Thursday, October 22, 2009

Deadspin's Raging Sense of Entitlement--With Deleted Scenes!

After yesterday's uproar over Deadspin posting ESPN rumors, I couldn't help but laugh. So many bloggers tried to write the story as if this was just a random event--that the real Deadspin was nice, cuddly, and gave out piggyback rides to small children. Hey small bloggers--it's 2009! You don't have to kiss up to big blogs anymore! I suppose they missed the memo that Deadspin will be doing more original reporting now, so bye-bye to your links. Since I don't care (proved by the huge number of entries I've written this year), here's my take on AJ Daulerio's little excursion to crazytown. Better takes are here, here, and here.

There's nothing new about Deadspin's raging sense of entitlement when it comes to big stories. Throwing a fit because they didn't get what they wanted, when they wanted it, is standard practice at Deadspin. Just look at this classic from Tommy Craggs over the Josh Hamilton story. Craggs is furious that Johnny Narron, who was Josh Hamilton's accountability partner/counselor, wouldn't rat out Josh Hamilton in response to his clumsy, misinformed questions. Read the money quote here:

"The alternatives are that Narron — who did not return my call this morning — was either lying to me to give Hamilton a chance to respond in full (understandable, but damned un-Christian of him) or the whole thing had just slipped his mind, making him perhaps the worst accountability partner in the history of drug addiction. Whatever the case, Narron is probably not someone in whom we should put a lot faith."

You know, the worst accountability partner ever probably would be the guy who would give up his friend to a media site who didn't even have the right month for when the photos were taken. "Oh, it was January, not March! And you don't have all the photos right--here, let me send you the one where he's naked, holding a Bible! I would LOVE to help ruin my friend's reputation!" That's what he should have done, right, Tommy?

And so the ESPN fiasco just fits into a larger pattern of Deadspin demanding ridiculous access for stories, and then crying when they don't get it. Some PR departments and friends don't want to sell out their friends for free--earth-shattering, I know. Even Judas got 30 pieces of silver. But I was thinking--does Deadspin play by its own rules? Why don't I host a Deleted Scenes on Deadspin, myself? So here you go...something I've sat on for at least a year.

You know, maybe I should have gotten more angry when Will Leitch told me that AJ Daulerio wasn't replacing him at Deadspin Here, want the screenshot? Just 2.5 months before Will announced he was leaving Deadspin? (Click to enlarge)

Now if I did things the Deadspin way, I should have been a big baby too that my "exclusive" wasn't honored, that Will didn't get in touch with me and tell me the news first because I asked first. If I did things the Deadspin way, I should have called Will a two-faced liar trying to cover up his departure at Deadspin, instead of looking the other way and assuming the best about him. If I did things the Deadspin way, I'd speculate, with zero facts to support it (but a nice timeline of circumstantial evidence!) that a deal was done the day AJ came on board, and that those other applicants for the Deadspin editor job had as much a chance as the Browns do of wining this year's Super Bowl.

But that's not a fair look at that story. At worst, Will was a man trying to look for another job and not wanting to get fired from the first. That's why I sat on this then, even though I was furious at the time that I got played so easily. The story doesn't matter now, but it makes my point. Even Deadspin can't and won't play by Deadspin's own rules, its own sense of raging entitlement. And please, spare me the email, Deadspin. If I wanted your opinion on this blog, I would email you--it's no different than the way you treated ESPN yesterday, now is it?


  1. By far your best post.

    The response by Deadspin seemed so rash and unprofessional, in my opinion. Throwing out the unsubstantiated rumors on ESPN personalities was probably not the best legal move and I have to wonder if there are going to be legal repercussions from this.

    Remind me to never send you an email again because you like to hold onto them apparently....

  2. Cobra, they may have had some good evidence behind the rumors--I'm not sure how unsubstantiated they were. But it was the way Deadspin released them that made me so irritated. It was a clear "cross me again and I'll kick your ass" response.

    As for the e-mail--it was Will's response to my blog story, so it wasn't technically off the record. I could have quoted it in the original post (see link), and it would have been all right. But it's still a shady move for me to screen-shot it now though, and it still looks invasive, right? That was exactly my point in posting it--does Deadspin REALLY want to set the precedent that email is eligible blog fodder like that? That rumors can be posted for the most tenuous of reasons? Performance art to make a point, I suppose...

  3. I enjoy this post very much. I am not a fan of Deadspin and never have been.

    Not that they don't have some decent stuff, but they aren't my cup of tea.