A New Low

| May 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

It seems every second or third piece I write or talk about on the Podcast has do do with some BS that Winnipeg Free Press “writer” Gary Lawless wrote. I’ve had a ton of material handed to me from his columns where he chastised the fans, told the team to give up on the season and pushed internet rumors about players he didn’t like.

There are hundreds of other things I would like to write about but almost each week Lawless prints something that needs to be addressed. I can’t wait until the guy takes a vacation so I can write about something other than the misinformed crap he spews.

This weeks adventure in journalism deals with the story that broke this weekend about Alex Burmistrov being offered a deal to leave the Jets and join the KHL.

It seems some blogger in Edmonton heard a rumor and decided to print it as fact without checking with any sources. Turns out Burmistrov is staying with the Jets and the whole thing was squashed pretty quickly. His agent and the NHL both confirmed that Burmistrov is under contract with the Jets and cannot just pull up stakes and move to the KHL.

Now this is what Lawless reported in his column yesterday and if he would have just left it as that I would be writing about something else but oh no good Ol’Gary had to interject his very special form of analysis into the situation.

“He doesn’t like to be told what to do. He response is always, ‘No respect, no respect,’” said one Jets veteran, when asked this season about Burmistrov. “His English isn’t great and he gets his back up. He gets defensive. The only guy that can talk to him is Antro (Nik Antropov).”

Jets coach Claude Noel and Burmistrov had words on a few occasions this season and the player’s exit meeting at season’s end must have been interesting. There has been lots of talk within the organization about what is best for the player’s development and the St. John’s IceCaps have been mentioned more than once.

Now this would be of some significance if the quote was actually attributed to someone but Gary uses unnamed sources to do what is known in the world of journalism as “stirring the pot”. No one knows what was said at the exit interview but Lawless says that it “must have been interesting” which implies that some fireworks happened.

No one for the Jets has said anything on the record about Burmistrov, his attitude or if he should be sent to the AHL. Maybe there has been some private conversations but unless you are willing to put a name to the quotes then they mean nothing. Its just rumors and its only purpose is to create controversy where none currently exists.

There is a story here and its about the KHL trying to actively poach players from the NHL not Burmistrov’s attitude or lack of production. So what happens is that instead of doing a real column that involves research and formulating an original thought on a topic of importance we get another hit piece full of unnamed sources and unattributed quotes.

This isn’t the first time Lawless has doen this. He did it to Evander Kane . He printed rumors that no one would go on the record about dealing with somethings people had said about Kane on the internet. He wrote them under the guise of defending a player whom he admitted that he did not get along with. By printing those rumors he gave them validity.

Journalists have to use unnamed sources sometimes, its just part of the business. Sometimes a source needs to protect themselves and their job so to keep the info flowing the writer just says “sources say” and everyone is happy. The problem is when a journalist just relays solely on that then they can pretty much print what ever outlandish thing they want. No one can ever check the quote and you have a nice exclusive for your story.

I’m not saying that he made these quotes up I’m just pointing out that there is no way to check if what is being said is accurate if the quotes always come from unnamed sources. If you are going to say it then be a man about it and put your name to it. If the source is unwilling then don’t print it.

Words still have power and even though newspapers are falling from relevancy the things said in their still strike a chord with people. We need to be careful that the media doesn’t just devolve into FOX News style journalism where you broadcast every rumor without checking any of the facts.

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Category: Jets News

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