Thursday, September 30, 2004

Saved By Hazing 

Sometimes the conventions of serious journalism stand in the way of telling the TRUTH. Other bloggers have pointed out how misplaced notions of "telling both sides of the story" create mistaken impressions (that global climate change may be a myth, for example).

But this isn't the whole story. There are other problematic journalistic conventions which must be addressed as well.

As an example, check out this AP story:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Cleveland Indians pitcher Kyle Denney was shot in the right calf while riding on the team bus as it was traveling to Kansas City International Airport late Wednesday night.

Denney was not seriously injured. The bullet did not go very deep and was immediately removed by Indians trainers. The rookie right-hander was taken to a hospital, and although team spokesman Bart Swain had said he was expected to spend the night, a police spokesman said Denney was treated and released.
So there's the who what where and when. And why?
Another police spokesman, Sgt. Tony Sanders, said people on the bus reported hearing "what sounded like a firecracker" and then realized that it was a gunshot. He said the investigation was hampered a bit by the fact that the bus continued on to the airport before police were called.

He appealed for calls from anyone who was in the area at the time.

"We are doing out best to find out what happened, and we think somebody might have seen something," Sanders said.

Sanders said later that a tip had led to identification of a possible suspect, who was not in custody.
OK, so no one knows why. That's fine.

But why oh why does one have to read the whole story to get to this detail?
As part of a rookie hazing ritual, Denney was wearing a USC cheerleader's outfit, including high white boots, on the trip to the airport.

"Our trainers said the boots may have saved Kyle from further injury," Swain said.
Hey, AP! THIS is what people want (and need!) to know! The NY Post has many faults, but trust me, missing this kind of story is not one of them. Shame, shame on the Associated Press.

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