Epstein took a pot shot at Alex and it stuck. They got lucky. Alex came clean. He didn’t have to. He opened up and got it out there. He got the monkey off of his back. Now there is another monkey that is floating around.

There are still too many holes in this story. There is zero credibility in the news reporting.

The problem with journalism in this country is how the balance between honesty and marketing has become uneven. This debacle is precise proof of just that.

In an editorial written for The Gaurdian about the Duke Lacrosse Team, Esptein wrote, “This story is about a country that has been bursting at the seams to
talk about sports, sex, violence, race, and elitism in all their
various combinations and permutations.

He later writes about how the court of public opinion then plays a bigger part in the results of such headlines. It strikes me odd, then, that a journalist who can identify such a problem would later sell out those beliefs to break a story with such little journalistic integrity.

Ironically enough, the same topic gained Selena Roberts some attention with her less than complimentary editorials (one could hardly call them news reports).  Roberts repeatedly slams the accused athletes for their race, their class, and even their level of education.

Jefferson Anders, an author at BloggerNews.net, stated in an April 13, 2007 entry, “What the coverage of the Duke lacrosse case says about American
journalism isn’t particularly appetizing. For the most part, the
mainstream media joined in a ratings-driven rush to judgment, presuming
guilt on the part of the Duke Three.

The same trend is mirrored here in the verbal assaults of Alex Rodriguez and Gene Orza.

David Esptein, Selena Roberts, and Sports Illustrated need to apologize to Alex, baseball, fans, and the field of journalism for their irresponsible reporting. Roberts needs to include that apology in her defamatory book that has been so conveniently pushed for release sooner.

The American people have to stop allowing themselves to be fed such garbage.

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3 comments

  1. Jane Heller

    Why am I only now discovering your blog? I must not have been paying attention! I was about to do a long post about Selena Roberts, the Duke case, her forthcoming A-Rod book, etc. But I couldn’t bring myself to hit “publish.” Not yet, anyway. I remember her article condemning the lacrosse players who were eventually acquitted. I also remember her Times article about A-Rod’s real estate dealings. She’s highly regarded by other journalists and yet I wonder why she would write a book about a ballplayer’s messy personal life.

    http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

  2. roshkoch

    Jane, I’m not sure. I’d rather write and live life than shill my blog on other people’s blogs (well, that and I can’t seem to comment on most of them. DARN YOU MLBLOGS!!!)

    I have done some research on Ms Roberts and I cannot say that I am impressed by her work. She draws to controversy like a firefly to a bug zapper. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been zapped hard enough.

    According to her NYTimes bio, she has hopped around the country as a beat reporter, unable to stay put for more than a year. But now she works for SI. Perfect bed mates, in my opinion.

    I am tired of the “if it bleeds, it leads” attitude in journalism. I am tired of the sensationalism. I am tired of being fed half truths, blatant lies, and sources that are too cowardly to give their names.

    So please, Jane, write your article. Hit the publish button. It is time that we demand our journalists to stop feeding us fast food news and start feeding us the meat and potatoes of truth.

  3. Jane Heller

    I contribute pieces to the New York Times, Roshkoch, and I really admire the people I deal with in the sports section. Whenever I mention Selena, they seem very sorry she left and have only good things to say about her. Puzzling.

    http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

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