Another Failure In Journalistic Integrity

This goes beyond the simple act of freely casting aspersions about. It also manages to deal with the difference in reaction to a measured, considerate, and lightly philosophical read from a blogger to that of a journalist who bandies about steroid accusations while even contradicting himself.

Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk brings these issues up in his reaction to Yahoo! Sports’ Steve Henson and his attack on Nomar Garciaparra. Recently retired, Nomar Garciaparra.

So we learn that the world of journalism is hypocritical. In summary, Calcaterra bemoans the fact that Henson gets off being called a journalist while bloggers get reamed by the mainstream media…bringing us the case of Jerrod Morris.

Raul Ibanez got off to a ridiculously hot start in 2009. Morris, a blogger, had Ibanez in his fantasy league and a leaguemate called Ibanez out citing HR per AB and so on as a case for steroid use. Morris decided to investigate before making his counter argument and this is what he came up with for his blog post.

So let’s do a quick rundown of the differences between these two articles:

Henson: Garciaparra mysteriously broke down into injury problems following his 29th year of existence. Speculation abound without much proof or investigation. Look at this picture! Mention of a genetic condition that affects muscular contractions (which would explain repeated injuries) and then completely disregard it for further steroid speculation.

Morris: Mounting a defense against a fantasy baseball colleague over Ibanez’s power surge (19 HR in first 55 games of ’09 vs 23 in 162 in ’08). Use statistics (HR/AB, lineup, career splits) and ballpark dimensions (CBP-hitter’s park vs Safeco-pitcher’s park) and pitcher match-ups (punishing ppor Nat and Padre pitchers) to try to account for uptick. Even mentions that Ibanez could slow down and projects him to finish with 30-35 HR (ding-ding! 34 HR in ’09). Points made: Ibanez is great fantasy pick (and sell-high candidate), 55 games is still a small sample size, we are in a different era of baseball and the change of league and home park doesn’t fully account for power surge of a 37 year old. Shane Monahan used steroids as a Mariner and Ibanez denied using them, but all players deny use even if they’ve used them.

Which one seems like more of a credible journalist?

My beef isn’t so much that Henson is raising the possibilty of Garciaparra using steroids(hey, why not, with his retirement he just became newsworthy again…ah, easy way out for a story), but the fact that he plows into it headfirst claiming that Nomar has this big secret. The “proof” he gives is flimsy and insubstantial…the most important thing mentioned is something which gives light to Nomar’s injury troubles and detracts from his insane attack. It’s a pathetic attempt at an article.

What happened next for Jerrod Morris is something bordering along the lines of lunacy. Journalists from all outlets and hosts of ESPN shows glazed over it and never seemed to get it’s point (or origin). Unfortunately this led to Morris getting severely reamed by the MSM and when he appeared on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” he was presented in a poor light (pale, no makeup, no suit) and since he doesn’t appear TV was torn to shreds by these drooling, illiterate dickheads.

John Gonzalez of the Philly Inquirer tore into Morris without getting the gist of the article (you can search for it on philly.com “A Cheap Shot At Ibanez) as does Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. Baker hops up on his high horse to point out the differences between journalism and blogging (there’s a difference? no way!) and spends a good time stroking his ego instead of getting to the point (real journalists are narcissists). Another difference between journalists and bloggers? Bloggers don’t get to go to baseball games for free, much less meet the players for free. So we can’t really “look the players in the eye.”

Of course when one of their own releases a weaker version of the same thing they probably assume it’s a work of art in the realm of their craft.

Luckily there were some guys defending Morris against this excessive and unwarranted backlash. Progressive thinkers/writers such as Joe Posnanski and Rob Neyer. Posnanski brings to light Ibanez’s tendency to go on hot streaks in his SI article and it makes an excellent case for Ibanez just being like he is every other season. Neyer defends Morris even further and says that bloggers can be maniacal at times (even if Morris wasn’t, but it’s true, WAHAHAHA!) Both bring up Ibanez defending himself, which is good for him, he should, but he brings up that annoying “mother’s basement” stereotype…so Raul Ibanez, maybe you were caught up being pissed, but that was still a dick move. Even more important: We are in a different era were everyone is a suspect and regardless of innocence will refute allegations until scientifically proven true (and even then, continue). So how can we believe that we’re always told the truth?

Even further: Baseball players are overpaid. They make millions for a game and we have a right to be skeptical because they are grown men and can deal with it and their Player’s Association had held up testing for a long time because so many of them were cheating and now so many of them are lying.

If Steve Henson had managed to touch on any of these points I would have respected his article more, but since he appears to have thrown spaghetti at a wall and called it work I have absolutely no qualm about calling him unprofessional, lazy, and an utter douche (maniacal blogging!).

Expect more of your professionals. Request that journalists display the “journalistic integrity” they always harp on about especially in relation to blogging. We bloggers have integrity, but we don’ always have to display it because we’re doing this for fun and usually just for our friends…AND FOR FREE. Suck it up and write something decent to read.

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