MSM Failures and the UK Coach Search
March 31, 2009
So I’ve totally lost my mind and have spent the last 48 hours doing little other than hitting refresh on various websites on my computer — all of them related to Kentucky basketball. We’ve been on Calipari watch, in case you missed the news. Unconfirmed reports say church attendance was up 5% this past Sunday in Kentucky (I’m not making up that someone claims they read this; no faith in its accuracy). I’ve also been on my “Coach Billy Gillispie Diet”: today, I’ve eaten a two slices of toast with Nutella, a blueberry muffin, and a bowl of macaroni. (That’s probably only funny to Kentucky fans. Hmm.) But I’m briefly going to try to be relevant and sensible.
One thing that following this minute-by-minute and not actually doing any work I need to do (and have now put off for 6 months — I’m serious on that part) has demonstrated is the ineptness of many of the media outlets involved: Memphis, Lexington, and Louisville alike. The various network affiliates and newspapers are relying on and mooching off of one another’s reporting — primarily the Memphis stations — rather than confirming things independently. What this means is: the earlier banner on the Courier-Journal‘s website declaring Calipari hired is now gone, because a Memphis CBS affiliate backtracked on their story.
Or, the Courier‘s sub-headline about a phone conversation between Calipari and former UK coach Joe B. Hall, in which Hall was (apparently) misquoted as saying that Calipari had told him he was coming. USA Today picked it up, verbatim. A Memphis station called to confirm with Hall, who made a point of saying Calipari said he had made no decision. There is now no evidence at the Courier that this story ever happened.
Despite the ridiculous nature of Kentucky fans about the whole damn thing, the people who have had egg on and off their faces for most of the last half week are local news stations and papers, primarily those in Kentucky. Memphis stations may look jumpy and premature, but the Louisville and Lexington stations look like they can’t do their own reporting, even (especially?) when there’s no new news to report. All in all — and I don’t think you can quite figure it out unless you’ve wasted enough of the last two days as I have — I have a far greater understanding of the present failures of the media than I did even last weekend.
Right now, however, I’m waiting for a private jet from Lexington to land in Memphis in 20 minutes. If he’s on it when it leaves, he’s in; if not, probably not. Either way, I think I get an answer soon.