“Your site is not a news site, it’s an op-ed site” – and what, exactly, are the others?

Sometimes I get a comment to an article and begin to write a reply but as I am in the middle of the process, I realise that the thing is becoming an article in itself. I’m not putting this up to have a pop at the commentator but I believe that this all concerns a very important topic in light of the reporting on the recent CIRC report and the Knaven issue. In fact, it’s important in relation to the whole sorry history of doping in our beloved sport.

 

The comment read:

“I have to say that I really do find your articles to be quite good and I appreciate that you keep on tilting at windmills.I do, however, object to the idea that news should be ever delivered with anything other then objectivity. Your site is not a news site, it’s an op-ed site. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but you need to remember that the goal of any journalist should be to report the facts objectively. And yes I do realize that it is difficult to do that while you have to cozy up to the industry to get any stories whatsoever, that doesn’t change the fact that journalism should be above bias.”

 

My Reply:

Thanks for the comment and I would fully agree were it not for the fact that it isn’t merely an ‘idea’ that the news is delivered with anything other than objectivity but a concrete fact, and it’s not us ‘bloggers’ that are the chief culprits. The established cycling media have been selecting what to present the great unwashed public with for decades and it is precisely their biased and thoroughly subjective presentation of selected slivers of ‘the news’ that has in large part helped create the sorry mess we are stuck in right now.

They sat through press conferences after seeing unbelievable feats and asked no questions. Interviewed Hein and Pat and asked them about routes for the Worlds and ignored the deaths of young riders all over Europe and beyond. Along with their faith in objectivity was there also a directive to the hacks to leave their ability to ask uncomfortable questions at the door?

The fact is that journalism should indeed be above bias but that only works if those with their hands on the controls and with the resources to abuse that power do not do so. The media, the UCI, the race organisers, the riders and team owners and management have been feeding us a twisted narrative of lies and deceit for so long that we cannot even see that it is continuing now.

It is not always obvious but we must realise that the old adage that silence speaks louder than words is absolutely true in this case. For many journalists, then and now, what they did not discuss was far more revealing as what they did. For many, keeping Mum was the best way for them to ‘deal with doping’ and to keep their editors, advertisers and the teams and their riders happy.

What got shafted in that equation was the sport itself and its ever-faithful fans.

The goal of any journalist should be, in my opinion, to reveal lies that are paraded as truth. Lofty? No, not at all. That’s what a few used to do – it’s what very few still do.

The BBC itself was recently manipulated by Armstrong into granting his request for an filmed interview which came between his girlfriend taking the blame when he crashed the car drunk and being found out by the police, and that information becoming public. The interviewer gave LA another blast of oxygen for his fire whilst getting another notch on his celebrity bedpost and you want to tell me that is not biased nor subjective?

It’s not a case of ‘cozying up to the industry’ – it’s a case of being the industry.

If you’re here to lecture me on the role of impartiality in the press and to suggest that CyclingSnooze and others like it are unbiased when in fact they have been guilty of not only ignoring doping for many years but also of creating gods out of cheats that they knew as sure as they could be were cheats, then you are not going to get very far with that one.

I’d rather Armstrong, MacQuaid and Vino write the news than these so-called journalists – at least then those reading might easier see the true bias threaded through these thuddingly mediocre and contrived articles.

Regards,

LR

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10 thoughts on ““Your site is not a news site, it’s an op-ed site” – and what, exactly, are the others?

  1. Interesting article Lee. When I first started my blog I tried to do straight reporting on the races I was watching. I soon realised that this was a bit of waste of my time and more importantly wasn’t offering anything new to readers (that they could be reading on CN). It makes more sense (to me) to write about the cycling related stuff that means something to me and I hope the blog has improved by moving to a more op ed style. Taking an unequivocal standpoint isn’t going to appeal to everyone but anyone who follows your output shouldn’t be that surprised by the line you take (particularly about doping).

  2. We actually 100% agree on the fact the news “should” be delivered without bias (Unless it’s a review or an op-ed piece) my point is that is something all news agencies should strive for and that includes agencies outside of the cycling industry. I would imagine that being a journalist that is beholden to the cycling industry for advertising dollars makes it difficult to report objectively, I do question whether or not this sort of problems plague other sport specific journals, say like a running magazine.
    I am not a journalist or even a blogger, I am a cartoonist so everything I saw about journalism can probably be ignored.

    1. There’s another issue about the fact that these publications and sites are beholden to advertiser cash – where’s the pressure on the brands to stop supplying equipment to dopers and badly managed teams? This is another link in the chain that needs corroding. Brands should be pushing for better ethics. Money talks, but only when they’re winning. When they get busted, it goes all hush.

      And thanks for the reply Keith! Keep reading, it’s much appreciated!

  3. “They … interviewed Hein and Pat and asked them about routes for the Worlds and ignored the deaths of young riders all over Europe and beyond.” You use the past tense there, but in the present tense let’s spare a thought for Yerlan Pernebekov.

  4. The cycling “media” are wholly responsible for the creation of the monster known as Lance Armstrong. IF the cycling press had done a proper job in 1999 and called the UCI out on it’s backdated TUE the sport would be very different today. Of course, then the media circled the wagons for Armstrong every chance they got until it became impossible to do so any longer, which took 13 years to happen.

    It is necessary to have opinion in reporting because so often the truth is difficult to prove conclusively. Someone has to stand up and say- “I know everyone thinks this is true but I see it as not true because…” Otherwise, once you have an accepted idea (Armstrong is clean) then unless someone challenges it will go on and on.

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