This Week In Ridiculous Media Firestorms Caused By Poor Gatekeeping

↵

↵In a world where people talk about "the former audience" and "citizen journalism" and "new media" and so forth and so on with the mildly annoying buzzwords, gatekeepers are supposed to be things of the past. Anyone can say anything and it will be picked up and run with until Bob Stoops is at the podium for the sixth time this week very carefully explaining that leprechauns could kidnap his entire recruiting class and he would still not come within 500 miles of South Bend. ↵

↵

↵Except they do exist. Hundreds of rumors get thrown up every day on message boards or blogs or, worse, disreputable content factories with no quality control or ability to communicate reputation that look trustworthy because of their fancy software. Very few of them metastasize into genuine blame-the-internets hoaxes. Two of late have a common cause: some gullible low-on-the-totem-pole guy within the old media picks up on some transparently crazy internet post and turns it malignant by putting it inside the gate. ↵

↵

↵Case the first: God Told Urban Meyer That Sharrif Floyd Should Go To Florida. (I'm not linking the original here because it is really stupid.) Anyway, supposedly this happened: ↵

↵
↵⇥⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥Sharrif was really confused and put a call into Coach Meyer. When they spoke Coach Meyer told him that he had a ‘dream’ the night before, and that Coach Meyer saw himself on the sideline coaching Sharrif. Told him that is was a "message from God that I should come back and coach, as I guess if it’s my time to die, I'd rather die on the sidelines coaching you than anywhere else in the world.⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥"Sharrif talked to us the next day and said Ohio State is great and all, but Coach Meyer said he would DIE for me. That's pretty intense. From that day on Sharrif mainly kept to himself. But that was the turning point in my eyes."⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵
↵

↵Since you are not a doe-eyed innocent and have been online for longer than twelve seconds, you know this is obviously false. The all-caps DIE is a tipoff. Also the sourcing: ↵

↵
↵⇥⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥According to a quote that first appeared on a Ohio State site and has made the rounds on the internet⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵
↵

↵I am of the internet and when six people sent this to me I knew that it was transparent bunk.  ↵

↵ ↵

↵Surprise! It's transparent bunk: ↵

↵
↵⇥⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥"That never came out of my mouth, and never came out of his mouth," said Floyd, who made a point of tracking down the source of the rumor.⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵
↵

↵The South Carolina Rivals dip took it off the message board and stamped it with approval and no one read the sourcing, and off it went. ↵

↵

↵Case the second: Pitt in the Big Ten. Now. Right Now. This has been ably summarized at both Black Heart, Gold Pants and Black Shoe Diaries, but the Pitt-to-Big-Ten rumor that just set the internet aflame went malignant when a hopefully soon-to-be-fired blogger at the Kansas City Star actually called Bleacher Report "pretty reliable" and cited this guy… ↵

↵
↵⇥⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥The rest of Kristofer's archive consists almost entirely of power rankings, previews, and posts detailing something called The Bleacher Creature College Football Poll.  He doesn't appear very widely read and there is nothing that suggests he's ever done any original reporting or established himself as the kind of guy who has "outlets" behind closed doors.⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵
↵

↵…and his link-free claims that "personal statements by student athletes on Twitter" back up his Pitt to the Big Ten assertion. Oh, and then there's this guy on a Pitt scout board: ↵

↵
↵⇥⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥Just minutes ago I received a message stating "Pitt to Big Ten Announcement this Friday". I trust this source and believe in his contacts. I also have been wrong on some things before and was reluctant to post this. But I am willing to go out on a limb here. I don't necessarily believe the announcement will come this friday, but I do have enough voices telling me this is likely going to happen. ⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥[...]⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥I may be eating a lot of crow with egg stuck to my face for this might just be the offspring of talking heads, but too many people I trust have told me.⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵
↵

↵Since you have been on the internet way, way longer than twelve seconds now you also know that this is not reliable. No matter. When you type "pitt" into google it now suggests "to big ten". An associate athletic director is mocking the internet: ↵

↵
↵⇥⇥⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥⇥⇥Now hear this: rumors on Internet message boards should be read for amusement purposes only, and not consumed as responsible journalism.⇥⇥ ↵⇥

↵
↵

↵Gatekeepers exist. The problem these days is that too many of the gatekeepers at major outlets are clueless. You'll note that the only involvement bloggers with more than a handful of readers have in this battle is after someone at a major media company has lent baseless speculation a hand up. Anyone at a major media company these days should take EJ Borghetti's pimp slap to heart. If you don't understand the internet, you should not cite it. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.