If you are going to read one column about the Selena Roberts book on Alex Rodriguez, it should be this one. Because Whitlock hits on some vital points, I am just going to quote generously from the article and let it speak for itself:
She claimed that the players’ unwillingness to confess to or snitch about a rape (that did not happen) was the equivalent of drug dealers and gang members promoting antisnitching campaigns.
When since-disgraced district attorney Mike Nifong whipped up a media posse to rain justice on the drunken, male college students, Roberts jumped on the fastest, most influential horse, using her New York Times column to convict the players and the culture of privilege that created them.
Proven inaccurate, Roberts never wrote a retraction for the columns that contributed to the public lynching of Reade Seligmann, Colin Finnerty and David Evans……..
Roberts’ speculative opinions are deemed as so credible by ESPN and others that the Worldwide Leader ran all-day updates stating that Selena Roberts believes that it’s “irrefutable” that Rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs while a teenager.
At no point did ESPN’s TV anchors or radio broadcasters mention that Roberts was the same person who led the media charge against the Duke lacrosse players. I listened to Roberts’ interview on Dan Patrick’s radio show. Patrick never asked her about Duke lacrosse or why we should trust her reporting.
In its news story about her book, The New York Times failed to allude to her position on the Duke lacrosse case. I’ll give the Times credit for including one sentence of clarification in its news story:
“Some of the accusations in the book are based on anonymous sources, and others are simply presented as knowledge the author has without an explanation of how the information was obtained.”
Translation: the majority of the stuff written in her book is information the National Enquirer might reject.
The national media anti-snitching campaign is twice as pervasive and effective as anything put together by the Bloods, Crips and LAPD. For the most part, we refuse to squeal on each other.
Roberts’ book is a long-winded blog. Why it’s being treated as an unimpeachable piece of journalism can only be explained by the cushy position she’s been handed by The New York Times, ESPN and Sports Illustrated and the unchallenged institutional bias found within the elite sports media institutions.
Like the Duke lacrosse players, the elite media have decided that Alex Rodriguez is fair game for abuse. Rules of fairness do not apply.
In a rush to prove its racial even-handedness, the media initially chose to swallow the accusations of a black stripper over white college students. Roberts and others made fools of themselves. They were given the leeway to do so only because lacrosse players aren’t part of the NCAA money-making machine and unlikely to be future subjects of high-profile stories.
The players were convenient, vulnerable targets.
So is Rodriguez………
I am not asserting a nationwide racial conspiracy against minority baseball players. I’m in no way stating that Roberts’ pursuit of Rodriguez is motivated by race. I’m asserting that the media’s unwillingness to publicly and aggressively challenge itself breeds unequal and unfair coverage.
We all have biases that must be contested. We’re all capable of getting swept up in the biases of our peers and friends.
The allegations in Roberts’ book might very well be true. But I’m not going to trust her, not without some on-the-record reporting, not after what she wrote about the Duke lacrosse players.
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