Kentucky Wildcats: Morning Quickies - Manti Te'o Edition

Coach Cal and Marcus Camby still keep in touch. - USA TODAY Sports

News and commentary from around the Big Blue Internet. Manti Te'o hoax dominates sports news. Mark Stoops earning praise for effort in Ohio. Calipari talks about Marcus Camby's induction into UMass HOF. More.

If you haven't been living under a rock, you've heard the Manti Te'o hoax story by now, and if you haven't, you can read about it down in the Quickies. Alex will have more on it later, I think, as well.

I just want to make one quick comment about this article by John Clay, which is about how the Big Blue Nation is apparently piling on Pete Thamel for writing a hagiographic piece on Te'o that failed to uncover the fact that his dead girlfriend was a hoax. John quotes from this piece by Josh Levin at Slate:

So why didn’t Thamel and his cohorts at ESPN and elsewhere figure out they were all on a Catfish-ing exhibition? Because they fell victim to confirmation bias. Even before his great 2012 season, Te’o’s golden-as-the-dome image had been cemented.

Confirmation bias is a pervasive problem in all the media these days, not just sports, and the commoditization of professional journalism has made it even more of a problem. But there is a deeper root to all this that I think both Clay and Levin maybe overlooked, and that is the feeling of embattlement suffered by many in the media due to the advent of social media.

Supposedly, it is the job of journalists to turn over the rocks and expose the creepy-crawlies to the light of day. Unfortunately, that sort of story comes with a price from the team or individual's supporters which is now totally real time and completely public. All bad news is bad for business, and it's hard to write negativity all the time.

So is it any surprise that they occasionally yearn for the opportunity to report good news, and fall into the confirmation bias trap? That's not excuse of course ... these are supposed to be professionals, and such a failure is an ethical breach of their duty of competency. So when we see articles all but canonizing a sports figure, it's always a good idea to wonder just how much effort went into looking under those rocks, both for reasons of confirmation bias and the desire to report something positive.

Tweet of the Morning:

Calipari used to live by this rule. This season? Not so sure ...

Your Quickies:

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  • Manti Te'o's Dead Girlfriend, The Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story Of The College Football Season, Is A Hoax
    I'm sure you've seen this by now. I really have no words, but if I were a pro football franchise, I'd want to know that this guy wasn't a part of the hoax. Then again, if he wasn't, that says something to, doesn't it?

  • Mant'i Te'o's Fake, Dead Girlfriend Breaks the Internet // Outkick The Coverage
    Okay, read this at your own risk. Travis' attempts at analysis always make me feel like I need a shower, perhaps with bleach. Consider this:

    3. Is Te'o gay?

    As a gay muslim, I would happily welcome Te'o into the gay brotherhood.

    This is apparently a Clay Travis inside joke, but why do we have to go here? Speculating on his sexuality is really kind of cro-magnon in this age of political correctness. If he is gay, he could have covered it up a thousand ways, but this makes no sense in such a scenario. Yet Travis claims it does.

    Why is it de rigeur that when some manly man engages in a hoax relationship, it's always to cover up homosexuality? I'm just askin'. Sometimes a hoax is just a hoax.

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