I open with this with the caveat that sports journalism in and of itself is irrelevant, but its odd proclivities reveal telling things about journalism as a whole. That send, the sports media’s obsession with spreading falsehoods about baseball player Alex Rodriguez may tell us something about the ways in which professional journalists spread misinformation.
.279./.361/.483. That represents Alex Rodriguez’s batting performance in post-season games (in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging-percentage). Though not in-line with his astounding regular season career line of .306/.389/.578, it’s not bad: A-Rod avoids making an out 36% of the time. And yet, the sports media harps about Rodriguez’s “post-season troubles” (Buster Olney) and “failures;” a notion just expressed by ESPN’s Mike Greenfield.
If it were only the giants of sports talk radio spreading this meme. No less an august publication than The New Yorker, in an article last week by Ben McGrath, found it easier to tell lies than to tell the truth. McGrath wrote that Rodriguez’s “gifts have thus far been suppressed in the post-season” and that “the Yankees, with their two-hundred-million-dollar payroll, flamed out in the first round of the playoffs for the third straight year, with Rodriguez doing nothing to shake his tabloid image as a world-beating choke artist.” Note the attempt, in the latter quote, to shift responsibility to the “choke artist” meme to the tabloids– and the failure to mention the home run he hit in the elimination game.