Has Yellow Journalism Infected Recruiting News?

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Has Yellow Journalism Infected Recruiting News?
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Michael Chung (1:30 pm)

Media.  It can be a precious source of information or a misleading guide to falsehood. Journalists have been entrusted as watchmen/watchwomen over society.  Accurate reporting can lead to a beneficial societal contribution while inaccurate reporting can lead to distress.  

Sometimes, ulterior motives appear to be the heart of reporting instead of "reporting the facts."  During the 2000 Presidential Election between Al Gore and George W. Bush, CNN projected Florida to Gore early in the evening when the vote was actually too close to call, only to remove it later. This caused an uproar as many accused CNN of trying to influence voters as well as the election.  In fact, Bush eventually won Florida but there were many controversies and the Supreme Court had to get involved.  CNN’s credibility took a huge hit and for a long period of time, the media giant was criticized for trying to use their scope to influence outcomes.  It does not stop here.

Dan Rather of CBS news reported in 2004 that memos were found criticizing then President George W. Bush’s service with the Texas Air National Guard.  These memos were shown to be false and Dan Rather, shortly after, retired from his position as anchor.  The point is, sometimes stories arise with such conflicting facts that it appears the media has a concealed motive.

Though on a much lighter scale than politics, National Signing Day yielded such a story where two sides had huge discrepancies.

I know there is a lot of competition out there for the “recruiting dollar,” meaning sites must constantly have new info for crazy college football fans that have paid monthly fees for inside information.

Though most of the time, services have inside information after forming relationships with recruits, their families and friends, sometimes reporting is not as accurate.  Now that NSD has come and gone, the news for the 2012 class has not ended.

Five star recruit Davonte Neal has stated that he will wait until at least February 10 before he makes his final decision.  But Mike Farrell, a highly credible recruiting expert, tweeted the following: “Don’t have the reason why #OhioState won’t be taking Davonte Neal, I just know he tried to commit and couldn’t. Well sourced.”

But the Arizona Republic’s Richard Obert reported that Davonte’s father knew nothing about his son trying to commit as well as Urban Meyer and OSU pulling his scholarship offer.

Obert then wrote that this news “miffed” Neal’s father, who has been handling his son’s recruiting.  

Obert reporting Luke Neal’s comments

        "I haven't talked to Ohio State at all," Luke Neal said. "Maybe they're trying to pull the trigger and and make
        him commit. This week we're trying to figure out what we're doing. There was no need to talk to them. We'll talk to                 them next week.

        We're not writing them off. I've not heard from Urban Meyer. I guess it's the same stuff that was tweeted earlier that             Davonte' was going to Ohio State. He has not committed anywhere. I don't know what they're doing because we're not         doing anything. (Meyer) said he'd give us that week off.

It seems like there is an inconsistency in the Neal story.  What could have produced such a rift?  Farrell states that his source is highly credible yet Luke Neal is responding as if his son has just been raked through the tabloids and the local media seems to be confirming that Farrell’s story is false.  Who do we believe?  What could have prompted such a misunderstanding of the situation? Or is the media trying to “influence” the outcome?

Maybe the situation is nothing more than an incorrect source or one side not totally divulging the truth but the media must be careful when reporting “the facts.”  As shown above, one false report can ruin credibility and a career.  Plus, young people are making life changing decisions. Shouldn’t the media stay out of their way?

Davonte Neal is a young man who is one heck of a football player.  In our media crazed society, sometimes we forget that college football is only a three to five year experience while an education lasts a lifetime.  Conflicting stories like these do not help young people in this “life-changing” process.  Neal does not appear certain where he will attend college as reported by Greg Biggins of ESPN.  Biggins writes, 

       It's now late Wednesday night and for the majority of the players across the country, their recruitments have come to an        end. Some players show relief, others undignified joy and a few others uncertainty about whether or not they made the        right decision. For Neal, it's that last group he wants to avoid and why he's in no rush to pick his college choice.

Let us hope that this recent snafu of reporting does not cause this young man to make the wrong decision about where he will play ball and hopefully earn a college degree.
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