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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Murray Chass on Baseball: IT’S BACK — MAYBE

Murray sez: Glory! “Wrong Hole, Buster”

[The use of anonymous quotes is a] highly questionable journalistic practice and is frowned on by reputable news organizations.

This type of article is what has angered Clark and the union. One such example ran on the [ESPN] web site last week with the heading “Execs put a price on Drew, Morales.”

Written by Buster Olney, the site’s lead baseball writer, the piece offers no names of people he quotes but quotes an assortment of people identified as Executive No. 1, from the National League; Another NL official, An American League executive, A second AL official, A third NL official, AL talent evaluator, AL exec and An AL evaluator.

In his years covering the New York Yankees for The New York Times, Olney would not have been able to write such a story.

The union is not debating journalistic practices here. The problem the union has with what these people say, or are purported to say, is the impact their comments might have on other clubs that might be considering signing Drew or Morales.

bobm Posted: April 13, 2014 at 05:19 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: collusion, free agents, kendry morales, stephen drew

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   1. The District Attorney Posted: April 13, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4685580)
[The use of anonymous quotes is a] highly questionable journalistic practice...
A subjective statement, with which I agree.

... and is frowned on by reputable news organizations.
An objective statement, that (sadly) is very obviously false.¹

¹ Or, in any event, is only true if you define "reputable" as your own personal opinion, rather than the general opinion.
   2. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 13, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4685596)
There's no doubt that Murray Chass is an expert on highly questionable journalistic practices....such as writing a blog post leveling serious accusations of racism against someone without spending 10 minutes to do research which would clearly show that to be false.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 13, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4685646)
The use of anonymous quotes is a highly questionable journalistic practice and is frowned on by reputable news organizations.

"Frowned on"? Not if going by how frequently utilized, mostly outside the sports pages.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: April 13, 2014 at 08:16 PM (#4685656)
Isn't Murray Chass the one who wants to use anonymous sources (along with backne) to condemn Mike Piazza?
   5. Walt Davis Posted: April 13, 2014 at 08:53 PM (#4685669)
It's one of the nice things about being a hypocrite -- in every case, either your stated beliefs or your actions are correct!

As #1 points out, every newspaper makes wide use of anonymous sources. The NYT did a mea culpa about a decade ago around the Judith Miller nonsense and their "public editor" was supposedly cracking down on the use of anonymous sources. Anonymity would only be granted when justified and the story would state why the anonymity was granted. The latter was true (at least for a while, I haven't been paying attention the last few years) but the excuses given almost never justified the anonymity. They generally amounted to what they amount to in this case: anonymity was given because the person knew what they were saying was potentially damaging to another party and they would risk a professional sanction, job termination or possible lawsuit.

I don't have a problem with anonymous sources when the topic is government or corporate malfeasance or other serious social issues. Clearly Drew, Morales and the MLB labor market don't qualify.

True, in this case, it's "obvious" what's going on. But if it's so obvious, we don't need anonymous executive quotes.

Then there's the common problem that we have no idea which anonymous comments the reporters are deciding to pass on. A good story would say something like "we contacted 35 people with knowledge of the situation and 15 of them refused to comment, 10 of them said they were not sufficiently knowledgeable about the situation to comment and the remaining 10 gave us a mix of positive and negative comments. We've decided to publish the negative ones."
   6. Buck Coats Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4685695)
Isn't Murray Chass the one who wants to use anonymous sources (along with backne) to condemn Mike Piazza?

I don't think so, I think just bacne, no sources at all
   7. cmd600 Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:11 PM (#4685701)
I once emailed Buster Olney, and admittedly, not-so-politely, questioned his journalistic ethics and education. He proceeded to proudly wave the flag that he was not a journalism major, but history. I guess he knows the right people and how to grease them properly, but I'm with Chass on seriously questioning how the hell he gets off with the work he's done.
   8. shoewizard Posted: April 14, 2014 at 01:34 AM (#4685749)
Wasnt Murray IN the shower with Piazza scrubbing his back, which would explain the first hand knowledge ?

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