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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Murray Chass on Baseball: JOURNALISM AT ITS WORST

PORTRAIT OF THE BLOGGER AS A HOOD, MR. PRESIDENT

But here is Peter Nash accusing (Barry) Halper of fraud when he himself was found to have defrauded a memorabilia dealer. Yet the Post ignored that fact, identifying Nash simply as a blogger who writes for haulsofshame.com and is working on a book titled “Hauls of Shame: The Cooperstown Conspiracy and the Madoff of Memorabilia.”

“My article wasn’t about me; it was about an article I wrote on my Web site,” Nash said in a telephone interview Saturday. The information about him, he said, has appeared in “numerous articles,” adding’ “I don’t have to write about my lawsuit in every article.”

That’s one of the problems I have with bloggers. They don’t understand the basic rules of journalism. But then the Post apparently doesn’t either. A newspaper has an obligation to its readers to tell them of any possible conflicts of interest or background of their writers that might be relevant to the article.

...All of that said, I would be surprised if Halper were the evil person Nash has portrayed him to have been. I doubt that Halper had a fraudulent bone in his body.

I don’t know Nash at all. Saturday was the first time I spoke with him. The Post story, he said, resulted from the paper’s contacting him after reading his blogs about Halper and asked him to write one for the Post. He said he had written probably 30 articles about Halper for his Web site. He sounds like a man obsessed. I haven’t written nearly that many columns about Marvin Miller.

Repoz Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:14 PM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, hall of fame, history, media, memorabilia, site news

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   1. bobm Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:31 PM (#3889503)
Murray Chass on Baseball:=JOURNALISM AT ITS WORST


FTFY
   2. Dan Evensen Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:53 PM (#3889512)
“My article wasn’t about me; it was about an article I wrote on my Web site,” Nash said in a telephone interview Saturday. The information about him, he said, has appeared in “numerous articles,” adding’ “I don’t have to write about my lawsuit in every article.”

That’s one of the problems I have with bloggers. They don’t understand the basic rules of journalism.


Wait -- one of the basic rules of journalism is that you have to drag out every bit of your source's past in every single article written about him??I'm not active in the collecting industry, but I knew that Peter Nash was a former collector simply from the Hauls of Shame website.

That the Post would not provide full and significant disclosure should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the tabloid. Before Rupert Murdoch bought the Post from Dorothy Schiff in 1976, it was not only a reputable newspaper but a good one with the best sports section in New York. Now neither the paper nor the sports section is worth its weight in newsprint.

Ahh -- and here we see good journalism in action, from Master Chass himself. How objective of this former New York Times sportswriter to make such a judgement of his erstwhile competition.

All of that said, I would be surprised if Halper were the evil person Nash has portrayed him to have been. I doubt that Halper had a fraudulent bone in his body.

This was clearly written by somebody who has no knowledge of the modern sports memorabilia scene. Ever read The Card, Mr. Chass? After all, the author works for the Daily News, not the Post...

Personally, I consider everything that passed through Halper's hands suspect. Chass spends a lot of time attacking the messenger, but doesn't say much about the validity of his claims.

tl;dr: Chass trolled me again.
   3. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 31, 2011 at 01:10 PM (#3889520)
FTFY

There were only 2 comments when I clicked on the thread, but I knew I'd already missed my chance at this joke.
   4. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3889529)
FTFY

There were only 2 comments when I clicked on the thread, but I knew I'd already missed my chance at this joke.


I would like the record to show that a) there was only a single post when I clicked here earlier; and b) that I would have done a much better job at making that joke than poster #1.
   5. bobm Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:11 PM (#3889534)
[4] I would like the record to show that ... I would have done a much better job at making that joke than poster #1.

Really? :)
   6. AndrewJ Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3889544)
He said he had written probably 30 articles about Halper for his Web site. He sounds like a man obsessed. I haven’t written nearly that many columns about Marvin Miller.

Speaking on behalf of baseball fans everywhere, we are eternally grateful for this fact.
   7. Jeff R., P***y Mainlander Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:14 PM (#3889566)
He said he had written probably 30 articles about Halper for his Web site. He sounds like a man obsessed. I haven’t written nearly that many columns about Marvin Miller.

Speaking on behalf of baseball fans everywhere, we are eternally grateful for this fact.


No kidding. 30 articles about Halper? Um, doesn't that sound about right for a web site based on baseball memorabilia fraud? Chass does realize that there are some blogs about specific subject matter, and not just about whatever the blogger vomits up on the keyboard that morning, right? I mean, as a blogger, I'd expect him to understand this.
   8. JRVJ Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:15 PM (#3889567)
6, I actually find that line very funny (*), in the sense that Chass, voluntarily or involuntarily, made fun of his obsession with Marvin Miller.

(*) I refuse to RTFA, but I did read the summary posted with this blog post by Chass.
   9. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3889573)
I find the fact that Chass seems to really think he's not a blogger now endlessly amusing.
   10. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:28 PM (#3889576)
Chass is a pinata. And you know why you keep hitting a pinata? Because you keep getting candy when you do so!*

*(yes, that's a blatant steal from a comment Colin once made).
   11. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:22 PM (#3889657)
I doubt that Halper had a fraudulent bone in his body.

Barry Halper, the guy with all the fake stuff in his collection? That Barry Halper?
   12. spike Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:01 PM (#3889686)
Do manky old trolls like Chass even have a readership anymore? Seems like the old guard guys resorting to inflammatory headlines instead of reporting is a pretty clear sign they have lost any relevance.
   13. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:07 PM (#3889688)
*(yes, that's a blatant steal from a comment Colin once made).


Colin Quinn?
   14. heals9 Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#3889708)
Let's forget for the moment whether or not you like or despise Murray (and I am certainly not going to defend him), the fact of the matter is that fpr Nash to accuse Barry Halper of stealing, or being involved in active attempt to fraud people without any evidence besides hearsay is one thing, to do so when you are involved in a lawsuit against an auction house that represented Halper, and since you aren't allowed legally to smear them, you do so against a dead man who cannot defend himself.

Classy.
   15. The District Attorney Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:10 PM (#3889719)
Let's forget for the moment whether or not you like or despise Murray (and I am certainly not going to defend him), the fact of the matter is that fpr Nash to accuse Barry Halper of stealing, or being involved in active attempt to fraud people without any evidence besides hearsay is one thing, to do so when you are involved in a lawsuit against an auction house that represented Halper, and since you aren't allowed legally to smear them, you do so against a dead man who cannot defend himself.
That's quite a sentence. I hope your site has copy editors.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:15 PM (#3889722)
That's quite a sentence. I hope your site has copy editors.

I was wondering if "fpr" was an abbreviation that clarified all the subsequent clauses.
   17. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:15 PM (#3889842)
Can we put a moratorium on Pete Nash articles for a few weeks? I need to get some new 3rd Bass jokes.
   18. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:43 PM (#3889869)
the fact of the matter is that fpr Nash to accuse Barry Halper of stealing, or being involved in active attempt to fraud people without any evidence besides hearsay is one thing,


The evidence that Halper told differing stories for the provenance of several of the jerseys in his collection that turned out to be forgeries is only considered "hearsay"? I guess I don't know much about the law.
   19. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:47 PM (#3889872)
Do manky old trolls like Chass even have a readership anymore? Seems like the old guard guys resorting to inflammatory headlines instead of reporting is a pretty clear sign they have lost any relevance.


There's some old guy in my SABR chapter who said he was a fan. This was back around the time the Arod book came out and Chass said something about Selena Roberts. I'm not sure if he's changed his approval rating since then.
   20. NewGrass Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:51 PM (#3889877)
You know, I've always enjoyed the mocking of Murray Chass around here, but I've been reading some of Roger Angell's old stuff lately, and I have some new respect for the guy. Apparently, he was one of the few mature, non-chauvinist, male baseball writers around when the "women in locker rooms" drama was being played out in the late 70s-early 80s. He may be a dinosaur when it comes to his baseball analysis, but he was a progressive, sensible man at a time when most male sports writers and athletes were acting like neanderthals.
   21. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:04 PM (#3889881)
Chass: RMc DIDN'T RTFA, HE JUST WANTS TO MAKE FUN OF ME, MR. PRESIDENT
   22. base ball chick Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:08 PM (#3889884)
so heals9

are you saying that barry halper is innocent and the significant numbers of things he sold which turned out to be frauds was an accident? that he couldn't keep a straight story about how he GOT these things?

this has nothing to do with pete nash, it has to do with FACTS

and about pete nash and memorabilia fraud, you ever hear that it takes one to know one?
   23. JRVJ Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:25 PM (#3889893)
I find the fact that Chass seems to really think he's not a blogger now endlessly amusing.


I'm feeling pretty contrarian today, so let me make some points here.

I was listening a couple of days ago to the most recent Baseball Prospectus podcast, particularly a small interview they did with Buster Olney, which sort of sheds some light here. In that interview, Buster is asked if he usually waited to have stories confirmed by two independent sources before running with them, and Buster said that (a) almost always, except when (as in an example he gave) he heard it from God (in that case, it was George Steimbrenner who he heard something from), and (b) ESPN lets him and other writers post their stories in Twitter ASAP when they've confirmed it.

What I think that says is that even in new media, professionally trained journalists will handle stories in a way which is different from the way a story is handled by somebody who doesn't have that professional training.

That's not to say that Murray Chass is professional (he clearly isn't), but Murray Chass has been trained and knows what the rules of journalism area, in a way an amateur blogger probably hasn't.

Let me rephrase this whole thing here in this way. Does anybody doubt that Joe Posnanski, even in his wonderful, rambling blogposts, isn't writing them with the rules of journalism still in his brain?

I, for one, think that he must because those rules are part and parcel of who he is, even if he is (by definition) a blogger when he writes those pieces.
   24. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:28 PM (#3889897)
I doubt that Halper had a fraudulent bone in his body.


If there's one guy in the memorabilia biz who would have a counterfeit bone created and then surgically implanted in himself, it'd be Halper.

He'd probably say that William Harvey did the operation, too.
   25. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:29 PM (#3889899)
and about pete nash and memorabilia fraud, you ever hear that it takes one to know one?


My problem with Pete Nash is this gent is someone who has, according to several sources, his own history of fraud and questionable business practices. On top of that, he has a potential vested financial interest in making the very dead Halper look as bad as possible on at least two fronts (this reported lawsuit and his own forthcoming book). These things speak to his credibility. Sure, maybe he's 100 percent correct on Halper. Regardless, I think these very real questions about his history and potential conflicts are something the reader should know if he's being given a forum in a major newspaper. I'm stunned that everyone else who has commented on these threads seemingly thinks nothing of it.
   26. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:36 AM (#3889951)
My problem with Pete Nash is this gent is someone who has, according to several sources, his own history of fraud and questionable business practices. On top of that, he has a potential vested financial interest in making the very dead Halper look as bad as possible on at least two fronts (this reported lawsuit
If Nash has a history of fraud, that's relevant, but I really don't get Chass's theory -- or yours -- how his lawsuit is remotely relevant to Halper.
   27. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:42 AM (#3889953)
What I think that says is that even in new media, professionally trained journalists will handle stories in a way which is different from the way a story is handled by somebody who doesn't have that professional training.
Most journalists do not have "professional training." They have on-the-job experience. And while most reporters are not Jayson Blair, let's not exaggerate their fidelity to the supposed "rules of journalism." Indeed, Chass is attacking the New York Post, not just a blogger, for what happened here.

That's not to say that Murray Chass is professional (he clearly isn't), but Murray Chass has been trained and knows what the rules of journalism area, in a way an amateur blogger probably hasn't.
(1) Chass the blogger has whined that the NYT wanted him to follow "rules of journalism" and wouldn't let him write that Piazza used steroids without any evidence.
(2) Chass the blogger has had to backtrack on blog posts on more than one occasion because he hasn't followed "the rules of journalism." (Remember last year's infamous Marvin Miller HOF vote story, for instance?)
   28. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:10 AM (#3889964)
As someone who has been following - and even enforcing - the rules of journalism for 20 years, I have to say that Nash's stuff at Hauls of Shame has been very well reported and sourced. He is very careful to explain every discrepancy in the Halper story, and to bring in outside experts rather than simply weigh in on things himself. He may be a scam artist in other areas, but this journalism deserves to rise or fall on its own merits.

On top of that, he has a potential vested financial interest in making the very dead Halper look as bad as possible on at least two fronts (this reported lawsuit and his own forthcoming book).


I don't know anything about the lawsuit, but the fact that he has a book coming out is a total red herring. Every single piece of journalism ever published, up to and including I.F. Stone's, has been designed to sell books, or magazines, or newspapers, or clickthroughs. The whole point is to get people to read it. I don't know why people consider that a bad thing.
   29. JRVJ Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:25 AM (#3889973)
27, right, but, what's your point, because it seems pedantic to object that journalists don't have professional training but on-the-job-experience (which could certainly be defined as professional training).

Also, I said Chass is clearly not professional, as you can even see in what I quote. The fact that Chass doesn't give a rat's hind quarters about the rules of journalism doesn't mean he doesn't know them.

The fact that he is a reprehensible writer/blogger doesn't mean that his point (which I tried to point out) isn't valid, at least on some miniscule level (i.e., that professional journalists who blog approach their writing in a different way than amateur bloggers who have never written professionally for a news organization).
   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:30 AM (#3889975)
I don't know anything about the lawsuit, but the fact that he has a book coming out is a total red herring. Every single piece of journalism ever published, up to and including I.F. Stone's, has been designed to sell books, or magazines, or newspapers, or clickthroughs. The whole point is to get people to read it. I don't know why people consider that a bad thing.

Izzy Stone was one of the greatest independent capitalist journalists who ever walked the Earth. By the end of his Weekly (or Bi-Weekly, as it was then) in 1971, he was grossing nearly two million dollars a year in 2011 dollars on a publication with a subscription rate of five bucks a year. I'm sure he'd agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments.
   31. Bhaakon Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:12 AM (#3890073)
That's not to say that Murray Chass is professional (he clearly isn't), but Murray Chass has been trained and knows what the rules of journalism area, in a way an amateur blogger probably hasn't.


Except that those rules apply to reporting. Amateur bloggers don't go on their sites and post quotes from interviews or information gleaned from anonymous sources, because they neither attend interviews nor maintain sources. Most sports blogging is about the author's opinion and analysis based on what has already been reported by others, which has (theoretically) already been vetted. Buster Olney needs to confirm his sources to report that The Phillies have traded for Hunter Pence, he doesn't need to confirm anything to give his opinion on whether the trade is good or bad, and that second example is what the overwhelming majority of sports bloggers are doing.
   32. Matt Garza smells it deep (Mr. Tapeworm) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:44 PM (#3890328)
Most journalists do not have "professional training."


This is untrue. Unless a four-year degree in journalism is somehow not "professional training." The vast majority of reporters with whom I worked had a journalism degree. Studies in any such degree include grounding in the "rules of journalism," including well-defined ethics rules, standards for source attribution, etc.

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