The New York Jets: The Media Plague

Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

The beat reporters for the New York Jets have become a plague, taking a sickly patient (the team) and infesting them with yellow journalism.

I have a bone to pick with "the media," but more specifically, the beat reporters that cover the New York Jets. I know they read this website, and some of them like to "borrow" our ideas for articles, so I know they're listening. Let me qualify this by saying that some reporters have been good, sporadically, throughout the season. But most have been horrible throughout. Here are a few of my complaints:

They don't ask questions about the game.

I know for a fact that some of the members of the beat (I too have anonymous and legitimate sources from within), do not know the first thing about football. This is why most of them, with one notable exception, do not actually write about the game. Instead, most focus on TMZ and personal-style articles. Sometimes it's good to "get to know" the players through their generally canned responses. But mostly, they're annoying and get away from the real crux of why you have a job, that is, the game of football. There have been numerous weeks this season when I don't think a single question was posed to Rex Ryan that related to the upcoming game, or even the preceding one. More often, they related to Tim Tebow, or anonymous sources, or whatever. But you almost never see actual X's and O's analysis from the beat reporters, or anything of substance. "Rex, Quinton Coples is being thrown into a complex playbook as a rookie. How do you break the playbook down for a rookie like Coples, as you did for Muhammad Wilkerson?" is a good question. So is, "Rex, Stephen Hill is having issues with catching the ball. What is the problem he's having, and how is it resolved from a coaching perspective?" "REX WHYYYY IS TEBOW (THE SECOND AND SOMETIMES THIRD-STRING QUARTERBACK THAT WAS INJURED FOR HALF THE YEAR) NOT PLAYING WHY AREN'T YOU ANSWERING US!??!!" is not. As we come into the New Year, please, PLEASE, give us more substantive questions about the actual game of football, instead of asking, I don't know, about Rex's personal conversations with players.

They're unprofessional.

If you follow the beat reporters on Twitter, you probably know how unprofessional they are. Generally, they are extremely snarky, especially when they don't get their way (which I'll get to more in my last point). Their comments include blasting Rex when he doesn't give them an answer they like, or mock the team through Same Ol' Jets comments, butt fumbles, "This awfulness is just unbelievable," and mocking individual players such as Tim Tebow, Jeremy Kerley, Shonn Greene, etc. It's one thing for fans to poke fun at the team they love. It's another thing for a professional reporter to mercilessly mock the team they cover. I went through a few of their individual timelines on Twitter for those examples, so while I'm not going to directly quote them, I think you get the idea.

They stir the pot.

Whether it's "anonymous sources" or confronting players in the locker room and nearly getting into fights, or literally chasing coaches out of the building, the beat reporters love to stir the pot and bake up controversy. After they do that, they then love to blame the Jets for being a circus. Now, that isn't to say the Jets don't often do really, really stupid stuff. They do. But if you look at, oh, I don't know, every other media market (and not just that, even with the New York Giants), you rarely see the media taking controversy like this, blowing it up infinitely, then blaming the team instead of themselves.

They use anonymous sources.

This is one reporter, in particular. As a general rule, anonymous sources are necessary in the media. It's how you get people to speak to you that would otherwise not. But when you nearly exclusively use anonymous sources, cherry pick quotes, and at the same time criticize the team for not being transparent enough, you're not only being hypocritical, you're destroying all credibility you have. Why should anyone trust what you have to say? When you never give an indication of who the source is, other than "team official," how does anyone know that official isn't a janitor, or worse, imaginary? There's zero reason to take anyone seriously that uses, as far as anyone can tell, pretend sources. Another point is that typically, the reporters confirm each other's reports. That never happens with this particular reporter. Is it because there is nobody to confirm them with? The so-called anonymous sources may be legitimate, but after being used almost exclusively, there is zero evidence to suggest that they are.

Their analysis is lazy.

All year long, the media mocks the Jets for talking too much, and for giving them milquetoast responses to their inane and repetitive questions. Since the season has ended, the team has gone silent as they self-evaluate. Before, they talked too much, and they were criticized for being undisciplined. Now they aren't speaking, and they're blasted for "not giving their fans answers." First of all, in my experience, the vast majority of fans don't care right now. They'd prefer to see answers through actions (hiring a new general manager and coaches) rather than the same banal answers. Do you think Rex is suddenly going to come out and say, "Tim Tebow is the worst. He's the biggest phony in the world!" now that the season is over? Come on. No, the real reason they're so, and excuse me for lack of a better word, butt hurt, is because now the beat reporters have to come up with their own analysis. For the first time as long as I can remember, the Jets aren't feeding them headlines on a golden spoon, accompanied with a side of controversy. And that makes the reporters mad, because now they have to do what every other beat reporter for every other team in the world has to do... work.

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