Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Media Fired for Cheering in Press Box...Your Thoughts?

Interested in the Lugnuts' opinions on this story. Apparently Tom Bowles of SI was fired for clapping in the Daytona Press Box watching Bayne's "historic" win. Some debate as to whether he was actually fired for the clapping itself (as was reported apparently many people in the press box cheered - several warned but no others fired) or if it was his indignant self-defense on twitter days later.

Here is the link to Bowles own story: http://www.frontstretch.com/tbowles/32940/

I find this whole thing a bit hypocritical. Many folks are pointing to DW and the rest of the announcers blatant rooting for drivers as a worse offense but technically they are not journalists and do not abide by the "ethics" of journalism (oxymoron?). However, DW and the rest aside, any one who follows the traditional media kinda knows who favors who - one of our "favorites" (NOT) is always biased towards Junior for example.

Taking the argument that there should be no emotion in the press box further, then isn't openly crying when Dale Sr. died the same thing?

They are all biased, and I would hope they are all fans too. I believe what they should be judged on is the product they produce to be read. Bowles article was fair and unbiased.

I think a possible ugly undercurrent to all of this is might be the traditional media using Bowles as a scapegoat to clean house. NASCAR allowed citizen bloggers into the mix two years ago and the traditional media has been gunning for them ever since (Bowles was not a citizen blogger). Several media outlets reported that the media center and press box have lost their "professionalism" and bloggers are seen as biased fans pretending to report on the sport. I really hope this isn't the case but given how threatened the traditional media has acted I would not be surprised.

What do you guys think about all this?


  1. And Dave Moody addresses some of this here:

  2. Clapping in the press box??? Are you kidding me??? Anyone think there was no clapping- not to mention wild cheering- in the press box when the US beat the USSR on that February evening back in 1980?

    You want real media bias? The weather forecaster for one of our local stations has a son who plays basketball for a local high school. Judging by the highlight reels every week and the "reporting" of the sportscaster for the same station, this kid is the only kid on the team. No other player for this particular school ever makes the highlight show.

    DW et al may not have a degree in journalism, but they became journalists- subject to the same rules as everyone else- the minute they stepped into the broadcast booth.

    I say as long as there is no bias reflected in your articles, then there is nothing wrong with clapping and cheering when the totally unexpected happens. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that when Richard Petty gets back to Victory Lane, there will be more clapping and cheering in the press box. These people presumably know who the icons in the sport are, and when one of those icons returns to VL after a prolonged absence- especially when no one gave them a snowball's chance in he**- then clapping and cheering is perfectly acceptable.

  3. Well, I have to say I have a fence post firmly planted in a sensitive area on this issue. I truly believe that anyone "reporting the news" in a journalistic capacity should be unbiased. These men and women are paid to report on whatever event they are at, regardless of their feelings on said event. That being the case, simple applause about the outcome doesn't show bias to me. Maybe it just shows that this particular reporter was moved by the outcome. It may have been un-professional but I don't think it was a job-terminating offense. I have never read anything by this particular guy, but I guess if your in the press box, you need to follow the rules.
    Its also should be said that you can't compare DW to Mr. Bowles. DW is a commentator, he get paid to make comments, not just report what happens on the track. You have biased commentators in all sports. Like Dick Vitale and Troy Aikmen, they are always biased just like ol' DW.
    Does anyone know if SI is taking applications, I could surely hold my applause every week, for a large salary and a Nascar hard card. :)

  4. This story has been buzzing ever since they stood and cheered at Daytona. I've been able to get media creds at some NASCAR tracks and am always amazed at the lack of professionalism among some of my fellow internet bloggers. You can always tell who is there working, and who is there for the hell of it.

    I can see where the old, newspaper racing beat writers might resent the changing atmosphere in the press boxes. I say no applause in the press box, act like you've been there, even if you haven't. si.com was probably well within their rights to fire Bowles.

    DW is not a journalist in my book. He is (allegedly) an entertainer. Big difference between TV and radio game broadcasters and print media types. Dennis Miller certainly wasn't a journalist when he was on MNF.

    What if Dale Jr announced his engagement in the media center? Would applause be acceptable? Or, crying, for some, right Kris? lol

  5. I've got to say the media in general should live by these "rules" if that's what they are, but let's be honest... Everybody, and I mean everybody, has an agenda they follow. Whether it's portrayed up front for everyone else to recognize or is hidden by some slight of hand (writing in this case) artist is the issue. And if you want to talk ethics, about the only thing most people today know about it is that the word begins with an E.

    It seems to me someone had it in for Bowles. His "terrible" afront to such a high and upstanding chronicler of sports journalism (Sports Illustrated publishes the annual swimsuit issue, right?) and co-member of the Time-Warner family along with another pillar to ethical journalism, CNN, must not go unpunished!

    I can't believe this so-called ethics violation is the singular reason they fired this man, especially if he was not alone in applauding one of the most unique moments in NASCAR history. Someone had an agenda (vendetta) against Bowles for some reason and they nailed him.

    Will we ever truly know why?

  6. I cant agree more Gene about the unprofessionalism in the garages & media center but I have to say I've seen it with everyone - just some better at hiding than others. In fact Juniors spotter today mentioned just how many of the media made autograph requests of his driver...and that is another huge no no.

    I think we didnt get the whole story somehow and it will come out.

    I'd MUCH rather see them go after DW than Bowles...make the "entertainers" actually abide by journalistic ethics now that would be a huge step forward.

    Oh and yea, I'd be crying...LOL

    Good luck on that job application to SI Stork!