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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stephen A. Smith: Blowharding your way to the top

Stephen A. Smith: Blowharding your way to the topStephen A. Smith is the very model of a modern major media blowhard. He is a bombast over facts, blowhard instead of thoughful analysis, media pundit. Doing shoddy work is part of Smith's journalistic 'D,' as in deficient, game that he brings to ESPN.

On May 29th of 2006 Smith wrote a syndicated column for the Philadelphia Inquirer that said the Duke women's lacrosse team was "ignorant' for supporting the three accused men lacrosse players. He also implied that the women's team support for the accused was evidence of racism at Duke.

Of Smith's article, La Shawn Barber said:
Implicit in Smith’s fluff piece is that women can’t think for themselves and form their own opinions about whether men are innocent of rape charges or women guilty of false allegations in the court of public opinion. Since rape happens overwhelmingly to women, women are incapable of making rational judgments about rape. Why feminists aren’t all over Stephen A. Smith for this column is a mystery [...]
Smith's journalistic jackassery got noticed here. The TJN, May 30, 2006, article called Stephen Smith a "clueless dufus" and added: "Are you now a corporate mouthpiece for 'The Man?' Duke Unversity is not hypocritical, you are."

In August 2007, KC Johnson updated the Stephen A. Smith story, and dissected his unabashed hypocrisy:
On May 28, 2006, in the Inquirer, Smith penned a column entitled, “It’s a Case of Dumb and Dumber at Duke.” The targets of his criticism? The women’s lacrosse players, who wore armbands sympathizing with the three targets of Mike Nifong’s unethical behavior—an action that was courageous at the time and that subsequent developments would wholly vindicate. [...]

The column oozed condescension. Imagine the hyper-sensitive Smith’s reaction if a white male columnist had penned a similar diatribe calling into question—without any foundation—the intelligence and character of African-American women.

After the case ended, Smith penned a column criticizing black leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for rushing to judgment. He never mentioned his column on the women’s lacrosse team.

Smith won’t be in a position to pen any more columns denouncing the women’s lacrosse players, or anyone else for that matter. Phawker reports that he has been stripped of his column and reassigned to a regular reporting beat. Since he spends little time in Philadelphia, presumably this move will end his career at the Inquirer. Perhaps he should ask to go out with one final column, an unqualified apology to the 2006 Duke women’s lacrosse team.
On August 23, 2007, the Philadelphia Inquirer announced that Smith would no longer be writing columns and would instead be demoted back to the position of general assignment reporter. Smith's demotion was due, in part, to a string of embarrassing factual gaffes in his columns.

But, Smith's shoddy journalism does not stop him from now saying it is the little people on the internet who are the ones who are "wreckless," "unqualified," and that they have "sabotaged" newspapers. He recently said:
"And when you look at the internet business, what’s dangerous about it is that people who are clearly unqualified get to disseminate their piece to the masses. I respect the journalism industry, and the fact of the matter is ...someone with no training should not be allowed to have any kind of format whatsoever to disseminate to the masses to the level which they can. They are not trained. Not experts. More important are the level of ethics and integrity that comes along with the quote-unqoute profession hasn’t been firmly established and entrenched in the minds of those who’ve been given that license.

"Therefore, there’s a total disregard, a level of wrecklessness that ends up being a domino effect. And the people who suffer are the common viewers out there and, more importantly, those in the industry who haven’t been fortunate to get a radio or television deal and only rely on the written word. And now they’ve been sabotaged. Not because of me. Or like me. But because of the industry or the world has allowed the average joe to resemble a professional without any credentials whatsoever."
"Wrecklessnes" is the word to describe Smith's own journalistic standards. Smith has raced to the bottom of the journalistic barrel, but in today's world, down in standards means career advancement.

Tom Hoffarth / vsocial.com:
Stephen A. Smith Q-and-A Part 1: Looking at things "in a new perspective" -- we present a wide-range Q-and-A with the polarizing ESPN TV and radio personality with the first of seven blog entries [...]

Stephen A. Smith Q-and-A Part 2: "I detest" the "Screamin' A" label
Stephen A. Smith Q-and-A Part 3: Internet writers have "sabotaged" newspapers -
Stephen A. Smith Q-and-A Part 4: "I am a catalyst"
Stephen A. Smith Q-and-A Part 5: "(Quite Frankly) content was good"
Stephen A. Smith Q-and-A Part 6: "I've always had thick skin"
Stephen A. Smith Q-and-A Part 7: "I'm trying to bring some realness"

Tom Hoffarth / LA Daily News:
MEDIA: Smith brings his A. game -- At the moment, the multi-media Smith is a newspaper writer without a print platform. The Philadelphia Inquirer tried to demote him from columnist to general assignment reporter recently, and Smith fought back with a lawsuit that prevents him from disclosing much about what happened, other than to say, "they have been fabricating some bogus stuff about me," and there's no way he'll ever go back there after spending the last 13-plus years making a name for himself. [...]

Stephen A. Smith: ESPN blowhardThe Tom Hoffarth article and interview with Mr. Smith was lampooned at the SportsbyBrooks blog:
SMITH: BLOGS "SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED" BIG AUDIENCE: After entertaining us with some unintentional comedy gold late last week from Stephen A. Smith, Tom Hoffarth brings us an encore of Screamin' A.'s personal theater of the absurd - by releasing more quotes from an apparently epic interview. [...]

Smith addresses the hurtful accusation that he once wrote a column for the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER on his Blackberry: "No, that’s total fabrication. I wrote my column on a Blackberry one time, at the (2004) NBA draft, I was on vacation (from the newspaper)."
Locomotive Breath / LS forum

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