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May 5, 2010

Has the media learned to research yet? - Kyle Wellwood satire

Many media engines are going downhill, and for a variety of reasons. Being a conservative, you'd think I'm going to rail about their liberal bias, right?

Nope, not this time. Instead, it's the intellectual laziness that so many media outlets demonstrate that has really pissed me off (though in a hilarious fashion in this particular case).

According to Deadspin, MSNBC, as well as Chicago's NBC affiliate, believed something they read on the web without even a cursory look at it to see if it were, perhaps, not true. Not only was it not true, but it was clearly marked as SATIRE on the site they took the story from!

I'll start at the beginning.

Kyle Wellwood (we call him "Welly")and Shane O'Brien are members of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. They both also have had weight issues in the past (and still do, to an extent). Wellwood has been subjected to so many fat jokes in the media and on the web that it must explain his permanently sad expression, even after he scores a goal.

Hockey Independent did a satirical article on Wellwood and O'Brien being fined by the team for organizing a "pizza crawl" while the team was in Chicago for games 1 & 2 of their series against the Blackhawks. Supposedly, they "mistakenly" sent the organizing email to the entire NHLPA (NHL Players' Association) instead of to their select group of invitees. The story's hilarious, and go to the Deadspin article I linked to above for the screenshot of the invite (I don't want to steal their thunder, but it is seriously funny).

The extra hilarious part of this (in a "sad question of society" kind of way) is that MSNBC and NBC-Chicago actually thought this was a REAL story! Even though Hockey Independent had marked it as "satire" on their site. They reported it with much seriousness (though I'll bet the Chicago affiliate was getting a kick out of reporting it - "Ah, those Canadian rubes! Look at what they're doing...this is why Patrick Kane's mullet is a true non-story.").

Both sites have since taken it down, though it lives on in posterity on the Deadspin site.

How hard is it to look in the "filed under" part of the post and see the word "satire?"

Given the disdain that most media outlets have for "bloggers," should they really be caught passing on a "blogger" story without actually researching it themselves to see if it's true? I'm sorry, but this doesn't cut it as "research":

"Perhaps the best line from the NBC piece is this one: 'The Canucks' press office could not immediately confirm the report, but the Independent published a screen cap of the invite.'"

Unfortunately, more and more of this crap is happening, and in serious "news" business, not just sports. Political stories that are broken by bloggers where the media doesn't pick up on it until days later, or stories that they do follow where bloggers end up finding what REALLY happened.

It's becoming an epidemic, and one that needs to be stopped. Media can truly be the Fourth Estate, but too much lately, it's become just as bad as the people they're following.

And poor Welly. He just can't catch a break. This was on the Kurtenblog the other day:

He just doesn't look like he knows what to do, eh?


  1. just smacks of pure laziness, and the frenzy to get the story out there by the media hounds

    by the way, not sure if its my cronky old laptop but this layout is quite hard to read the text - just thought I'd mention it!

  2. I haven't had any complaints so far, but sorry it's hard to read on your laptop.

    I've already changed the template twice, so I hope not to have to do it again. LOL

    I'll keep it in mind, though.

  3. Although I don't think it's a good excuse I believe that the web has a lot to do with this new trend. Everyone is trying to scoop everyone else so getting the news out quicker leads to mistakes like not checking facts.



    PS I look at your blog mostly on my laptop & don't have an problems.

  4. Hi Bill

    Glad to hear you're not having problems!

    This is a really sad trend, isn't it?


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