Twitter is wondrous, annoying

April, 19, 2012
4/19/12
11:04
AM ET
Twitter can be a wondrous thing, and also a pain in the tush. When random knuckleheads take shots at you, it can be annoying. I had a fella busting my chops recently, accusing me of being a liberal media shill, because I reported that Jim Lampley is modeling his forthcoming “The Fight Game” show on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” the weeknight, hour-long show political talk-news show which runs on the left-leaning MSNBC network.

I didn’t think I was plugging her show, contrary to my “friend’s” opinion; I found it interesting and thought the readers would as well that Lampley would model his show on that program, and would have reported it the same way if he had said he was modeling it after “Hannity,” the Fox program. I disclosed that my wife has worked as a booker for Maddow in the past, allowing readers, like my Twitter “friend” to draw their own conclusion about any potential bias.

So, while I took issue with my hater’s critique, finding it beyond ludicrous that I was seeking to “change the world” by trying to funnel boxing fans to liberal media programs—I mean, I’d guess a maximum of ten people read what I wrote, and actually took the time to tune in to “Maddow” to get a better sense of Lampley’s blueprint—I will say that Twitter critiques can be instructive and helpful. Because the critique forced me to examine what I had written, de-construct it, and analyze it. That is always a good thing, and the primary reason why I believe the Internet age will in the end result in a better brand of journalism, because it has forced journos, or most of them, who do bother to have a social media presence, to exist outside their bubble. In the old days, a newspaper guy might get a couple letters if someone objected to something they wrote, or a phone call to the newsroom, routed to voicemail. Today, readers can immediately challenge what you write, in a comment section, or on Twitter. It forces a dialogue, instead of allowing a writer to simply opine or pontificate. It helps keep you honest, and on your toes.

My Twitter nemesis, who I will not name, because I think it wouldn’t be fair that I have this platform, and he has like 11 followers, also took issue with my handling of the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez. Jr-Andy Lee triangle. He said I was taking a shot at capitalism http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/boxing/post/_/id/1341/martinez-ready-to-call-chavez-a-coward. I thought I did well to again, inform readers where I’m coming from, sharing that I consider my political leanings to be “far left. ” To clarify, I do this not to needlessly digress in a self-indulgent manner, but to give the reader a better sense of why I come to the conclusions I do. Also, ESPN has a policy, rightly so, which calls for reporters not to get into political matters, potentially misusing their platform. Now, if some news occurs which has a political tilt but germane to the sports or fight world, that is fair game, of course.

Nemesis also didn’t care for my presentation of Floyd Mayweather’s 24/7 jab http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/boxing/post/_/id/1340/mayweather-peta-trade-shots at PETA. He said that I sided with and plugged PETA. Again, I thought my report was reasonable and measured. I let Floyd have his say, by simply transcribing what he said about PETA on the show, and then I reached out to PETA, to get their response. I also disclosed that my wife and kids are vegan, so, once again, a reader could determine the potential presence of bias on my part.

All in all, I think my Twitter nemesis is a knucklehead, all due respect, to be truthful. But knuckleheads can be helpful. Just because they are off the mark, or cling to flawed reasoning like a dog guards his bone, that doesn’t mean they can’t function in the role of ombudsman, in effect.

Nemesis got me thinking more about how the media treats Floyd Mayweather. (Thanks nemesis!) I sometimes wonder if we, and by we I mean American fight writers, don’t apply different standards toward Floyd as we do, say, Manny Pacquiao. Check back later, and see if Mayweather’s right-hand man, advisor Leonard Ellerbe thinks Floyd gets the shaft from fightwriters.
Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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