DALLAS — Marc Stein just showed NBA fans how ESPN sausage is made — with deft butchering of the “world leader’s” habits of ignoring and credit-stealing.
Stein spent 15 years at ESPN before the network turned to hiring Adrian Wojnarowski, using him to continue breaking stories… and playing freely with facts and truths when others break stories .
“Comedy Central” is what Stein calls this style of journalism.
A personal note here matters to me, and I know Dallas Mavericks fans, who often rely on DFW-based Stein for stories from inside this franchise and the rest of the NBA: He has, since his perch at the Dallas Morning News, then ESPN, then the New York Times and now via its subscriber-based Substack work here – unfailingly quoted and credited DallasBasketball.com when we’re the first to discover breaking news and informative angles.
Why would Stein credit (and link to) his competition, even though we are “friendly competition”?
Because “credit” is a journalist’s business. And because it’s the ethical thing to do.
It’s a lost art, and I can tell you from personal experience, whether it’s Adam Schefter in the NFL or the gang covering the NBA: At ESPN, it’s not art at all. . (Schefter’s trick in the NFL is to not recognize breaking Dallas Cowboys news that is reported by a DFW outlet, say, on a Tuesday, and then “re-report” it from a breathless tone on the all-important Sunday morning.)
Stein (too kindly) calls it “amusing” that his information about Quin Snyder’s uncertain future in Utah was never acknowledged until Woj and ESPN claimed the story for themselves. And on another scoop, he clarifies that it’s not just his personal ax to grind, noting The Athletic was all over the story that would have caused Tim Connelly to leave Denver’s front office to lead the Timberwolves. …and that “ESPN’s response, unsurprisingly, was to completely ignore the story for a few days before Wojnarowski could issue a report with a new development in the negotiations that ultimately led to Connelly in Minneapolis. .”
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Stein adds, “ESPN does this all the time, of course…”
“Of course” is a biting phrase. And it’s true: veteran reporters, my colleagues, have simply figured out that ESPN is unlikely to treat a story as “news” unless and until ESPN can claim it as its own.
As a “of course” question.
Stein writes: “That’s what ESPN’s news desk allows all the time these days, more frequently with Shams Charania reporting (in The Athletic) than anyone else’s, simply ignoring newsworthy stories in circulation because ESPN didn’t report them first. That’s… to the detriment of readers.
“It’s laughable,” writes Stein, “that Bristol Inc. has so widely claimed (that a) story hasn’t existed for so long…”
“Ridiculous?” Again, Stein is too nice. If you think a “lie by omission” is still a lie, ESPN’s news desk is fueled by some dishonesty. And it’s really not funny at all.
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