Tammy Chase: They came for me

“It was Tammy Chase’s job to make layoffs at Sun-Times Media Group sound good. But now the company can’t afford that, either [and]… She’s been laid off.”

That brought this poem to mind:

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

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So who is “the sleaziest man in sports”?

One of my favorite podcasts is Slate’s Hang Up and Listen. Maybe because there’s no shouting and no “Brian from Bridgetown, you’re on the air.”

One of the topics in this week’s edition was the latest Favre selfishness: did he or did he not inappropriately send messages (text and voicemail) to Jenn Sterger, attention-seeker de semaine? I don’t know Ms. Sterger’s body of work, but every story seems to be accompanied by a photo (or slideshow of photos) of her in as little attire as the editorial rules of each outlet allows, so I’m just guessing she’s not a panelist on Meet the Press. (In fact, she was (still is?) a “sideline reporter” and contributor to the Sports Illustrated website.)

The conversation on the show laid most of the blame — if that’s the correct word — on Deadspin, the “let’s skewer the athletes” website — for flaunting all established rules of journalism when it comes to attribution. In it’s rush to release the story, did the website have the right to use her name as the source when she was still deciding if she wanted to do so? The question, then: is it Favre or the Deadspin reporter or editor who made the decision to publish the sleaziest?

I forgot that it’s wrong to plagiarize

Steve Martin used to have this routine:

You can have a million dollars and never pay taxes.

How?

First, get a million dollars. Then when the IRS comes and ask you why you haven’t paid any taxes on the million dollars — two simple words:

I forgot!

I forgot I was supposed to pay taxes.

This came to mind after reading about the latest case of professional plagiarism. The writer is always amazed that he/she did something like that. It was subconscious, they say. But you know what? I believe it can happen, and that it isn’t always intentional.

When I worked at a summer camp man (many) years ago, I came back from a  day off to learn that a male staff member had been fired because one of the girls campers accused him of flashing her as he was exiting the shower. Now I wasn’t there to see the alleged incident, and I didn’t know the guy that well, and this may have actually happened, but isn’t it also possible that it was an accident? A gust of wind, an inadvertant scratch without realizing someone was within viewing range? The staffers were a bit put out that he was so quickly dismissed, but I can also see the side of the camp owner who had to protect his business. As do the newspapers when they let can someone accused of the crime of plagiarism, no matter how innocent or well-meaning the writer might have been.

Marketwatch.com wrote about this event. I find it a bit amusing that every first mention of a company is accompanied by the lastest financial snapshot. But that’s what this particular site is all about, I guess.

Discuss.

  • A reluctant welcome

    It’s no secret what’s going on the field of print journalism. It’s going into the crapper. I wonder if Mr. Internet realized this would happen when he invented the World Wide Web. Regardless, the situation is here and we’re stuck with it. The purpose of this blog is to blow off a little steam, and I invite my fellow ink-stained wretches to join in with their own tales of woe or triumph. Maybe this will turn into a nice little support network. Questions? Suggestions? E-mail me at worriedjournalist(at) gmail(dot)com.
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