At last, a real journalist

14 May, 2008

I have come to the conclusion that the only true journalists left in America are the sports writers.  Today’s Boston Herald is a wonderful example (and I am pleasantly surprised to be complimenting the conservative Herald). 

A few months ago (right about the time that my Patriots lost to the Giants), the Boston Herald published an article reagarding the allegations that members of the Patiot’s organization had taped the St. Louis Rams walkthrough a few years back.    The problem is, it didn’t happen.  The Herald admitted today that they did not actually see the tape, nor in any other way verified the veracity of the accusation.  Today, they printed this:

On Feb. 2, 2008, the Boston Herald reported that a member of the New England Patriots video staff taped the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough on the day before Super Bowl XXXVI. While the Boston Herald based its Feb. 2, 2008, report on sources that it believed to be credible, we now know that this report was false, and that no tape of the walkthrough ever existed.

Prior to the publication of its Feb. 2, 2008, article, the Boston Herald neither possessed nor viewed a tape of the Rams’ walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI, nor did we speak to anyone who had. We should not have published the allegation in the absence of firmer verification.

The Boston Herald regrets the damage done to the team by publication of the allegation, and sincerely apologizes to its readers and to the New England Patriots owners, players, employees and fans for our error.

The Boston Herald admitted that it ran a story without verifying the information.  The Herald admitted that they made a mistake.  The Herald apologized.

Will we ever hear a similar apology from the Washington Post for it’s blind acceptance of the Bush administration’s warmongering talking points?  Will the New York Times ever apologize for it’s cheerleading and jingoism during the runup to the Iraq invasion?  Will any newspaper, any American newspaper, admit that, “though we thought the reports of WMDs in Iraq were correct, we have since learned that we were mislead and the report was incorrect?”

I ain’t holdin my breath.

Olberman is a former sports journalist.  Maybe that explains why he is willing to question the press releases and propaganda coming from our government.  Maybe that explains why he’s willing to call ‘bullshit’ when appropriate.  Maybe that explains why he is willing to admit when he was wrong.



  1. Great point about the Washington Post and others still not apologizing for their role in leading us into Iraq. Personally, I’m still waiting for Rep. Monique Davis to apologize to all us atheists!

  2. I believe Davis gave one of those BS apologies, like “sorry you were offended”.

    I think even in sports reporting, this incident is rare. I mean, how often do reporters ever refer back to their massively incorrect predictions for drafts or seasons performances, let alone actual reporting errors?

  3. Still a bunch of whiny cheaters, though.

  4. Billy: in the end, I heard Rome had bread and circuses and handbills pointing to the colliseum–that is what sports reporting is to real journalism.

    And sports by there very nature are contrived controversy, with their own paid for proponents.

    It is a sad trend in media, we can all agree, that journalists have no cajones–and puffheads like Katie Couric are the death knell for real stories.

    But there are real journalists out there–they just don’t cover what needs to get covered. A little problem with top down manipulation (don’t you love how the irreligious left just loves to show Citizen Kane on the public channel as a classic movie, but refuses to comment on the current state of media conglomeration that does the same? Must be the difference between a Hearst and an Eisner, a Goy and …shrew)

    But sports? unfortunately, your thinking is part of the reason WHY we have no reporters worth a sh!t out there…

  5. real cmf: Let me see if I get this straight: I write a post lamenting the sad state of American journalism, lamenting the scarcity of fact-checking by the main-stream media, complain that the only journalists (there are a few exceptions, but way too few) willing to take press releases with a grain of salt, and I’m part of the reason that the main-stream media has collapsed?

    Regards your Citizen Kane remark? Aside from the mysogynistic and antisemitic remarks, well, odd. I thought that the left fought tooth and nail against Reagan’s proposals to loosen rules about media consolidation. The left fought the same losing battle under Bush I and Bush II. The left has been fighting media consolidation and media ‘big business’ for as long as I have been aware of the fight.

    Interesting coment, but it has little to do with my point in the article. My point (apparently I did not make myself clear) is that big media, except in the sports realm, refuses to take responsibility for mistakes (to the left or right). The only unbiased large media reporting comes in the realm of sports. And when they get it wrong, they are willing to admit it.

    As for sports? I enjoy baseball, football, hockey, soccer, the olympics and skiing. I do not pretend that sports actually matter. They are a pleasant diversion, but are certainly not the be-all and end-all of my life.

  6. Oh for fuck’s sake, don’t get all namby-pamby on me justifying your approval of sports to this cmf clown. If he has no interest in sports, that’s his problem, not yours or mine.

  7. Yeah, no namby-pambying, dammit, or we’ll take away your balls and pucks.

    And are you sure the Herald isn’t just trying to minimize the damage of a lawsuit? I mean, come on, let’s be cynical about this. Otherwise what’s the point, you know?

  8. Philly: I know. I was just pointing out to this clown that I know its a diversion.

    Ric: Maybe the reporters and the newspaper wanted to protect their journalistic integrity?

  9. () –

    The Herald? Journalism? Integrity? Perhaps we’re not talking about the same wingnut Herald? Last I looked they were pretty rabid. Evil right wing conspiracy practitioners and all that.

  10. Ric: That made it even more surprising. A right-wing mouthpiece actually showed some journalistically integral balls. Surprised the hell out of me.

  11. ()-

    I was going to make a crack about whether you were sure they weren’t differential balls, but decided not to.

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