Tuesday, April 12, 2005Media Follies
Bo Knows Lawsuits..
The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin [site] made a crucial mistake when they ran a story that accused Bo Jackson of using steroids. The paper has since retracted the quote and ran an apology the day after Jackson filed a lawsuit against the paper. [Knight-Ridder]
The reporter, Jim Mohr, attributed the quote to Ellen Coleman who he claims stated that "Jackson lost his hip due to anabolic steroid abuse."
Coleman denies making the statement and signed an affidavit saying so. Moreover Jackson's lawyer has a videotape of the conference and Coleman never mentions Jackson.
Despite the apology, Jackson will still sue and without any proof of the statement the paper has no choice but to fire the reporter and settle the lawsuit. You would hope that a reporter would never fabricate a statement and I hope, for his sake, that he has a very reliable tape recorder or he has ended his career and ruined the credibility of this newspaper in a very competitive metropolitan market.
The Two People He Didn't Meet in St. Louis
Mitch Albom really jumped the shark last week and because of it he's sitting out from the Detroit Free-Press for a while. No need to go into much explanation on this so I'll let the words speak for themselves.
The column and the infamous column lead. [Detroit Free-Press]
ST. LOUIS -- In the audience Saturday at the Final Four, among the 46,000 hoop junkies, sales executives, movie producers, parents, contest winners, beer guzzlers, hip-hop stars and lucky locals who knew somebody who knew somebody, there were two former stars for Michigan State, Mateen Cleaves and Jason Richardson.
They sat in the stands, in their MSU clothing, and rooted on their alma mater. They were teammates in the magical 2000 season, when the Spartans won it all. Both now play in the NBA, Richardson for Golden State, Cleaves for Seattle
The problem. It appears that neither Jason Richardson nor Mateen Cleaves made the flight to the game. Uh-oh, sounds like someone's been telling a fib.
Mitch's apology [link], notice how he mentions the editors first at the end. Little prick.
Free-Press editor's apology and discussion of ethics. [link]
Albom's been suspended and has fired up a storm of controversy, much of what comes from a column heavily criticizing Jayson Blair [link] a couple of years ago. Blair, as we all know, fabricated many stories for the New York Times.
The Chicago Tribune [link] did an excellent piece and asked for the opinions of fellow colleagues, college professors, editors, etc.
The consensus: Mitch Must Go.
Good thing for Mitch is that he's got something to fall back on. He has a strong audience for his radio show, a television presence and of course a couple of best-selling books. He'll be fine with or without the Free-Press.
But at the heart of his career and the thing that gave him everything he enjoys was his journalism. He may write another best-selling book, but he'll never be a credible journalist again. And oddly enough, just like Blair, Albom's downfall came with a common dose of lazy reporting and the need to tell a story rather than tell the truth.