Tuesday, August 07, 2007

MLB Website's Coverage Of Bonds More Balanced Than S.F. Chronicle


A few years back, many in the media questioned whether the official websites of the NFL, MLB and NBA would cover uncomfortable stories about their respective sports as fairly as traditional news outlets.

I suppose those naysayers were wrong because the MLB.com's coverage of Barry Bonds's 755th homerun was far more measured than that of the San Francisco Chronicle, the newspaper whose coverage took the largest chunk out of the slugger's myth.

How do you think the two Chronicle reporters, Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada felt when their own newspaper splashed the numerals "755" in a manner befitting "WAR!" on the cover of last Sunday's paper. Williams and Fainaru-Wada nearly went to prision protecting a source and raised the awareness of the downtrodden paper ten-fold and this the incongruent coverage their own paper gives to a deeply troubling ballplayer and to the road and method he traveled to tie Henry Aaron's homerun record.

Undoubtedly, this is a big new story befitting above the crease coverage, but the story is not just a warm love letter to Bonds, but moreso, the story of a great player's greed to become even greater by cheating. The angle of how much fans across America have exhibited so much apathy towards the march to 756, at least, when they're not booing him, is far more honest than the Chronicle attempting to frame the story as a great American sports spectacle like Cal Ripken passing Lou Gehrig or even Aaron passing the Babe in 1974. It almost reeks of denial for a day. As if editor Phil Bronstein said we've tarnished Bonds's reputation with solid reporting, but just for today we'll praise the scoundrel thereby selling a load of papers at both ends.

MLB.com, though, has provided even and tempered coverage of Bonds's record-breaking exploits that hasn't dissed him, but also hasn't placed him on a false pedestal. Today he's been featured on the front of the site with nearly the same importance as the Blue Jays plunking Alex Rodriguez and Tom Glavine's 300th win two days ago.

I suppose the Chronicle is truly the voice of the Bay Area, because its schizophrenic coverage of Bonds as of late mirrors Giants fans from the Sunset district to the Market Street. In this case and only in this case, it would be far more informative to read the corporation's account of this record rather than the so-called impartial press.

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