In Friday’s blog, I wrote that the media had “shown absolutely zero critical attitude towards the misgivings of cycling”.
While I would maintain there is a lack of critical attitude in cycling (and sports) journalism in general, to say that there is none does an injustice to the journalists who have – for years – worked tirelessly to uncover the dark side of cycling.
It was particularly dumb of me to make that statement since there are a few journalists whose writing I follow closely EXACTLY BECAUSE they are not afraid of the reprisals that writing the whole truth bring.
Here is the conundrum sports reporters/journalists face:
- In order to make a living, you need to have access to the athletes.
- If you do your job properly, some of the things you write will not please the athletes.
- If you write stuff they don’t like, that access disappears.
As a result, there are few journalists (as in people who ask the tough questions and don’t mind digging for the inconvenient stuff) and lots of reporters (people who go with the flow and tell you the stuff you can already see for yourself). As of late we can witness reporters who suddenly want to look like journalists by writing about Lance Armstrong’s problematic past. But that doesn’t count, if you’re a real journalist you should have written that stuff five years ago (like Paul Kimmage for example) when it would have hurt your career, not today with Armstrong’s power in the sport waning. Of course, Kimmage’s example shows exactly why most people steered clear of writing such stories.
Therefore, I would like to offer a sincere apology to those journalists who – despite being bullied, blacklisted, and exorcised – were willing to write the ugly stories over the past decade and who hopefully will continue to do so. May eternal fame, fortune and fanbase be your reward.