The United States of Omerta but what about CN during the Armstrong years?

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May 3, 2010
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The funny thing is how the responses of cycling journalists to criticism of their coverage echo the responses of cyclists to criticism.

We get: Very angry, we get finger pointing and piling into the whipping boys. We get people being for want of a better word shafted. Vaughters shafts his riders, CN shafts Vaughters.

The come the excuses: Everyone was doing it (not breaking omerta), there was too much pressure to conform, others were worse, it was before my time (does this make Benson the Tom Danielson of cycling journalism?).

And not one person willing to admit that they personally ****ed up and ****ed up for years.

And just like we're told to 'trust' the riders, we're supposed to 'trust' the same journalists who lied to us (if they were as smart as they claim they are then they knew that what they were writing was bull****). If they didn't know then frankly it is criminal that people so stupid should be allowed anywhere near a form of communication.

We're some how supposed to put our faith in the same people who fawned all over Armstrong, Hog etc that they've had a Pauline conversion and they are some how going to not be fooled again by the next big doping team.

Vuelta so far says nothing learnt and nothing's changed - either in the peloton or the media.
 
Jul 24, 2009
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Mrs John Murphy said:
The funny thing is how the responses of cycling journalists to criticism of their coverage echo the responses of cyclists to criticism.

We get: Very angry, we get finger pointing and piling into the whipping boys. We get people being for want of a better word shafted. Vaughters shafts his riders, CN shafts Vaughters.

The come the excuses: Everyone was doing it (not breaking omerta), there was too much pressure to conform, others were worse, it was before my time (does this make Benson the Tom Danielson of cycling journalism?).

And not one person willing to admit that they personally ****ed up and ****ed up for years.

And just like we're told to 'trust' the riders, we're supposed to 'trust' the same journalists who lied to us (if they were as smart as they claim they are then they knew that what they were writing was bull****). If they didn't know then frankly it is criminal that people so stupid should be allowed anywhere near a form of communication.

We're some how supposed to put our faith in the same people who fawned all over Armstrong, Hog etc that they've had a Pauline conversion and they are some how going to not be fooled again by the next big doping team.

Vuelta so far says nothing learnt and nothing's changed - either in the peloton or the media.
It's not that funny at all; in fact, it's totally predictable, given what common experience says about people's response to criticism. Do you really expect any person -- cyclist, journalist, forum-posting basement-dweller, or otherwise -- to prostrate himself at the feet of his critics and cry out, "I was wrong! I was wrong! I'm a sh!thead! Please flog me as hard as you will! I deserve it!"? That is not what people do.

Furthermore, you suffer from an extremely acute case of 20/0.0001 hindsight. I'll take up for the Daniel Bensons of the world -- it's pretty hard to look at incomplete (though sometimes persuasive and often damning) evidence in the moment and declare, "You fans who worship these stars of cycling are all naive idiots! These guys are all cheating! Wake up!" Cassandra didn't find a sympathetic ear, either. Circumspection is warranted, but I'll also posit that circumspection is the reason for the existence of this forum, not the reason for the existence of CN. CN exists, fundamentally, to report to its readers facts relating to bike racing, not to adhere to a particular view of the facts and their logical inferences. We can get on this forum and argue what inferences should be drawn from the facts we read on this website and others; I want the reporters on CN to present me with facts so that I can do that, not present me with inferences and value judgments with some facts intertwined. I don't want the cycling equivalent of Fox News.

And besides, slamming Daniel Benson for reporting that was published here before he even came here is overcritical, plain and simple. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to be held accountable for things done by your predecessors in your chosen field, would you?

Lastly, you betray the source of your vehemence when you use the phrase, "put our faith in ..." That tells me you've made that mistake. You, like so many of us, put your faith as a fan in the results of riders and races that shouldn't have been trusted, and you got sh!t thrown in your face for it. You also trusted cycling journalists to tell you exactly what they saw was going on before, during, and after the races with a hypercritical, never-overawed eye -- you wanted to have someone there to pinch you when you yourself knew it was too good to be true. We all feel like that, to a greater or lesser degree, I suspect. No one is forcing you or anyone else, though, to "put your faith" in anyone. Unless you simply don't believe the sentences being written relating to the process and results of races, it's not a leap of faith to read CN for facts. Just watch the sport (and hopefully participate in it yourself) and appreciate it for what it is, not for what we all hope it should be, and don't hold those who cover it to a standard you yourself couldn't hope to live up to.
 

the big ring

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Jul 28, 2009
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bigmatt24 said:
It's not that funny at all;
Your use of semi-colons is interesting. Your grammar is top notch; are you a journalist yourself?

MJM is simply drawing a parallel. It is funny, where funny means "curious, odd or interesting".

People get criticised at work all the time, but they aren't expected to prostrate themselves. But you can certainly learn from past mistakes.

Personally, I believe D Benson is going there. MJM sees it differently. But this is the Internet and full of opined wisdom. I certainly do not think MJM "slammed Daniel Benson" at all.

You are taking it far too personally, imo.
 
Jul 24, 2009
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the big ring said:
Your use of semi-colons is interesting. Your grammar is top notch; are you a journalist yourself?

MJM is simply drawing a parallel. It is funny, where funny means "curious, odd or interesting".

People get criticised at work all the time, but they aren't expected to prostrate themselves. But you can certainly learn from past mistakes.

Personally, I believe D Benson is going there. MJM sees it differently. But this is the Internet and full of opined wisdom. I certainly do not think MJM "slammed Daniel Benson" at all.

You are taking it far too personally, imo.
Thank you. I am not a journalist. My momma did learn me real good how to write, though. ;) I'll credit my AP English teacher and my Latin teachers as well.

I think MJM used the word "funny" especially in the "odd" or "curious" sense, or perhaps "ironic" (I think he used that specific word later in his post). I maintain that it's none of the above (just as Alanis Morissette claimed many things were ironic that aren't). There's nothing odd, curious, or ironic about a person acting exactly how one would expect him to act in response to criticism.

People have their work criticized all the time, sure, but not (fairly) by those who have no connection to their work. I can criticize the Vice President's propensity to go off-script and commit verbal gaffes, but it's not fair for me to do that, since I don't ever find myself in front of a camera, expected to speak powerfully and sensibly at the same time. More fundamentally, though, I don't think the CN staff should be so roundly criticized for not having asked the questions MJM would like them to have asked. My central point is that Cycling NEWS should be, fundamentally, about news, i.e. about the facts relating to bike racing. To the extent that CN hides certain facts or buries them in copy to promote a particular rider or a particular agenda, then it is doing us a disservice and failing to live up to its name. But it should NOT be an active player in the fight against doping, such that it feels the need to hire Paul Kimmage to establish its "toughness" against dopers, as MJM would like it to do (or so he says), or to go out of its way to publicize anti-doping issues in a manner disproportionate to their place among all the stories to write about cycling. It should absolutely report on the fight against doping, as it has done and, in my view, done better than any widely-distributed cycling publication. The actual fight against doping should be left to the likes of Ashenden, Kimmage, Schenk, Tygart, etc., and whatever figures within the sport feel the need to spill the beans (more beans, please).

The entire tone of the OP is superciliously hypercritical of Benson. I don't think it's a stretch at all to say MJM is slamming him. I personally have no dog in this fight. I think, however, that MJM's posts focus on entirely the wrong people in this larger issue. In the end, it's the riders and the other stakeholders inside the sport that need to grow the stones to speak out against what they know is cheating; it's not Daniel Benson.
 

the big ring

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bigmatt24 said:
The entire tone of the OP is superciliously hypercritical of Benson. I don't think it's a stretch at all to say MJM is slamming him. I personally have no dog in this fight. I think, however, that MJM's posts focus on entirely the wrong people in this larger issue. In the end, it's the riders and the other stakeholders inside the sport that need to grow the stones to speak out against what they know is cheating; it's not Daniel Benson.
I think it's a system, and the media's role is equally as powerful as the advertisers and the race organisers. They are peripheral to the day-to-day mechanics of the actual riding itself, but no question in my mind they are complicit in the story that unfolds.

We'll have to agree to disagree on the tone. As a pattern matching machine, I appreciated the clarity MJM communicated.

I think this says it best for me:

"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations."
 
Mar 26, 2009
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Mrs John Murphy said:
So basically here we have a journalist who openly admits to upholding omerta and vows to continue to do so. And then some nonsense about Wolves at the end which makes no sense.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/opinion/rip-lance-time.html?smid=tw-share
Sounds like the motivation was continued access, which is a common refrain from journalists. That motivation changes, however, when writing about doping produces better stories than maintaining Omerta does. The first media to "turn" on the Lance Legend were those furthest from his inner circle, and thus with less access to lose. The likes of Phil Liggett are very deep in the inner circle, with access that includes rides on private jets, so it is no surprise that Phil is defending Lance to the point of possible slander against the USADA.

And yes, I spent two years researching wolf behaviour, and not only did the wold parable at the end of the story make no literary sense, it made no biological sense.
 
May 3, 2010
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Big Matt - I lost my 'faith' in cycling journalists in about 1997, when they were oh so wise to Festina and EPO after the event. And I've long been critical of the media and their unwillingness to criticise or question Armstrong. Benson was the one telling us to put our faith in him. I have no faith because deeds count more than faith and good intentions. Either you do it or you don't.

The riders do need to speak out but what good is speaking out if Benson is going to then ensure that David Millar gets free reign to call you an alcoholic loser. The media creates the wider environment and ultimately plays a role in shaping the views of the wider audience (which is why media bias is always a critical question at election time).

Benson came in for specific criticism because in his original article he criticised others and at no point reflected on how CN has dealt with Armstrong.

The 'it was before my time' is exactly the kind of answer that a DS gives when asked about previous doping at his team - it might be before you became DS but the riders, doctors, and support staff are still the same. It wasn't as if when Benson took over that all the old staff were fired and new staff were brought in.

You have yet to explain why it can only be news outlet and can not also include critical coverage.

We all get criticised at work, but if we **** up monumentally then we get hauled over the coals. The coverage of Armstrong and the failure to be critical was a monumental **** up
 
Jul 24, 2009
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the big ring said:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/schenk-doubts-mcquaid-has-the-credibility-to-clean-up-cycling

Love it.

The media can't (or won't) accuse the UCI of corruption directly for fear of litigation, but they can publish interviews with people prepared to say the same thing.
Exactly! There is nothing wrong with CN being an outlet for those whose job it is to be critical of riders, team management, the UCI, AFLD, and whomever else. That is "cycling news" just as much as race results are. I haven't ever understood CN to withhold or suppress such material, though, which is why I read it. If something happens regarding doping/anti-doping, I feel confident I'll read about it here.
 

the big ring

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Jul 28, 2009
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Noone is prepared to put their name to the latest Sheryl Crowe piece.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/sheryl-crow-no-one-trained-harder-than-armstrong
"I know how hard he worked to win those titles and it was hard to watch," Crow continued. "I felt bad. I felt bad for him; I felt bad for his family and I kinda felt like the rest of America. He's a hero that we've watched for a long time and admired and what he does in the world of cancer is... it's insurmountable.

"No one trained harder than he did.

"Knowing him I have to imagine that the fact that he just said, 'look, take them,' he's probably tired of the whole fight."
Unless she saw the training every other rider did, this is all utter BS. Oh wait. She didn't.
 

the big ring

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Jul 28, 2009
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On the 4th of September, 2012, I wrote:

the big ring said:
Curious if there's interest in a thread (or if the thread already exists) of tough questions we would like asked - of people in cycling.

With a format along the lines of

<Link / reasoning of question>
<Person to ask question of>: <Question>

eg: --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

"I categorically, 100 per cent say that there's no risk of anything untoward happening in this team since he has been with us," said Brailsford. "I've seen nothing and neither have the full-time medics. I'd put my life on it. He's done nothing wrong here, but we have a reputational risk. We have had discussions with him and once we've established the facts, we will take the appropriate action."
David Brailsford: what did your investigation of Leindeers reveal, and what action, if any, have you taken?

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

This may make journalists job easier, but if the questions end up getting asked, all the better for it.
Nothing happened for some time.... until they unleashed Paul Kimmage on Twitter.

3:12 AM - 24 Sep 2012
https://twitter.com/PaulKimmage/status/249919153060851712
...Unless of course Dave Brailsford would care to explain it. How's the investigation going Dave? Any chance we might have an answer soon?
Which spurred Barry Ryan into action...

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/brailsford-vague-on-leinders-investigation
Cyclingnews asked Brailsford for details on the nature of the supposed investigation – namely, has that internal investigation begun, what does it consist of and when will it conclude?

Brailsford paused before replying: “Well, I think we’re addressing the issue. We’re satisfied with what we’re doing and we’ll come to a conclusion soon.”

A follow-up question was interrupted. “I don’t want to comment on it anymore,” Brailsford said, already edging towards his team bus, before adding: “We’re here to talk about the Worlds, aren’t we?”
:D
 

the big ring

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Jul 28, 2009
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Susan Westemeyer said:
Nice theory, but I hope you noticed that Dan Benson did not write that story, and that the interview took place on Sunday, therefore before the 24 Sept. tweet?

Susan
There's no theory. There is only complete and utter bliss that a question I wanted asked has been. :D

I don't understand how CN works, obviously. And had thought Dan would have been involved in the direction if not approval of content. Good on Barry Ryan for asking the question. Post amended :eek:
 
the big ring said:
There's no theory. There is only complete and utter bliss that a question I wanted asked has been. :D

I don't understand how CN works, obviously. And had thought Dan would have been involved in the direction if not approval of content. Good on Barry Ryan for asking the question. Post amended :eek:
The timing is still off, though. The story may not have appeared until today but the interview was conducted on Sunday.

Susan
 

the big ring

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Jul 28, 2009
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hrotha said:
Brailsford's answer fails the smell-o-meter test.
On his report card, we can put, VERY CONSISTENT.

To wit: March 27, 2008. Rob Hayles has a Hct of 50.3% and is suspended for 2 weeks: http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/update-blood-test-puts-brit-out-of-world-track-champs-15321/
At this moment in time I think it's important for everyone to take a look at the situation. We'll supply all the data we have, and we have a lot. Rob was last tested on March 4, and he's been tested hundreds of times throughout his career," added Brailsford.

"We just want to establish the facts, and we will react based on that rather than speculation and opinion."
 

the big ring

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Jul 28, 2009
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Susan Westemeyer said:
The timing is still off, though. The story may not have appeared until today but the interview was conducted on Sunday.

Susan
Is it ever the case that an interview is conducted but not published?
 
Simple cyclingnews.com earns its daily bread off cycling. Armstrong brought more people to the site, which generated more sponsors, which created more profits. Thus while the going is good there is an inherent conflict of interests in allowing the mechanisms of sound investigative journalism to report the facts, which runs contrary to the business agenda and would make the economic well of plenty dry up. Besides most people prefer falsehood to facts.

Now that LA is going down, however, cyclingnews.com can ride the wave of public interest in the farce that has now become the spectacle, no doubt the greatest performance some of us have aver seen, and make money off that too.

Is it really that hard to grasp? The win, win situation?
 
May 3, 2010
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rhubroma said:
Simple cyclingnews.com earns its daily bread off cycling. Armstrong brought more people to the site, which generated more sponsors, which created more profits. Thus while the going is good there is an inherent conflict of interests in allowing the mechanisms of sound investigative journalism to report the facts, which runs contrary to the business agenda and would make the economic well of plenty dry up. Besides most people prefer falsehood to facts.

Now that LA is going down, however, cyclingnews.com can ride the wave of public interest in the farce that has now become the spectacle, no doubt the greatest performance some of us have aver seen, and make money off that too.

Is it really that hard to grasp? The win, win situation?
Of course, but it would be nice if CN were to actually admit that and to stop pretending that they were not part of the 'problem' alluded to in Benson's original article.

Ultimately, if the next big rider who brings hits to CN is a bit dodgy then we can expect the tough questions to dry up again.

The issue about whether CN was too close to the teams (and remains too close) to certain teams was never answered. I'm sure over the winter and spring we'll have some 'exclusive' stories about life inside team X training camp in Tenerife etc
 
Jul 29, 2012
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Back in 2005-7 this site had a forum, of sorts, more a comments section than a proper forum. It was so full of pro-USPS/Disco and Flandis drivel that I vowed never to visit it's pages again. (Until this year I didn't).

In the meantime other proper forums have gone very quiet on doping issues :rolleyes:

Clearly something changed here after 2007; something that allows the clinic in it's current format. There is no reason not to question things, but enjoy the positive side, i.e. that this discussion is even happening and being taken seriously.

Edit: enjoy the positives.
 
May 3, 2010
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From another thread but it is worth repeating here.

Benotti69 said:
Let us see how Cycling News follow up Team Sky with some real questions about their transparency, why they hired Leinders when he wasn't at the TdF when the excuse was he was needed for riders health?

What do they know about Sean Yates past and his connections with Motoman and Armstrong?

Why did they not know about Mick Barry?

Why was Brailsford shocked about Armstrong, everyone in cycling knew?

Come on Benson get stuck into them otherwise we will have the same sh!t again in years to come.
 

Dr. Maserati

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Mrs John Murphy said:
From another thread but it is worth repeating here.
I dont often agree with Benotti - but they are valid questions.

I would add a more pointed on Mick Barry.
He was first implicated way back in May 2010 by Floyd, Brailsford said they would attempt to establish the facts.
So, why did he not allow Kimmage to interview Barry at the TdF in 2010?
 
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