By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
I was once told by a college professor that the facts, and only the facts, mattered when it came to the news. When it came to sports, writing was a different kind of beast.
Yesterday was one of those days where the lines of sports and entertainment crossed and while it wasn’t hard news, it wasn’t a true sports story. This was sensational journalism at its best, one where I never thought my blood would boil like it did involving one TIM TEBOW. And I was actually defending the guy.
TMZ.com, the website that brings out everything bad in journalism, had a story posted about Shad Khan and an interview he gave about the Jaguars and the headline reads, “JACKSONVILLE JAGS OWNER: TEBOW CAN'T SAVE OUR TEAM... BY HIMSELF”
I would never have known about it if my brother had not called me up in arms about this controversy. But I go to the website and read the headline, look at the picture and like everyone else, watch the 31 seconds of video.
Based on the expression on Khan’s face and the fact the next paragraph I read states, “Everyone knows the Jacksonville Jaguars SUUUCK ... including owner Shahid Khan, who scoffed at the idea of signing Tim Tebow... and told us his team needs A WHOLE LOT of good players.”
I got the vibe they were saying Khan stated his team was that bad, which he never said and yes, he did say that his team was in need of many good players.The whole vibe however was made to look like Khan took it as a joke, the journalism was faulty and just about everything else was wrong with the piece.
Oh, did I mention millions read this website every day? Oh, and to let you know, TMZ.com was the first newspaper source to give us coverage of the Maurice Jones-Drew incident in St. Augustine at the nightclub.
All of the sudden, I am taking calls about this, asking of Harvey Levin, the owner of the website and reality television programs on daily networks, were related to me.
No! No! No!
My Facebook page took many hits today while discussing this very topic, to the point that I called TMZ myself. In my 25 years of writing and reporting, I have never come across Hollywood journalism like this. I was curious, mad, and a little nervous all in one. I spoke with a woman who connected me to another woman, who finally led me to a woman named Charley (she would not give me her last name because she said she did not have to). I identified myself and asked to speak to good ol’ Harvey, which she then asked if we were related. This is where a lie might have helped me out, but I was being honest. I jumped right in and asked about the Khan/Tebow story. She was cold and abrupt and told me I had better get a statement elsewhere, that, “This is TMZ, we can do what we want to do.”
Brash, to the point, and very Hollywood.
I asked her who the journalist (A loosely used term in this case) was who stuck the microphone in Khan’s face was. Again, I got the same response.
“I do not have to tell you that. We are TMZ.com. We can do whatever we want.”
I could feel my blood pressure rise, my blood boil and my chest puff out. I am glad I never became an entertainment reporter. She stiffed me and hung up. I think I might have lost a friend yesterday, but believe me - Charley will not be missed.
The Jaguars have enough on their plates right now with Denver, a media circus hoping for a 50-point blowout and the Broncos to make a statement in Jack Del Rio’s “reunion” of sorts. Dealing with something like this may never have reached the team’s radar today, but one afternoon, proving proper journalism was more important to me than writing a game story, a preview or even a feature.
Yesterday was about making sure the reasons why I go this job were defended. Call this a small victory for me.
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