June 10, 2006

Royals take credentials from two reporters.: The reporter says they have been kept from doing their job. Interesting story. This brings up a point I often wondered about. Can one keep the media from covering something? This type of story makes one think about the issue.

posted by daddisamm to baseball at 07:03 AM - 19 comments

What a wonderful New World we live in. Must have learned by watching the nightly news. The awful thing is no one will notice because it's the Royals. They should be ecstatic someone still cares.

posted by yerfatma at 08:14 AM on June 10, 2006

How the f can a team decide who covers them and who doesn't. Didn't I read somewhere something about freedom of press? Maybe this isn't exclusively just in sports. Can the Whitehouse decide that someone asked too much of an inquisitive question and tell them they can't come back to any more press conferences? Maybe that happens. I don't know? Does anyone have an answer?

posted by grabofsky74 at 10:28 AM on June 10, 2006

Freedom of the press doesn't mean your subjects are forced to invite you into their press conferences. The Royals are a private organization. Though it's obnoxious for them to tie credentials to reporter behavior, it's within their rights. It sounds like the banned reporters are also advocates -- one hosts a three-hour talk radio show. For him to claim he's just a reporter in pursuit of a story rings false.

posted by rcade at 10:47 AM on June 10, 2006

With respect to the White House press, there is a credentialing process that favors larger news organizations. This is required (the credentialing, not the bias towards larger news organizations) because there is a finite amount of space and to ensure that there is a journalistic purpose to those attending press conferences (in other words, to keep out those who would go just to protest or to promote some agenda). I think there is an opportunity for the White House to engage in some shenanigans and be retributive as part of the credentialing process, but it is highly unlikely that a major news organization would lose its credentials. The more likely result of asking pointed questions is (a) the questioner just doesn't get called on by the press secretary or the individual giving a press conference, or (b) having other privileges withdrawn (e.g., losing a seat on Air Force One or Air Force Two -- in the case of Air Force Two, there was an article some time ago in the NYT by the Vice Presidential beat reporter that he lost his seat on Air Force Two and had to book commercial flights to cover the Vice President's national and international appearances). As rcade said, the Royals are well within their rights here. The implicit bargain that creates press access to teams is that press coverage drives interest in the team and both parties (the press and the team) benefit. It does seem a little thin skinned to react like this to a tough line of questioning, though. Ultimately this is the problem with sports "journalism" -- members of the sports press are largely required to keep their subjects happy in order to ensure access, which leads to a decline in hard questioning, a proliferation in puff pieces, and a slip in what we might think of as journalistic standards. I think it partly explains why everyone piles on Barry Bonds -- the press largely sees him as someone with whom they have no chance of reconciling (and getting better access), so why not just attack and attack? Perhaps its an outlet for the lack of avenues to vent otherwise. This specific incident seems largely to be a case of a thin-skinned owner, though (the article notes that the two reporters who had their credentials revoked "grilled owner David Glass" in a press conference on Thursday) -- and it's a shame, because he should be grilled. Folks in baseball largely consider Glass to be the worst owner in baseball. To put this in perspective for hockey fans -- David Glass : Baseball :: Bill Wirtz : Hockey.

posted by holden at 11:07 AM on June 10, 2006

I always find it useful to think of sports as entertainment and compare them to show biz. That is really a whole lot closer than the White House Press Corps analogy. The relationship is symbiotic. The coverage sells tickets and the interest in sports sells radio ads. If a reporter from Access Hollywood pisses off a star, the star has every right to say get lost. The reporters can ask hard questions, but they have to tread a fine line.

posted by gradioc at 11:40 AM on June 10, 2006

There were actually TWO reporters covering the Royals?

posted by curtangle at 02:21 PM on June 10, 2006

rcade, while the organization is private it is a public entity. The Royals operate at a public level so their actions are supposedly transparent. The Royals have absolutely no justification for taking away these credentials. None. Apparently, the owner and his minions had their feelings hurt and wanted the big bad reporters to go away. Well, guess what? There will be other reporters, with probably just-as-tough questions. So what will the Royals do the next time? Keep revoking credentials until there is no one left to cover the team? Ahhhh, there's a thought. So if a team sucks as bad as the Royals, but no one gets to hear or read about it, did it really happen? This is an absolute joke. Could you imagine George getting miffed in New York and kicking out a couple of reporters? No you can't, because George doesn't let it bother him. The Royals need to fold up shop now and spare all of us the misery of their existence.

posted by donnnnychris at 02:32 PM on June 10, 2006

Their existence doesn't make me miserable. While the Royals are within their right - and they're not preventing these reporters from covering the Royals, just removing their priviledges of access - it does smack of thin-skinned and thinly veiled retribution for criticism. But if it's true that these two are less journalists and more advocates, then I'm not sure if there is such a heinous crime being committed here. That's like Rush Limbaugh having White House credentials - there's no benefit being lost to the public by preventing these guys access. It'd be nice to see a KC SpoFi weigh in here, though. This is all rather speculative.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:50 PM on June 10, 2006

If a team loses 100+ games in the forest, and no one hears it, is it still a bad team?

posted by mjkredliner at 06:02 PM on June 10, 2006

Jason Whitlock at the Kansas City Star had a good take on the issue, though I myself am a bit torn. I think it's a childish move by Royals management to yank the credentials of media (I've had it done to me before and it sucks.) On the other hand, I won't say all, but many radio/tv people will provoke a subject/source to get a juicy sound byte. Sounds like that's what these two journalists were trying to do. Moss was lucky and had her station back her up. But Fescoe getting punked by his own management "for making Glass uncomfortable on Moore’s special day", man, that's just lame.

posted by forrestv at 06:04 PM on June 10, 2006

The Redskins did something similar last year. They drastically cut the number of season tickets reserved for the Washington Post likely due to the tougher coverage. There is no need for the press to get up-close access in order to cover the team. Cover the team with a little distance, it will make them more objective anyway.

posted by bperk at 08:57 PM on June 10, 2006

As was said earlier in this thread, the reporters are not being prevented from covering the Royal's, they can write all the stories that they desire. I would think, and if anyone knows otherwise please chime in, that what they have lost is pressbox seats, locker room access, and press conference access. Of course, if the ownership isn't saying anything about the sorry state of affairs that the Royal's seem to be in, are they (the reporters) really missing out on anything by NOT being at the conferences?

posted by elovrich at 10:13 PM on June 10, 2006

You lose your credentials, it means you have no access to players or press conferences or free game meals or anything. You're basically another schlub in the seats (if'n you buy your own ticket.) The radio stations, however, can still dispatch other employees to cover the games.

posted by forrestv at 10:21 PM on June 10, 2006

If you lose your credential, then covering the team is nearly impossible. I was a reporter a few years back for the better part of a decade and having access to the locker room and the press conferences is essential to being able to write informative and credible stories. If you don't have that then all you are is a blogger with no inside information, which is kind of useless. Either way, this whole thing smacks of a thin-skinned owner who can't stand his team being on track to a record-breaking season in terms of futility. Now that I think about it, if I was in his shoes, I'd be pretty peeved about life as well.

posted by donnnnychris at 01:38 AM on June 11, 2006

Freedom of the press gives no one the right to be anywhere on private property!It simply allows you to talk your way into being an asshole!Can any or everyone be barred from press conferences?YES!Has nothing to do w/public areas.Constitution states very clearly"Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech,or of the press,or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,"so since when did the Royals or any other sports entity become congress?They have the right to bar whoever they choose!!!

posted by mdavidsf at 03:59 AM on June 11, 2006

All the Royals jokes aside, these two reporters were asking questions that weren't relevent to the matter at hand. They were just there to get under ownerships skin. They have a rep for that here in KC, and I don't think the public cares one bit if they report on either team here again.

posted by kcfan4life at 11:47 AM on June 11, 2006

I was a reporter a few years back for the better part of a decade Up until the copy editors staged a mass suicide, one presumes.

posted by yerfatma at 06:11 AM on June 12, 2006

I'm glad they got booted. They sound like annoying whiney bitches

posted by lightman at 08:27 AM on June 12, 2006

Actually yerfatma, I was a sports editor for the last half of that decade, so I guess I was part of that drinking-the-kool-aid fun. And judging by a lot of the rants on Sports Filter, a mass suicide by editors would be warranted here as well (that was a joke, calm down all of you).

posted by donnnnychris at 08:36 AM on June 12, 2006

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