Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Conflict Of Interest?

WFAN's morning show host Craig Carton talked out of both sides of his mouth this morning - he said that Adam Rubin absolutely crossed the line this morning as a beat reporter, but then admitted that he used to go out drinking with players on the teams he covered as a beat reporter. 
Adam Rubin is a beat reporter.  From where I sit, he's supposed to get chummy with the Mets players and brass, so he can give us a behind-the-scenes description of the day to day activities of the Mets.  It seems to me like he's been pretty fair with his coverage.  However, it is of course IMPOSSIBLE for Adam not to have a personal bias one way or another about the people he's covering.  Unless all he puts down are facts, i.e. this is the lineup, this was the score, and translates box scores into sentences and gives transcriptions of post-game interviews given by other reporters, there is NO WAY for him not to have a personal bias influence his writing.  And that's fine.  The only way sports reporting can be even remotely interesting is for there to be some opinions, which are, by definition, personally biased.  And I think most of us, as readers, get it.  We can't stand Wallace Matthews because we think he has an anti-Mets bias, but we do read his columns, because his columns are entertaining, which is why we read columnists.  This isn't national politics, for crying out loud, it's baseball!
In the case of Tony Bernazard, Adam Rubin broke a real news story, about how a member of the Mets front office was behaving innapropriately.  Actual journalism!  And apparently the Mets didn't like that.  For years we've made fun of Fred Wilpon's assessment of Steve Phillips's qualifications for the GM job, saying Steve had the "Skill Sets" for the job.  We had no idea what that meant, until now.  Clearly, Omar does not have the skill sets necessary to talk to the media and the public.  For all the boneheaded moves Steve Phillips made as GM, he was at least better than Omar at spinning to the public the Mets asinine agenda.  Yesterday's smear job on Adam Rubin was ludicrous.
Omar announces Tony was fired, and then, for some God-unknown reason, mentions that Adam Rubin has been lobbying the Mets for a job in player development. 
Even if that were true, and take it to the extreme, that Adam Rubin was actually telling the Mets that he should replace Tony B as VP of player development, how exactly is that relevant to the Mets decision to fire Tony?   Either Tony deserved to be fired, or he didn't.  If Adam Rubin's reporting was bogus, then Tony should not have been fired.  But clearly, the reporting was spot-on, and that's why the Mets axed Tony from Princeton.
Later in the day, Jeff Wilpon implied he didn't think Adam's inquiries about how one gets a job in player development were unethical.  Omar said he regretted bringing up Adam Rubin's name in the press conference because it was not the right forum.  Exactly what forum would be appropriate for this nonsense?
This is so crazy.  Adam Rubin is paid by the Daily News to cover the Mets, and I assume his paychecks for appearing on Daily News Live come from the Daily News as well, not SNY.  Where is he being compensated by the Mets to call into the question of ethics?  Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and everyone on SNY who supposedly cover the Mets in an unbiased fashion, all collect paychecks from the Mets.  Mike Francesca is paid by the Yankees (YES Network).  There are conflicts of interest all over the place!  If Adam Rubin did get hired by the Mets, I would expect he would cease to cover the Mets as a beat reporter because there would be an actual conflict of interest.  But unless he is being compensated by the Mets in ways we don't know about, I don't see anything unethical, regardless of his future career aspirations.
Full disclosure: I have no relationship with Adam Rubin, other than my appreciation for the one time he printed my finding that the Mets were putting less urinals per man in Citi Field than there were in Shea Stadium

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