By: Holly Horning
The Journalist’s Creed:
(abbreviated for this blog)
– I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.
– I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.
– I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.
– I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.
– I believe that… bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.
– I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.
– I believe that the journalism which succeeds best …is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid…is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob…
It’s been a tough week here, folks. The least of which centered around the news of Brad Ausmus’ imminent departure. But never fear, as a Tigers manager, expect to see him back here at some point in the future to join the other 6 former managers. Pretty soon, they’ll have enough members to field their own team.
Sorry, I just couldn’t help it. It’s been really hard lately trying to keep my snark factor in check…..
Anyway, it’s times like these that remind me why Kurt and I started this blog. And that is to give Tiger fans a respite from the constant spin offered by several of the local papers. For us to offer both sides of the story. To offer insight about issues others are afraid to address. To offer opportunities for real discussion. And to offer opinions that are not tied to favors or access.
And this week is a prime example of what is wrong with journalism. At least by a select few writers.
If you haven’t read The Journalist’s Creed listed above, please do so now. Its tenets are important to the rest of this blog. Besides, there will be a quiz later.
Allow me to tell you a brief history of my background. I am the daughter of a journalist. I have a sibling who spent 25+ years helping to run the world’s largest media organization. And I married into a family with journalists. So I know the rules and the expectations.
And what I have read this week has been unbelievable. Unbelievable because of the flood of revisionist history. Unbelievable because at least 1 writer openly admitted he purposely kept readers in the dark by not sharing information crucial to fans’ knowledge. And truly unbelievable that his editor allowed the confession to be published because it flies in the face of The Journalist’s Creed.
What has happened in the last 4 years and undoubtedly going back even earlier, is that certain reporters have withheld a couple steamer trunks full of information that would have shined a spotlight on why the Tigers spent 10 years and over $2 BILLION $2 hundred million and had some of baseball’s best players for exactly ONE win in 2 World Series appearances.
First, the revisionists. Writers who have consistently backed Ausmus as manager for the past 4 years. Backed him without giving a shred of proof about the skills he brought to the game. Unable to offer a single quality beyond his character that supported his work as manager. Yearly grades that had the highest curve ever recorded with glowing reports that sounded like they were about Joe Maddon or Terry Francona, not Brad Ausmus. All that despite no playoff appearances since his first year and 2 last place finishes.
But now that Ausmus is officially leaving, they are changing their tune. Some scrambling to change their stories. It’s a fun exercise to go back and Google their previous articles over the years. The same ones who are now saying that Brad should have left 2 years ago. One who seriously wrote last year that Ausmus should win Manager of the Year. And several who are now saying that someone who hadn’t managed before shouldn’t have been hired.
Maybe if they had said something after Max Scherzer was pulled in the playoffs so the crack bullpen could come in, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. Maybe even Justin Verlander would still be wearing the Olde English D. And maybe, just maybe, there would be a World Series flag flying over Comerica. Maybe if they held some feet to the fire.
Continuing with our adventures, then there are the confessionals. Writers now admitting they were privy to information they didn’t share with their readership. Stories about a toxic clubhouse with fighting amongst some of the players. Other players telling them it was a “country club atmosphere” with everyone doing their own thing and no one being held accountable. Problems with Victor Martinez. Serious issues with Bruce Rondon that impacted the entire clubhouse. And issues with Brad Ausmus still behaving like a player, not a manager, and being unable or unwilling to set standards and expectations for the group.
Not a single word, or even a hint of concern, was said for 4 years.
And when fans noticed that there were problems among the players? When they saw the fights between McCann and Iggy, JV and Brad, Price and Brad, and then Vmart and JV? They were told it was inconsequential, even normal. An attempt to pull the wool over the collective fans’ eyes.
The list of writers’ wrongdoings is not yet done. We even have a confession from one who had information that probably would have gotten Ausmus released earlier. But this writer decided he was going to be both judge and jury and decided himself that Brad should finish the year. Un-believable.
And a handful of writers who knew that there was friction between Brad and Al Avila over Bruce Rondon. Friction that carried over into the clubhouse. Hints that Rondon was being forced onto the roster and statements that Brad purposely threw Rondon out in the 8th inning under circumstances that would not create good results.
So when we all look back and wonder why Rondon was trotted out in the most unlikely of situations, we now know why. And absolutely no concern that one could draw conclusions that the manager was willing to lose games in order to get his GM to change his stance.
Can’t make this stuff up, people.
Last I looked, we, the paying fans are the ones who watch all of this. And some journalists believe that this news should be kept from us?
And for those writers who feel strongly about writing what they see? Well, they get transferred to cover other sports. One, who is a terrific and thoughtful writer, and is often considered to be one of the best in Detroit, now covers golf and college sports along with an occasional article on the Tigers.
As you know, I live on the East Coast. Nothing and no one is sacred here. I live in a town where journalists are free to criticize owners, GMs, managers and even the franchise faces. And you know what? It inspires accountability. Their work gives fans the info they need to know. When things don’t work, fans understand why.
And when the Nationals several years ago had the identical problems that the Tigers have with a rookie manager, big payroll and star egos, they wrote about it all. And it opened the curtain as to what was wrong with the team. It inspired the owner to make sweeping changes. And look where the team is now.
So if we want to place blame about who contributed to the failure to achieve the desired results this past decade, let’s add some journalists to the mix. Maybe if some of them had written about both sides, we wouldn’t be wondering why this team hasn’t won a World Series in over 34 years. We also may have been able to look forward to a brighter future.
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