Abel to Yzerman
by VooX on 08/21/10 at 03:50 AM ET
Counting Tuesdays With The Chief. That will be the title of my first book. I’ll write that my Red Smith Award for outstanding contributions to sports journalism was my inspiration in the introduction.
Recently I played a dirty trick on everybody. In two posts, here and here, I copied Mitch Albom articles, almost verbatim, in which he fabricated a story and then confessed his amoral ways a couple of days later.
It was wrong to bring the Delicate Genius to the blog. Wrong to steal his lies and bring them to such a fine forum. It was a satirical commentary on faux journalists like Mitch Albom, it had to be done.
It is too easy for someone with access to fake the facts. Too easy to surround a few quotes with paragraphs of drivel. It is tempting to betray the trust of the fans and the readers in the pursuit of selfish desires. Writing sports stories isn’t about enhancing reality by spicing up quotes. Writing sports stories is about telling the truth and bringing people with you to experience the moment. It shouldn’t be up to a faux journalist like me to remind paid journalists that. They are supposed to hold the truth sacred.
Apparently not everybody got the joke.
George Malik, showoff blogger and recent KK addition, sent me this email yesterday after I came clean and apologized via email for misleading him:
There is ONLY one tenet regarding blogging as “journalism” or anything near it—
“Don’t make shit up”—and you violated that tenet. Don’t do it again.
I love George. Serious bro-mance stuff, too.
Although Malik is not a “real” journalist, he is more real than all of the Deep Diggers put together. He was literally appalled and disgusted at my apparent lack of integrity. Telling stories is that important to him, as it should be to all of us. After all, stories are what gives a team its character. Fans know the stories on the ice, we rely on others to tell us the stories off the ice.
Faux journalists like Mitch Albom and most Deep Diggers violate that obligation to fans. They don’t write stories for the fans, they write stories for their own selfish purposes. They could ask insightful questions. Instead they choose not to.
There are a lot of cowards hiding in newsrooms and studios.
A couple of months ago Mike Wilner, a baseball radio broadcaster in Toronto, was suspended by his station, the Fan 590. Wilner was asking questions that the Blue Jays’ manager thought were a bit too direct. Rogers Communications Inc., who owns both the team and the station, informed Wilner his services would not be required for a few days and to stay home.
With the exception for a couple of good articles condemning, quite rightfully, Rogers Communications and the station for punishing a journalist for essentially doing his job, the majority of the Canadian media were silent on the issue. So I asked them about it.
I asked about their thoughts on the Mike Wilner saga. I’ve never heard Wilner’s work, yet I was horrified to learn of his suspension and outraged few journalists were raising hell about it.
As it turns out, journalists I spoke to are terrified of addressing the scandalous suspension. They are trying to protect themselves and their careers as Rogers Communications is very powerful in Canada. Journalists have families to feed and getting laid-off in an already brutal media industry won’t put food on the table. I pity them. Too scared to do their job, and too meek to try and make a stand as a group.
I asked Jim Nill about the Wilner saga. The Chief started A2Y because our Deep Diggers sucked. They ask no probing questions and put little effort into capturing a unique story. To read one is to read them all: cookie-cutter crap. Almost all of it. I asked Nill if they were afraid of the team’s repercussions for asking tough questions.
Jim, emphatically I might add, denied this. Several times in our conversation, Nill stressed the honesty the Red Wings organ-I-zation has. We are a quiet organization, he said, we are confident as we’ve been battle tested. Most of all, he stressed, the entire organization tries to always be honest with everybody. The team is only secretive about players’ medical information, to protect both their safety on the ice and their privacy off of it.
The answers are available if the questions are asked. Nill proved that to me, and I’m only a fan.
Over the course of the next few days I will be filling you in about details of our conversation about the Red Wings, various players and prospects, the fans, watching games, scouting players, H2H, Corsi numbers, Modano, Salei, the salary cap, the organ-I-zation as a whole, and more. All taken from a couple of conversations that lasted about an hour altogether.
The tape recorder wasn’t rolling. It was just a couple of hockey fans talking about the team they love and watching the game that brings us all together. Jokes were made, thoughts were shared, and a door was left open to do it again.
If a faux journalist can get these kind of answers in one afternoon, why aren’t real journalists doing it everyday?
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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: email@example.com