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Doping -The Role of The Media

Jul 11, 2013
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I've seen this issue being brought up in several threads.

Thought to open this one so that comments about it aren't lost in other threads in the future.

In my opinion media coverage of doping is superficial if not non-existent and in some cases misleading.

I've seen some studies arguing that fans contribute to doping by worshipping athletes.
But none on the medias role.

You reckon TV-deals with enormous media-cooperations involve a soft stance on doping? Or is it just a non-written rule benefitting everyone?

Muliple things can be said about this, and I see some hipocrisy threads here and there.

Still thought I would open this as a follow up on many great points raised in the clinic recently.
 
In my opinion media coverage of doping is superficial if not non-existent and in almost all cases totally misleading.

They make doping out to be something that only a handful of losers do out of desperation and act as if its ultimately it is way more beneficial for your performance to be clean.
 
Aug 5, 2015
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While I agree that the media can be biased and turn "a blind eye" to the extent of doping in sports, there are numerous reasons for this. Some examples:
- libel laws vary from country to country, but if the media commented in the same way the Clinic participants did, lawyers would have a field day, especially in the UK
- a lot of media is sponsored by some of the same businesses that back sports teams, therefore they bite the hand that feeds them
- proving someone is doping is hard. The dopers are ahead of the testing for the most part, and even if there is a whistleblower, its by no means certain that a whistleblower has evidence that would stand up in court. Unless someone gets caught in a drug test (and a meagre one percent do) then it will either take some tenacious investigative journalism or a whistleblower with evidence.
- do doping stories sell media? Sure, if you catch a big pro team or a multiple winner of a prestigious event. Otherwise I would think the return on time invested is going to be low compared to all the other stories that are out there

So as much as we complain about the media very few of the journalists either have the funding, evidence or interest from their readership to go to town on a lead imho
 
I have no idea wtf you wanted to say with "libel laws". No one ever said the media should accuse athletes. Even Mike and *** and Ross don't really go around accusing athletes directly in a way that wouldnt pass libel laws (though I do recall Ross had one tweet where he said Mo and usain are too big to fall).

The media however just isn't anti doping. They don't want anyone caught asides from some Russian they can scapegoat and want to focus on the heroical stories of man being able to lay 40 000 bricks ummm I mean run under 10 seconds because of his determination and commitment to fairness bla bla bla.

As for "proving" someone is a doper being hard, Only in a court of law due to the flaws of the legal system. To an even remotely rational person a number of cases are not hard to prove at all.
 
I think it's all up to the editor-in-chief. S/he may have some strings pulling their strings from even more upstairs, and thusly, you will never get the real truth.

It all probably depends on how much you want your paper/rag to sell.
 
Jul 17, 2015
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You have to understand that most people, including the media, are viewing the issue of doping from a different perspective to a small number of people who obsess about doping and voice that obsession through tiny little portals in social media. That isn't to say that the people who obsess are mistaken, not at all. I happen to agree with much that is said on here, and I've said myself that the notion of clean pro sport is a myth. Really, I suppose that makes me more of a cynic than the biggest cynics on this forum. It's just that most people don't really give that much of a toss about it, and of course this is reflected in the media.

Is this wrong?

Well I suppose it depends on your world view. With all the purely negative news about raging wars, and the outfall from them, the sheer tide of human misery and the apocalyptic predictions of the future of the human race, sport makes a nice diversionary activity. Yes, at a professional level sport is probably not sport, but this is what hits our screens and gets us out onto hillsides and into stadiums. Just as we may root for a fictitious character in a movie, so we root for fictitious heros in the fiction of sport.

It is probably true that the media in general isn't interested in doping until it is shoved under its noses at which point it too becomes obsessed.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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post-usada I remember some good pieces in mainstream newspapers reflecting on the media's complicity in creating the Armstrong myth.
in vain.
 
People want to believe in heroes for some weird reason, and in general the media tends to write what the people want to read. Add in some big companies that want people to believe in their heroes ...
 
Apr 3, 2011
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Gung Ho Gun said:
People want to believe in heroes for some weird reason, and in general the media tends to write what the people want to read. Add in some big companies that want people to believe in their heroes ...
On the other hand, the outside world is also full of cheating, propaganda, "deals", BStalk from ruling corporate-political mafias, and people/readers even roughly know it and don't care much... so why writing about it? Give them the daily portion of random killings and random heros (carmageddoned Sagan and magic Vroom, now crashed, great), you get sales and they (mainstream) are happy and don't even have to think. Win-win. And who cares about this niche market of so-called cycling fans?
 
Apr 20, 2009
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The Hitch said:
In my opinion media coverage of doping is superficial if not non-existent and in almost all cases totally misleading.
Not in my own Dutch newspaper, which regularly has features, mentions it when athletes of sports with the biggest doping histories have exceptional results, reports on Seppelt's research, etc.

They do mostly ignore doping in sports like tennis (aside from mentioning popped players), but the ATP & WTA have been pretty effective in keeping the lid on things (If only all evidence of Operación Puerto had been made public :/ ). So there are no really big scandals to point to. I find it a bit unreasonable to expect them to do an expose on sports with no big scandals. Although they could point out how little effort goes into anti-doping.

However, I can see why they are not constantly mentioning it. While you can say that doping exists in general, it is really difficult to make a good case against individual athletes that have not tested positive. You have to argue with a ton of assumptions, which makes it speculation, not pure reporting.

When there is actual proof, the Dutch media do seem to go after it. Just look at the case of Adriënne Herzog, where the Dutch Athletics Federation refused to ban her after Operación Galgo, but a Dutch newspaper made a fake email-account that looked like hers and managed to deceive her doping supplier into sending her previous emails to them. I give them huge props for what was effectively a police operation.

The Hitch said:
They make doping out to be something that only a handful of losers do out of desperation and act as if its ultimately it is way more beneficial for your performance to be clean.
The media is a wildly disparate group of organisations from different cultures, with different goals, etc. Even within my small country there are huge differences between various media organisations.

So I find your broad generalizations about what "they make doping out to be" quite absurd.
 
Mar 25, 2013
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To say the libel laws mean nothing is absurd.

Ewan MacKenna over here just the other day criticised the libel laws in the UK and Ireland after a column over Bolt.
 
lol. How exactly do the "goals" of different sports journalists differ?

The media is not disparate when it comes to sports. Sports journalism is a racket ie it exists to make money.

The way that sports journalism and reporting makes money is by selling it to the customers. They are the link between the majority of the customers and what actually goes on at the event. They either a) broadcast it or b) write about it. The customer then pays to read about it and the newspaper/ broadcaster makes money.

If the fans start to believe that doping exists in sports there is a risk they will be put off. Meaning less money spent. Meaning not just the athletes and sponsors lose out but the newspapers and broadcasters as well.

I think most people who are interested in the sociology of doping worked this out about 5 years ago.

But if you prefer to maintain this delusion that in capitalism people will behave contrary to their own interest, feel free.
 
Jul 17, 2015
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The Hitch said:
lol. How exactly do the "goals" of different sports journalists differ?

The media is not disparate when it comes to sports..
Kimmage and Walsh? Same agenda?
 
Mar 25, 2013
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Your man calling me delusional and I'm the one referencing a journalist who had a column affected by this.

I responded specifically on the topic of libel and not the other stuff you spouted. Of course you knew that. Moving the goalposts I see.

To say it's not an issue and an element in this issue,is plain and utter ignorance.
 
gooner said:
Your man calling me delusional and I'm the one referencing a journalist who had a column affected by this.

I responded specifically on the topic of libel and not the other stuff you spouted. Of course you knew that. Moving the goalposts I see.

To say it's not an issue and an element in this issue,is plain and utter ignorance.
As usual your not making too much sense so I don't know what exactly you are talking about.

However I'm guessing maybe you are addressing this to me and think I was responding to you earlier. I wasn't. I posted my post 2 minutes after yours and it had like 500 words. I don't type that fast. It was a response to the previous poster
 
Aug 5, 2015
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The Hitch said:
I have no idea wtf you wanted to say with "libel laws". No one ever said the media should accuse athletes.
WTF do I mean by libel laws - simple really. Everyone on here can draw their own conclusions based on their own opinions on whether an athlete dopes or not, regardless of whether there is evidence. Some posters accuse athletes in a manner that could be deemed libelous. Not saying this is wrong, each to their own.

Journalists cannot do this in countries that have stringent libel laws. Its rare for a poster in a forum to be prosecuted as there is no money in it. Not so unusual for the press. Therefore there will be a gap (often large) between what is stated here and what is reported in the press. This isn't the only reason why doping is given inadequate coverage and investigation but it is significant in my view. Your view seems to be different.

Also, if the media don't accuse athletes and/or trigger a substantial investigation, I would have thought the content of any story is not going to sell, which defeats the object of the exercise
 
Apr 20, 2012
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The cycling media is all about 'dont bite the hand that feeds you'. When I think of it I cant really blaim them for doing so but if I was in their position and if I knew what I know I would quit my job asap. Willingly ignorent.
 
Mar 25, 2013
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Re: Re:

Texeng said:
The Hitch said:
I have no idea wtf you wanted to say with "libel laws". No one ever said the media should accuse athletes.
WTF do I mean by libel laws - simple really. Everyone on here can draw their own conclusions based on their own opinions on whether an athlete dopes or not, regardless of whether there is evidence. Some posters accuse athletes in a manner that could be deemed libelous. Not saying this is wrong, each to their own.

Journalists cannot do this in countries that have stringent libel laws. Its rare for a poster in a forum to be prosecuted as there is no money in it. Not so unusual for the press. Therefore there will be a gap (often large) between what is stated here and what is reported in the press. This isn't the only reason why doping is given inadequate coverage and investigation but it is significant in my view. Your view seems to be different.

Also, if the media don't accuse athletes and/or trigger a substantial investigation, I would have thought the content of any story is not going to sell, which defeats the object of the exercise
Well put.

It's one element of this.

Many journalists not just with doping, have problems with libel laws but they're not exactly going to broadcast them publicly every time it happens.
 
This is an interesting topic.

I can't comment, and don't think others should have, if we don't really understand the economics and market of "the media" or sports journalism.

Without knowing what sells, (race winners, race winners presented without idealism, race winners and doping culture mentions, doping culture mentions or all out scandal, and everything else) it is hard to talk about.

And even if we know that, we need to know what editors think they know about the market (because they don't know a lot). Or, how much news creates news, rather than news coming from actual substance.

Any media/business people out there?
 
Apr 20, 2009
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wendybnt said:
The Hitch said:
lol. How exactly do the "goals" of different sports journalists differ?

The media is not disparate when it comes to sports..
Kimmage and Walsh? Same agenda?
Or Hajo Seppelt!

@Hitch, tell me why Seppelt is a fanboy like the rest....
 
Apr 20, 2009
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More Strides than Rides said:
Without knowing what sells, (race winners, race winners presented without idealism, race winners and doping culture mentions, doping culture mentions or all out scandal, and everything else) it is hard to talk about.
I think that there are obvious cultural differences between countries, for starters. Just look at how the Dutch and especially German media go after doping stories vs the Belgian media, for instance.
 
Mar 17, 2014
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FWIW:

Let's not forget that the media, including this website, are beholden to advertising to stay in business. That's why the Clinic exists...and we can't post this stuff on any old article. We are corralled and marginalized.

These same businesses often sponsor races, provide bikes for teams, and generally want to sell stuff to the public at large.

If the true pervasiveness of doping were to be revealed, if people were to just say "screw it, they can all dope and everyone is guilty" then there WOULD BE NO MORE SPONSORS. The big money sponsors would not want their reputations destroyed by a bunch of nitwit, anorexic bikers. And the professional sport we love would die.
 
Re: Re:

Aapjes said:
wendybnt said:
The Hitch said:
lol. How exactly do the "goals" of different sports journalists differ?

The media is not disparate when it comes to sports..
Kimmage and Walsh? Same agenda?
Or Hajo Seppelt!

@Hitch, tell me why Seppelt is a fanboy like the rest....
Really?

I never said anything of the sort about Hajo.

You just going to make stuff up and put in my mouth.

As if your previous posts weren't bad enough.
 
Jul 9, 2015
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Aapjes said:
I think that there are obvious cultural differences between countries, for starters. Just look at how the Dutch and especially German media go after doping stories vs the Belgian media, for instance.
I agree with this. I still remember how L'Equipe and La Gazetta dello Sport, for two, were all over Armstrong very soon after his first TdF win, and took a lot of abuse for it. The English speaking press, on the other hand... But then of course, a lot of people have selective memory when it comes to lumping the whole group of people in with the worst of them in order to rant about how they are ALL the same.
 
Good thread, too much animosity going on, though.

As I see it, if you're a journalist, you need access to the athletes, so you don't sir the pot. Otherwise, you get black-balled. Look at the line of Lance arse kissers back in the day. Do you think that Hinault would give you an interview if you constantly talked about doping in cycling? Omerta. True in every sport.

If you're a TV, you want to sell stories. That's what the masses want. The Rocky Balboa story. Best one to date: the cancer survivor who wins 7 Tours. Watch the Olympics, or just about any broadcast these days: it always begins with a story, a fairy tale. Doping is dangerous for ratings. Unless there's a villain, like the mean Ben Johnson who gets popped. Or a Russian. The media has figured out what sells, and that the masses are ignorant. Add to that the need for credibility, hiring consultants who when they fart produce a cloud of chemicals.

Integrity sacrificed in exchange for ratings or a pay check. With 100 guys or media outlets in line to take your job, the easy choice is to go with the flow.
 

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