Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lies, Libel and Lazy Reporting

It has received little attention in the media, but in an interesting move ESPN NBA reporter Chris Sheridan (on the left in the photo) has filed a libel lawsuit against Peter Vecsey and the New York Post. Sheridan was upset about a column Vecsey wrote in which he criticized Sheridan's reporting abilities and called his reporting of the Carmelo Anthony trade situation a "fairy tale."

Legally, Sheridan's lawsuit has almost a zero chance of success. As a public figure, Sheridan would have to demonstrate malice, proving that Vecsey published false information, knew it was false and published it specifically to hurt Sheridan. Vecsey's article is critical, but hardly rises to the level of libel.

More interesting to me is the disturbing habit these days of media quoting media. In other words, too many stories get covered simply by reporting what other people in the media are writing. Some of it is totally innocuous, such as Sports Illustrated reporting on Charles Barkley's comments to a radio station about a possible NBA lockout. But the point is, no matter how innocent this is NOT sports reporting; it's simply republishing someone else's reporting.

It used to be if you wanted to report on a story you went out and talked to the people involved in it. Today, we simply run around and ask other journalists what they think. I understand there is a tremendous need for content to fill Internet pages, blogs and newspaper space. But this seems to me to be a lazy way to write a story.

Just ask Chris Sheridan.


Blogger Ron Bishop said...

How much media on media reporting is out there sounds like a great research project to me,

9:47 AM  

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