Jason Whitlock says social media determined ESPN’s coverage of Richard Sherman
ESPN is so scared of the Twitter crowd that the world’s sports leader will not put a signature on his stories covering the arrest of NFL star Richard Sherman.
It is important. This highlights the power of Twitter to manipulate grassroots journalism and impose a racial standard on two levels of journalistic fairness.
ESPN.com published four stories related to Sherman’s drunk driving arrest for domestic disturbance. All stories are signed “ESPN News Services”. Here are links, links, links and links to the stories.
Fear – not the search for the truth or the desire to educate the public – is what drives ESPN’s coverage of Richard Sherman. ESPN doesn’t want to subject any of its black or white reporters to the popular racist bile of “Black Twitter”. Thus, the network’s stories on Sherman are published without a signature and are written in a manner sympathetic to Sherman.
ESPN has yet to report that Sherman’s wife’s uncle called 911 and said Sherman threatened his wife with violence. Yes, it’s just an allegation. However, it’s no different from Sherman’s wife who calls 911 and reports Sherman threatened to kill himself, drank two bottles of whiskey, and told his wife he would fight the police if she tried. to stop it.
Plus, since the OJ Simpson-Nicole Simpson tragedy in 1994, we’ve learned to identify the first signs of men who can’t control their violent mood with their wives. I don’t compare Sherman to OJ. I’m saying there’s a reason the King County Sheriff’s Office applied for an order in February banning Sherman from owning a firefighter. Sherman is a threat to himself and to others.
ESPN is afraid to paint an accurate picture of Sherman. I’m sure part of his hold is well intentioned and based on fairness.
But would fear and fairness lead to ESPN coverage of a struggling white athlete with law enforcement?
Let’s take a look at ESPN’s coverage on Chad Wheeler.
Police arrested Wheeler, a former Seahawks backup offensive lineman, on Saturday January 23 for domestic violence. Wheeler only appeared in five games in 2020. It took the media several days to learn of his arrest.
The hometown of Seattle Times published an article on Monday, January 25. Here is a link to this story. About 24 hours later, ESPN weighed in on Wheeler’s arrest. Here is a link to the ESPN story.
Notice the signature on ESPN’s story, Brady Henderson. He’s covering the Seahawks for ESPN. Henderson is an excellent sports writer. I am in no way trying to portray Henderson in a negative light. He is a victim of Twitter’s negative impact on journalism.
Henderson has tweeted about Sherman’s arrest. It is even tweeted a link to ESPN’s story on Sherman’s legal proceedings. Henderson and ESPN rightly acknowledge the racially radioactive nature of Sherman’s story. ESPN shields Henderson from the Twitter storm and shields itself by sharing a favorable Sherman story.
There is no risk for a reporter to tie their name to a story examining Wheeler’s alleged criminal activity.
Wheeler’s criminal case has become a bit of a famous social media case. Wheeler is white. His alleged victim is a black woman. Shortly after his arrest was reported, a Twitter crowd formed and began to push the narrative that ESPN TV downplayed and / or ignored the Wheeler case because of white supremacy, privilege. white, systemic racism, fear of the Proud Boys, Charlottesville, Trump supporters and Rachel Nichols’ Private Conversations.
The fact that no one except Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and a handful of Seattle players had ever heard of Chad Wheeler had little impact on ESPN’s sparse coverage.
“No, ESPN was racist. The network covered the Super Bowl champion, three-time Pro Bowler, Ray Rice’s domestic violence case twice in 2014 because he was black,” the social media crowd shouted. angry.
This column is not intended for taking cheap photos at ESPN. Its purpose is to further expose just how corrosive Twitter is to fair and honest journalism. Twitter and Facebook are the main drivers of two distinct and unequal forms of corporate journalism: a norm for whites, a norm for blacks.
Social media apps are driving a wedge between black and white Americans. Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg are not journalists. They settled down as news media editors. They are more toxic and destructive than Roger Ailes, Jeff Zucker, and Phil Griffin.
Politicians love Dorsey and Zuckerberg because of their naivety, journalistic incompetence, malleability, and willingness to make it rain financially to protect power.
We live in the age of crowd journalism. Black Twitter’s control over the crowd won’t last forever, or even much longer. Soon the crowd will come for the very ones who foolishly rejoiced in its existence.