Weekly Sports Media Failures: Part I

With the NFL’s version of “labor strife” soon to be settled, our democracy can soon return its full attention to more important matters. For example, without the business of sports hogging the headlines, we the people can focus on the villainous fiends who, apparently, comprise our professional athletic class. Far be it for us to blame the crooks on Wall Street for our tanking economy when we have Big Bird, teacher’s unions, and criminal athletes to take the blame.

I know what you are saying right about now; “I thought this was a sports rant.” and “Mike Vick is rehabilitated, so why is his picture gracing the top of this article?” Well, Vick is here because I like the pick, am in the media (sort of), and can frame the discussion as I see fit. Can you identify the fundamental problem with this construct? While browsing the sports pages (and by pages I mean web-pages), I came across two examples of why all of us should be deeply suspicious of everything we read (to include this humble domain).

Example number one comes from our friends at Fox Sports, and involves a common tactic used (quite literally) everywhere and by everyone; the headline hatchet job. What is your impression of the headline at left? My first thoughts on reading it were that a player for the Lakers had struck someone while driving his car, and that the someone had died. Read the story at the link provided, and you get this further piece of “evidence” about the luckless Laker, Lamar Odom:

A funeral was held Monday for a 15-year-old boy who died after suffering injuries in a car accident involving Los Angeles Lakers star Lamar Odom, according to a report.

The boy, who was struck by a motorcycle involved in the crash with Odom’s car Thursday night, underwent emergency surgery at a nearby hospital in Queens but died on Friday morning, TMZ reported, saying it confirmed the news through the boy’s family.

Read the article a little further folks, and you find that Lamar Odom was travelling as a passenger in a vehicle he hired through a car service. Can you imagine having your name dragged through the mud for being in a cab that hit someone? Of course you can’t; and you wouldn’t have to deal with the notion because dragging your name through the mud would sell no ads or subscriptions.

The second example is on a much lighter note; it is certainly a classic in the annals of the Freudian Slip or unintentional honesty. From NFL.com, we get an article on the building conclusion to the labor dispute. The article is a series of updates, thrown together (presumably by an editor but possibly by the guy whose byline graces the top), and passed onto the public as “breaking news”. The details, alas, are fodder for another post. The editorial slip seen in this screenshot is priceless:

I am so glad to have caught this before the site-editors did…

The Rational Middle is listening…