Yesterday I beefed about Mike Wise of the Washington Post making up news and then mocking bloggers for trusting it. Turns out his employer wasn’t a fan of that behavior either, as the Post has suspended Wise for a month. Yikes!
More background here, as Wise tries to explain what he was doing with all of this. My takeaway after reading that and other things and thinking about it a bit since yesterday: Wise is not a jackass or anything, but he’s someone who truly doesn’t understand social media or its uses in a breaking news context, and understanding such things has to be a prerequisite for the job in this day and age.
And while Wise has certainly stepped on it here, I don’t think he’s alone in his misunderstanding on this score. There are tons of writers out there who dismiss Twitter and its significance, but the fact is that while you can’t get the whole story of anything out on Twitter, relaying news there is functionally no different than relaying news in a paper or on the radio or on a website. When you’re reporting news there, you should be accurate (and when you get it wrong, you should cop to it and correct things as necessary). When news is
reported there by someone with at least something of a reputation for
getting things right, it should be trusted.
I get why this is hard to fathom for so many because it’s so easy to go back and forth between conversation, jokes and news on Twitter. Hell, I spend a big portion of my day there just being a wise ass. But just because it’s a multi-faceted medium doesn’t mean it’s one that should not be taken seriously. Yes, by all means you should expand on anything you write there with a
larger post on your blog, but what is there is not meaningless just
because it’s only 140 characters. In this way Twitter serves the same
function of a news boy yelling “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!”
Wise decided that, rather than try to understand this, he’d mock it based on his ignorance, and that is why he’s suspended today.
Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.
Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.
Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.
Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.
Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.
As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.
You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.