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Discussion in 'Swamp Gas' started by Rawpimple, Sep 12, 2013.
I'm no fan of the media in general but it doesn't seem like a good thing when a football coach can be that influential in deciding that a newspaper reporter should be fired (which is what the publisher wanted to do) or at least forbidden to cover USC football (which would be like the kiss of death for a sportswriter in Columbia).
It also looks like SOS had a good bit of influence in picking a replacement. SOS says he put in a good word but given the publisher's fear of doing anything to offend SOS I'd bet it was more like the publisher saying "hey Steve, who would you like to see replace him?"
Well, sure, but then they don't get the benefit of the doubt. You can't cry freedom of the press or censorship if you're lying.
When you print an untruth, you should get called out on it. If you insult a person, you should be prepared to back up your insult to their face, and be prepared to take their retaliation. Freedom of the press does not mean freedom from personal consequence. If you consistently attack a public figure -- who, because of libel laws has very little legal recourse against you -- then you ought to be willing to take their response, and the response of those people that support the guy you're attacking. If one of those persons happens to be your employer -- who worries that his paper's relationship with someone is in jeopardy because of what you've written -- then you ought to be willing to resign or accept reassignment. Or start your own paper.
You can write whatever you want. No one else is under any obligation to publish it, though.
Freedom of the press has nothing to do with this, it is freedom of the press from govt interference and coercion.
I think it is a huge leap for a guy to compare any action of Spurs to Penn State -- almost defamatory. Even though journalism is not a profession and is not governed by ethical and professional standards, linking someone to Penn State conduct seems beyond the bounds of decency for an occupation than depends on others for its stories and content. JMHO as a J school grad who did not enter the field because I found the ethics of journalism to be so slimey and lacking.
Not true. to this day, the New York Times has YET to return the Pulitzer Prize Duranty won for covering up the Stalinist Show Trials and the Holodomer. Journalists of the 1950s were never retroactively chastized for insisting that there were no Soviet agents in government in the 1930s through the early 1950s, as Soviet archives and the Venona transcripts proved. Horace Greely is still a legendary giant of journalism in spite of contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands by exorting the Lincoln Administration to go to war without delay. Ditto with William Randolph Hearst with the U.S Maine. The lies written about Vietnam and Cambodia were legion.
As the old saw goes, when the press gets a story wrong, the lie is on Page A-1. The retraction is on page A23.
True, but when an source outside the paper, be it government or private sector, can influence who the press uses to write columns, then the integrity of the press drops way down. And thus far, we haven't seen any "untruths." We've seen a lot of "he's a negative guy," however.
Translation: "I don;t like what that guy writes about the Gamecocks and about me. Therefore, I am going to get him canned and have the paper find someone more malleable, like those guys from the Gainesville Sun." At Alabama, Bear Bryant had VERY little negative press. The media in the state wouldn't DARE. He hated Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, though. Bisher refused to be intimidated...
I disagree. To use the comparison of Paterno with Spurrier (who was a very good friend of JoPa, BTW) in the context he used was not beyond the bounds of decency. What he referred to is the potential consequences of a coach having TOO MUCH power over a program, whether it involves picking and choosing journalists or influencing the exposure his university gets for a coach committing an illegal act. The degree of the abuse is infinitely different, needless to say, but the comparison is apt.
It is akin to being outraged by thinking that because Eisenhower admired Hitler's autobahns, Eisenhower admired Hitler. The reporter didn't say that Spurrier looked the other way while his DC molested boys in the shower. It was strictly a power issue, with the notion that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Spurrier (or any coach) shouldn't have so much power to be able to do that. Muschamp was wrong for trying to ostracize Gator Country. Imagine how Zook felt about Tom McKewan, who transcended hostility into outright viciousness, demanding his firing before he even arrived?
College football is entertainment. If those in that entertainment business don't want "negative guys" around, then that's their right. But that's not what happened here, a writer was called out for writing something that was "untrue" and the author did nothing to address the claim.
Yet we do not know if the story IS untrue. All the writer and the paper has to do is say, "We stand by the story." Just because Spurrier (or any coach) said it was untrue doesn't make it so...
From talking with my friends up in SC, they say this guy Morris thinks he is Woodward & Bernstein and looks weekly to find a negative angle on the Gamecocks (remember, he is their equivalent of Pat Dooley. Not sure I would be to fond of the that happening to us).
Apparently it goes all the way back to Holtz, as he tangled with the guy often.
He insinuated in the paper and apparently spread around town gossip that Spurrier was undermining Darren Horn (the bball coach who was later fired) by "recruiting" Bruce Ellington and wanted him to play football only. he said she said.
Spurrier took offense that he would undermine another coach and "recruit" a player away from basketball, etc.
Apparently it was the advertisers who complained about Morris that really got him in hot water. Readership was down as was advertising.
Either way, this is The State newspapers issue not Spurrier's. If Morris were good enough, he would still be in the same position.
Where was this, though? It wasn't in the oped I posted above, which is the one that came out right before Spurrier called him a "negative guy" and refused to talk if he was in the room.
Nobody did this. His point was pretty clear - if you control the message it creates an environment where these things can go on unnoticed.
I have no way of really knowing what the case is with SOS, but I could see in both situations a journalist causing a coach some difficulty with the player involved, with the player's parents, in recruiting (giving the competition ammo), in PR (having to address a non-issue that is now perceived as negative), in having to hear about it from your boss or booster, in generally being an unwelcome distraction from doing your job, etc ...
You are right, we don't know if it is untrue, but when I see a subject call out the author with regard to his content, and I don't see the author address it, it makes the author look shady. I don't recall seeing the paper or the author saying "we stand by the story"
Of course, and just because Morris wrote it doesn't mean it was true. What are we left with? Baseless allegations? I still say the whole thing is entertaining and I'm glad it happened.
True dat. It IS entertaining...
Very simple solution to this problem. You talk to their ME, you talk to their publisher, both of whom Spurrier has in his speed dial. You tell them X isn't true and your reporter is making things up.
Making things up is not tolerated in journalism. You will not keep your job.
Now, if it's just "negativity" by a columnist ... well, sorry.
Morris doesn't like spurrier--reported some stuff that wasn't true - spurrier took "offense"
As opposed to what? Someone writes negatively about you -- and you're supposed to do what? Smile it off? Everything written stays alive forever now. Last year -- or maybe the year before -- Morris wrote how wrong it was of Spurrier to let Shaw play against UAB after a shoulder injury. Shaw had been cleared, there was no issue, but Morris wrote that he just didn't think it was good, and that Shaw would suffer because of it, and very clearly painted an egomaniacal Spurrier as the villain. That story stays around. But what recourse does Spurrier have? When a columnist continually defames you, what can you do but say "I don't want to deal with him anymore?" Which, if you look at the actual quotes, is all Spurrier really did. He gave warning what could happen if it continued.
I think the interesting thing about all these questions is the flip. Because nobody who works at a paper makes a lot of money, there's an inference they are powerless and harmless. You worry about coaches -- think about the guy who writes -- unquestioned -- three times a week whatever happens to be bugging him. And if that's a coach, he writes it three times a week about how bad they are. If they are successful on the field, he writes about their lack of character. The McEwen think you brought up is a perfect analogy. He had no business writing what he did -- it was irresponsible and unfair. But he wasn't going to get fired or banned -- he's too powerful, too beloved. So he had the ability to function unchecked and unregulated, doing much more damage than the coach's ability to respond. Because writers write the facts the way they see them, which is not always the way facts are.
As for the history stuff, I think your point works congruently with mine. Because NYT lied, you don't trust them. You're absolutely right about corrections, though maybe not as hyperbolic as you suggested, but that goes to the same point I was making before -- once it's out, it's out. Once Morris lies or defames on insinuates based on his own gut, there's nothing that can take it out of the pixels. So in this case, Spurrier is just trying to limit the number of pixels Morris can put out about him.
And I think it's pointless to think of journalism as a constant thing, that one day ??? years ago, someone proclaimed "THIS DOTH BE JOURNALISM" and the standards have been constant ever since. When I was reporting twenty years ago, accuracy was most important, but that's because we had time to check. Now it's all about speed, because 30 seconds on Twitter can make a difference in reputation.
He's a public figure as part of a public institution. Negative things will be said.
This was an opinion piece, it's not even "journalism," per se.
Spurrier has always been thin-skinned. Can you imagine what his world would be like if he had Bush's or Obama's job? He'd NEVER have a press conference. The Washington Press corps would eat him alive.
Indeed, the Washington sports press DID eat him alive. As brutal as the print media was, the radio shows were even WORSE, making fun of him with skits. Fan boards were absolutely vicious! Some of us here would go to those boards, only to get ill at the things they would say about SOS, and especially Danny.
He hated every minute of his time at Washington, and wanted to return to an environment where his word would be unchallenged, not only from the media but also the front office and the fans. A middle-of-the-pack USCe team was perfect for him.
The fabrication was that Steve Spurrier actively recruited basketball player Bruce Ellington to the football team, as opposed to Ellington being the one who initiated and pursued the move.
Ron Morris wrote a column titled, "Spurrier tops Horn in tug-of-war for Ellington," about Ellington's decision to play football. So to start with, the title obviously implies that the two coaches were pulling at the player from opposite directions. Spurrier denies that.
In the column, Morris says, "When recruited under a basketball scholarship offer from coach Darrin Horn, Ellington was promised an opportunity to play football as well. So, when Spurrier began exploring the possibility of Ellington joining his team, Horn honored that promise as he should have."
Again, the phrase, "when Spurrier began exploring the possibility" implies that Spurrier lured Ellington away, or in some way initiated the process of him joining the football team. Spurrier denies that.
So this is not simply a matter of Morris having a negative opinion about Ellington playing football. It is about Morris saying it's a bad move AND blaming Spurrier for it on the basis of the false insinuation that Spurrier recruited him.
Spurrier rightfully took offense at Morris's attempt to persuade his readers that Spurrier had selfishly pursued Ellington for his own benefit and to the detriment of Coach Horn.
That seems to be either how the feud started, or it may have capped a series of provocations by Morris that finally set SOS off. There is clearly more to the story and nobody here knows all the details. But for Morris to then criticize Spurrier's influence at South Carolina by invoking the Penn State situation was unquestionably out of line.
Enough was enough for SOS. He decided that Morris was not fair and truthful in his reporting on the program and that therefore SOS was not under any personal obligation to help facilitate it. That is his prerogative.