Skip to content

The Daily News, Yahoo! not letting the facts get in the way of sensationalism

May 3, 2012, 8:31 AM EDT

I predicted this yesterday, but I awake this morning to find two outlets — the New York Daily News and Yahoo! — each going with completely inaccurate takes on the Andy Pettitte testimony today.  First the Daily News:


Then Yahoo!


He neither backpedaled on nor backed off his prior testimony.  He was entirely consistent.  The Daily News attempts to argue that his testimony differed from an affidavit he offered regarding the 1999 conversation, but that affidavit was not inconsistent with the testimony. It merely left out — for strategic reasons — the part in which Pettitte said in 2008 just as he says now that he thought he misheard Clemens in 1999.

Les Carpenter’s piece in Yahoo! is way worse.  He is all but saying that Pettitte perjured himself in order to help his friend, Roger Clemens.

He says “Prosecutors did not expect Pettitte to say the very thing Clemens has maintained all along, that he “misremembers” the earlier conversation,” when in fact they had every reason to expect it given that Pettitte testified to that exact effect four years ago.  He says that Petttitte “suddenly” had doubts about the 1999 conversation, when there was nothing sudden about it. He calls Pettitte’s testimony “a life preserver,” implying that it was unexpected help to Clemens when, in reality, it was merely Pettitte being consistent with prior testimony and the help to Clemens was the unexpected benefit.

Worse, Carpenter basically accuses Pettitte being some weak-willed slug, changing his story because Clemens was glaring at him:

But how much does Pettitte know? It’s hard to imagine his memory has turned hazy, yet Clemens is a hard man to defy. Even in court, intensity radiates from him. Clemens’ eyes never left Pettitte as his old friend sat on the stand. Pettitte could not return the gaze.

This is a disgrace on Carpenter’s part. He’s essentially calling Pettitte a liar and later chalks it all up to Pettitte desperately wanting to help his friend.

And maybe Pettitte has always wanted to help Clemens if he could.  But there’s a big difference between saying that and saying that he changed his sworn testimony in order to do it.  He clearly did not, and saying that he did is not just a matter of offering a strong opinion about what may be in Andy Pettitte’s heart. It is a clear misrepresentation of legal fact and anyone who maintains it in print should be required to print a retraction.

Thanks to Tamar Chalket at IIATMS for pointing them out. And for a good take at just how frustrating and common it is for the media to totally whiff on what’s going on in legal proceedings.

  1. wetmorepsu12 - May 3, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    ahh the media… where to begin…

    • skids003 - May 3, 2012 at 9:11 AM

      It’s not just these two outlets. The people you work for Craig, MSNBC, are the absolute worst of all the news outlets and twisting and spinning the facts, even making them up as they go. You are pretty good at reporting facts most of the time. I think you may be writing for the wrong outlet, except you do lean hard to the left.

      • ironhawk - May 3, 2012 at 9:20 AM

        Oh please. Nothing comes close to Fox News. Nothing. All media is bad, but Fox is in a game of it’s own.

      • aceshigh11 - May 3, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        Your definition of “leaning hard to the left” is probably anyone who’s slightly to the left of, say, John McCain or Scott Brown.

        The fact is you right-wingers have no understanding of what the full spectrum of political opinion is in this country. Anyone holding a single slightly-liberal opinion is instantly a “hardcore leftist” to you people.

      • skids003 - May 3, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        I did not mean to get into a political discussion on here, but you two idiots are the worst kinds of liberals. Anyone who doesn’t agree with your opinion is completely wrong, doesn’t understand anything, and attacked by you. That I do understand. Fox news at least reports everything, NBC just ignores it or buries it if it doesn’t fit their agenda.

      • Craig Calcaterra - May 3, 2012 at 10:36 AM

        Can you direct me to FOX’s coverage of the Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal? I can’t seem to find it.

      • skids003 - May 3, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        Just turn on the channel, Craig, you’ll find it. I was trying to compliment you, seems you nor some of your other readers took it as that.

      • Old Gator - May 3, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        “Fox News reports everything>’

        YEEEEEEEHAHAHHAHAhoooooohooooohoooohahahaheeehohohohohhoharrrrggghhhhh…(my ribs!)yaaaaaahhhhheehehehehehehhahahahaahooooohaaaaaa(gasp! gasp! gasp!)waaaauuuuggghhhhhoooooohooohoooohahahahheeeeeee……

      • skids003 - May 3, 2012 at 10:52 AM

        Oh, and what ddo you watch for your news, Gator, “Jon Stewart?”

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 3, 2012 at 10:59 AM

        Craig, the video is right here. And you’d be shocked to find out the guest they bring on says the following [2:02 – 2:13ish]
        Citibank, great bank. Bank of America, great bank. Are they getting the same kind of attention for hacking that took place less than a year ago that News Corp is getting today

        Think about that answer, and it’s reason #1 why Fox News is utter bullshit.

      • daisycutter1 - May 3, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        “I did not mean to get into a political discussion on here, but you two idiots are the worst kinds of liberals. Anyone who doesn’t agree with your opinion is completely wrong, doesn’t understand anything, and attacked by you.”

        Trolling or a complete and utter lack of self-awareness?

        We report, you decide.

  2. heynerdlinger - May 3, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Here’s the thing: If you believe that you misheard the initial conversation, why testify that Clemens told you he used HGH? And if you’re testifying that that’s what he told you, how do you then back away from that and say you’re not sure that’s what he said?

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 3, 2012 at 8:40 AM

      Sure, but that’s what Pettitte did then and it’s what he did yesterday. It may be strange. We may not believe him 100%. But it’s not new, it’s not a surprise and it’s not some sort of flip-flop or change of story.

      Pettitte offered testimony that was, at best, curious in 2008. He offered the same testimony yesterday. If that’s bad for the prosecution it’s not his fault. It’s the prosecution’s fault. And it’s certainly not some backpedal.

      This is important here, because an accusation of a backpedal here is tantamount to an accusation of perjury.

      • dink53 - May 3, 2012 at 9:04 AM

        In this country when you write about public figures, you can write whatever you want, facts notwithstanding. Not the case with HBT, so you’re appreciated, Craig.

      • cur68 - May 3, 2012 at 9:54 AM

        This, Craig, is why you’ll never make the BBWAA. You’re persnickety clinging to the truth and facts vs what sells and sounds interesting. Get it right, man: practice up your vainglorious sensationalism and then you too can leave your ballot blank once a year.

      • The Dangerous Mabry - May 3, 2012 at 10:27 AM

        And it wouldn’t hurt to write a whole article of one-sentence paragraphs from time to time. People love those things.

      • heynerdlinger - May 3, 2012 at 10:52 AM

        I get that this isn’t, or shouldn’t be viewed as, anything new. It’s not exactly a backtrack, but it’s pretty contradictory. it’s surprising that the prosecutors didn’t just acknowledge this in the initial testimony. Why let the defense bring it out in cross?

        Call me a cynic, but I suspect these news stories are being pushed by the prosecution as a way to establish a scapegoat for why their case fails.

  3. dawgpoundmember - May 3, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    yahoo! is to the internet as what E! channel is to tv

    • wlschneider09 - May 3, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      That’s so unfair! Sometimes E! reports an actual story…

  4. cereal blogger - May 3, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    Has anyone ever written anything about the reaction from the Mormon church after Pettitte admitted to juicing ?

    • aceshigh11 - May 3, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      Pettitte is NOT a Mormon; he’s a born-again Christian (which is bad enough, frankly).

      • Old Gator - May 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM

        Aren’t those like, oh, you know, Mormons with doves instead of gulls and a locust plague that got lost in the shuffle?

      • skids003 - May 3, 2012 at 10:51 AM

        Gator is not nearly as funny as he thinks he is.

      • wlschneider09 - May 3, 2012 at 11:43 AM

        Yet he’s still sooooo much funnier than you.

  5. georgia - May 3, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    Also, in the first screenshot…

    I’m not sure Andy Pettitte heard anything from Roger Clemens in the year 200….

  6. mybrunoblog - May 3, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Can somebody just put Pettitte on a plane and ship him to : 161st Street and River Avenue, Bronx NY…..Thanks.

  7. ningenito78 - May 3, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    If Andy Pettitte was the Wilpons, the Daily News would have actually, you know, done some research. Frauds.

  8. 1historian - May 3, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    CBS – Left
    ABC – Left
    NBC – (absurdly) Left
    CNN – Left
    MSNBC – (good for cheap laughs) Left

    Fox – Right

    Highest rated cable news – Fox

    • aceshigh11 - May 3, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      CBS – Corporate-hack centrism
      ABC – Corporate-hack centrism
      NBC – Corporate-hack centrism
      CNN – Corporate-hack centrism
      MSNBC – Liberal

      Fox – Vile, extremist right-wing propaganda

      Fixed it for you, Slingblade.

      Fox News has the highest ratings because you conservatives are a bunch of easily-frightened paranoiacs who have been trained like Pavlov’s dogs to believe the rest of the media is liberal. You cling to your Fox News safety blanket like a little kid in a thunderstorm.

      • skids003 - May 3, 2012 at 10:38 AM

        No, actually Fox is rated higher because they at least attempt to report all news. The rest lead the sheeple to the edge of the liberal cliff. And liberals go on the attack to anyone who doesn’t believe as they do, that’s their only defense.

      • cktai - May 3, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        Kind of what you are doing now?

      • skids003 - May 3, 2012 at 10:50 AM

        Look at my posts,cktai, I attacked no one, but they are after me.

      • cltjump - May 3, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        No sweeping generalization or sensationalism here! Nope.

      • ptfu - May 3, 2012 at 11:22 AM

        Conservatives focus on Fox. Liberals and moderates are split between various networks other than Fox. This explains Fox’s relatively high ratings.

        It’s a simple matter of market segmentation. This ain’t rocket science, people.

      • seanmk - May 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM

        The US is more conservative then you might think, this is from the freakanomics podcast. 0 is completely conservative and 100 being completely liberal.

        DUBNER: So Groseclose’s argument, based on his research, is that most news organizations empirically lean to the left, although not as dramatically as some critics might suspect. He ultimately wrote up his findings in a book called Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind. Now, how did he come to that conclusion — that the American Mind is being distorted by media bias? Well, Groseclose combined his own findings and existing research to calculate that the average American voter has a “natural” PQ, or Political Quotient, of around 25-30, which is firmly in the conservative range. But, as Groseclose sees it, the left-leaning media pulls some of those naturally conservative voters into the center. Which is why we generally vote about 50-50. Without media bias, Groseclose says, we’d be a much different country.

        GROSECLOSE: So I suggest that we would be about like Texas, or about like Kentucky. It might be even more conservative.

    • cktai - May 3, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      Where I come from, liberalism is considered right-wing.

    • shawndc04 - May 3, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      >>Highest rated cable news – Fox<<

      Comedy always scores high.

    • Craptastics9 - May 3, 2012 at 9:04 PM

      Not much of a historian, I think, since you’re not too good with facts.

      During 2011, FNC averaged 1.86 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC averaged 775,000 and CNN had 689,000. On a total daily basis, FNC averaged 1.07 million, CNN 479,00 and MSNBC 434,000.

      NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.3 million viewers (6.2, 11). ABC’s “World News” was second with 8.2 million (5.4, 10) and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.7 million viewers (4.5, 8).

      Key to the discussion…”Highest rated CABLE News”. They get destroyed by the networks. Not even close. They get fringe ratings, just like their fringe opinions. They are not as popular as they would have their fans believe. 24.2 to 1.07. Not even close.

  9. raysfan1 - May 3, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    And on the other side of the spinning,..I did not see where USA Today mentioned Petitte’s doubts about his own memory at all. Its article made it seem like his testimony was very damaging to the defense.

  10. ltzep75 - May 3, 2012 at 2:10 PM


    Sports Coverage: Check [good]
    Legal Analysis: Check [still good]
    Political Idealogues Come Out of Woodwork: Check [rapid descent]
    Claim of Media Biases: Check [almost there…]
    Vomit in Mouth: Check […and done]

    Thanks guys. I didn’t like that chicken salad sandwich anyway.

    • jfwiii - May 3, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      Glad I made it all the way to this comment. You win the comment thread.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (2696)
  2. C. Correa (2584)
  3. Y. Puig (2574)
  4. B. Crawford (2461)
  5. G. Springer (2449)
  1. H. Pence (2353)
  2. H. Ramirez (2315)
  3. M. Teixeira (2253)
  4. J. Hamilton (2235)
  5. J. Baez (2214)