Let’s Throw Responsibility Out The Window

The Mitchell Report is out.  Great.  There will be plenty of discussion about the validity of the claims made and the players exposed.  We’ll let that all play out.

What really got under my skin was the other list…the one that was circulated across some sites on the Internet and picked up by some in the media about three hours before the official release of the report. 

I first saw this other list on Deadspin.  It was also run on the NBC outlet in New York and on MSNBC.  Whoever published or talked about that other list should be ashamed of their work as a responsible journalist.   They should all apologize for running with inaccurate information.  The rush to be first outweighed the obligation to be right.

Will Leitch has been one of the few bloggers who has made a successful career out of the work he puts into Deadspin.  I commend him for his ingenuity.  But I must take him to task for the irresponsibility of his actions yesterday. 

Will first published the other list at 11:16am.  In his post he wrote the following:

In the last hour, we have been forwarded a list of players mentioned in the Mitchell Report by about 25 different people. Is this list substantiated? No. Is it from an MLB official? No. Do we have any reason to believe it’s anything but random bunk? No. But it’s what’s making the rounds today, and we’re less than three hours away, and if the list is wrong, we’ll know real soon.

He went on to say:

It could very likely be one of those Web urban legends that somehow got around, like when everyone thought Scott Baio was dead. It probably is, actually.

Deadspin has been viewed by some to be a reputable news source. If you want to maintain that credibility, Will, then why run the other list? It made no sense for you (or any other media outlet for that matter) to run with this un-corroborated information. You wouldn’t lose readers if you held back.

Later in the post Will made the following updates:

(UPDATE: A source inside baseball says this list is “not entirely accurate.” Emphasis ours.)
(SECOND UPDATE: WNBC apparently has the same list, some names of which have been disputed by baseball. But not all. And less than two hours to go!)

OK…you find out that the other list is being disputed by some. Why didn’t you pull it? Admit your mistake?

Finally, Will added one final update:

(ONLY UPDATE THAT REALLY MATTERS: Here’s the full Mitchell Report.)

But the other list is still posted!

Listen, I am not picking on Will (OK, maybe I am), just using his site to make a point that those in the media run with misinformation and rarely ever make retractions. (As of this writing Deadspin has still not acknowledged any wrongdoing)

Just for giggles…there are over 70 names on that other list. And less than 30 actually appeared in the Mitchell Report. Does it mean that those not listed in the Mitchell Report should be considered vindicated in the court of public opinion? Hardly. Rafael Palmeiro is on the other list and not in the Mitchell Report and we know that he failed a drug test. That’s not the point. The point is it was implied that this other list was the list in the report. It wasn’t.

It really bothers me that bloggers, who seek recognition and acceptance, sometimes fall into the same trap as the mainstream media. False claims are sometimes made for the sake of expedience without any consequences.

Come on Will. You criticize others who don’t take accept responsibility when they’re wrong. Show some guts. Tell us you are sorry for spreading false information and that you will be more careful next time. We’ll forgive you.

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0 comments

  1. I agree that he should not have published it. The only reason to do so is to create buzz and drive traffic. People with blogs need to exercise judgment and restraint. See my experience with Forbes Magazine at http://www.controlscaddy.com/A55A69/bccaddyblog.nsf/plinks/CBYE-6BG3MF
    , the result of what happened at http://www.controlscaddy.com/A55A69/bccaddyblog.nsf/plinks/CBYE-6HMPRC

    People who write blogs do not yet have the shield given to Journalists, so besides being irresponsible, he is putting himself at risk.

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