You Give Blogs A Bad Name

Last night, during the wait for news on the Yu Darvish posting process, Kevin Gray, a journalist for the New Hampshire Union Leader and blogger at Gray Matter, caused a bit of a stir by insisting on his own blog and on Twitter that the Toronto Blue Jays had not only won the bidding for Darvish, but had also scheduled a press conference to announce it.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos plans to announce tonight his team won the bid for Japanese sensation Yu Darvish, according to my industry sources. I was told the Blue Jays would have an announcement around 9:30 p.m. (since delayed) that would blow away the great fans of Canada, who’ve been thrilled at the idea of Darvish signing with Toronto.

Of course, shortly after Gray’s claims, it was announced by Major League Baseball that the Texas Rangers had won the exclusive rights to negotiate with Yu Darvish.

He replied to his miscue with an apology:

Sorry, Blue Jays, fans. I gave the story my all and ended up getting bad info from trusted sources, guys that have never let me down before. (WTH happened?) This is the danger of the blogosphere. I didn’t go with the story in my newspaper because none of my sources went on the record. That’s our rule. So I’ll take the heat for posting it on my blog. I’m sorry to all those great fans in Canada. I screwed up. My Blue Jays sources screwed up. I’ll be right back at it tomorrow.

To someone who gladly refers to themselves as a blogger, but gets frustrated by the¬†hierarchical condition in most people’s minds that automatically assumes such a profession is lowlier than that of journalist or reporter, Gray’s apology is incredibly maddening.

The transfer of misinformation isn’t the danger of the blogosphere, it’s the danger of an individual making up for his own lack of critical thinking with an eagerness to be the first to report a story. Putting the onus on his sources is even worse than blaming the medium for his message. The old adage is that it’s a poor carpenter who blames his tools, and in this case, Gray’s “aw shucks” finger pointing at his sources should be taken as evidence for his own incompetence.

Let’s assume Gray is being genuine when he writes that his “sources” let him down. Just think about this for a minute: According to the timing of his first tweet about the supposed press conference, his sources told him that it would be occurring in twenty minutes. A press conference that no Blue Jays beat reporter had bothered to mention, would be occurring in twenty minutes. A press conference announcing information that only a handful of Major League Baseball executives actually had any information about, was going to be announced by the Toronto Blue Jays in twenty minutes.

How does this happen? How does this not get questioned with the least bit of critical thinking from not only a blogger, but someone who also makes a living by collecting the words of other people to shape opinion? A level of critical thinking is missing there that I would expect from even the most casual of readers.

A small bit of credit does to go to Gray for promising to donate any money he made from his blog’s ad revenue last night to a charitable cause in Toronto.