I was struck by some comments made by a Fox Sports writer after one of her recent articles. The article was entitled “Jimmy Clausen: Failure to Launch”.
Four of her generalizations stood out to me, especially in comparison to some of her other comments. Let me show you what I mean.
“If I disagree with someone, I simply state that I disagree and back it up. I don't use personal attacks, something many of these so-called men seem to thrive on. The power of the keyboard makes cowards feel like big men. Oh well.”
Some of her comments:
—“Thomas...forgive me, but you're ignorant. Now go get your club and go back to your cave.”
—“I don't mind constructive criticism, but when someone starts out with, "This article blows", I have to wonder about the mentality of that person. Do they argue or debate with someone like that in real life? If so, do they have limbs missing?”
—“You will no longer be responded to by me, but please feel free to spout your myopic views around here and make the Irish fans feel good about this season. Someone has to do it.”
—“Now that was well thought out and articulate!”
—“Glad to have entertained you. Laughter is the key to getting over a team that went 3-9.”
—“Hey there...thanks for being the typical Irish fan I know: classy and knowledgeable.”
—“He's [Willingham] got another job besides coach, and sometimes it involves golfing around other coaches. Maybe Charlie does his at restaurants?”
“I'm far from a hater. I respect Notre Dame more than you will ever know. But I also will kick their legs if I feel they are going down the wrong path.”
Some more of her comments:
—“True story: I walked into this bar across from the stadium called the Linebacker (or was it quarterbacker?) and had a license plate hanging around my neck. The plate said: 55to24, the score of the '74 USC-ND game.
An Irish fan walked up to me and said, "Did you make that in prison yourself?" I looked him square in the eyes and said, "Buy me a drink. I'm scared to death to be in here." He laughed, and I hung out with some of the most hardcore football fans I have ever encountered. We talked smack, and had a great time.
One invited me to dinner at his mom's house after the game. Now that's a great time! The Irish fans love football, and are the most knowledgeable when it comes to understanding football. They can be myopic though, as seen here in the comments section. I think it's a guilt thing...they're afraid to incur the wrath of God if they say anything negative about their team. Me? If my team stinks, I scream about it. It's good for you to vent. :)” (Italics mine)
—“I have relatives that live there, and I can tell you firsthand that I heard from many Irish fans, when I was out there, that Ty "wasn't Notre Dame material." Read into that however you may, but I think he showed a tremendous amount of class in not suing them for racial discrimination. He would have had a strong case, considering Weis' extension.”
—“Willingham was fired in November, and Weis was busy for the Super Bowl...just who was recruiting during that valuable time between November and February? No one...don't blame it on Ty. Blame it on the school. They messed up with Urban Meyer, and hired a coach who had postseason commitments. But don't blame Ty. That excuse is getting real old.” (Italics mine)
—“You lost to Navy...and Michigan State. Cry me a river and yell Uncle. Tebow got dinged up a lot too last year, but look what he did. J.D. Booty, the QB for my team, had a QB rating over 140, and I thought he was horrible. See? It's OK to admit when your team stinks. Or a player. Try it...the truth shall set you free.”
—“And yes, Ty may have been discriminated against. But he's smart, and chose not to play that card.”
“I take criticism very well. I'm used to death threats, hate emails, demands from universities...no problem. Your touchy feelings are the least of my concerns.”
—“I don't write to please people or make them feel good. I write because I have an opinion, and I realize not everyone will agree. I don't care if they do. Some of my closest blogger-friends hate almost everything I write because I push their buttons. But they read me. Just like you are still doing.”
—“I'm not perfect. I'm human. But some of you men are borderline obsessive, and let's be honest...ticked I get paid to write about football. It's OK. I'm used to you types.”
“You keep making general statements with no specific data to back it up, like the quote at the beginning of this comment. Thank goodness you are not a journalist. I back everything up with some sort of basis, something you need to learn, to be more credible.
—“ I read what you wrote...most of your comments were opinions, just like mine, so I don't see how your opinions matter more.”
—“Weis wasn't bleeding to death last summer. He was writing a book and testifying in a frivolous lawsuit of which he was found to not have proven his case. At least Tyrone stayed in shape over the summer. Charlie was writing a book, doing the talk-show circuit promoting his book, and testifying in his lawsuit.”
—“Weis should have spent time getting his team to jell. And yeah, you're right...it's more important to do talk shows and try and sell a book on talk shows than get a cohesive team? Are you kidding me?”
—“He's (Ty Willingham) got another job besides coach, and sometimes it involves golfing around other coaches. Maybe Charlie does his at restaurants?”
She even brought Bleacher Report into the discussion:
--“Besides, Bleacher Report makes money off of every read, and so far, your comments have made them a fortune.”
You be the judge as to whether she avoids personal attacks, has respect for Notre Dame, did not disparage Catholicism, takes criticism well, backs up her opinions with facts, and expresses herself without disparaging those who disagree with her.
A Code of Ethics for Professional Journalists
The USC Online Journalism Review says the ethics for online journalism are no different than those in journalism, with a link to the Code of Ethics of Professional Journalists. The Code says (among other things) that:
—Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
—Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion…
—Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
—Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.”
Again, you be the judge.
This comment of hers got me to thinking about her employer, Fox Sports, and what they thought of Notre Dame.
“My job performance so far has been good, I assume, since I rec'd another year on my contract, but then again, I didn't arrive to my job in a stretch Hummer Limo, wear three championship rings, and imply I would have four more rings while standing at the HOF.”
I wondered why she would link her employment at Fox Sports with her comments about the Notre Dame quarterback and coach. Some of her recent Fox Sports articles have also included Coach Weis: “Walsh: Charlie Weis Participated in Spygate” and “To Hell With Michigan”.
Negotiations with the BCS for a new TV contract begin this September. The contract is expected to be about $1 billion. Fox Sports, as the current contract holder, will have 30 days to reach an agreement before the bidding is open to other networks.
Fox Sports has said that renewing that contract is their No. 1 priority”. Notre Dame’s continued involvement in the BCS would be significant. In 1990, when Notre Dame backed out of the College Football Association’s (the precursor to the BCS) TV bowl-deal, ABC decreased the total package by $35 million from $210 million—a 16 percent decrease.
On a $1 billion deal that 16 percent would be $160 million. I imagine that Fox Sports would like to negotiate the BCS contract with Notre Dame on board for the four-year contract.
One has to wonder how serious Fox Sports’ commitment is with a Fox writer making such statements as:
“I think it's a guilt thing...they're afraid to incur the wrath of God if they say anything negative about their team.” (Italics mine)
“Willingham was fired in November, and Weis was busy for the Super Bowl...just who was recruiting during that valuable time between November and February? No one...don't blame it on Ty. Blame it on the school. They messed up with Urban Meyer, and hired a coach who had postseason commitments." (Italics mine)
“He's [Willingham] got another job besides coach, and sometimes it involves golfing around other coaches. Maybe Charlie does his at restaurants?”
“...I think he [Willingham] showed a tremendous amount of class in not suing them for racial discrimination. He would have had a strong case, considering Weis' extension.”
What does Fox Sports think of Notre Dame?