Robinson Cano PED Rumors Further Prove Dangers of Relying on ‘Twitter Journalism’

by abournenesn

September 20, 2012

Robinson Cano PED Rumors Further Prove Dangers of Relying on 'Twitter Journalism'Throughout most of Thursday, Twitter was abuzz with the rumor that Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano had tested positive for some form of performance-enhancing drugs, and would thus be subject to a 50-game suspension per Major League Baseball's policy. The problem is that the origin of the rumor, a tweet by sports reporter Dan Tordjman of Eyewitness News in Charlotte, N.C., appears to have no basis in, well, much of anything.

On his Twitter account, Tordjman describes himself as a "TV Reporter in Charlotte, keen observer of NY sports, horse racing and all things Depeche Mode." The problem is that Tordjman, as a sports reporter for a major local network, has enough credibility where people are going to believe him, which is how the rumor picked up steam initially.

However, the questions from that point on are numerous.

First and foremost, who were Tordjman's sources? As far as I can tell, Tordjman has never broken a major story before, so it's pretty dubious that he has any real knowledge that journalists like Buster Olney, Jon Morosi or Ken Rosenthal wouldn't. Or, more importantly, information that they would actually report on.

For instance, NESN's own Peter Gammons admitted in an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub that he had heard rumors surrounding Cano about three weeks ago, but that he didn't report on them because he couldn't confirm them. And that's precisely the problem with Tordjman's reporting, who even doubled down with more tweets as the day went on.

By reading into his own accounts, Tordjman just doesn't seem to have much of a concept of the ethics of journalism, and that's a dangerous thing in the days of Twitter, when it's easy to gain a following if you're entertaining or have any vague sheen of credibility.

In short, any journalist who has any sense of professional ethics doesn't report something if they can't confirm it, so the fact that Tordjman (admittedly) did just that is absolutely mind-blowing. And the man just continued to show his ignorance and dig himself in deeper as the day went on.

In essence, that's the difference between professional journalists and general gossipers — you do not report what you do not know for certain. If It's no secret that journalism as a vocation is under attack with so-called "citizen journalism" in the form of mediums like Twitter, Tumblr and blogging, but this mishap serves as a perfect example of the dangers of truth being left up to those who don't have the proper regard for it.

By the end of the day, Tordjman had protected his Tweets, meaning they're currently no longer viewable publicly. Something tells us his employer will be very interested to know precisely what happened, but one thing is clear: Tordjman just has no knowledge for what journalism actually is, or how to abide by its rules. In that sense, Tordjman isn't a malicious figure, because his own tweets reveal someone who isn't acting in reckless disregard, but someone who just doesn't know right from wrong in this context.

Another issue is the pressure to report something first in this day and age. Coming by information that no one else is putting out there is a kind of currency in journalism, and that currency buys a certain credibility and following, especially online. Is that what Tordjman was chasing? Who knows, but is a force that drives similarly unethical journos.

But the broader problem is there are thousands of wannabe citizen journalists who have an equal ignorance to the art and science of conveying truth to the masses — Tordjman just managed to somehow gain more credibility than most.

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