Exactly where did that bogus leak naming would-be steroid-shooting ballplayers come from? My friends, most of them baseball fans who’d rather send around scandalous, if unsourced, emails than actually work, sent it to me before I’d even arrived at work Thursday morning–hours before former senator George Mitchell released his blockbuster report. The names included some–no pun intended–heavyweights: Albert Pujols, Johnny Damon, Jason Varitek among them.
One friend said he got it from Gawker’s sports sibling Deadspin.com, which clearly stated that it had no idea if the list was accurate. Others got it from WNBC (WNBC.com later printed a correction). According to the St. Louis Dispatch, KTVI St. Louis gave the Pujols-is-guilty story (slugger Pujols plays for the local Cardinals) lots and lots and lots of play on air. According to the Dispatch, KTVI, a Fox O&O, also reported that deceased former Cardinals pitcher Daryl Kile was named in the report. KTVI did, however, offer a live clarification/correction once it was apparent that the names on the bogus list didn’t all match with the names on Mitchell’s actual list.
Once again, it appears the race to be first was deemed more important than having the facts straight–with seemingly innocent ballplayers dragged through the mud.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.