“Has anyone noticed that its impossible to trust a single word uttered about coaching changes, the draft, trades and even celebration parties these days ?” asks Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban via his Blog Maverick. Actually, no, but that’s what I get for reading Alan Hahn most afternoons. Still, Cuban insists, “bloggers, sports websites and even the print media have gotten so desperate they seem to have come to the conclusion that fabricated stories, passed off as rumors, are a better way to drive traffic and create awareness of a website or blog than actual reporting.” Admittedly, it’s a hell of a business model, but it won’t really work unless you pair said rumors with photos culled from FHM.com.
Unfortunately, ESPN and local newspapers, radio and TV media have become the patsies of bloggers. If some random blogger reports that œhe has heard that a trade of Joe for John is being discussed, then the traditional media, as they have told me many times œis requested by their editor to run it down and see if its real. Its almost like a sad joke. How do you make an ESPN reporter jump ? Make up something and put it on your blog. Somewhere a bunch of sports bloggers are playing a drinking game. Chug if the other guys made up trade rumor makes the ESPN crawl.
How to stop it ? ESPN.com puts up a page of blacklisted blogs and websites who™s posts they wont comment on or report on in any way. It will create a short term surge of traffic for those sites, but then they will go away as the proprietors of the sites realize that being discredited is not a good thing.
Man, where to start here? Does the Owner With A Boner actually believe anyone from the traditional media is actively seeking out “random bloggers” (as opposed to say, widely trafficked blogs that have more readers than their own newspapers’ websites)? Rather than encourage ESPN to put up a page of blogs the WWL routinely follows, Cuban decrees that Bristol U. — home of the frequent Disney cross-promotions — has the authority to determine who is credible and who isn’t. An organization that provides Mike Lupica and Skip Bayless with a national television audience is qualified to name and shame irresponsible bloggers? And what’s with the bizarre zeal for policing the same constituency that so actively supports Cuban’s properties? This is roughly akin to Harvey Levin bemoaning the public’s fascination with celebrities.