As we delve deeper into “Crafted Narrative” as fiction, we want to use a textbook example of how a Journalist can use another Journalist to validate their fiction, and thereby propel an entity to take action. In this example, either the Journalist changed his story, or the person he quoted changed his story, but in either case, the journalist used another Journalist more than once as “source” material.
We’ll use the Patriots ball deflated story, or “Ball Gate” also known as “Deflate Gate” to demonstrate this technique.
WTHR a station in Indianapolis broke a story about the Patriots Football team cheating in order to gain unfair advantage over it’s opponent, no surprise, the Indianapolis Colts. Ordinarily, a losing opponent doesn’t “break” news stories, they just go home and recuperate. No team nor indeed a sportswriter wants to appear as a sore loser, nor in Will Kravitz’ own words as having “sour grapes”.
At first the story was just…… well, a story, no sources, nothing but rumor, which is called: “crafted narrative” meaning fiction. Hear is Will Kravitz’ first tweet: https://twitter.com/bkravitz/status/557053826415755265
Reading his tweets we see: A. Colts could not be reached for Comment and B. He was on a plane, resting
And his original article, which has since been completely edited and “updated” was posted at 1:15am.
Dubbing the story: “DeflateGate” Kravitz (or his managers back at WTHR) apparently made good use of their time even drumming up a sensational name for the crafted narrative. After all, adding the word “Gate” after an event makes it juicy right?
This is where Kravitz, realized he would need a Source, other than anonymous NFL officials, and relied on his connection to another Journalist. This technique is not new, and has been practiced for decades. Many journalists will cite other Networks as their source. Famously, Dan Rather cited other networks in his attempt to besmirch Presdient Bush’s reputation, and he and Ted Koeple both lost their jobs for doing so.
Kravitz quoting another Sports Writer:
At this point, the public and sports fans had no Official word of anything, but there were millions of people already paying attention to the story, and as in these situations, the story takes on a life of it’s own, it get’s reported by major networks, and millions take to Social Media to voice their concerns that another Super Bowl is tarnished by cheating.
We do note some blatant inconsistencies in Kravitz reporting, to which he has not confessed, nor commented on at the time of this writing. His first falsehood was reporting the Jackson said there was nothing wrong with the Ball, and what Jackson said:
That is taken from Kravitz Original Unedited article, here: http://www.wthr.com/story/27886738/kravitz-and-the-deflategate-investigation-saga-continue
And in a complete 180, we see this:
So either WTHR has changed it’s story (we see their mic in Jackson’s face) or Kravitz has changed his story, or D Qwell Jackson has changed his story, but one of the three of them is not telling the truth: http://www.wthr.com/story/27894558/dqwell-jackson-interception-prompted-colts-concern-about-deflated-footballs
So in the very least, we have someone who has been using fiction to propel a story to the top of the Sports News cycle, and to the detriment of the NFL’s reputation.
The NFL’s failure in this is in leaking the non story to sensationalist writers who take an everyday occurrence like ball deflation and accuse one of the NFL teams of cheating. That’s a cheap shot in the very least, even if it’s not sour grapes.
None of this mentions that fact that any given ball on any given Sunday can be underinflated simply due to cold weather, or that balls are routinely taken out of play, and nobody is fined, and no accusations of “cheating” are tossed around. In a league where the FBI has entered planes to drug test players on the tarmac, in a league which routinely fines it’s players $25,000 for helmet to helmet contact; this would seem to be about the least infraction if any ~ in view of the poor play by Indianapolis Colts.
What is the best thing the NFL could do to clear it’s reputation before the Super Bowl? The League should quash the story in it’s tracks. Come to a speedy, and conclusive decision that there IS NO STORY! The NFL was obligated to investigate, but it is not obligated to let the story ruin it’s brand.
How to solve the problem that someone needs to fall on their sword? Well, who really cares if Jackson lied, or Kravitz says he never really spoke to Jackson? Does it matter that much? It’s obvious Kravitz felt he had a scoop, and was enthusiastic. It’s obvious Jackson had a mic in front of his face and he hung Kravitz out to dry, but WHO CARES? They are both just representatives in the public’s mind of a losing team. What matters in the big picture is the NFL’s reputation, and shutting down this story before the Big Game in less than two weeks. Nobody wants to see this crafted narrative have any legs, and we’d all like to see it come to a speedy conclusion.