Philly Media Lazily Reporting DeSean Jackson Story

Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson must be tired of all the rumors.

Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson must be tired of all the rumors.

As a media member I often find it counter intuitive to critique those I like to consider my colleagues, or who in terms of stature, are more of my mentors but my aptitude to call it like I see it, is naturally setting in, as it has a time or two before. For the past two weeks or so, we have listened to the apparent DeSean Jackson trade rumors and today I got my complete fill of it.

The reporting of this story has been some of the laziest reporting I have seen in a long time. Yes, opinion has a role in sports reporting. However, this story seems all too perfect for the media to have done their due diligence.

Call me a conspiracy theorists if you like. Judging from some of the examples of journalism being displayed with this story, that is all it takes today anyway.

It all started on March 1st, 2014. Jimmy Kempski of The Daily News speculated about the possibility of the Eagles trading Jackson following the signing of Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper to new contracts.

Kempski touched on the impending high cap figure that the wide receiver position would cost the Eagles and touched on the team’s desire to spread money around to maximize each position.

Riley Cooper celebrates with Desean Jackson (Photo credit: Philly.com)

Riley Cooper celebrates with Desean Jackson (Photo credit: Philly.com)

The article also used some less than stellar arguments like the team being reluctant to have to deal with Jackson directly following cutting Jason Avant, but all in all it was fair. It was speculative, but fair.

After this story sat out there for a bit garnering no real attention (because it was mere speculation), another instance of it came up a few days later.

On March 5th, CSNPhilly’s Geoff Mosher, appeared on Pro Football Talk and spoke about the possibility of the Eagles trading Jackson being signaled by the two signings (sounds familiar).

Mosher expanded on that in an article which appeared on the station’s website.

Mosher’s take on the situation was pretty much the same. He leaned on the financial angle and Roseman’s love of the incoming wide receiver rookies. Mosher however cited “multiple sources familiar with the team’s thinking,” who he claimed were aware of the front office’s displeasure with Jackson’s non-football activities.

He cited the team’s displeasure with Jackson saying that he felt he earned more money. This was a reasonable caveat to his argument but the next instance made little to no sense.

Mosher implied that the front office was displeased about Jackson’s home being burglarized of cash, jewelry and a handgun while being on vacation. I didn’t know being robbed was a reason to have character questions about someone.

It probably isn’t, but it can help to bolster a weak story.

Could Maclin's return bump Jackson out?

Could Maclin’s return bump Jackson out?

Mosher also took a page out of Kempski’s book and played the ‘who will wrangle Jackson now,’ card when touching on Avant’s release. What goes unnoticed now is the fact that Mosher summed up his piece by asserting that there was no reason to believe that a trade of Jackson would come this offseason.

So after the speculative fun appeared over things were quiet for almost two weeks.

That was until Monday when Tim McManus over at Philadelphia Magazine reported about Jackson’s displeasure with the rumors and being left in the dark by the organization.

McManus reported that sources close to Jackson were surprised that no one from the organization had reached out to Jackson to address the rumors and that the wide receiver had expressed uneasiness in terms of where he stood with the team.

Obviously, the authoritative media members who take up shop right across the street from Lincoln Financial Field had to jump on this.

On Tuesday, the story resurfaced when CSN’s John Gonzalez piggy-backed on McManus’ report. He opened by characterizing the Jackson saga as the “story that won’t go away, even if you hope it will.”

He said that despite the fact that the story did not exist until the media speculated it up and it did go away for two weeks before they rehashed it but whatever.

Following his “I’m sick of this story,” open, Gonzalez went on to retell us all the brutal story by citing his colleagues from other outlets on the stories they wrote. This included a Jeff McLane (The Inquirer) report that the Eagles were not shopping Jackson and that the rumors carried little weight.

Gonzo then did us all a huge favor and closed out his article by summarizing what every other reporter said in a long-winded paragraph because there is no way the readers would have understood the point from the rest of the article.

Then CSN posted another story summing up a report from their own Derrick Gunn.

Gunn reported that the Eagles were not shopping Jackson but that they were “listening to offers,” for Jackson. The act of merely listening to an offer is not news. Teams do that all year long. Entering into actual trade negotiations is news.

He also refuted McLane’s report and said the Eagles informed Jackson a week ago that they were listening.

Gunn cited a source close to the situation and named the 49ers and Patriots as potential landing spots. The CSN insider’s source had quite the information, but like every other story it lacked a statement from the Eagles.

Like every other journalist, Gunn speculated about finances and the team’s silence. He appeared on CSN later in the day to reassert his view.

And we still stand where we stood two weeks ago. This has been a lesson in exploitative and speculative journalism on the part of Philly’s finest. CSN’s Reuben Frank said that he is not entirely sure about this whole thing, but to him “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

I tend to prescribe to that mindset too, especially when I’m (the media) the one who set the fire.

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Posted on March 18, 2014, in Eagles, Ray Boyd and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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