Well, it's been two weeks since the shooting incident in Philly that involved Marvin Harrison's gun. Two weeks, and still not charges filed or arrests made. Idiots like ESPN, WIP Radio's Howard Eskin, AOL Fanhouse's Michael David Smith,and PFT's Mike Florio ran with this story like gangbusters even though 1) No charges were filed and 2) No arrests were made. Even Deadspin got into the act, propping up rumors and hearsay. Peter King even chimed in, stating that he thinks "Marvin Harrison is in more trouble than his agent, or even he, thinks." Again, King wrote this despite no charges and no arrests.
Once again, Peter King proves he does not know what he is talking about when it comes to the NFL.
Heck, Marvin Harrison wasn't even a suspect, according to the police themselves. But hey, that didn't stop the Hack Express from writing wonderful articles like this and this. Apparently, when (not if) Marvin Harrison is charged, his "dark side" would emerge and all his dirty laundry would get aired out in the public eye.
Now, the Philadelphia Daily News finally chimes in (via an email with how certain people have blown this story way out of proportionDavid Gambacorta, crime reporter at the Philly Daily News (emphasis mine)
I’ve been getting asked similar questions from a lot of people in and around Indianapolis lately, but unfortunately, I don’t have much to add to the Harrison story at this point.
I’m sure the detectives are still working the case, but the last time I checked in, they weren’t about to make any arrests. Our focus moved on in the past week to the murder of a veteran Philadelphia police officer, and it would probably take something as big as Marvin being hauled off in cuffs for us to go back to him.
If you see any updates on the Web, read it with a keen eye. A lot of erroneous reports have surfaced in the past week or so from people who seem to be trying desperately to advance the story by citing unsubstantiated “reports,” “rumors” and “sources.”
So, there you have it folks. This, coupled with the recent news that Harrison continues to deny involvement in the shooting, makes this story D-E-A-D, a lot like Mike Florio's credibility or Michael David Smith's sense of journalistic integrity.
Look, I don't expect bloggers to act like journalists. But I also do not expect them to act like hacktatic jackholes, like ESPN or WIP Radio in Philly. When they do act that way, I will bash on them as mercilessly as I would bash on ESPN or any other big media corporation misrepresenting facts in an attempt to sensationalize a story for their own gain. That is exactly what WIP Radio did, and since ESPN and PFT ran with it without scrutinizing it effectively, they are equally as guilty.
Florio was the most egregious of the group, and his site is officially dead to me. I simply do not trust it anymore, and I think Florio is out to do nothing more than pad his site counter rather than report meaningful football news. Florio attempted to paint Harrison as a longtime troublemaker using rumor and "unnamed sources" to back up his claims. None of these claims checked out, just like his claim that Harrison was in deep trouble with this shooting. In particular, Florio's "legal analysis" of the incident seems to have fallen utterly short of its predictions.
I guess the moral of the day is don't take legal advice from Mike friggin' Florio.
I harp on this folks because when we bloggers sensationalize stories beyond what they really are, we become no different than the big business media whores that readers come to us for sanctuary against. I expected ESPN to run with this story. They are a hack network with very shaky credibility. It's the bloggers I'm really pissed at. This story is almost as poorly represented by the media AND by bloggers as the way they handled the tragic death of Sean Taylor, wrongfully portraying Taylor as a "thug" because he was gunned down in his home by a robber. Here, Harrison has been wrongly portrayed a a closet "thug" with a sketchy past even though there is not a shred of actual proof to even suggest this, let alone prove it.
If my blogging colleagues want to know why bloggers aren't taken seriously, this is why. Sometimes, we can act as stupidly as big media, but unlike big media we don't have billions of dollars. We literally cannot afford to get suckered like this.
If this Harrison story does grow legs and Harrison is actually charged, then I can understand the interest. However, as Mr. Gambacorta pointed out, other people have tried to advance this when there is nothing to advance, and they are doing so to serve their own interests.
These "people" are ESPN, WIP Radio, Mike Florio, and Michael David Smith all should be viewed as sketchy characters in the future when it comes to reporting accurate information.