The cartel: at war with itself! (Even the Globe is shocked at Chass’s shoddy work)

December 9th, 2006 → 1:17 pm @ // No Comments

Much is made in Boston of the way the connections between the Globe and the Red Sox influence coverage of the team. (The New York Times Co. owns the Globe as well as a minority stake in New England Sports Ventures, the holding company that owns the Red Sox.)

At least we know the Globe and the Times aren’t all lovey-dovey. In today’s Globe, Gordon Edes gives the Times‘s Murray Chass a little lesson on what, exactly, it means to be a responsible journalist. (For some reason, I don’t think Chass is real open to these kind of constructive criticisms when they come from me.)

“Epstein had little to say about a column by Murray Chass in yesterday’s New York Times that raised the issue of whether the Sox were guilty of tampering in their pursuit of free agent outfielder J.D. Drew,” Edes writes. “In a story headlined, ‘Talk of Misconduct Swirling Around the Red Sox,’ Chass, relying primarily on anonymous sources, suggested that the topic was a popular one at the winter meetings, and that it was possible the Dodgers would file a charge of tampering with the commissioner’s office.” And then Gordo goes on to lay out who exactly hasn’t heard anything about the subject that Chass says was “a hot topic of private conversation at the general managers’ meeting” as well as the winter meetings: Bob Dupuy, MLB’s president and CEO, who told Edes he “has not heard of anything” about possible tampering. (Of course, if Chass had bothered to check with Dupuy it might have poked a hole in his anti-Red Sox fervor.) If there was a tampering charge, Dupuy’d be the guy to handle it.

Gordo also quotes — on the record — a number of people who directly refute the entire contention of Chass’s article, including:

* Scott Boras, Drew’s agent: “I did my due diligence. There were a number of teams that need ed a 3, 4, or 5 hitter, and J.D. was the only center fielder. I went to the Dodgers a week before the opt-out date and had lunch with Colletti. I had not yet met with J.D. I said if you want to talk about it, we are prepared to talk because J.D. has enjoyed his time in LA.”

* Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, who, through a spokesman, “refuted Chass’s allegation that there was a rift between Colletti and Epstein, and that he refused to take Epstein’s phone calls in Orlando. ‘They probably talked about 20 times last week,’ said spokesman Josh Rawitch. Indeed, when Colletti arrived at the meetings late last Sunday night from the Dominican Republic, one of his first orders of business was to conduct an hourlong face-to-face meeting with Epstein on a possible deal for Manny Ramírez.”

* Edes also points out that, in the silly world of tampering charge threats, the Red Sox could hypothetically charge Dodgers manager Grady Little of tampering when he told a reporter Manny would “make a nice Christmas present” for the team.

* And finally, “one other component of the Dodgers-Red Sox relationship not mentioned in the Times article: Sox owner John W. Henry and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt have a relationship that Henry in the past has described as close, and while Henry would not comment on the Times piece, it is known that he and McCourt have spoken on several occasions since Drew left the Dodgers and did not raise the issue of tampering with the Sox owner.”

I’m not saying Chass made this story up out of whole cloth. But he sure as hell seemed pretty determined not to do a lick of reporting that might uncover anything that would possibly go against his thesis (Theo is bad, the Red Sox suck), which he seems to have come up with about, oh, three years ago.

There aren’t any corrections about Chass’s story in today’s Times; I wouldn’t hold my breath for any in the next couple of days either. I doubt, too, that Barney Calame, the Times independent, internal policeman, is going to be launching an inquiry anytime soon. But maybe he should. Let him know what you think: his contact info is below…

Barney Calame
Phone: (212) 556-7652
Address: Public Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036-3959

Post Categories: Boston Globe & Gordon Edes & Murray Chass & New York Times

3 Comments → “The cartel: at war with itself! (Even the Globe is shocked at Chass’s shoddy work)”

  1. Mude

    17 years ago

    Excellent job, Seth. I know some of your readers have voiced their opposition to your Chass tracking, but I thoroughly enjoy it. And it’s especially cool when you’re the first one to call him out on something that others later pick up on.

    I just used some free SkypeOut to leave a message (from Amman, Jordan) for Barney Calame about Chass’ irresponsible “journalism,” citing both you and Edes. Hopefully the Times will do the right thing and put their deranged Great Uncle in a nursing home, instead of continuing to tolerate his dinner table comments about how nice so-and-so’s tits are. He really is an embarassment.


  2. jthewes

    17 years ago

    This is all fine and good, but it’s getting too serious and tense for me to handle. I’m loving the Hernia’s winter meeting updates from last week. Anything with a random Dino Radja tie-in works for me. The last three postings are Sox relevant:


  3. overdone

    17 years ago

    Bravo, Seth. These two commentaries are great. Call a Chass a Chass, I say. Guy is so damn tiresome.

    The following almost made me spit out my coffee one morning. It’s from one of Chass’s anti-Sox screeds, from August 2, 2005 (you may recall his old-school pride in not owning a DVD player): “The Red Sox were wise holding on to Manny Ramirez. He might be a bad human being, but when bad human beings drive in 150 runs they are good players, and good players are what teams need to win.”

    Now I’m biased, but aside from that column, have you ever heard anybody suggest that Manny Ramirez is “a bad human being”? Loopy, mercurial, oblivious, childlike, fickle, distracting, inscrutable, sure. (And some argued that he “quit on the team” a few months ago. Mucho bla bla bla.) But a bad human being? Manny’s persona has always reminded me of other supremely talented stoners. Maybe Chass doesn’t know any of those.

    A small thing: Not to get all copyedit on yo ass, but those bullet points above are a little confusing. The setup talks about people Chass quoted in his column, but the third bullet point starts with the word EDES. Then in the next point, if you hadn’t read Edes’s article, I’m not sure you’d know that the McCourt-Henry quote is from his story and not Chass’s. (You can take the girl off the copy desk, but…). Cheers.


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