Cavaliers, WWW

When Fake News Trickles Down to Sports: While We’re Waiting

One thing the last 10 months have provided us — you know, outside of daily tweets that make one want to pull their hair out — is the term “Fake News.” What started as an attack on unfavorable coverage from a variety of large-scale news outlets has trickled down to the garbage that permeates aggregating mediums like Facebook. “Fake News” has become the default internet reply for folks who don’t like what they’re seeing. It’s even gotten it’s own hashtag so you know it’s legit.

The premise is simple: Someone writes something, oftentimes with a click-me-now headline, and it finds its way to the timelines of a few people. They share it to their followers, oftentimes blind to the actual truth, and it spreads rapidly. There will be a portion of the individuals who see it and realize that it’s straight up garbage, but by this time, countless others have treated it as gospel. I once had a conversation with someone who saw a story about declining cable subscribers, and they asked me if I saw that “they’re going to stop making TVs.” I’m dead serious. Had #FakeNews been a thing at this point, I could have dropped it on them right then and there. It would’ve been glorious.

This, however, leads me to late last week. A quick Google search for “LeBron James” provided me with the following:

Taunting. Mocking. Unloads. Calls out. The horror. There’s just one catch, however: It’s 100 percent not true.

If you click the Fox News link (I wouldn’t, but bear with me here for the sake of this story), it takes you to a post about how James had a few unkind words to say about the “Keeping up with the Kardashians” film crew. The post links to a story by the New York Post and includes an Instagram video uploaded by something called “The Shade Crew” which takes one of James’ IG stories, republished with the caption “Looks like #LeBronJames wasn’t here for all the extra cameras 😩😩 Word on the street is the “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” crew made their way into the Cavs’ workout session 👀,” including the hashtag #PressPlay. It’s been viewed over 1.3 million times.

This, as it would be, trickled down to outlets like Vibe, Complex, Maxim, and more, all describing what James said in his video, one where he referred to “The Shit Show”, using it in some form to link the four-time MVP to one of pop culture’s most famous families — one which happens to be linked to his teammate and friend Tristan Thompson. Intrigue and drama abound.

But if one were to 1) look closely at the video, or 2) understand how the NBA works, they would quickly see that every person in that room with a camera, video camera, or cell phone, is an NBA employee — NBA TV, NBAE/Getty, etc. — or was affiliated with the team, obtaining preseason content of the team’s workout to use at a later date. They do it every season.

For example: Here’s one of the shots from David Liam Kyle, the excellent, long-time photographer, taken from that very day.

Now, David may have joined the Kardashian’s film crew and has yet to tell me, but as far as I know, this is not the case.

Now, I’ll also resign to the fact that many may not know David. While I’d counter with a seven-foot-tall photographer is tough to miss, I get it. But what I don’t get: The NBA also posted updates from that same day, hinting toward some footage being shared prior to the team’s impending game.

Try as I might on Twitter and other areas to say “um, hey guys — this is wrong”, these outlets — one which said LeBron “mercilessly mocked” Thompson’s girlfriend, another which said the Kardashian crew “invaded” the team’s workout — have gotten countless retweets, shares, likes, and comments on a story that is unequivocally false. One commenter even managed to tie this all back to Donald Trump. Think of the mental gymnastics needed for that one.

I’ve resigned to the fact that people are always going to believe whatever they want. The trick is deciphering actual journalism from whatever the hell leads us down these rabbit holes of inaccuracy.

This Week in #ActualSportswriting:

This Week in #ActualNonSportswriting:

This Week in Picks:

The good news? In my weekly pick’em pool, I had nine games correctly selected against the spread. The bad news? The winner had 10. Worse, right before the 1 p.m. games, I decided to swap Carolina (+1) to Detroit at home … which did not go as planned. In this spot, I went 2-1 with the Giants failing to cover once again. The OBJ loss is brutal for a team that was already winless.

Last week provided us a slew of games that were anywhere between pick ’em to three points in the way of spreads. This week is nearly the inverse with six games being a touchdown or more — five of which are double digits (sup, Browns?). Let’s give this a whirl.

Los Angeles Rams (+2.5) vs. JACKSONVILLE
Los Angeles Chargers (pick) vs. OAKLAND
MINNESOTA (+3) vs. Green Bay

Last Week: 2-1
YTD ATS: 9-6

  1. Read this now; come back after. []
  2. This is terrific. []
  3. “Back when we started, we maybe did $2 million in volume in a year,” Sigsbee says. “Now, we do $2 million in a couple weeks.” []
  4. A chilling story about a topic where the word “tragedy” does little justice. One of the subjects is from Columbus. []
  5. “What we’re experiencing from Trump is a daily avalanche of wrongness. The essential truth of this election cannot be conveyed with an examination of any one particular chunk of ice. The story is the massive accumulation of nonsense, big stuff and little stuff alike, day after day.” []

  • scripty

    I need some Game 1 level MLB enthusiasm. Get excited people!

  • MartyDaVille

    Internet b.s. has been going on for a long time, it just has a different name now.

    We’ve all likely received emails from friends disclosing stupid conspiracy theories and hoaxes (They’re taking “In God We Trust” off our money! The Black Helicopters are massing in Wyoming!). Snopes and Smoking Gun have been shooting down this stuff for years.

    None of this upsets me because I don’t pay a bit of attention to it.

  • RGB
  • Pat Leonard

    I hate that we are currently living in the post-truth era. It used to mean something to be truthful. If a reporter found a person of power untruthful, they would need to answer for it. Now it’s not expected of anyone. It’s momentary outrage or annoyance and then on to the next thing. For once, I’m not blaming this on Donald Trump either. He’s the symptom, not the disease. America doesn’t give value to being truthful anymore. I see it with the kids that my wife teaches and the reactions from their parents when they are found lying. Few care and it breaks my heart.

  • Chris

    Was the whole Delonte/Gloria thing fake news, or was there ever any legitimate confirmation of that?

  • scripty

    They banged in the house that Cowher almost bought in Strongsville.

  • scripty
  • BenRM

    Step 1: Lie
    Step 2: Publish
    Step 3: ????
    Step 4: Profit

    Step 5: Backlash
    Step 6: Profit from the backlash

    There is no downside to lying in the media anymore.

  • Chris

    Defamation lawsuit?

  • Chris

    Step 3 is key.

  • BenRM

    Yup. This. I also think, as internet b.s. has become mainstream media b.s., people (even the intelligent ones) are more inclined to believe it.

    Most people knew that it was dubious when they received an email from weird Uncle Arnie that the government was going to replace the American flag with a piece of pizza. (Which I would vote for. It sounds delicious.)

    But now, anyone interested in the truth basically has to fact check EVERYTHING they see and read. It’s really disheartening.

  • Chris

    OMG… Scripty’s avatar has his own GIF!!!

  • BenRM

    Step 3 is always key! It’s probably something like “gain unwarranted exposure and sell advertising.” Lame.


    Here’s where it’s changed, though: so much of what we see, do, and have access to online is controlled by algorithms. While I applaud you for ignoring sensationalist bullshit, many people do not because they simply don’t know any better and aren’t exposed to anything else. They also lack critical thinking skills.

    Read Weapons of Math Destruction some time by Cathy O’Neil. I’m not going to sugar coat the fact that she’s a flaming liberal in her conclusions, but the math and science of the damage that relying on algorithms can do and has done to our society is legit.


    “Everyone murders.” –T. Pryor

  • RGB

    Please, direct all complaints concerning our journalistic integrity to our platoon of high powered attorneys.

  • Chris

    I’m afraid that if we gave the attorneys of the commentariat something to do for a change, these comment boards would be barren.

  • CBiscuit

    Well there is one downside. You’re then forced to have to actually do the job as the most powerful man in the world.

  • CBiscuit

    While the getaway car, with 2 blown out tires, was driven by a half naked William Green who had a steak knife stuck in his back.

  • BenRM

    Do you though? So far, it hasn’t happened. /sarcastic smile

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