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"Don't give up, Billy if you know you're right ..."

Will Graves of the Associated Press penned this article that was published Christmas Day on Yahoo, and was picked up by many news outlets.  The original lede was, "Blue Christmas: Gillispie era off to sluggish start at Kentucky."  "Not so bad," you would say, and I would definitely agree.  If you haven't read the article, and I can't see how you could have missed it, do so -- it is pretty fair and generally good reporting.

But if that were all there was to the story, I wouldn't be writing this, would I?  No indeed.  And it isn't all there is, not by a long shot.

Let's take a look at some of the publications who picked this up, and the ledes they put it under:


To me, this is amazing.  When you read the various ledes, it's easy to get an entire gamut of impressions, from a slow start to Gillispie on the hot seat to an outright mutiny at Kentucky.  What the article says is far closer to the former than the latter.

What we see here is a perfect example of why Americans tend to mistrust the media these days.  Even though this story contains exactly the same information for each outlet, the lede metastasizes the article into something quite different in many of them.  My favorite, of course, is the "Doomsday Scenario for Kentucky."  Not only is it a non-sequitur, it doesn't reflect much about the contents of the article itself.  In fact, it is little more than an editorial comment about Kentucky attached to a story that mentions "doomsday scenario" in relationship to not making the NCAA tournament -- hyperbole at its finest, to be sure, but not worthy of the lede.

Of course, some of them are fine:  "So far, not good for Kentucky" almost exactly describes what Graves was trying to say in his piece.  But "Kentucky coach under pressure" and "Honeymoon over at Kentucky" may well describe the feelings of many in the Big Blue Nation, but they have little in common with the article itself.

I guess that's what we must expect, I suppose, but it does make me sad.  It almost seems that rather than report the news, some of these outlets intend to belittle the Commonwealth and the Kentucky Faithful.  It's a sad commentary on the news media made even worse by the fact that the outlets are probably just catering to their readers.  This kind of reminds me of an exchange in one of my favorite movies, "Absence of Malice," between Megan Carter (Sally Field) and a co-worker when describing her relationship with Michael Gallagher (Paul Newman):

Carter:  "Just say ... we were involved."

Co-worker:  "That's true, isn't it?"

Carter:  "No ... but it's accurate."