I don’t report the news here. I comment on the news. This forum is about informed opinions. This is an argumentative blog based on sound evidence. My readers may not always agree with me and I don’t expect them to. I take pride in backing up my claims and opinions with evidence. I don’t throw stuff out there without doing the requisite amount of research. There may be a lot of garbage on the web but you won’t find that here. Differing opinion? Yes. Garbage? No. So, when a journalist from the MSM attacks my blog--or another credible blog--I take offense to it.
The MSM (mainstream media) doesn’t understand the difference between blogs with integrity—there are many of this variety—and blogs that spew venom—not nearly as many as the MSM would have you think--so it bunches them all together. And even if it did understand the difference, it would pretend it didn't just to keep it's ever-shrinking readership from embracing blogs. Just last week, the New York Times—the bastion of journalistic integrity when it’s not employing Jayson Blair—decided to take a shot at Brian at Mgoblog while at the same time, using MGoBlog as it’s primary un-credited source for reporting Lloyd Carr’s imminent retirement. The exact quote went, “Let’s just say that MGoBlog is not exactly a rock of journalistic credibility,” I feel sorry for the MSM. Its approach is stale and as a result, it is losing much of its readership to blogs. So, one can understand why it seems to need to take potshots at blogs—most of the time while doing it in blogs of its own like in the NYT case—to make itself look more credible. Anyone who reads MGoBlog knows that while Brian does not fancy himself a journalist, he, in fact, is a rock of journalistic credibility. He has broken numerous stories before the MSM and by any account, has never falsely reported a story. So, the New York Times—the extremely credible New York Times—took Brian’s “news”, discredited his site, and then used Brian’s “news” to report credible “buzz” surrounding Carr’s retirement. As far as I’m concerned, there is no integrity involved in that sort of reporting.
The MSM taking shots at blogs is everywhere these days. I experienced a similar bout of anti-blogger mentality from the MSM that became even more ridiculous this past weekend. It’s not nearly the size and scope of MGoBlog and the New York Times but it features the same sort of questionable journalistic integrity, nonetheless. Jim Carty covers the Michigan football program as a columnist for the Ann Arbor News and as a contributor to Mlive.com. Last July, he wrote an article about Les Miles possibly being Michigan’s next football coach. In that same article, he chose to cite my blog and specifically a post about my preferences for Michigan's next football coach as a reason why “you can't just blog up a list of hot coaches and say these are the guys Michigan should look at.” Two of his points of contention for saying this can be found in Carty's following criticisms of my blog-entry:
“It's ridiculous to even suggest, for instance, that Bobby Petrino would be a candidate for the Michigan job. No one leaves the NFL after one season, and even if Petrino would, anyone with a passing knowledge of his background and personality knows he probably wouldn't fit at Michigan.”
“To continue down the linked list ... Rich Rodriguez has never worked with anything near the academic restrictions he'd face at Michigan and his flirtation with the Alabama job either showed he's totally committed to West Virginia or liable to embarrass the next school that contacts him. Big red flags either way.”
Clearly, these comments are laughable. Carty attacked my post for suggesting that “Petrino would be a candidate” when I did no such thing. If he had actually read the piece, he would have known that I clearly fashioned it as a personal wish list and not a list of coaches who will be candidates. I was fully aware that some of my preferences would be pursued by Michigan and most probably wouldn't. I’m not sure when even “suggesting” candidates became a no-no but Carty clearly has never heard of Butch Davis, Pete Carroll, Nick Saban, and Steve Spurrier—all NFL coaches who lasted two years or less before bolting to take over a college program. Also, when this column was written, nobody knew that this was Carr’s last season so Carty’s comment about “no one leaves the NFL after one season” was an obvious attempt at piling on. As far as anyone knew—including Carty—Carr could have been around long enough for Petrino to easily sour on the Atlanta Falcons (which could be as soon as next year if he hasn't already). And even if Carr did retire this season, putting Bobby Petrino--one of the most talented college football coaches in America--in the discussion is mandatory. If he isn't available, then so be it.
At the time, I was annoyed that a professional journalist would stoop to the level of misrepresenting a blog-entry to further a story. His arguments were poorly put together and wreaked of desperation. I was convinced then, and I’m still convinced, that Carty decided he wanted to discredit a blog to bolster his column about Les Miles being one of the top candidates to replace Carr. Again, this is purely conjecture, but I think he probably googled “Michigan next football coach” and found my blog and decided to discredit it in his article to make his piece look more credible. The inclusion of my blog in his story doesn’t even fit with what he was trying to say. I clearly stated that it was a wish list only to have Carty basically say that you can’t make your own wish list. Does that even make sense?
Carty's potshots went from annoyance to blatant hypocrisy when he contradicted himself in a column he wrote on Mlive.com on Sunday. Carty listed his own group of candidates--how this is different than what I did, I have no idea--for Michigan’s next football coach. Second on the list? Urban Meyer. Anyone with a passing knowledge of college football knows that Meyer would not leave Florida for Michigan at this point in the evolution of the two programs. Additionally, does Carty really believe that his contention that, “anyone with a passing knowledge of his (Petrino’s) background and personality knows he probably wouldn't fit at Michigan” wouldn’t also apply to Urban Meyer? I don’t have a problem with bringing up Meyer’s name. However, I do have a problem when the guy who suggested that it was ridiculous for me to bring up Petrino’s name, brings up a name like Urban Meyer. Even worse, Carty's list featured an array of candidates that would cause Ann Arbor to riot in protest if they even sniffed the Michigan job.
If that isn’t flaky enough, Carty contradicted himself again in his list of candidates. Remember, the other shot that Carty took at my list was the inclusion of Rich Rodriguez. Apparently, Carty has a short memory because in his column on Sunday on mlive.com, this is what he had to say about Rodriguez, “you'd hopefully at least make this phone call (Meyer) - and one to West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez”.
Then, Carty goes on to list Ron English as a candidate while at the same time saying he has “no shot” at the job. Like I said above, I don’t have a problem bringing up candidates but after saying that it was ridiculous for me to even “suggest” Bobby Petrino on my own personal wish list because he is in his first year with the Falcons, Carty “suggests” Ron English who he admits has “no shot” at the job.
I want to be clear; I have no problem with Carty’s—or anyone else’s—right to express his opinions in his column. However, I do have a huge problem with Carty attempting to discredit blogging—using my blog specifically—to bolster his story in the same way the New York Times did with MGoBlog. Carty cited problems with my opinion that he didn’t even end up disagreeing with in the end. Journalistic integrity doesn’t involve attempting to discredit a blogger by attacking the inclusion of Rich Rodriguez and Bobby Petrino on a wish list, and then four months later, including Rich Rodriguez and Urban Meyer—the college equivalent of Bobby Petrino in terms of personality and availability—on your own list of candidates. It doesn’t involve attacking a blogger’s knowledge of Michigan football and then four months later including Ron English on a list of candidates while at the same time, saying he has “no shot.” And it certainly doesn’t involve attacking a blogger’s knowledge and/or integrity by framing the piece as a list of coaches that Michigan will look at when the list is nothing of the sort.
This is just another instance of a member of the MSM taking a shot at a blogger in an incredibly contradictory way. Bill at Detroit Tigers Weblog.com was all over Chris McCosky’s anti-blogger column earlier this month. The New York Times took its shot at MGoBlog. Carty—in his own blog mind you—felt the need to attack my blog only to contradict himself four months later.
The MSM has attempted to convince the public that blogs and “lack of integrity” are one in the same. I don’t know how many more times it can accuse bloggers of being pajama-wearing, basement-dwellers with no credibility without being asked to produce even one photo of such a blogger. The problem is that the more the MSM repeats this mantra, the less credible the MSM becomes. In fact, my primary source of information—not just opinion but actual information—for Michigan-related sports comes from extremely credible blogs like MGoBlog and The Detroit Tigers Weblog. With hundreds of thousands of sports fans just like me turning their attention to blogs, it's no wonder the MSM has gone on the attack.