Another uptick for former Star sports star Jason Whitlock…
On the heels of hammering Penn State on ESPN, Whitlock was back in play Sunday on the national stage, courtesy of CNN‘s "Reliable Sources."
This time out, the Big Guy took estranged former-employer ESPN to task. Albeit via some twisted logic to rationalize what he’d written a few weeks back.
Think of it as a tale of two cities…
On November 23rd Whitlock hammered ESPN – the sports media giant that fired him five years back – for unfairly smearing now-disgraced Syracuse basketball coach Bernie Fine.
"What I do know, based on (Mark) Schwarz’s juvenile ‘reporting, is the Worldwide Leader didn’t have nearly enough evidence to air such a reputation-damaging story," Whitlock wrote then. "Schwarz acquired just enough information — two vague, mumbling on-camera interviews from Fine’s accusers — to protect ESPN from a lawsuit. Schwarz did the legal minimum. Was his story sound journalism? Was his story remotely fair? No, and hell no…You don’t destroy a person’s reputation with two highly flimsy accusations"
That’s where Whitlock stepped in it, to borrow from Texas governor Rick Perry.
Whitlock was dead wrong in assuming ESPN had only the two taped interviews.
Not only did ESPN have the interviews, it had a tape of one of Fine’s accusers talking to Fine’s wife about her husband abusing him. A tape that when released days later cost Fine his job at Syracuse and resulted in Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim apologizing for defending Fine and – more importantly – disparaging Fine’s accusers by calling one of them a serial liar.
However since Whitlock didn’t bother calling ESPN to make sure he had all the facts before launching his attack, he got it wrong. Dead wrong.
In short, he did pretty much what he accused "American journalism" of doing a week later.
"Over the past 15 years, the 24-hour news cycle and the Internet hastened our descent into the kind of journalism that reports first, clarifies and fact-checks later and eventually gets around to context and perspective . . ."
Now check out Whitlock’s revisionist logic, explaining his earlier Syracuse column to CNN.
"The way (ESPN) presented the story originally was morally criminal," Whitlock began. "I think it did a disservice to the alleged victims, I think it did a disservice to Bernie Fine, I think it did a disservice to Jim Boeheim."
Hold it right there…
A disservice to Fine? What, so he would have gotten fired faster? Talk about sympathy for the devil.
A disservice to Boehm, who unwisely and bogusly abused the first victim by calling him a serial liar? Yeah, maybe that’s what caused him to make a complete ass of himself. Still it hardly excuses or explains Boeheim’s blame the victim tirade.
"The story was sold so sketchily and in such a juvenile fashion. They didn’t air the audiotape with the original story…If you air it properly the first time and don’t wait 10 days to air the audiotape, people digest the story differently…Because the original report raised a lot of questions about the accusers and made you wonder, ‘Hold on they must have more than just these brief snippets of comments from Lang and Davis.’ "
Even though Whitlock thought ESPN had to have had more evidence than it aired in the original report, he wrongly assumed in his column that they didn’t and bagged on them for it.
Whitlock’s mistake, ESPN’s bad.
Whitlock finished up by playing lawyer, claiming some of the search warrants in the case might be thrown out cuz of ESPN‘s’s "improper handling of this."
What’s next, Court TV?