Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Accountability: An Issue in the Blogosphere

Sometimes I wonder this, and I guess now is as good a time as ever to bring it up. This doesn't necessarily involve hockey, but it sure as hell could, and if some Capitals were as touchy as Raul Ibanez, then maybe somebody in the hockey blogosphere could've got his 15 minutes of fame on Outside the Lines. But imagine that, it was a baseball player, and now there's an issue.

Somebody, a blogger (link here), not unlike myself, made inferences that Raul Ibanez, the free agent signing in left field for the Philadelphia Phillies must be using PED's for his increased production, both in slugging and average. Well Ibanez took exception, frankly, he got pissed off, and went off on the blogosphere.

"I'll put that up against the jobs of anyone who writes this stuff," he said, according to the Inquirer. "Make them accountable. There should be more credibility than some 42-year-old blogger typing in his mother's basement. It demeans everything you've done with one stroke of the pen.

"Unfortunately, I understand the environment we're in and the events that have led us to this era of speculation," Ibanez said, according to the Inquirer. "At the same time, you can't just walk down the street and accuse somebody of being a thief because they didn't have a nice car yesterday and they do today. You can't say that guy is a thief."

At what point is Ibanez wrong, and this guy (JRod) wrong? There's a line between accusation and speculation, right and wrong, truth and rumor; and frankly, yes, the entire blogosphere rides that line. It's what draws readers. And for the record, I do not live with my mother thank you very much.

There is a reason that so many mainstream media folks take exception to blogs; lack of journalistic integrity, no accountability, etc. except here and now we have a big name athlete (leading vote getter in the All-Star game for NL outfielders) coming out and not only crying foul over the words written in blogs, but looking for accountability.

We've already seen this type of thing happening in the NHL blogosphere. Remember when Pittsburgh police looked into the 17 year old kid who "threatened" to kill Ovechkin on a message board? The Capitals PR team releasing statements about the "steroid" accusations after every blogger and their uncle had a piece about it? As they grow in popularity, we're only going to see more scrutiny put on each one.

I think all in all, the NHL has been good to the hockey bloggers. There's numbers of bloggers that get press credentials, SBNation blogs were featured on during the playoffs, and frankly, I think the lack of MSM coverage of the NHL is what makes these hockey blogs, every single one of them, so important for us fans. Where would we go without news from Kukla, snark from Puck Daddy, or insider news from the best of our team's blogs? Certainly not ESPN, SI, or CBSsports.

Hopefully there is no fallout from all this and blogs begin to be moderated and held accountable for what they're allowed to speculate on. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Frankly, we've done some pretty outlandish things around here, calling people out for search terms, going after everyone from Crosby to Brodeur to Sean Avery, we call it humor, others may call it slander or libel. Here's the Outside the Lines report from ESPN on the situation, go ahead and give it a watch if you'd like.

I just wanted to throw some thoughts out there on the situation and wondered what you guys thought about the whole thing. What would you all do without your favorite blogs? Do you think we should be held accountable for what we say? Go for it.


Anonymous said...

UMMMM..... did you even read the original article? You do know that the blogger actually said he DIDN'T think Ibanez was juicing. HIs point was that any player seeing such a huge spike in production at an unusual point in their career was suspect to steroid talk.

It seems to me taht no one talking about this case has even read the article, instead going off of what the Philadelphia reporter paraphrased in order to create his story.

Vance said...

Hence by saying he was suspect to steroid that not insinuating that he was?

If he doesn't think so, then it's a non issue. But he brought it up, so obviously he's stoking the flames.

jamestobrien said...

Baseball players shouldn't get sand in their vaginas about steroid talk. Every sports fan thinks that every power hitter is juicing.

I don't care about juicing (and I DEFINITELY don't care about baseball), so it's not really that big of an issue for me. But, c'mon, how could you NOT at least be a little suspicious when a 37-year old baseball player finally "figures it out"?

Just look at what happened during the Sosa-McGwire lovefest: thousands of journalists fawned while keeping their heads in the sand about the ... curious size of the two megastars.

Accountability is wonderful; so is the freedom of new media. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.

I love how many athletes suddenly became New Media experts when they're feewings get hurt. Wipe your tears with some cash, you fucking babies.

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