Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fishing for Stories

In the week or so since the Manti Te'o story broke, I have really had no strong response to the story either way.  I would imagine many others have felt the same way.  I needed to know more information before I could come to a conclusion, even if that conclusion was that there was no conclusion.  It just seemed like a weird story that presupposed a guilty party.  I still have no opinion on the story as it has been presented, but what I have begun to develop is a healthy distaste for the media.

I am usually a huge supporter of the website Deadspin.com for how they continually lambaste ESPN for drumming up frenzies about stupid things, and only promoting their own agenda.  However, given time to react to this story they broke on Manti Te'o I can honestly say that Deadspin might want to take a look in the mirror.  They are becoming the network they despise.

I don't know anything about the writers at Deadspin, or how this story evolved, but it seems to me to have been broken in about the least professional manner possible.  The writer gathered some facts about a story they felt to be very damaging to Notre Dame and Manti Te'o, and before figuring out the entire story just decided to release it and make guesses as to what happened.  They did not know if Te'o was involved in the scandal, they did not know if any wrongdoing was done, they just had a couple of bits of information (albeit some very shocking) and decided they couldn't sit on the story any longer before breaking it.  In turn, what we get is a confusing and nonsensical story that has done nothing but embarrass a seemingly good person and leave the rest of us going "Heh?"  Can you see a respectable journalist acting in such a way?  Deadspin needs to stick to ESPN bashing if you ask me.  I'm always on board for that.

The Manti Te'o story opens a larger discussion of the role of the media in current times.  No longer is it acceptable to present facts in a unbiased fashion.  Every story must take a side, everything must have a spin, every journalist is looking to unravel a huge scandal.  Therefore, every hack writer is digging further and further into celebrity lives and it rears its ugly head with stories like this one.  There was a time when the media respected boundaries, and didn't publish things out of good taste (think JFK).  Nowadays, that is just not feasible any more with the amount of money being thrown around at a breaking story, and the speed at which information travels.

I don't think the power of the media will ever be checked due to such strong interest, and such big bucks involved.  However, it would be great to see a few more stories blow up in the face of these bloodthirsty reporters in the way that this Manti Te'o story has somewhat.  That might lead us to not believe everything we read or see on TV.  At least anything not from TPLIYP that is...

1 comment:

  1. Moose? http://culturalpolicyreform.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/thewires5460.jpg?w=460&h=276

    From what I can gather, ESPN actually had the story on Te'O at or before the time Deadspin was doing the research. They stopped to gather quotes, details, and present a more balanced story before they ran with it. Deadspin just sent two reporters to dig up death records and ran with it. Is this muckraking journalism? Would Woodward and Bernstein be proud? Or does this expose the superficiality of the media and overall populace today? The fact that social media remarks can play such a large role in our national news (see Mickelson, Phil) while numerous other problems go unchecked is alarming. How many people have died in Syria, while the finest reporters are sent to South Bend to pore over months-old Tweets? Another comment could be made about the overall stupidity and naivete of the media in buying the whole story to begin with. What happened to fact checkers? At the end of the day, whether its the media, Notre Dame, or Te'o, everyone was just looking to get paid. It's all in the game after all.

    Fins interlude: