Kevin Paul Dupont has been covering hockey for 35 years and currently writes for the Boston Globe. His first official season on the NHL beat coincided with Don Cherry’s last year as a coach for the Bruins, so you know he’s been around a while. Over the last couple decades, Dupont has had a front row seat for the rise of the internet to prominence in news media. Now, people are more likely to get their news from websites, blogs, and apps, words that didn’t exist when Dupont started in the industry, and newspapers are dying across the continent.
Understandably, Dupont doesn’t seem too happy with this development and, over the last week, has taken potshots at bloggers via his Twitter account. His most recent attack is the most baffling, essentially claiming that bloggers are simply bad, immoral people.
A week ago, Dupont got the hockey blogosphere in a huff with a joke at the expense of the NFL replacement refs.
The blogosphere: journalism with replacement reporters/writers.
— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) September 26, 2012
The blogosphere, as a whole, said “Hey!” and proceeded to disagree, in some cases vehemently. A follow-up tweet suggested that he was just trying to make a point that journalism has changed, “for good and bad,” and implied that it wasn’t his fault if people took offence and deemed his tweet “pejorative.” I don’t recall the replacement refs receiving much positive feedback, least of all from Dupont himself who tweeted “Imagine NASCAR with replacement drivers” a few minutes earlier.
In any case, I didn’t think too much of the tweet at the time. I considered it simply to be an ill-conceived joke, albeit one that completely misunderstands the relationship between journalism and blogging, as well as how a lockout works. I saw it as being borne out of a frustration with the slow death of newspaper journalism and the rise in a consumer culture around the news that demands entertainment and instantaneity over depth and accuracy.
Certainly, there are bloggers out there who are as accurate with their posts and articles as the replacement refs with their calls, though painting all bloggers with the same brush is a trifle harsh. But Twitter is a confining medium and tact is frequently sacrificed on the altar of a good (or bad) one-liner, so I assumed the best of Dupont and moved on.
I may have given him a little too much credit. Turns out that he simply hates bloggers.
That’s pretty much the only conclusion I could come to after his second bizarrely unprovoked cheap shot on Twitter. While his first attack was simply a mean-spirited joke aimed at the quality of blogger’s work, this one directly attacked their character in the most hilariously awful way possible.
GREAT day at WestonGolf club for decades-old Boston Globe Santa. Another thing bloggers don’t deliver. Charity. Goodwill.
— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) October 2, 2012
What an ironically uncharitable accusation.
This crosses the line from cracking a joke to being a jerk. Dupont attended a charity event that helps thousands of underprivileged kids receive Christmas presents and decided that this would be a great time to take another shot at insulting bloggers, since his first attempt fell flat. He apparently thinks that bloggers are terrible people who are incapable of charity. I’m honestly baffled at the accusation.
It’s also patently false. I’ll give a few examples, sticking just with the Canucks blogosphere as I am most familiar with it.
- Richard Loat of Canucks Hockey Blog founded Five Hole for Food, a cross-Canada road hockey tour that benefits local food banks with help from local hockey bloggers. The 2012 tour hit 13 cities in 19 days and raised 133,000 pounds of food.
- Canucks Hockey Blog ran a community challenge where writers and readers pledged $1 or $2 for various Canucks’ statistical categories, raising over $1000 for various charities, one of many charitable initiatives spearheaded by the blog.
- My home blog, Pass it to Bulis, partnered with Canucks.com and raised over $9000 for Canuck Place with the Tanner Glass Scrabble Challenge.
- Cam Davie of Canucks Army is currently raising money through Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer and has raised over $3000 on his own for the Canadian Cancer Society. Pass it to Bulis is also participating in the event and our team has raised just over $3000 so far. As a side note, please consider donating to either Cam or PITB, because cancer sucks.
These are just four examples from a small corner of the hockey blogosphere, which is itself a small corner of the blogosphere as a whole. There are many, many, many more examples from across the hockey blogosphere, from the various comment campaigns at SB Nation in 2010 to help Haiti, to Ryan Lambert and Jason Orach auctioning off their blogging skills to benefit Right to Play, to the Penguins bloggers holding a charity kickball tournament for Hockey Fights Cancer. And those are public efforts; there’s no saying what bloggers choose to do with their income, which does not come from blogging for the majority of them.
Even that might not be sufficient to satisfy Dupont, who responded to claims that bloggers do in fact do charity work with a challenge:
— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) October 2, 2012
That’s right: match Globe Santa, a charitable fund supported by one of the biggest newspapers in Boston that is owned by the New York Times Company. Match a charity that has been running for over 50 years, with all the benefits of infrastructure and experience that implies. Match a charity that receives more than $1 million per year with heavy corporate involvement.
The implication is that charity doesn’t matter if it isn’t big and splashy. Charity doesn’t matter if it only helps a handful of people instead of thousands. It’s a point of view that is completely wrong-headed and insulting. Using the success of a charity event as an opportunity for scorn is shameful. Charity isn’t and shouldn’t be a pissing contest; if it is, you’re not actually exhibiting charity, you’re exhibiting pride.
The silly thing is, some of the charitable endeavours currently being started by bloggers may someday reach the level of something like Globe Santa. Richard Loat’s Five Hole for Food has grown exponentially and is only in its third year of existence. In their first year, they raised 6000 pounds of food; this year they raised 43,000 pounds of food in Vancouver alone.
Even still, every pound of food and every dollar raised is important. It means a stomach will be filled, a child clothed, and a potential cure for cancer researched. Labelling bloggers as uncharitable because of the size of their charitable contributions is simply wrong.