Shot through the heart: you give blogs a bad name

mini-bugThe vast majority of sports-bloggers I know are sports fans who express part of their fandom through blogging.  For the most part, the guys and girls who do this try and do it right: expressing opinion and discussing news – scouring the net and using information readily available.  There are a miniscule few who have made it to regularly paying gigs, but most don’t.
Hell, most don’t see much money at all.  Blogging’s definitely not something you do for the cash rewards.  Most that I know are just trying to share their love of a sport or a team via the sites that they tend.
Yet patently, this is untrue of all bloggers.
I’m not even going to pretend that this is a truth for the majority.
Many indulge in unsubstantiated rumor or outright plagiarism… and all it does is detract from the whole and creates intense distrust from anything read on blogs in general.
The stuff I take offense to are pieces like the report from Bleacher Report which had Tracy McGrady interested in signing with the Lakers for the Mid-level Exception ($5.8 million).  The piece is well-written, and has some key elements that are undoubtedly true – LA would indeed be in the market for “a secondary slasher”, and if McGrady were to join the Lakers, he would indeed be not required to be a leader… however, it’s the rest of the piece that alleges the inevitability of such an acquisition, and the suggestion that this is coming from a source “high up within the Lakers organization” that I take issue with.
Making unsubstantiated comments like:

As expressed by one high-ranked official within the Lakers’ management, should Tracy McGrady not return to the New York Knicks next season or spurn retirement, “expect the deal to get done by the end of July.”

Let’s just call me doubtful that any significant contact with the Lakers was made at all, and that vast tracts of the story are simply fiction. Yet within hours, this was accepted by many to be ‘truth’ due to it appearing on several different sites that ran it as such.  Because Google News ran it, and no-one questioned that the sole source was a piece on Bleacher Report.
In this particular case, I would generally follow the advice of C.A. Clark from the inestimable Silver Screen and Roll in his Don’t believe the hype, no matter what it says.  Quoting from there:

“The Lakers just don’t play the game the same way as everybody else. They don’t talk about their plans, not on the record, not off the record. The “sources” within the Lakers organization just don’t exist, or if they do, they are being fed the same bullshit that the gets to the rest of us, and are just as wrong.”

This flight of fancy in isolation wouldn’t be much of a deal at all, except it was picked up by Google News and trotted out as reality.
Bleacher Report enjoys a close relationship with Google News, and every day articles that amount to little more than wishful thinking on the part of the ‘authors’ get passed out as fact for public consumption.  Yet many hard-working bloggers who source and make sure that what they put up is substantiated – yet are unable to get Google News accreditation.  Blanket accreditation for a site that has a fairly lax filtering system can’t be a good idea. 
Don’t get me wrong, there are some damn good pieces occurring on The Bleacher Report, but like with the rest of the blogging world, the chaff at B/R is getting mixed up with the oats – given the idle speculation that occurs there.  It’s bad enough now that Bleacher Report isn’t really considered a credible source anymore.

Unfortunately, it’s gotten to the point that any blog that aleges that “this piece is breaking news” without quoting a credible source (that broke the news before them), then apply liberal doses of salt.