Thursday, June 28, 2007

Here's a Shout-Out to Journo Adrian Dater, Another Name for Leach or Lamprey or Something Much Worse That I'll Have a Little Class and Won't Say Here

Adrian Dater needs a reality check.

See how ridiculous the title of this post is? It's a knockoff of his original "Here's a Shout-Out to ESPN Sports Reporters, Another Name for Leach or Lamprey or Something Much Worse That I'll Have a Little Class and Won't Say Here," the title of a Denver Post blog post that railed ESPN sports reporters for being "info-tainment" hacks who can't handle "real journalism." Dater writes:

We newspaper people -- the real journalists out there still — do not need to feel inferior to a bunch of made-up clowns with microphones in hand. Cash your paychecks and feel superior if you need to. But remember this: You'll never be half our equals when it comes to being able to write and really report a story.

The rest of the rant follows here, if you've got the stomach for it.

So much to say, where to start? Oh I know -- Adrian Dater is a nonsense hack who should be excommunicated from journalism. Is that too harsh? Well, maybe, but Dater sure didn't have a problem attacking ESPN -- a network that revolutionized the way sports are covered, and the way I see it, is the CNN of sports -- for not being "real" journalists. And I find that utterly offensive.

Come on. Get a life, Dater. The more I read his words, the more he comes off as 1) jealous he couldn't get a job at ESPN; 2) jealous of the fanbase ESPN has; 3) angry that his paper isn't getting the recognition it may or may not deserve for breaking stories; 4) foolish for equating journalistic values with his radical views.

Dater is far from being a journalist. Journalists don't call each other out individually in their pieces, they don't disrespect people or attack them without backing it with evidence, and most of all, they don't dare write about it like it's news. Blog or not, his post wasn't newsworthy. It wasn't worth knowing. It wasn't worth reading. It was a digital piece of trash by a newspaper journalist who thought he outed his peers but only outed himself.

The cleanup process has been telling as well:

David Wright, the Post's deputy sports editor, who pulled the trigger on the blog post, declined to comment — an extremely dubious position for a journalist to take. Dater, meanwhile, is trying his best to cool the flames. "I named some names at ESPN, which I am sorry about," he notes, adding that he "didn't mean to impugn their work or them personally, so I'm sorry to them."

In the end, Dater feels he's learned a lesson — one that plenty of fellow pissed-off late-nighters should take to heart. Rather than ditching his inner filter and letting every ounce of frustration spew forth, he says, "I should have gone to bed."

But you know what? The two-page Michael Roberts piece covering it is full of excuses. It's safe. It's protective. It acknowledges that Dater was out of line but offers that it's indeed true that ESPN saps sports writers from newspapers and that newspapers are getting cuts all over the newsroom. Hell, the entire second page is dedicated to explaining what staffing decisions are going on at the paper.

It's a nice way to reframe this blow-up, and it's a great shift in focus to end the article that way. "He learned his lesson." That's it? Just because it's a blog, it's no harm, no foul, all forgotten, removed from the public consciousness because it no longer appears on the blog?

I think that Dater got away with it because it was indeed on a blog. To use his own comparison, if an ESPN anchor went off on a rant like this on-air, they'd be gone. Kaput. Finished.

So you know what readers of that post probably thought, Dater? That you're a jealous, jaded writer who can't hack it in the world of journalism as we know it -- because when you're given the freedoms of a blog, you can't keep your cool and your own integrity. And the fact that you tried to tarnish the integrity of your own kind by the common values you supposedly uphold? Despicable. Replace the subjects and the people and his post reads like a populist version of a radical religious declaration.

I hope every sports writer in town is up in arms about this. As Dater wrote himself, "The truth always wins out." In this case, it was the truth about what kind of journalist Adrian Dater really is.

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