Ride the Puddles

Jonathan Vaughters, Lance Armstrong and Real Journalists

Posted by bikezilla on February 13, 2011

Jonathan “The Poet” Vaughters remarked via Twitter that he’s released information regarding the Matt White / Trent Lowe / Dr del Moral issue to “real journalists”, and that they found said information lacking of enough interest to follow up. Meaning that they simply believe that his word is inviolate, he is The Speaker of Truth and therefore beyond doubting, beyond questioning and there’s no reason whatsoever to follow up on anything that he says.

I call bullshit, Jonathan.

What The Poet refers to as “real journalists” comes down to places like Cycling News, VeloNews, PEZ Cycling News and Oz Cycling and others like them.

Without these sites, following professional cycling in a timely manner would be damned near impossible. They perform a needed, valuable and much appreciated service and it doesn’t cost us, the fans, a damned cent.

But they aren’t “real journalists”. Yeah, sure, they like to pretend that they are. Maybe some of them even spent some time in journalism school.

And if you want the bare bones, who, what, where, why, when and how, mostly you’ll do ok by sticking with these guys.

Is that all it takes to be a “real journalist”? Really? I don’t believe that and I’d bet that The Poet doesn’t really believe it, either.

I have two issues with the notion that those sites, and cycling news sites in general, are “real journalists”. I’ll cover the lesser issue first.

The biggest knock on blogs, even serious blogs, is that they’re anywhere from poorly edited to entirely unedited junk.

“Real news sites” are well edited, more highly polished and so more pleasant to read. Regardless of the value of the content, things like proper spelling, grammar and punctuation go a long way toward making a site seem more credible.

I’m not here to defend or refute any of that. There is, in fact, some truth to all of it. So it’s not entirely unfair.

The problem is that the above “real news websites” are renowned for either a lack of editing or for incompetent editing; Spelling, grammar and punctuation errors abound.

In fact, most serious bloggers do a far better job of editing than any cycling “real news site” does.

But the real issue with the notion that cycling news people are “real journalists” is that they’re all, every last one of them, flaming, gutless pussies.

For instance, last year Oz Cycling caught Lance Armstrong on tape, shoulder-checking an old man into a fence, then turning around and flipping the poor guy off.

Not one “real news site” asked Lance so much as a single question about it.

When I asked Oz Cycling why they failed to pursue the story, they said that Lance was their friend and that they saw no reason to anger or irritate him.

Really? How about you’re SUPPOSED to be a fookin’ NEWS agency! I mean, you at least pretend to be.

How about it’s your JOB to ask the hard, ugly questions, even if that offends, irritates or angers the subject!

But it can’t be pushed off on Oz Cycling, because Cycling News, VeloNews and PEZ were all spineless biatches, too. NONE of them had the guts or the professional integrity to confront Lance about the incident.

Cycling News, Velo News, PEZ, and all the others, they’re all afraid to ask questions that matter.

They’re terrified that The Poet or Lance or someone else will get snippy and not talk to them for a while.

So, when Jonathan Vaughters is clearly not entirely honest about the White / Lowe / del Moral story, and even flip flops on his answer three times, no big deal. JV is The Speaker of Truth. Let it go.

THAT’S why JV likes his “real journalists”. They don’t ask hard questions. They’re “go along to get along” guys. No rocking the boat, please.

By talking to “real journalists” JV doesn’t have to worry about any deeper probing, any uncomfortable questions, any ugly revelations coming out.

JV likes “real journalists” because they’re easy, because they’re fearful, because they’re gutless, because he can count on them not doing their job.

Real journalists get a piece of information, like JV’s White / Lowe / del Moral tale, and they don’t just accept it as the end all.

They speculate, they notice what’s said and what’s not said, they pick out inconsistencies and errors, they probe, they research, they investigate, they go back and ask follow up questions, they call bullshit.

Why? Because that’s their job. That’s what real journalists do.

JV, in your quest to deliver your various and sundry thoughts to the “real jouralists”, have you considered starting with someone like Paul Kimmage?

I didn’t think so.


One Response to “Jonathan Vaughters, Lance Armstrong and Real Journalists”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tom, Tom. Tom said: Jonathan Vaughters and Real Journalists […]

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