April 08, 2005

What Would Morrie Think?: "In the audience Saturday at the Final Four ... were two former stars for Michigan State, Mateen Cleaves and Jason Richardson." Detroit Free Press sports columnist Mitch Albom wrote this Sunday, but there was a minor problem: Cleaves and Richardson didn't make the game. Albom wrote his column before the event, pretending it had already happened and making up facts he witnessed. "It wasn't thorough journalism," he apologized.

posted by rcade to general at 11:40 AM - 18 comments

He obviously does not have the psychic gift...he is now experiencing The Five People You Meet When You Fuck Up. What the hell was he thinking?

posted by chris2sy at 12:05 PM on April 08, 2005

I have just one thing to say to Mitch: "Never Assume"

posted by daddisamm at 12:07 PM on April 08, 2005

LOL, chris2. He did fuck up. Serious lapse of judgment. And in his apology, I think Albom unwittingly implies he has made this journalistic faux pas before. However I'm not sure how much further he could have gone in his mea culpa. He's not going to put himself on probation. Per that article in Poynter Forum, I think the Detroit Free Press should issue a full page self-flaggelating apology to its readers acknowledging its responsibility in the matter. Albom would certainly feel the repercussions.

posted by bluesdog at 12:23 PM on April 08, 2005

Whoa.......you get in big shit for that in school....if I ever go back for further studies, I'll know I can just apologize.

posted by smithers at 12:23 PM on April 08, 2005

I like how he makes sure to include his editors at every turn. Here's how the apology should have read: "I'm Mitch Albom, and I wrote about something that didn't actually happen. My intentions were good, but it was still shoddy journalistic work. It won't happen again."

posted by wfrazerjr at 12:25 PM on April 08, 2005

Sports writers are not journalists

posted by mick at 01:35 PM on April 08, 2005

Dan Rather told him it was OK.

posted by curlyelk at 01:40 PM on April 08, 2005

He's innocent. It was Karl Rove who did it.

posted by gyc at 02:10 PM on April 08, 2005

I don't really see how this is a big deal.

posted by blarp at 09:35 AM on April 09, 2005


posted by yerfatma at 10:17 AM on April 09, 2005

I'm convinced this happens all the time. Mitch ain't no rookie.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:41 AM on April 09, 2005

As a former journalist and J school grad, this sure seems like a big deal to me. I can't believe that Albom and several editors at the Free Press passed along a story that presented hard facts about a future event, both because it's a fraud and because the risks of looking stupid are considerable. I suspect that we'll find that Albom, like other celebrity sports columnists, has been cutting corners in other ways. As Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass proved, when someone's professional standards run the rails, it isn't a one-time problem.

posted by rcade at 12:18 PM on April 09, 2005

I suspect that we'll find that Albom . . . has been cutting corners in other ways. You mean besides getting rich writing treacly, Lifetime movie-quality novels?

posted by yerfatma at 01:33 PM on April 09, 2005

I personally can't stand that sanctimonious elf. That arrogant little twerp is just too much. Next time I hear him droning on about some perceived fault of an athlete I hope somebody calls him on this. Oh, well, except they won't because journalists have just as much a "Blue wall of silence" as cops ever dreamed of having. rcade, If you can't believe it, you should read what the Minny Star-Tribune has gotten wrong in their fights with the PowerLineBlog guys.

posted by ZDYOLDMAN at 04:14 PM on April 09, 2005

This from a 2003 Albom article about, Jayson Blair, the former New York Times journalist who resigned in disgrace following a plagiarism scandal. What he doesn't get is that journalism is not Hollywood. It's not about closing the deal. It's not about face time. It's about -- simply put -- telling the truth. Ironically, Albom's latest misstep is all about face time, or lack thereof.

posted by bluesdog at 04:52 PM on April 09, 2005

There's a difference in my mind because getting a fact wrong and knowingly passing off fact as fiction. That "sanctimonious elf" line is classic. I can't think of a single star sports columnist on ESPN that I like, but Albom's the bottom of the list.

posted by rcade at 07:21 AM on April 10, 2005

There's a difference in my mind because getting a fact wrong and knowingly passing off fact as fiction. I think you meant "fiction as fact", rcade. And yes, there is a difference, but this, ah, misstatement is neither of the above. He stated something as fact expecting it to be fact, but without the legwork to confirm that it was so.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:35 AM on April 10, 2005

A question to ponder: Is Morrie even dead yet?

posted by mayerkyl at 07:03 AM on April 11, 2005

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