Our first media squabble, in a while

For reasons not quite obvious, we haven’t gotten into a full-blown battle with a member of the media in months, if not longer.  (Actually, it’s been seven months.)

The easy explanation is that we’re now part of the establishment, given our relationship with NBC, and that we’ve been behaving more responsibly, consciously or otherwise.

But the reality could be that we’re simply focused on the football now, and as we try to be the definitive one-stop shop for all NFL news and rumors, we don’t want to waste time getting into a pissing match with someone else who covers the sport.

Fueled, however, by a recent suggestion that we’ve gone a little soft since adorning a corner of the page with peacock feathers, we’ve recently been making a deliberate effort to toss a little more edge into the operation.  For example, in Friday’s nightcap post regarding the grossly-one sided Flozell Adams item at the Cowboys’ official web site, we asked aloud why the team didn’t simply send out a press release instead.

It was part joke, part constructive criticism.  We’ve read and re-read the results of Nick Eatman’s “exclusive interview” of Adams, and it essentially represents an exercise in transcribing Adams’ words with zero attempt to scrutinize his explanation or to present the views of others who might disagree with Adams’ facially implausible position that he’s not a dirty player.

Frankly, it was Eatman’s decision to whip out the “exclusive interview” tag that caused us to make a snide observation regarding the lack of objectivity inherent to the finished product.  We don’t like the term “exclusive interview,” since it essentially amounts to the interviewer wearing a groove into his or her own back under circumstances that don’t warrant it.  In many cases, “exclusive interview” means that the subject of the interview was talking only to one reporter at that specific time, even though the person previously or subsequently spoke with one or more other reporters, also in an “exclusive” setting.

In this case, it’s entirely possible that Flozell Adams will be talking to no one else, likely because he realizes that the entity least likely to make him look bad is the web site owned and operated by the football team for which he plays.

Anyway, we mention all of this because our throwaway press-release remark resulted in Eatman sending in an angry e-mail.  And not using the “off the record” qualifier.  

Here’s what he said:  “I think it’s funny that you completely discredit what we do on our site.  Yet you have no problem stealing it without giving any credit. . . .  We don’t write press releases and we never have. . . .  And you probably know this by now.  None of the other writers you probably respect could get [Adams] to talk to them today, this week or really ever.  I think that was a cheap shot at me and our website on your way to using it for a top headline.  You’re welcome.”

First, we never “steal” anything.  We always give credit for things that are reported elsewhere, and we’ll stand on eight years, one month, and 12 days of work product as proof of it.  (Indeed, many writers and reporters now regard PFT as the unofficial NFL wire service, and they send us links to their work so that we will include it on the site.)

Second, we wonder whether Eatman has wondered whether Flozell Adams would have said anything to Eatman other than “get out of my face before I trip you” if the two men didn’t have a common employer.  And we’d love to know what Eatman said to Adams to get him to talk.  Or whether Eatman really had to say anything, given the name of the publication for which he writes.

Third, Eatman’s protest is understandable.  It’s not the first time he has faced scrutiny regarding the reality that he writes for something other than an independent news organization.  In October 2008, Eatman and ESPN’s Ed Werder got into a verbal back-and forth after Eatman accused Werder of trying to stir things up and Werder questioned the credibility of a writer who works for the very entity that he’s covering.

Here’s the bottom line.  Anyone who writes for a web site owned by the organization that the writer is covering has, at a minimum, an apparent conflict of interest.  So everything the writer writes must be regarded with that reality in mind.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to enjoying this morning’s offerings from NBC.  On my Time Warner cable hookup.  Which is significantly inferior to Comcast.

21 responses to “Our first media squabble, in a while

  1. Wow, Florio calling out someone else’s lack of objectivity. That’s like water calling out Dr. Pepper for being too wet.

  2. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to enjoying this morning’s offerings from NBC. On my Time Warner cable hookup. Which is significantly inferior to Comcast.

    lol – nice one Florio.

  3. Eatman is a bigger douche than Florio, I actually have been in email war of words with that moron. He is so stupid, he does not realize that he is writing for the Dallas Cowboys. Florio, you are my new hero. I have totally changed about how I feel about you. Eatman from DallasCowboys.com is a huge douche!

  4. I love the Cowboys and have for over four decades. Having said that (get it, florio?), the work done on the Cowboys web site is nothing more than in-house spin. Reading Eatman or Mickey Spagnola and looking for hard hitting journalism is like asking for Tony Dungy to be fair to Tony Romo. Ain’t gonna happen! Mickey Spagnola (also works for the Cowboys) went on the radio this week and you should have heard the load of shit he was handing out in regard to Flozell’s actions last Sunday. It was laughable. Flozell probably was told by Jerry Jones to talk to Eatman to get his side of the story out. By the way, ALL team web sites are EXACTLY like the Cowboys’ in their efforts to be candid and completely honest about the performance of their teams and players.

  5. “And we’d love to know what Eatman said to Adams to get him to talk.”
    I’m going with “trade you a box of twinkies for an interview”.

  6. Talk about losing your edge! Florio missed the perfect opportunity on this headline;
    “Eatman Says Eat Me!”

  7. I agree with everything Florio has said above.
    Being a die-hard Bears fan, I check their site daily. They employ a full time writer to report news on the goings-on in the organization throughout the year. I cannot remember the last time I actually read something negative on the site, even during/after years such as this. When, on the rare occasion, criticism flirts with negativity, it’s done with all of the vigor that a husband would criticize his wife while she’s standing right next to him.
    Anyone who’s lucky enough to work for an NFL team full time with behind-the-scenes access to all of the players, coaches, and team facilities would be out of his or her mind to paint the team in a negative light. These jobs are ones that most of us can only dream about, so why put them in jeopardy? Their job is not just to report team news, but to do it in such a way that makes the organization more appealing to fans, especially in times of turmoil.
    It sounds to me as though Mr. Eatman is already well aware of this fact and just lashed out at Florio because he doesn’t want his inner conflicts presented to the sports world at large.

  8. I guess he should have said that you never criticize anything your daddy, NBC does. But when big bad ESPN does something, you are all over it. Just saying.

  9. Eatman is right on this one, you guys need to just report. Your cheap shots at people are over the line.

  10. The problem with Florio is that he knows very little about the specifics of most teams or players. Flozell is notoriously hard to get an interview with, even for writers employed by the Cowboys. Eatman was right about Werder and he did have an ‘exclusive interview’, he never said it was an article. Florio loves to mouth off because of the nature of the site, but he hates the Cowboys and anything Cowboy related, as anyone who reads the site knows, and can’t resist a quick jab when he can. Eatman is a pretty good writer, Florio on the other hand, is a horses ass and a little too pompous for his own good, as he himself probably knows.

  11. Wow, this is like listening to 2 school girls yell over… hair, makeup, clothes, boyfriends… whatever. What’s next? Slamming your bedroom door and not coming out? Screaming that nobody understands you?

  12. So this guy gets pissed, when the entire world knows that each teams website is by no means objective?…”Exclusive interview” my ass…Every team does this and the interviewer basically works for the teams PR department….Does this ass clown actually think everyone considers it journalism? Dave SPINdaro in Philly is considered as a running joke, and this guy is the equalivent…Maybe he had some sand in his vag…
    On a side note, now that comCOST has merged with NBC, expect a small convenience fee to access anything associated with comCOST….Only a matter of time….

  13. This is a slippery slope. Beat writers for local papers have to cozy up to the players in order to get their stories. Florio does his Sunday night live chat to coincide with NBC’s broadcast, but just about everything but the game is discussed (don’t want to distract anyone from Michaels and Collinsworth or, more importantly, the sponsors’ commercials). ESPN seems to be fair game on this site, but I don’t recall any critical analysis of NBC’s NFL coverage. Eatman may or may not be a hack, but his position is incrementally different from that of Florio and the beat writers, not separate and apart.

  14. All you guys with your “Florio hates my team and can’t write a piece without taking a backhanded slap at it” are wearing me out.
    “Florio hates the cowboys”, “Florio hates the steelers”, “Florio is a steelers homer”, “Waaaaah!!”
    He picks on all the teams. He will never let go of staph infections, spy gate, singletary dropping his pants, the cowboys crumbling late in the season, the lions going 0-16 or anything else that has ever happened to any NFL team.
    Get over it…

  15. Hey, I’m the first one in line when it comes to Florio bashing. I think a lot of the off hand remarks he makes are in poor taste, unfunny and serve no purpose but to stir things up.
    In this case, I see pure sarcasm. Its a throwaway line that I didn’t even pay attention to the first time.
    Everyone knows, if you want day to day updates and fluff interviews you go to the team site. But, if you want objective analysis you go else where (and this site is not one of the places you would go).
    Florio is dead on here. Eatman just needs to keep his mouth shut and get a thicker skin. No one would have ever remembered this if he hadn’t of fired off that email to Florio. Its like attacking the paparazzi taking pictures of you. All you are doing is guaranteeing a story.

  16. Just like the cowboy fans are the most idiotic fans in the league, so is everyone that works for that organization.
    So much so, that they are too stupid to realize it.
    They should be called “America’s Dumbest Team”.

  17. as much as i like pft/florio he is a moron for not realizing that eatman (who does a good job most of the time) works for the cowboys… just as florio’s “daddy” (thanks previous poster?… postee??) NBC wouldnt take any crap from pft
    jus curious NBCs perfect right?
    didnt realize florio was such a cowboys hater… i dont think he even knows it… subconscious or something (hes always preaching integrity)

  18. The damn guy writes
    “Fueled, however, by a recent suggestion that we’ve gone a little soft since adorning a corner of the page with peacock feathers,…”
    yeah and battling Nick from Cowboys.com changes that perception….
    Romo, Jones, video board and now the beat writers…pathetic

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