Final thoughts on the Mike Wise hoax

We’ve moved on (really, we have) from last week’s fabricated-report fiasco from Mike Wise of the Washington Post.  (For those of you who have no idea what I’m referring to, please type “Mike Wise Roethlisberger” into the search box.)  But we need to mention it one last time, if only to provide the conduit for allowing any of you who remain interested in the situation to read a couple of additional takes and interviews regarding the subject.

For starters, Geoff Decker at The Big Lead has taken Wise to task for the inconsistencies reflected in statements made by Wise on the radio broadcast in which his War of the Worlds-style hoax unfolded and the comments Wise subsequently has made during his media mea culpa tour.

Writes Decker:  “On the show, [Wise] and his co-host giddily recapped what they’ve done.
They mocked Mike Florio for citing the tweet in a ProFootballTalk post.
The fratboy-ish enthusiasm at having ‘caught’ another media member is
audibly nauseating, even more so when he tries to tell [Reliable] Sources host Howard Kurtz that he never meant the stunt to be deceitful. . . .  Later in the radio segment, they giggle and discuss how to follow up
the first tweet with more misleading tweets. ‘Let’s have a little
discussion on how to play this,’ [Wise] said on his show. ‘Should I milk
this a little bit and show people that I actually do know that he’s
gonna get five games on Friday?'”

Those words starkly contrast with Wise’s flawed explanation that he tried to almost immediately publish a follow-up message on his Twitter page revealing that his fake news on the Big Ben suspension was a ruse.  Given that he works in the town that gave birth to the phrase “the cover up is worse than the crime,” some may regard Wise’s effort to conceal the true scope of his intentionally and deliberately false report as a greater offense than the intentionally and deliberately false report itself.

Decker also passes along a link to a transcript of companion interviews that yours truly and Mike Wise provided to NPR’s On the Media.  And one of the last comments from Wise to Bob Garfield reconfirms that Wise simply doesn’t understand the difference between a reporter who always tries to be accurate but who inevitably will be inaccurate and a reporter who intentionally and deliberately tries to be inaccurate.

“The 20 years [of my journalism career] that nobody had ever questioned, that now it has been, and I
promise it won’t happen again,” Wise said as to the consequences of falsifying news.  “Not necessarily Mike Florio, but what
some people of his ilk and some people of . . . his job description can’t
say is that it won’t happen again.”

On that last point, Wise and I finally have reached a common ground.  He’s right.  I can’t guarantee that we won’t pass along a report from a respected journalist at a respected news organization that, for whatever ridiculous or skewed or malicious or nonsensical motivation, was intentionally and deliberately falsified.  I can’t guarantee it, because I refuse to waste my time contacting respected journalists from respected news organizations to ask them, “Is there any chance that you’re simply squandering your own credibility and the credibility of the company that employs you to prove that people will believe the things that you say?”

54 responses to “Final thoughts on the Mike Wise hoax

  1. Has Mike Wise been keeping you up lately?
    Cannot focus on anything and do not feel hungry?
    You might have symptoms of suppressed rage.
    I suggest you get him fired or this can start showing in your Notre Dame halftime videos. And I don’t mean choking the pretentious Peter King with your bare hands. Oh, I wish.

  2. It appears clear that for some reason Mike Wise is angry with your success in the journalism business. If there is some back story between you two I would love to hear it.
    Otherwise, it seems that ole Mike Wise is upset because a lawyer with a passion for football cheated the journalism business by not paying his dues. You didn’t go to journalism school, you didn’t spend countless hours working your way up the ranks at some newspaper (surely being forced to write articles that were demanded by the editor), and you didn’t spend the requisite 10 years building your reputation. To make matters worse, the newspaper business is slowly becoming extinct.
    I understand why this guy is angry, but his way of venting is childish and dangerous. All it has done is increase Florio’s name recognition and weaken the integrity of an already decaying business.

  3. You could of course stop posting reports on other journalists work and just post about the rumours and inside information that you find.
    Just a thought. I can use a search engine to find football news published on other sites.

  4. Registered just to post on this. Florio, you gotta let it go. Wise has done the crime and has and is paying the consequences. Whatever inconsistencies he’s rattled off post-tweet don’t change much about the fact he f’d up and is trying to move on past it. This is a rumors blog, not an AP facts-only website, yes?. And Terry Bradshaw is alive and well. Get over yourself. Stick to updating us on Haynesworth’s BM’s.

  5. Seems like its time to go through the rest of his reports and find the rest of the jokes he calls reporting… Thanks for proving that someone of his caliber shouldn’t be trusted with his word as a new source… Funniest part is that he acts as if it’s someones elses job to prove he’s full of crap… Be careful what you ask for….

  6. As tired as we all are of hearing about this, I didn’t realize he was calling you out like that.
    It’s all about expectations. I expect information coming from the newspaper to be properly sourced. That doesn’t mean those sources can’t be wrong, which certainly has happened.
    And I expect the information provided on PFT could be false and that we trade accuracy for speed in getting the latest NFL rumors.
    If Wise can’t see that difference, then he really should be in another line of work.

  7. NOBODY remains interested in this man. NOBODY was even interested in it last week. The only thing you are doing is guarranteeing that a whole lot more people are going to pay attention to Mike Wise as soon as he is off his suspension. I didn’t even know who he was. Now I will be very interested to hear what he has to say.
    Geez Florio. Just when I am starting to warm up to you because you are obviously a hard worker with the break news, you remind me why I despise your analysis and opinions.
    You need to give up on topics that you are particularly obsessed with (ie. Mike Wise, Brett Favre, Cowlishaw…) who have in some way or another, made you look a fool in the past, and focus your energy on a little more break news. You guys were a little late on a few topics yesterday, such as Brady’s potential contract and the Umps getting moved again…..I hope you weren’t researching this bag of trash instead.

  8. Florio is right here…Wise’s radio show is B-A-D. I’ve been listening to sports talk radio for about 10 years now (I’m in my 20s) and have never heard a show so lame. Half the time him and Holden Kushner (who was actually entertaining on his own when he had his own show) aren’t even talking sports they are discussing some lame pop culture event.
    Mike Wise show = Worst.Show.Ever.

  9. “We’ve moved on (really, we have) from last week’s fabricated-report fiasco from Mike Wise of the Washington Post.”
    I call B.S., sir…

  10. You’ve exposed him as the d-bag he is Mike, now let it go.
    There really are a lot of D-bags in the world. I don’t know why you get so hung up on these things just because one in your field does something stupid. It’s really not that rare. Listen to Mike Felger some time.

  11. is a football news one stop shop. Not an ombudsman.
    You are getting rich off real journalists work. Of course they are jealous. You would do well to keep your head low and continue to provide one stop shop service.

  12. Florio let me first say I love the site. As a matter of fact it helped me draft the most dominant fantasy team in my league. But every time you reference this after the first I get turned off like when a woman starts talking about that other girl at her job that hates her. It was a joke by wise. If you listen to his show you’d know it was a joke. A schefter spoof if you will. Please take the high road and stfu. Or just be a nagging woman who am I to tell you how to ruin pft for me?

  13. Mike: With the shifts to blogging and mountains of print from questionable sources this is bound to happen. The hope is integrity, truthfulness and accountability will remain an important fabric of the new media. Thanks for bashing these clowns and creating their track record. Once is a misguided mistake, multiple times will erode his credibility. This is an important issue! Enjoy PFT daily and recognize the volume produced may contain the occassional stretched story, but will never question the importance you attach to being truthful. Don’t lose or alter your approach! Mike C.

  14. So much for being the bigger man.
    “When you’re arguing with a fool, make sure he isn’t doing the same thing.”

  15. To Mike F, we all give you heck on this site I know, but that’s just kind of the “posters’ schtick.” Obviously, we all get a lot out of your site because that’s why we check it every day and post comments to you.
    With that said, I want to seriously recommend that you truly let this go and not keep commenting on it. The more you comment on it at this point, the more it looks like you are harboring some bitter grudge or that you feel like you have to justify that you are honest or something. It’s starting to come off as an “over explanation” of events that will make YOU look bad.
    Seriously dude, we get it. Making up stories bad. You take respected journalists word for them so you are not responsible for the inaccuracies. Some agree and some don’t but we totally understand your POV. No more explaination necessary.

  16. TripNasty I think you may be right in your assessment of the situation except for one thing, Florio is not a journalist Florio was a lawyer now turned blogger not journalist, PFT is a blog plain and simple. And that’s what pissed off Mike Wise who is actually a journalist, I’ll clarify Mike Wise as a journalist as to go out and do all the hard work in finding a story to make is editors and bosses happy which in his eyes really earn is money, while on the other hand all Florio has to do is wait for the hard work of real journalist then repost it with his two cents attached and call it his own, which in Mike Wise’s eyes doesn’t justify Florio’s Salary, hence the feud between a pissed off journalist and a funny looking Lawyer/Blogger.

  17. I already commented however seeing all the people saying this is a dead horse, is driving me crazy… This guy called out pft for reporting this.. So it personal… I love this site.. I go to it 100 times a day… If all the news at 5:30AM in the morning is a recap of d-bags prank, then so be it.. Move to the next article if you feel this is no longer news, their are plenty of other info on pft. I dont care what excuse this guy had or if he supposively is paying the price, this is what happens when you abuse your power (radio, tweet or paper article) and calling this d-bag out is the real justice.. I really don’t care what his newpaper suspended him with, talking him down to the level, were he belongs.. It was a joke you say, well your not a comedian (wise) , you supply news OR AT LEAST YOU USED TOO…..

  18. “We’ve moved on (really, we have) from last week’s fabricated-report fiasco from Mike Wise of the Washington Post. . . . But we need to mention it one last time . . . .”
    Dear lord, Florio. Even when you insist you’ve let it go, you can’t let it go. Take the advice your Mother probably once gave you: Not everyone out there is going to like you. Get over it.

  19. From Mike Florio —I can’t guarantee it, because I refuse to waste my time contacting respected journalists from respected news organizations to ask them, “Is there any chance that you’re simply squandering your own credibility and the credibility of the company that employs you to prove that people will believe the things that you say?”
    So in other words, instead of taking 5 minutes of your precious time to verify a story before posting it here, you would rather take the chance that the reporter could be wrong, could be making it up, etc…….
    Oh wait…..that is what you do you re-post something someone else has said anyway……nevermind
    Obviously you don’t read the comments left here by your readers…….the percentage of people that care about this story is slim and none and slim went out of town for the weekend…….

  20. We get it: this is a big deal to you.
    Now, only if your site’s visitors cared in the least bit…
    I come here for NFL news – not news about journalism today.

  21. The Wash Post Sports reporters are a pretty motley crew. On top of this Mike Wise guy, you’ve got Tony Kornholer, who flunked out of MNF. His radio show is 20% sports (most of which is whining about things like having to go to Jax for the SB one year) and 80% narcissitic rantings on politics, news, movies, etc. (backed up by Tony’s butt-licking sycophants). Then there’s Mike Wilbon, who comes from the Al Franken school of journalism. He probably thinks that kicking a (brown) football around is an affront against people of color.

  22. How does Wise still have a job. What a tool.
    I like to beat up on Florio too, when he deserves it, but he’s justified about being pissed off about this.

  23. What he did was stupid I agree. However, it has been addressed. Move on. I remember when this site had quality stories and was updated often. I feel like now there are less posts and the quality is declining. If you are so ticked at Mike Wise why keep giving him free pub???

  24. This reminds me of when the 2 biggest geeks in jr high school fight each other. Both of them look so ridiculous. Yet the one who actually lands an uncoordinated partial fisted blow thinks he is the winner. When everyone who watches laughs at how pathetic both of the idiots really are.
    You are a real winner Florio. Good luck with all of that.

  25. If you don’t care about it then why read the article and then comment? Move on with your pathetic little lives, please. Don’t you have better things to do then bash Florio? Probably not…

  26. You’ve gotten over it the same way most guys are over the girl who dumped them.
    What’s the over/under for number of days before you reference Wise, again?

  27. Dude…..Let it go man, let it go. You never see any of the guys from Punk’d obsess about Demi Moore’s boyfriend.

  28. For the most part, what makes PFT different from a site like Yahoo! Sports, aside from the fact that it gets the news out much quicker, on an around the clock basis, and that often times Yahoo gets it’s stories (at least for blogs) from here.
    PFT is what it is because they get the news to use fast, in a reliable manner, and with a usually half-interesting article to go along with it. I love that I can go to PFT and get all my NFL news in one place. I’m still reading other people’s work (if I want to dive deeeper), it’s just that PFT has done the fine job of compiling all the stories here for us to read or skim through so we can have a solid grasp on what’s taking place in the football world.
    Keep it up, guys. Wise is one of those who wants to cling onto the past. Let him cling – the world will move on without him.

  29. I give you guys a hard time because it’s fun, it’s stress relieving and it’s so damn easy to do but…
    You are entirely in the right on this one Flo- Wise is a major douche. He’s been sanctioned though and more importantly he’s lost any bit of credibility he ever had – move on and don’t look back.

  30. If you don’t care about it then why read the article and then comment? Move on with your pathetic little lives, please. Don’t you have better things to do then bash Florio? Probably not…
    Guilty. No life here. But since you’re taking time out of your day to bash the people that are bashing Florio, doesn’t that mean that you too have a “pathetic little life” as well?

  31. He he!!!! Funny, “Wise Ass”!!!
    It seems like anyone (Wise in particular) who appeared on Jim Rome’s show as a “Forum” guest is clearly a douche in real life.

  32. Slightly glazed over in the NPR bit and hardly ever mentioned elsewhere is the speed(who’s faster?) that PFT can/does in retracting and refuting bad info that comes across “The Wires”…with this victory over attack, PFT becomes the new mainstream…

  33. # spar says: September 8, 2010 9:47 AM
    You’ve gotten over it the same way most guys are over the girl who dumped them.
    What’s the over/under for number of days before you reference Wise, again?
    1/2 day…… CornFlorio or his minions will bring it up later this afternoon!

  34. Screw Mike Wise!! He’s just pissed because he couldn’t get a million hits if he screamed the “N” word in the middle of Harlem!! What a tool!

  35. Mike Wise is a hack journalist at best. He doesn’t know dick about sports. His radio show is even worse. We should have used it to torture terrorist suspects…I guarantee that after 15 minutes of listening they would start talking.

  36. I just don’t understand why this guy decided to try to make an “example” of you (Florio) and then STILL can’t let it go. That’s just weird

  37. Let it go. He messed with you and he’s a hack, but let it go.
    Hey – remember that time that Adam Schefter passed on the info that Byron Westbrook was released by the Redskins (inferring that was a reason the Skins didnt sign his brother) and that the Giants/Cardinals/Bills were trying to trade for Matt Leinert?
    Seems like you get a lot of bad information. Deal with it.

  38. Florio, I know you use your site at times as an op-ed blog of sorts for the media & reporting world, but this really isn’t something anyone cares about, outside of you and those in your profession.
    Keep it to actual NFL news please, thanks

  39. I agree with many of the comments above. This is a really good useful site but you tend to overfocus on process-type stuff. The point’s been made. It was a stupid idea by Wise. But it’s useless for you to continuing addressing this.

  40. What I find funny, is there are many that just up and make crap up about the Raiders all the time, but none of them get nearly the same flack as this Mike Wise guy. Even funnier is how many of you are persecuting Wise for doing the very same thing as those chumps. It’s not just with the Raiders either. You can bet half the media world speculate more than report the facts, and claim “unnamed sources” as their info. It’s a friggin’ joke!
    I’m not at all defending Wise, but maybe it’s time most of you woke up and realized that most sport reporters are nothing more than hacks and B.S. artists.

  41. Shed a tear, now, for the once proud sports journalist, for with Mike Wise, we have witnessed with our own eyes his demise…

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