Should The Media Be Held Accountable When They Wrong An Individual

By Gregory Moore
Updated: August 20, 2006

SAN ANTONIO � I hope Skip Bayless has his kneepads out because he is going to need them. As a matter of fact if Jim Rome is listening or reading this today, lose Bayless� number for a while.

You know what? Let�s go one step further and maybe get Bayless the same legal representation that Maurice Clarett had when he was trying to make the NFL and let�s make sure that him and Bayless are life long buddies because what Eddie Johnson, the former Chicago legend not perennial parasite that played for the Atlanta Hawks for a few seasons, has to endure is something so humiliating that it may have cost him future employment.

You see it is only right that Bayless, the Chicago Tribune, an Atlanta news station and a few others who made the mistake of not checking sources, should be coming out of their pockets and helping subsidize the money that he could possibly lose behind this error in judgment.

But Bayless deserves the most punishment because unlike the newspaper or television station, he commented and he did it in true, Skip Bayless style; with all the arrogance of I know what I�m talking about and you listeners are clueless.

If you are wondering if the media should be held accountable for such actions, the answer is a resounding yes. When errors in judgment like the one that Bayless did on a nationally, syndicated radio program go unchecked, then the powers that be in charge of that program shouldn�t have a problem coming out of their wallets.

But Bayless isn�t some rookie behind the microphone. He�s a nationally known journalist turned talking head and he should know better. The excuse of mistaken identity cannot even be used because with today�s technology, Bayless or the producers of that show could have easily vetted out the truth within minutes.

Bayless could have made a statement like, �okay word has it that Eddie Johnson, a former NBA player has been arrested on some serious charges. J. Stew can you find out the whole story before we go off the air?� But did he do such a professional thing? Of course not. He went into full Skip mode and roasted the former Phoenix Suns player without finding out that the other Johnson was a former Atlanta Hawk player.

And so when I sat around and talked with my media friends about this very thing, one of them sends me an e-mail saying that Bayless is the epitome of what the problem is in today�s sports programming. Bayless has lost his skills of being a reporter/columnist and is nothing more than another turncoat who cares little about the people he steps on along the way.

It is the very reason why so many people are so turned off by Bayless and the show that he is on. Society today doesn�t want to hear a bunch of media types try to do morning sports like Good Morning America; they want scores, highlights and a little brevity to start their day.

But when a professional of Bayless� caliber over steps his bounds by providing commentary to a situation that he knows nothing about and defames a person and an organization in the same breath, then it is time for the bosses to start looking at some suspension.

What happened to Johnson is no laughing matter. Mistaken identities happen quite often but when the person who has your name goes out and does such a heinous crime and you catch the flack for it, there�s hell to live through while you sort things out.

The media in this day and time is a rabid animal looking for stories but in the zeal for feeding this animal, careless reporting is definitely something that should be avoided. Bayless� action have singled out everyone who is a sports writer/columnist and now it is up to the rest of us to try and return confidence in our craft.

Thanks a lot Bayless for your arrogant attitude that has defamed a good man in the process. Hope you got some deep pockets because the Eddie Johnson who is from Chicago deserves a little compensation for your error.

I�M THINKING PHIL IS TELLING HIS COACH TO JUST BE QUIET Let�s see it�s 4:31 p.m. C.S.T. as I write this column on Sunday and I�ve got the leader board for the PGA Championship up in my web browser. Let�s check the scores shall we? Tiger Woods is currently 5 under (-19) and is at the twelfth hole and Phil Mickelson is a +2 so far.

Hmm. Didn�t somebody�s coach say that Mickelson was a better golfer than Woods was when he was on his game? Wait, let me get the exact quote from Dave Pelz: �”If Phil’s long swing is good, his short game, I believe, is the best in the world. He doesn’t have a serious weakness inside 150 yards.� Hey Pelz, how�s that golf swing you crafted doing so far for Phil?

If there is one thing that Mickelson should have told his coach, it was to keep your comments about Tiger�s game to yourself. The last time someone made comment about Woods� game in a major, it was Phil himself.

When that happened, Mickelson made mention that Woods was playing with inferior equipment. Woods promptly ushered the new Nike golf line into the golf scene by beating Mickelson around at the 2001 Masters. Hmmm.

And so here we are again, but this time Phil is trying to defuse the talk. Sure Tiger doesn�t get as agitated as he once did but look at the leader board again. It�s 4:47 p.m., C.S.T. and Woods is still at �5 while Phil is +2. I�m wondering thinking that Pelz is probably trying to find a gopher hole to hide in before the tournament ends.

WISH ALL HOF VOTERS HAD THIS TYPE OF CLASS Finally from my e-mail stash of stuff, I was reading my Friday copy of the SBN�s Daily Dose and came across a story written by Dave Newhouse of the Oakland Tribune. It seems that Mr. Newhouse is going to turn in his Baseball Writers of America membership card and give up his tenure as a voting member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mr. Newhouse wrote in part: �For I cannot in good conscience vote potential members into Cooperstown not knowing if they’ve cheated. If it were in my power, and if I had proof that someone cheated, I would kick him out of the game on first offense and preclude him from ever entering Cooperstown.� I have to admire someone like Mr. Newhouse and his conviction. Here is a man who is steeped with baseball lore, someone who has been covering the game for decades and who took his charge seriously as one who voted to put former players in to Cooperstown.

For him to take the stance of resigning his membership and voting privileges is not only admirable, you can almost want to nominate him for some sort of gold medal of valor.

Mr. Newhouse is taking a stance on the steroids issue and his stance, while painful, is something that he deeply believes in. It may sound petty to some who don�t understand this man�s reasoning but I get his logic.

He�s a baseball purist at heart. He believes in rewarding players who go out and do everything the right way and they get rewarded for their efforts. He doesn�t believe in rewarding cheaters and he�s not quite sure if some of the names that may come up on future ballots were clean throughout their careers.

And so instead of risking the possibility of putting a guy in the Hall who may have cheated, Mr. Newhouse has decided to just resign from his voting position and his membership.

That�s an admirable position for anyone to admire and I have to take my pen and raise it in salute to Mr. Newhouse. Not too many writers of America�s pastime would take such a stance. It�s too bad there�s not more writers like him.