They put it back up
They put it back up
As usual for Chait, the article is excellent. The further point that should be made in knocking down this absurd idea that this was a "fight" and the players just went to confront an instigator and "one thing led to another"... SKI MASKS. Why do you show up in ski masks if you just want to wag your finger at someone with your boys standing behind you? You don't. They showed up ready for business. This "routine fight over a girl" explanation should be ineligible for repeat use after Winstongate I.
I made a new account just so that I could address this article.
I usually like Jonathan Chait's articles, especially when the subject is politics, but I think when he start to delve into "bias" as it relates to the Free Press, he begins to lose his usual sense of clear perspective.
In Chait's zeal to showcase the supposed bias of the Free Press, he resorts to a little bias of his own... and some extremely shoddy research for his article.
For a week and a half the the entire narrative regarding the altercation at Rather Hall was provided by ONE SOURCE. The 15-20 football players, the ski masks, the assault on women, the serious injury, etc were all based on the comments obtained from the fraternity member was was assaulted AND his lawyer who immediately began talking to the press and dropping hints of a possible lawsuit.
No one who represented the University nor the players has spoken with the press until now. And lo and behold, they have a different story. No mask, no serious injury, only 1 person fighting (Winston), etc. It's funny how there are always 2 sides to every story.
So after a week and a half of hearing only one side of the story provided by only one source (Frat kid + attorney) thereby shaping the entire narrative of the story in the press, we finally get to hear what happened from the players perspective through side channels. And Chait claims that the Free Press is only telling the players' side of the story and paints this as evidence of Free Press "pro-MSU bias"?
His article is telling in itself. He portrays the allegations of the article provided by ONE SOURCE (the frat) as fact. "It wasn't a fight it was an assault". He also takes issue with the article headline "INSIDE the MSU Fight" and claims it's not really an "insider" story because it only takes into account the players' parents viewpoints. Uh, up until this point the ENTIRE STORY was based on the viewpoint of ONE SOURCE (and his lawyer).
Chait seems all too willing to accept the sequence of events as portrayed by the fraternity as established fact as the basis for his article on bias, while ignoring that it took 10 days before the players' version of the story was finally reported.
Irony might be a better topic for his next article.
multiple camera which showed the event, I know I have read. We'll just have to wait and see what the cameras show. Also, I believe it was reported that there were 7 people who were being tended to by paramedics at the scene. I don't believe this came from the one person or his attorney. We'll just have to wait and see..
Also, if ONE person was responsible as you are insinuating, why did 2 players get kicked off the team and 8 more suspended?
Something sounds a little fishy on the football team's side of things.
I agree that the best thing to do is wait and see what the investigation uncovers. Considering that each side in this story has vastly differing version of events, I'm sure we do not have the real story of what really happened yet.
Up to this point, all the details reported have come from the fraternity with only 1 person quoted on record who witnessed the actual fight. That 1 person is the fraternity member with the lawyer. All the other witnesses are either not named or were describing the scene after the fight.
Also, I am not insinuating that only one person was fighting, I was just pointing out that that was the version of events being put forth by the parents of the players. I'm sure each side has an incentive to put the incident in the best possible light for their respective sides. The players' parents also stated that their sons were suspended for lying to Dantonio, not for fighting. Again their version.
You may notice the original story, which interviewed only fraternity members, did not make any claims as to how many people actually were fighting. The quotes imply the whole team was fighting when they "stormed" the dormitory, but again, this is taken only from interviews with fraternity members.
If 15-20 football players stormed a building and they were all fighting don't you think there would be a hell of a lot of injuries? Many serious? As it stands there is only 1 reported injury with medical corroboration, and 6 claims of "injury" with no medical corroboration. And even if all 7 injuries are real, if all 15-20 football players were beating up on 7 people don't you think there would be 7 fatalities?
Right now, very little of what is being reported makes sense.
You had my head nodding until you started to spiral off speculating about fatalities and whatever.
Your point is a good one, but not insofar as Michigan football is concerned. I give a damn about what actually happened at Rather Hall. Not to be insensitive but, that's my gutteral reaction to that particular piece of news. The portrayal of events in a major news outlet is what applies to Michigan football. The FreeP's treatment of this incident is drastically different from its treatment of a lesser situation in regards to Michigan (maybe breaking a rule vs. definitely breaking the law). One can only speculate what would have been portrayed if this had happened in Ann Arbor.
You talk about Chait's potential bias, which is fair game, but don't say anything in regards to the validity of his claims or premises. Weak argument; Good effort. No sarcasm.
I would like to say thank you for posting this. I tried the other one but it was down at the time. Reading through that I felt an anger that I haven't experienced in a long time. The double standard the Freep uses is not only enraging as a Michigan fan but as a human being.
If I were to assemble a mob of people and go down to the Freep, go inside and have everyone unleash their fists onto the workers there I guess that would constitute a "fight" too. This paper has no credibility and even though they reported all of "Practicegate" material about Michigan I still clicked on the links to their site every now and then. Never again will I do this. Every chance I get I will bash that paper.
I am not sure who wrote the piece in which Chait is referring, but whoever it was is an extremly low form of life, as far as I am concerned. Women were beat and probably scared out of their wits while this ambush was taking place. This is an unforgivable offense and all involved should be shown the door.
I'm not sure if any justice will come of this except for a slap on the wrist for most of the players involved because they're first time offenders. Somethings warrant a second chance, this, however, does not. I can only hope that justice is served and all parties involved get what is coming to them. This is a sad day when this sort of thing can happen and no one will be the wiser because their main source of news refuses to bring the reader the facts.
This article is pissy and poorly written. Not only is the argument behind the article inherently flawed--that the coverage of a potential major scandal requiring NCAA sanctions should be covered the same as the incident at MSU--but his approach to it is poor and based largely in the semantics of headline writing.
I don't disagree with the sentiment, but this is not the way to go about it. Similarities should be drawn between the Freep's response to the handling of the Feagin situation and the various Winston ones, as they are more similar situations and ones that drew drastically varying coverage. That would unveil a bias. This just sounds like petty bickering.
While the Feagin incident might be a better comparison for what you're talking about, I think the practice time issue is apt when talking about media coverage.
The point comes through clearly enough: trouble at UM results in a one sided article no quotes on the UM side other than standard blanket denials. Trouble at MSU results in a one sided piece downplaying the incident with quotes from the parents of the accused.
I think it would have been helpful to note that parents of UM players quoted in the August hit job were obviously itching to come forward, but couldn't get a quote in the Freep, while here the parents were the first people approached.
I suppose you can include those aspects, but the Feagin situation produced "win at all costs..." and Wiston's reinstatement got some column about retribution and second chances.
Problem is that, though the NCAA piece was poorly done, it was a different aim than this current MSU incident. One was an investigative report while the other is breaking news. The Freep didn't go back to Feagin's high school coaches or dig into his background. That's enough of a bias right there, especially seeing how they treating Winston on his return.
It's a moot point, and we all agree the Freep has serious issues in its coverage. But this Chait piece poorly proves it.
It is not just semantics in headline writing. Although "semantics" are a powerful thing when you're talking about using "fight" vs. "assault" or "assailant" vs. "participant." One lends legitimacy, one presupposes wrongdoing. It is a hard choice, but not unimportant. Witness the days long battle in the Kobe Bryant trial regarding whether the accuser could or could not be referred to as the "victim."
I think the discrepancy in sourcing is notable. Rosenberg is a self-loathing alum trying to launch beyond SE Michigan--he gathered information from players, pulled out his calculator, (incorrectly) read the NCAA rulebook, and viola...found violations. UM parents had explanations regarding practice that they got from their kids. They were not printed as breaking "exclusive" stories.
Then you have Shannon Shelton, an MSU alum who is the opposite of Rosenberg, defending her fellow Spartan athletes at all costs, even as they put on masks and pile out of a van to hit women. Don't rush to judgment she says, I just got off the phone with one guy's dad and he says it was just a fight about a girl & Winston was the initial victim. Chait was right...it is a joke.
"Then you have Shannon Shelton, an MSU alum who is the opposite of Rosenberg, defending her fellow Spartan athletes at all costs"
This goes to prove my point: Chait begins his column by addressing that there are individuals with biases, but then goes on to attempt to argue that the entire paper has a bias. If we're looking at the approach of two different reporters, reporting on two wildly different events that were both approved (presumably) by the same editor, this doesn't necessarily constitute an institutional bias.
But if you take similar events, look at how they were covered (and editorially approved), you can start to make connections and accusations.
I liked the article thought it was well written
I won't go as far as IM4UMich, but I still think it should have focused more on how the Freep article bases so much of its story on quotes from the players' parents. I can't believe they spent so much effort digging up dirt on Feagin/practice violations and then do something so transparently shallow when it comes to MSU.
After exchanging several emails with a very rational and professional Shannon Shelton I now feel like a douche for what I wrote about her in this thread. I actually think she, individually at least, is pursuing this story the right way. What I wrote about her was unfair and incorrect. If that sounds impossible to believe I am happy to forward our exchange to anyone interested.
FWIW I still agree with Chait re: Freep sports generally.
An MgoPoster actually realized that he spouted off without thinking. I congratulate you blueloosh for realizing that spouting off without thinking is fucking retarded.
Not. As Chait and Blueloosh point out, "semantics" set the tone of the debate. Happens in court all the time. No doubt the defense counsel for any of these players who ends up being charged (if any, of course) will argue that this was a "fight" and not a premeditated attack. Why? Because a jury will forgive a fight and acquit someone if they think it was "just a fight." Chait points out that these guys didn't go over as a roving party of investigators ready to obtain the confession of a wrongdoer. No one with an ounce of brains would believe that. When the media frames this event as a "fight," it starts to define public opinion, even subconsciously. A spontaneous fight involving mutual combat sheds little, if any, negative light on MSU or on Coach Dantonio. If a sizeable group of MSU football players, knowing they are going to hunt down and beat up someone who dissed Winston in the bar, all head over to a residence hall to exact revenge, ski masks or no, that does reflect upon the institution and the coach. Post-Feagin, I would expect to see a parallel "win at all costs" headline. I presume the same editor reviews the articles printed in the sports section. Does this not suggest some institutional bias, IM4UMICH?
As StevieY19 points out, the Freep calls the parents of the MSU students here to get their side of the story, but no one from the Freep bothered to try to speak to the parents of U-M players over "practicegate." Unless you are willing to accept that the editor is an incompetent buffoon, it sure does look like bias from here.
I'm not arguing against the sentiment. But the article itself is half baked, and his arguments are too subtle to argue an institutional bias. Semantics can be explained away as a poor headline writer. Plus Chait's own admittance that different reporters can have different biases argues firmly against his cause.
Semantics are not evidence of an institutional bias but it is a symptom. Chait tries to take two different journalists covering different schools and with different biases/backgrounds--and more importantly, covering very divergent stories--and from that, attempts to construct institutional bias on the strength of poor headlines a story structure (something he prefaces with a his own admittance that different writers show their bias in different ways).
Shoddy reporting and poor editing, sure. Institutional bias implies something greater, and something that can't be constructed from the argument Chait makes here--not that I necessarily disagree with the conclusion. The article reeks of vengeance and is Chait looking for controversy in the details when it's standing broadly in front of him.
This thread should be closed down while it's still high-level and civil. Don't think I've seen anything like it. I haven't read Chait's piece but feel compelled to now...
Sir, do you believe that Glenn Winston beat up students at Rather Hall?
Oh yes. He would talk about doing it all the time. He said he needed moisturizer so that his hands won't be dry when he punches the MSU students.
(This is for you, poster of the John David Stutts skit)