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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 04:14 PM ET, 11/23/2011

ESPN and selective editing

Bernie Fine: Victim of hack job? (SOURCE: The Associated Press)
In a story on Fox Sports’ Web site, Jason Whitlock slammed ESPN for its story outlining child-molestation allegations against Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. Whitlock wrote:

What I do know, based on [ESPN reporter Mark] Schwarz’s juvenile “reporting,” is the Worldwide Leader [ESPN] didn’t have nearly enough evidence to air such a reputation-damaging story. Schwarz acquired just enough information — two vague, mumbling on-camera interviews from Fine’s accusers — to protect ESPN from a lawsuit. Schwarz did the legal minimum.
Was his story sound journalism? Was his story remotely fair? No, and hell no.

Those words pleased Syracuse head basketball coach Jim Boeheim. According to an Associated Press story, Boeheim was “surrounded” by reporters yesterday in New York, where his team is playing in the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament. He was asked about the Fine situation. From the AP account:

Asked if the media “jumped the gun,” Boeheim replied. “That’s not for me to say.”
A moment later, though, he added: “Read Jason Whitlock.” The columnist criticized ESPN on Monday for reporting the allegations.

ESPN found the AP account helpful, or at least part of it. Here’s the extent of the media discussion in this ESPN story:

Asked if the media “jumped the gun,” Boeheim replied. “That’s not for me to say.”

No mention of the Whitlock stuff; probably didn’t have enough space.

By  |  04:14 PM ET, 11/23/2011

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