Saturday, October 4, 2008

THE BIG QUESTION: IS MIKE FRANCESA A JOURNALIST?

According to Anonymous sources, and by that i mean a poster on this site named Anonymous, Mike Francesa on Friday owned up to a personal beef between him and David Wright due to Wright's refusal to appear on Mike's show, which was due to Mike and Chris claiming that Wright was behind Carlos Delgado not taking a curtain call for the Mets earlier in the year. Yes, as ridiculous as that last sentence is (in terms of both grammar and sentence structure) the scenario it's detailing is worse.
We are, I believe almost two weeks deep into Mike Francesa's crusade to get the Mets to trade David Wright. After several days of this many of us began to wonder why Mike was so adamant about this issue. It appeared that David Wright not only ran over Mike's dog, but also took said dog and shipped it piece by piece to Mike inside liter bottles of Diet Coke, thus destroying the low calorie soda for Mike forever. As Mike's ranting against David Wright went on and on and on and on and on.. (add about 20 more "on's" and you are close to the real time of it all) it became crystal clear that this was not about David Wright the player but rather David Wright THE PERSON.
Suddenly ON FRIDAY.. FRIDAY, about 7 days too late Mike reveals to Ed Coleman that there was a PERSONAL beef between him and David Wright. That there was lingering tension because of the Delgado curtain call issue (it's amazing when you write this down and look at it that we are talking about adult human beings here. An extended argument over whether or not David Wright told Carlos Delgado to take a curtain call or not. Is that not insane? Couldn't they get on the phone and squash it? Or if the phone is not an option, maybe some sort of Morse code? This is an issue that causes a long term rift between two people? A curtain call?).

When I was first going to write this post, I was simply going to write how incredibly pissed off this made me, but then I realized that there is a bigger question at stake here. A question about what Mike does and does not owe his audience with regard to this kind of issue. It's a question about journalism. We have all read articles by the Time Warner owned CNN.com or SI or Entertainment Weekly where they always reveal in stories, where there could be assumed conflict, that they are a part of the TW corporation. We have all seen the stories that destroy journalists who don't acknowledge conflicting relationships or bias in their reporting. These are proper standards of journalism and foundations of the practice and the way we interpret the information we read in newspapers, on websites or watch on television. It's simply telling the truth.

This leads to the question that is the title of this post, "is Mike Francesa a journalist?" The answer to this question dictates a bit how to react to the David Wright fiasco. If Mike is to be considered a journalist, if his show should be considered some form of journalism or news information, then what follows is that Mike should be held to the journalistic standards of integrity and honesty in situations like what has occured with David Wright.

I personally am not sure of the answer. I would bet that if you asked Mike he would say that he is not a journalist, he is a personality and therefore could say whatever he wants, however he wants to say it. I know that our pal Colonel Nathan Jessup "does not give a damn what we are entitled to" but I would say that we as listeners or viewers of his show are entitled in this scenario to know FROM THE VERY BEGINNING that there is a personal negative relationship at work here. In my opinion, Mike was being not only completely dishonest but he was misleading all of us by attempting to make this sound like a baseball opinion, when it was really a personal attack due to a childish grudge.

In the end, I probably don't believe that Mike Francesa is a journalist but I will strongly argue that he needs to hold himself to some form of journalistic integrity and that he wrongly served all of us, the members of his audience, who like and dislike him, by not revealing the truth and the personal bias he holds against David Wright.

This is not about whether his opinion on this issue of to trade or not to trade is correct or incorrect, it's about his ethics and integrity. With regard to those two moral staples, Mike Francesa has certainly not been Wright.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike is a man with an agenda and power.

It bothered Mike big-time when Wright refused to come on MMD and reveal what he told Delgado just before Delgado refused to come out for a curtain call.

Mike knows that his words are like a song on the radio--if you hear it enough, you will eventually begin to like what is playing--no matter how bad it is.

So, Francesca is laying down the law.

He's making David Wright, or anyone else, think twice before snubbing the big guy.

Mike is making it clear to anyone and everyone--Don't snub him or he will start a campaign to ship you out of town faster than you can give a curtain call.

-Walky

lt sam weinberg said...

i hear ya wally, but should Mike be letting us all know that he has personal issues with the guy first?

Anonymous said...

Mike is certainly not a journalist and is quickly losing any credibility he may have once had as a sports reporter!

I was upset all week with the seemingly unwarranted attacks on David Wright and Mikes "STRONG" desire to have him traded. It now appears as though this was just a silly personal attack. Nevertheless week long tirades like Mikes can have an effect on the player/fans/teammates/team management/etc that border on slanderous behavoir!

Mikes show is nothing more than a car wreck right now(people slow down to see it-- but still drive by). I also question Mikes mental stability since "DOG" left evidenced by some of the following:

Mike has been late for 2 shows in less than 2 months

Mikes apparent breakdown weeks later regarding Dogs departure and how noone asked for his opinions/feelings. Mike also went on to proclaim himself "the king of the world" with 3 number 1 rated shows and other awesome facts about himself that no adult would ever brag about to strangers!

His thinking he may have had a stroke and it turned out to be nothing more than sunburned lips! I'm glad he's ok but it seems like he was on a self pity trip abit?

And of course Mikes latest Car wreck on the highway--- his Godfather like words of hate against Carton and Boomer!!!! I'm glad to hear that Carton/Boomer did'nt back down on Friday but once again the words Mike used Thursday were those of a Ignorant/Arrogant BULLY and he did'nt act like a mature adult in any way!!!

I'm interested in hearing when we may hear about ratings for the show since DOG left? I really believe that if Mike does'nt get his act together problems may arise?

Hopefully Monday and next week will bring some better shows but I myself will just be slowing down when driving by the wreck until Mike finds some reason for me to stay.

JD

wtsherman said...

The cracks are showing.

When the mighty fall, it is sad or tragic. When the hefty fall, get outta the way because things are gonna start breaking.

Lt. Sam, I think the journalistic question has everything to do with Chris' departure. Sure, they were just two schmoes with an opinion, but Chris generally framed the debate, elicited DCD's take, and then responded, sometimes agreeing, sometimes disagreeing. It gave a sense of balance and gave the listener the feeling that he could take it or leave it.

Think Hannity and Colmes. Sure, one might be more feckless than the other, but it can be fun to root 50% one way and hate 50% the other, and enjoy 100% the banter of both men. But you can't be a Republican and watch Keith Olberman without having a heart attack. Nor, can a liberal watching Bill O'Reilly avoid feeling ticked off quit a bit.

Now, there is no room to breathe with DCD. The collective opinion of MMD was made credible by the knowledge that they could disagree and one guy couldn't simply recreate the universe according to their liking (as DCD tried to do this week w/ Wright). Sure, DCD could make a case for trading Wright if he wanted to, but Dog would've said, "Now I know Mike's down on right, and I think he showed some dog in him this September, he's got a little A Rod in him, the whole bit. But you cannot trade David Wright from this team, if your Omar Minaya...I mean this Mets team, the Mets fan, David Wright is that team's face, he's only 25 years old, the idea that you would..."

Boom, done. DCD could reiterate his anti-Wright talking points, but no way can he launch an unbridled, emotional crusade for as long as he has now. The curtain call issue doesn't even need to be addressed, even if its at play in DCD's mind. Turns out DCD didn't wear the pants in that partnership, the show itself, its chemistry did.

lt sam weinberg said...

i agree wtsherman. it's the old checks and balances. mike without chris means a show without any checks and balances. mike just talks and talks and talks and there is no one there to shut him up or question him. that's why eddie c was particularly horrible and why i was more in favor of evan roberts. Mike needs someone to push back.
But WT, i think that it's completely irresponsible the Mike goes after David Wright without acknowledging what's really at play. The thing is that Mike has in the past talked about the personal issues with guys like Strahan or Billy Wagner. This to me was a hatchet job and he needs to be called out for it.
In many ways, I think blogs are here to be the CHECK on solo voices like Mike who are out of balance.
Look i get it, Mike wants to stir the pot and he knows that saying this about Wright will get attention, just he did with Joba.
But to me when he doesn't own the personal agenda he loses credibility and integrity.

Anonymous said...

This is like the Strahan thing, except with Strahan, Mike would let us know every five minutes that he doesn't like him before trashing him.

I guess that way is more preferable than the mysterious vendetta against Wright.

I'm just glad we know what Wright did to get on Mike's shit list. It certainly wasn't his performance on the field.

Hopefully Carton calls Mike out or makes a sly remark about "not liking players that refuse to go on the show"

this isn't slander, but it sure is dirty. I don't think Dog would ever pull a stunt like this.


-Walky

Anonymous said...

These are all excellent posts!

My slander remark may have been a bit strong Walky but like you said Mikes statements/comments/actions have been "dirty" to say the least!!!

As far as Mike having power--- he is slowly losing it and he should take a lesson from his friend Don Imus. No one was more powerful in talk radio than Imus and it was a "remark" that was his downfall but I'm afraid that Mike is making similiar mistakes and is dying a more 'slow and painful" death for his show.

No doubt the cracks are showing and someone needs to rescue Mike from himself!!!!

I enjoyed the Eddie C. tryout to an extent because I do miss the other voice and it does help to keep Mike grounded a bit. I don't like the WFAN idea of trying out all these folks unless they truly want to partner with Mike. I happen to enjoy what Eddie C./Joe B./ and others do on their own and how they do it.

Of course this may be the break and payday some are looking for. This could be a great "steeping stone" for Chris Carlin and may allow him to quit his other 19 jobs(lol), but Mike will only use and abuse him after the honeymoon.

The bottom line is that Mike does have a responsibility to his listeners/viewers and I'm afraid that Mike made a complete fool of himself to other WFAN personalities/the NY print media/ and possibly most importantly his viewers this past week. He needs to accept that with some humility and try to either fix it or do much better in the future!

JD

wtsherman said...

Walky,

I agree with everything you said.

JD,

You're hilarious - the part about his mental stability w/ not getting interviewed following the breakup and the thinking he had a stroke part, lmao! Someone does need to rescue this Diva from himself, lol!

Lt. Sam,

I agree with you - the Diva's behavior is really out of control and the blog is the perfect venue to keep track of this. I'm just trying to get at why this is happening...In the good old days, perhaps Mike's greatest skill was his ability to be selective about certain issues and only deigning to weigh in (pun) with a cryptic remark. This strategy drew on his "credibility" as Brent Musberger's mind all those years at CBS and the popular sense that he had "sauces" (sources) and friends (buttbuddies like the tuna) in high places. And I think this strategy we worked. He might have been grinding a personal axe each time, but he benefitted from not having to expound upon a provocative or unequivocal thesis about a player or event. We all no Tankcesa does not sway with rational arguments; instead, he relies on crankpot arrogance and derision to parry any doubter. It used to be he could sit on the toilet for forty seconds into each break, have Dog do the proverbial legwork for each spot, and he could step in as the proverbial Mariano and end each discussion with the proverbial cut fastball of his numinous, no-nonsense experience. No argument was needed. In fact, the very inclination to argue a point Mike disagreed became prima facie evidence that the caller was wrong.

In this way, Russo protected the Diva by going 8 innings everyday with the yeoman's work of actually making sense, formulating arguments, and conciliating all the time. It's like K-Rod last night, the first time all season he's call on for more than 3 outs, he unravels summarily. So it goes with the portly Diva.

Again, I'm just trying to understand this whole thing. It is of course irresponsible and embarrassing to the reputation of WFAN and of himself.

Anonymous said...

all great posts.


JD is right. Whether or not Mike is a journalist is irrelevant because he owes a responsibility to his listeners to be fair and reasonable.

He is breaching that trust with the listeners.

Fortunately for him, most of the listeners don't even know they are pawns in Mike's chess game, using them to checkmate the king (Wright).

Unfortunately for Mike, most fans are backing Wright up.

I hope people call out Francesca on this. I've tried calling but have never gotten through.

-Walky

bigjf said...

Mike is not a journalist. He's a broadcaster. A host of a radio show. There's a bit of a difference there. He doesn't have to have journalistic integrity. He talks to journalists who should have that for him. He's not some news reporter, he's paid to give his opinion, regardless of how much sense he makes.

And it doesn't surprise me at all about this beef with Wright. Mike can't separate business from personal, and he never lets go of the smallest grudges. He stopped speaking to Russo because of differing opinions about whether the Yanks need a new stadium. And I'm sure they had tiffs that were sillier than that over the years.

Gene said...

This is a good issue. But, it is saturday and you should all be at machinepicks.com where three out of three winners are in progress.

Anonymous said...

He's not a journalist, but he still has a duty to his listeners.

Gene said...

right. he is giving his opinion n the guys play, when it is the man he does not like. He does the opposite as well. Andy Petite could burn down Yankee Stadium and take a dump on the Babe's monument and Mike would not say a word against him.

Reporter or not, people deserve to know where you are coming from

gman26 said...

to be fair, if Pettitte took a dump on Babe's monument, Mike would say that was a 'bad job out of Andy'(ignoring the HGH admission of course) but then say that he's been a great Yankee. So as in Ashley Judd, it's all in the Eye of the Beholder. and Mike beholds it.

wtsherman said...

Gman,

But its like Mike's eye is Sauron's, and we crumble before it when we are made to know its ruthless perspicacity. Whoa is Thomas who disbelieves without seeing. Whoaaaaa is he who sees, disbelieves, and earns the Final handwave of Judgment.

wtsherman said...

Perhaps we are a secular Thomas, Cesa being less than omniscient (and a less than loving god), saying "trust but verify"

(Or, I may be being a bit much)

Johnny said...

Journalists do research, make phone calls, gather information, then write/report about it. Mike does nothing like that. He watches games, then goes on the air and talks about them. He is the typical sports talk host.

When he needs information, he yells to Sal and Eddie to bring him the book. He can't even use the internet properly. Chris did the same thing.

Mike gets information from his moles. Today, he told us that a mole told him that Delgado undermined Willie during the 2008 season. We all knew that, but because Mike has power, people keep him in the loop.

Also, good journalists do not hold grudges and vendettas like Mike does. Mike rips Wright because Wright did him wrong. If you were David Wright, would you ever go on Mike's show? Joe and Evan rip Brian Schneider, yet have him on once per week during the season. Of course, Schneider gets paid for his weekly appearance, so he can't really blow them off, but do you think he would come on for FREE after being ripped for three days.

If the Mets bolt WFAN for WEPN next season, they will likely lose "The Jerry Manuel Report," so watch them pay to get Wright on once per week.

Wright has choked down the stretch for two years in a row, and while I agree that a major trade has to be made, Mike knows that the guy that needs to be moved is Jose Reyes, not David Wright. But, Mike is mad at Wright, so he puts his credibility at risk by slamming hom.

Anonymous said...

my question is when there's a need for coverage until 7 pm because there's a Net or Devil game to cover why can't Mike just do the the extra 20 minutes? Why does Steve Somers have to come in and do a 20 minute show?