• Dowbiggin and integrity

    by  • August 12, 2009 • Uncategorized • 25 Comments

    From Bruce Dowbiggin:

    Blogs get Kaned: The question of whether independent bloggers should have equal status with mainstream media is a hot topic in the industry. But the alleged Patrick Kane robbery and battery of a cabby was not exactly a shining moment for the integrity of bloggers. The release of the police charges Monday morning brought an immediate torrent of abuse in the blogosphere for Kane, who was accused of beating a hapless Buffalo cabby for a 20-cent tip. Before Kane could explain his side, sites were saying “How could Kane be this stupid?…

    Patrick Kane is a stuck-up, rich, spoiled, bratty punk… this punk kid needs a ass beating… The best possible light for Kane is that he is a mean drunk, a guy who is not above physically abusing a 62 year old man after a stupid prank went awry.” You get the flavour.

    As far as I can tell “Patrick Kane is a stuck-up, rich, spoiled, bratty punk” is a comment on a thread at Operation Sports, which I’ve never heard of, “this punk kid needs a ass beating” is from the comments on a Yahoo story and “The best possible light for Kane is that he is a mean drunk, a guy who is not above physically abusing a 62 year old man after a stupid prank went awry” comes from Tom Benjamin.

    I tend to agree with Dowbiggin’s broader point (I’ve told Mirtle that I thought his post on the subject was absurdly over the top) and think that people should take a wide view in situations like this – very few people look good when judged by the stupidest things that they’ve done. I’m still more than a little unimpressed that a guy bagging on the lack of integrity amongst bloggers managed to do only by padding his list of examples with a comment from a news story and a comment from a forum that I’ve never heard of.

    About

    25 Responses to Dowbiggin and integrity

    1. Lindsay
      August 12, 2009 at

      Dowbiggin’s dig at bloggers is missing the point.

      That there is both extremely low and high quality content produced in blogs is never going to change. It no longer merits comment in a national newspaper that there are some terrible blogs out there.

      What does merit comment is the time lapse between when a negative story breaks about a star (whatever the industry) to when the star’s agent or pr people have done damage control by getting their party’s story widely circulated on the internet as well.

      I don’t know what the time lapses were in this case. It seems the incident happened on the weekend and Kane’s side of the story is getting in print on Wednesday from the date Bowdiggin’s article. That is way too long in the present media environment and good handlers should know that. To me, that if anything is the story here. Kane’s handlers screwed up.

    2. August 12, 2009 at

      Seems to me Mr. Downbiggin’s beef isn’t so much with “bloggers” as it is with “the internet.” To some, the distinction is still very unclear.

    3. August 12, 2009 at

      Newspaper columnists attacking bloggers is one of the oldest potatoes around these days… and the reverse is equally true.

    4. August 12, 2009 at

      Yeah, because the mainstream media have been models of restraint on this.

      OMG SOME PEOPLE SAY STUPID THINGS WHEN THEY HAVE A SOAPBOX!

      Yawn.

    5. mc79hockey
      August 12, 2009 at

      bill – I try to lay off the particularly low hanging fruit these days. With that said, Dowbiggin’s a legitimate guy and this is pretty sloppy stuff.

    6. August 12, 2009 at

      mc – It certainly was sloppy. Bloggers aren’t perfect, but weak and preachy attacks by the mainstream media like this instance just bring attention to bloggers’ worst elements. It eggs the worst on to publish more questionable allegations. And those attacks paint all blogs with the same tar at a time when many blogs have become more relevant and more legitimate than ever-more envious mainstream media commentators.

    7. lowetide
      August 12, 2009 at

      Maybe if we got better lighting in our basements? Took the bottles back?

      I’d like to see an article about bloggers and how they make a living. Seems to me most of us are earning a living in more secure industries than print media.

      Perhaps that’s the real reason for these articles? To show up bloggers as being less qualified?

      I suspect someone like Dowbiggin is extremely well qualified to do what he does and is most certainly worthy of being well paid based on his resume and the world pre-internet. But the world has changed for him and his brethren.

      I think that’s an issue behind these kinds of articles.

    8. August 12, 2009 at

      They make blogs on the internet now?

      Related: Hilarious.

    9. August 13, 2009 at

      Also, I have no idea what they chat about in Real Newsrooms, but is the question at the top really a hot topic in the industry? I thought everyone was bored with it, and that we had all roughly settled on, “blogs aren’t inherently better or worse than paid reporting, they’re different”.

      And finally, I think it’s a fantastic twist that the one actual blogger Dowbiggin uses to illustrate his point is a guy who uses his real name, has been doing it for years, AND, is showing no signs of backing down from his original take. The frequent complaint of people in BD’s position is that these people out on the web have no accountability, what with their profanity and aliases and such…

      Maybe it’s easier that way. Easier to argue with “bloggers”, where bloggers include every commenter on the internet, than with Tom Benjamin.

    10. August 13, 2009 at

      Whatever you can do to take a shot at bloggers eh Bruce?

    11. David Staples
      August 13, 2009 at

      “Very few people look good when judged by the stupidest things that they’ve done.”

      A forgiving but admirable attitude, Tyler.

    12. Showerhead
      August 13, 2009 at

      Anyone check out the most recent video on TSN.ca where they interview Kane’s lawyer? Seems like the guy’s on top of his game. He dug up a bunch of dirt on the cabbie (driving without a legal license, past DUI charges, past incidents with customers. He also pinned 100% of the violence on Pat’s cousin while stating something like “no one has suggested alcohol was involved” as opposed to “no, alcohol was not involved”.

      Getting fun to watch. Does anyone know if US taxis tend to have surveillance? I mean if there is video or audio of the entire exchange you’d have to think a judge/jury/whoever presides over this sort of thing could make an appropriate decision rather quickly.

    13. August 13, 2009 at

      Dowbiggen is also known for purposely stirring up hornets nests. He’s delighted in taking contrarian positions in regards to the Flames for years, just to watch the faithful’s head explode in response.

    14. antro
      August 13, 2009 at

      I realize that Dowbiggen’s “post” is actually a “column”–and isn’t that line very blurry on the G&B website, despite a separate “Blogs” link–but there does seem to be some linking to other sites in his column (further up, to another G&B story). This is only to hammer home the point made already by Tyler and others that Dowbiggen puts together “comments” with a very well-known blogger in Tom Benjamin–and he doesn’t even do the basics of the internet, namely link to his sources! Integrity?! Even if Tom Benjamin had been wrong (and I suspect that he isn’t, and it’ll be tough to prove now with damage control in full swing), I don’t know why Dowbiggen is throwing stones in such a glass house.

      Although part of me suspects that Dowbiggen and others who attack the blogo-intelligentsia are doing it to up their hit count. How else are they going to get the heavy-readers who’ve moved on from their tepid analyses, if they don’t get linked to on the important blogs?

      very few people look good when judged by the stupidest things that they’ve done

      Are you saying that the sample is too small? I’m just joshing of course, but it is an interesting question, at the basis of statistical reasoning: are single events that don’t seem to be reproduced only random outliers (this was the “stupidest thing” Kane’s done), or are they systematically related to the norm (“Kane is a mean drunk”)? In hockey stats talk, we assume the latter with good reason: hockey players are clearly trying to reproduce goals, face-off wins, etc. But why shouldn’t we assume it when it comes to the hockey player’s more total actions?

    15. Kyle M
      August 13, 2009 at

      You know Dowbiggen has a shitty position to defend when he tries to paint literally thousands of people with a brush as broad as is humanly possible with just about the most outling examples possible.

      Hey, we’re all cannibals when there’s no food around.

    16. August 13, 2009 at

      Or Dowbiggin could have contrasted my take on Kane with Jason Gregor’s… or would that have been the opposite of his point?

    17. August 13, 2009 at

      Or, Dowbiggin could have referenced any of these fine takes by his professional colleagues. Of course, again, that would have been the opposite of his point.

    18. August 13, 2009 at

      Or, since I feel like beating this horse to death myself, he could have quoted Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette.

    19. August 14, 2009 at

      Frankly what most sports journalist do is not that difficult. If you’re intelligent, can write or can transcribe an interview then you can do what they do–and you can do it for free. And that’s the real problem for print media.

      Most of the good bloggers I read have day jobs that require a high skill level to perform (lawyer, professor, acutary, banker, programmer, etc). We are doing their job for free in our spare time–perhaps that is what really burns them up.

    20. August 14, 2009 at

      very few people look good when judged by the stupidest things that they’ve done

      Sure, but there’s a fairly wide gulf between 1) embarrassing, inappropriate, regrettable, or even illegal stupidity and 2) criminal assault and robbery. I think it’s pretty misleading to conflate the two.

    21. David Staples
      August 14, 2009 at

      Rajeev, aren’t you judging Kane somewhat early here? He’s not yet convicted, nor do we know all the details, though I believe I read the cabbie’s lawyer suggest this was overblown and that Kane had been locked in the car for some reason.

    22. kris
      August 14, 2009 at

      I’ve done some terrible things. Many of my close friends and family have done even worse things. Lies, betrayal, yelling, etc.

      But out of all those people, I can’t think of anyone who has repeatedly punched a 62 year old man in the face or anything similar. This isn’t ordinary, everyday, people-being-people badness.

      The only justification that could get Kane off the hook of moral culpability is if the cabby attacked Kane and there’s just no way that’s what happened here.

      I’ll forgive the kid when he apologizes, does something for the community and pays the cabby. WHat he did is bad, but forgiveable if Kane is contrite.

    23. August 16, 2009 at

      Falconer writes: “Frankly what most sports journalist do is not that difficult. If you’re intelligent, can write or can transcribe an interview then you can do what they do–and you can do it for free. Most of the good bloggers I read have day jobs that require a high skill level to perform (lawyer, professor, acutary, banker, programmer, etc).”

      OK, I love bashing print journalists more than anyone, having been one. But that’s too funny. If you think print journalism is basically “simply transcribe interview; bash into shape; hit Send,” vs the gruelling job of chasing ambulances, indoctrinating bored students, misrepresenting corporate numbers, handing out loans to underqualified homebuyers, or compiling 1s and 0s into the latest assemblage of unusable software” (see I can generalize too!) then I laugh in your general direction.

      Plus, I can spell “actuary.”

      That said, Bruce Dowbiggin was hired by my former boss when she was casting around for a celebrity columnist and our sports editor refused to even call Mitch Albom with the ridiculously low offer she was willing to pay. Marty York was offered the job but his wife said no way in hell was she moving to Calgary. Dowbiggin, at that point a blow-dried CBC TV host, had been turned down by the Globe. So we hired him to bash out barely competent columns while he padded his resume with unreadable books. Good for him for getting back to the centre of the universe with his drivel.

    24. August 18, 2009 at

      @ Art Vandelay

      Well, having worked a wide variety of professional capacities (campaign staff, adviser to an Ambassador, Congressional staff member, professor, etc) I stand by my assertion that what sports journalists do is simply not all that difficult in the grand scheme of things.

      Most of them don’t write amazing prose and most of them are happy to spout off conventional wisdom without testing the conventional wisdom. I remain singularly unimpressed.

      Much of the best research/analysis/commentary on the NHL today is written by “amateurs” who have other day jobs and write in their spare time.

    25. August 21, 2009 at

      I have to admit that it does seem that Patrick Kane’s taken more than his fair share of abuse in the blogosphere. IMO, he will forever be known by the moniker, “20 cent.” Conversely, the majority of Patrick Kane blog posts that I myself have read are fairly balanced an well-written.

      @TheFalconer, In support of your assertion that the best research/analysis/commentary on the NHL today is written by “amatures,” look no further than the venerable Lowetide blog, or perhaps other bloggers like Gabriel Desjardin, Vic Ferrari, and others.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *