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The Daily News claims that A-Rod is scared and paranoid … and they know, how?

Feb 5, 2013, 8:25 AM EDT

Alex Rodriguez Getty Getty Images

I generally have no problem with anonymous source reporting. Anonymous sources often make it possible for reporters to get stories they otherwise wouldn’t get. The entire trade rumor circuit which, no matter what you think about it, is extremely popular among readers, is based on it.  Bigger, important news often hinges on anonymity because people are sharing information which could get them fired. Or worse.  It’s a necessary part of journalism and anyone who dismisses a story merely because it’s sourced anonymously is being foolish.

That said, there are limits to what can and can’t be sourced anonymously. For example, you have to give the reader some sense of what kind of source the person is so as to give them at least some confidence that the information you’re imparting is legitimate as opposed to 100% pure, unadulterated baloney.

For example, “a government source” is more useful than merely saying “a source.” A “source who has examined the documents/microfilm/offer/whatever” is useful. A “source close to [notable person]” is a bit more vague, but it’s something.  All of it beats saying “a source.”

In contrast, if your anonymous source seems impossible — like, there’s no immediately plausible person saying x, y, z who would know, that’s a big problem. If your story makes a savvy reader focus way more on where the information could possibly be coming from than the information itself, that’s likewise a problem.

With that I give you the latest from Daily News. A paper which has, thus far, embarrassed itself repeatedly since last Tuesday’s revelations about the A-Rod/Biogenesis story:

Alex Rodriguez is taking his wildest swing yet in his fight against steroid allegations: The Yankees and MLB are conspiring to push him out of the game. Sources say the embattled Yankee star is “scared” that bigger forces are at work to try to discredit him and sink his career … “He’s scared, because he thinks this is so unbelievably false, and he’s wondering who could be behind this … He thinks something could be going on larger than anyone might think.”

The person quoted thusly is repeatedly identified as “a source.” There is no sense if this is a friend of A-Rod’s, a business associate or anything. There is no information imparted which even suggests to the reader that the source might have some access and insight into A-Rod’s psyche. This could just as easily be a hot dog vendor speculating about what A-Rod might feel as it could be a confidant.

And in this story, from this source, that truly matters. It matters because the information here paints A-Rod in a negative (indeed paranoid) light. This after a week’s worth of the Daily News more or less transcribing highly implausible “the Yankees are going to dump A-Rod” talking points from the Yankees front office with almost zero critical analysis at all. And, of course, a decade’s worth of trying to slam and humiliate Rodriguez at every possible opportunity.

In short, the Daily News has done nothing to warrant the benefit of the doubt here. Its sources are incredibly thin. This latest story conveniently serves to bolster the Daily News’ “A-Rod is done as a Yankee” narrative. Given the peculiarly inside vibe to this — and the fact that no one truly close to A-Rod would be a likely Daily News source give its treatment of him over the years — it is damn nigh impossible to imagine who on Earth could be the Daily News’ “source.”

But is it true? I suppose the beauty of the way this story is written is that we have no way of knowing and no way of checking.  But therein also likes the very best reason to question this story coming from this outlet.

  1. uyf1950 - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    To know the NY Daily News is to question it’s motives. I understand in many people’s eyes A-Rod has not earned the benefit of the doubt. But the sort of willy nilly media frenzy that has followed the initial story is just plain wrong. That’s just my opinion.

    • stex52 - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:37 AM

      No, you are absolutely right. You don’t have to be an A-Rod fan to say that this has just been ugly, damaging and unfair.

    • Old Gator - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:43 AM

      No it isn’t. It’s an opinion that was injected into your brain while you slept by….sources….who had worked on it here and in North Korea for years.

      • aceshigh11 - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:51 AM

        Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?

        Alex Rodriguez is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life…

        It’s not as if A-Rod’s hard to like…HE’S IMPOSSIBLE TO LIKE!

      • voteforno6 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:09 AM

        Oh, was that A-Rod lecturing on hydrangeas at the Garden Club meeting?

      • historiophiliac - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:50 AM

        I have in my hand here the names of 50, er, uh, 70 card-carrying PED-users…

    • ctony1216 - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      One of the first rules of journalism, or even critical reading, is “Consider the source.” If you don’t know who the source is, as a reader, you’re flying blind. You have to rely on the judgment of the reporter, and the Daily News reporters haven’t distinguished themselves lately.

      I read this story the same way as Craig did, at first. Then I wondered whether A-Rod’s people put this out so they could challenge the legitimacy of Bosch’s records and the motives behind their going public. By sliming Bosch and alleging a “conspiracy” to weasel out of a $114 million contract, A-Rod’s lawyers could be signaling to MLB that they’ll challenge every document and witness, implying that if you don’t have pictures of A-Rod injecting PEDs, you don’t have anything.

      And that’s the problem with the story. Without knowing the source, whether it’s Randy Levine or A-Rod’s attorneys or someone else, you can’t get what the angle is. A-Rod might just want the Streinbrenners to show him some love and support. Who knows?

      • 4cornersfan - Feb 5, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        ctony, challenging every document and witness is a lawyer’s job, they don’t have to signal that to MLB, it’s a given. What is interesting is the attitude of some of the press reports and the paranoia that this thing has engendered as illustrated by your comments. historio’s joke about McCarthy is on point. I don’t know if ARod was involved in the Biogenesis thing or not but I haven’t ruled out that this is a hoax by somebody who is trying to make a deal or make a buck. The whole Biogenesis thing has taken on an existentialist flavor. In Albert Camus’ novel, The Stranger, the main character is convicted of murder and sentenced to die on the guillotine, not because the prosecution proved that he committed the murder (which he committed) but because he was portrayed as an unemotional monster who showed no emotion at his mother’s funeral and deserved to die. Arod as Meursault. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch…

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 5, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      I look for quotation marks, if there is none then it is a opinion.
      The New York Daily News is quickly becoming the New York Post.

  2. chacochicken - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    They’ve been putting stuff in my water to make me paranoid for years. I’ve heard from “a source” that Arod owes huge debts to Chinese Triads. Not true, or, is that what they want us to think.

    • bigharold - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      Hey, .. just cause you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you. And, in A-Rod’s case those people apparently work at the NY Daily News.

      Towards full disclosure, .. the Daily News gave me my first “job”. Paper boy back in the early 70s. So I guess I know what the culture is on the “inside”. And, .. I have a source.

  3. lazlosother - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    I am the anonymous source. When I get bored I call the Daily News and dump some completely bogus information on them, and they allways print it. Tomorrow I’m going to tell them A-Rod is convinced that Tommy at Banana Macondo Massacre Field is the source of all his troubles, and Jeter wants to eat his brain.

    • ditto65 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      We already know that Jeter wants to eat his brain in an attempt to gain more range.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        Great! Now I have a source that says Jeter is not the saint everyone thinks he is. He’s really the advance guard for the coming Zombie Apocalypse!

  4. sufferingphilsfan - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    I’m wondering how AROD gets the benefit of the doubt from Craig..but not the newspaper?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      I’m not giving A-Rod any benefit of the doubt. But I don’t need to because he has not made any statements, allegations or reports about his state of mind I’m expected to accept at face value (I’ll doubt his blanket denial to a fair degree because many players have lied about not using in the past).

      But the Daily News has shown itself to have a clear agenda and to have been wrong multiple times just in the past week. So, sorry, they don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

      • chip56 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:28 AM

        Craig,

        Where has the Daily News been wrong thus far on this? They stated that the Yankees are going to try and divorce themselves from Alex – which they very well still might.

        I have no problem believing that Alex thinks the Yankees and MLB are out to get him, for the simple reason that we’ve seen others (Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens) accuse MLB of the very same thing.

        For someone who likes to call others out on false narratives, you’re quite good at stirring some up of your own.

      • chip56 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        In addition to Canseco and Clemens you can throw in: Lance Armstrong, Ryan Braun, Raf Palmiero…as people caught for PEDs who have fallen back on the “X organization is out to get me” line.

        Given Alex’s reputation I have no doubt that he would go down this road.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:33 AM

        Their “the Yankees may divorce themselves from A-Rod” stuff has been wildly implausible and has failed to provide any critical analysis at all of the front office talking points they’ve faithfully reported.

        They assume an insurance claim on his contract is a simple matter of paperwork when it certainly is not. They speculated that A-Rod may not bother to rehab when there was no basis for thinking so (and which as refuted by A-Rod himself and Yankees sources later in the week). They talk about the possibility of the Yankees and A-Rod settling on some sort of buyout of his deal when there is zero incentive for him to do so and no mechanism (per the MLBPA and the CBA) for him to actually give the Yankees any sort of discounted buyout.

        They either have their own agenda to run A-Rod out of town or are carrying water for the front office in its effort to make that happen. In doing so they have failed to acknowledge the basic impossibility of this short of the team simply releasing him, which no one — not even their own sources — have suggested is a possibility.

        It’s wishcasting and fantasy.

      • chip56 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:44 AM

        Craig,

        “Implausible” is not the same thing as being “wrong.” I agree with you that the insurance thing is unlikely for a myriad of reasons. However that’s not the only way the Yankees could make Alex go away (outright release if they’ve determined that the production of a 38 year old with two bad hips isn’t worth the horse poop that comes with him); but that’s neither here or there. If someone from the Yankee front office comes to a news outlet and says “We’re working on ways to get rid of Alex, I can’t get into specifics, but if you want to say ‘Yankee Sources’ you can.” they have to run with that.

        I agree that it would have been nice for Bill Madden to use some critical thinking on the avenues available to the Yankees if they want to send Alex packing; but being lazy doesn’t make him wrong. And, for what it’s worth, Christian Red who is one of the authors of this latest A-Rod piece is one of the guys who has been out in front on this steroid stuff for a long time and not one for floating silliness.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:49 AM

        “If someone from the Yankee front office comes to a news outlet and says “We’re working on ways to get rid of Alex, I can’t get into specifics, but if you want to say ‘Yankee Sources’ you can.” they have to run with that.”

        Of course they do. And they have an obligation, in my view, to explain why what the Yankees front office is saying is exceedingly problematic. You cite their laziness in doing so. I’ll make many criticisms of the Daily News (and the Post) but laziness has never been one of their faults. Indeed, they work their asses off to get where they want to go.

        The issue is not laziness. It’s that, in being critical as they should be, they lose the opportunity to push their “A-Rod is a finished” headlines. Just as, if they go to, say, a different source who may know A-Rod’s current thinking, they’ll likely get a different portrayal of his psyche and thus can’t go with the “batty A-Rod” is scared and paranoid line.

        They have a story they want to tell and they are selective about what they report in order to tell that story. That’s my issue with them.

      • chip56 - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:02 AM

        “They have a story they want to tell and they are selective about what they report in order to tell that story. That’s my issue with them.”

        That’s a fair take; but couldn’t the same be said about every media outlet, whether it is ESPN ignoring the Ray Lewis murder stuff so as to not interfere with the “Ray Lewis is an inspirational leader” story line or the way that you mock articles that take a stance against PED use and praise those that pose the silly question “why are anabolic steroids bad but cortizone is ok?”

        Should the News have looked for multiple sources to confirm that Alex is indeed paranoid? Probably. But then again, before accusing the News of pushing an agenda shouldn’t you look for someone to confirm that’s what they’re doing?

      • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:10 AM

        Yes, lots of media outlets do it. I comment on egregious cases involving baseball, though, so Ray Lewis is not going to enter my bailiwick.

        “or the way that you mock articles that take a stance against PED use and praise those that pose the silly question “why are anabolic steroids bad but cortizone is ok?”

        I don’t mock all articles that take stances against PED use. I mock those that are incoherent, intellectually dishonest or internally inconsistent. And the “why are anabolic steroids bad but cortisone is ok” article raises a good point that neither leaves anything out of the equation to push its argument nor has opened itself to any terminal criticism. If that article bugged you, why?

        “Should the News have looked for multiple sources to confirm that Alex is indeed paranoid? Probably.”

        Thanks. That was my point.

        “But then again, before accusing the News of pushing an agenda shouldn’t you look for someone to confirm that’s what they’re doing?”

        If you cannot see based on the past week alone, let alone the past decade, that the Daily News will do anything it possibly can to portray A-Rod as a monster, you either haven’t been reading it or else there’s nothing I can do to convince you, apparently,

      • chip56 - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        Vilifying Alex has been as much a part of New York culture the last ten years as pizza and hot dogs – there’s no doubt about that. But Alex brings most of it upon himself and, having seen other cases where athletes have blamed steroid accusations on conspiracies rather than on the fact that they used steroids, it doesn’t take a grand leap of faith on my part to think that the News got this one right.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:53 AM

        But Alex brings most of it upon himself and

        How so? The first set of steroid issues was in ’09, which he should have been vilified for. However, that’s 5 years of abuse he’d taken from guys like Lupica even after winning two MVP awards. Players do stupid stuff all the time, yet none receive half the vitriol spewed at them like Arod does. I’m not referring to the PED issue, I’m talking about things like the centaur painting or getting fed popcorn by a girlfriend.

  5. escapingexile - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    “Its sources are incredibly thin.”

    So, in the quest to find out the source, you’re saying we can rule out Joba? At least that’s a start.

    • chadjones27 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      CC too. Or is he ITBSOHL?

  6. aceshigh11 - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    “He’s scared, because he thinks this is so unbelievably false, and he’s wondering who could be behind this … He thinks something could be going on larger than anyone might think.”

    Why does this remind me of Joe Pesci’s paranoid tirade from JFK?

  7. heyblueyoustink - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    Phew! I needed an AROD story before 9:00 to get the day going. See you all here again tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel!

  8. jacobknicks - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Craig, respectfully, this Daily News team has bend at the forefront of the steroid/PED issue since those issues became a thing.

    I also think that its easy to criticize baseball writers methods when they break news, with not much news being broken here

    • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      The Daily News i-Team has done a good job of reporting actual PED news. I agree, they’ve been out front of most outlets.

      The Daily News reporters claiming to know what’s in the hearts, minds and souls of players has repeatedly embarrassed itself. This is a very different kettle of fish.

      And yes, it is easy to criticize such “breaking news” like this. Because it is so manifestly flawed.

    • paperlions - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      Just curious, has the NYDN i-team regularly supplemented their PED coverage by interviewing medical experts to give an idea of what each type of PED is capable of doing and what it is not capable of doing? Because, you know, that kind of context and base information is critical to inform readers.

      • bigharold - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:21 PM

        What’s everybody getting worked up in a lather about? It’s the NY Daily News for God’s sake.

        This is like you Grand Ma telling you that you are the sweetest boy in the world. You might be the biggest SOB on the planet but that ain’t Granny’s point of view.

        Or, this is like your old girl friend going around telling everybody you sucked in bed. You might have or you might be a stud but that doesn’t help her make her point about you generally sucking.

        The point is consider the source. They hired and continue to employ Mike Lupica, .. what the F%$& does the NY Daily News know about journalism?

  9. buffalomafia - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Who agrees? Who cares who took steroids or HGH?

    These reporters keep beating a dead horse!

  10. Jason @ IIATMS - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Meme-busters to the rescue!

    Remember, though, that no one is going to buy a newpaper that pleads for rational thought. “Just give ARod a chance to explain himself before your hysteria takes over” is never a headline you will see.

    Rather, A-FRAUD sells. Everybody’s buying.

  11. joshfrancis50 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    This is akin to US Weekly putting stock in a quote about how happy a celebrity’s child looks from the Starbucks barista who sold them a coffee some random morning. Not that I’ve ever looked at US Weekly of course…

  12. randygnyc - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    The Yankees ought to tread carefully. No doubt, Arod can/will become a destabilizing force in that clubhouse if pushed too far. The $114 million is already spent. The damage a malcontented Arod can cause over the next 5 years needs to be considered.

  13. DonRSD - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    LETS GO METS!!!

  14. Gamera the Brave - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    I whipped my bailiwick out the other day, did some wishcasting.
    Didn’t catch anything though…

  15. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Let’s all remember that Randy Levin is still in the Yankees front office. I would not put anything past him. ARod may be paranoid, but there still very well may be significant forces conspiring against him in unscrupulous fashion.

    • mazblast - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      As the old saying goes, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean nobody’s out to get you.”

      I have no doubt that the Daily News is practicing what passes for news reporting, not just sports news reporting, since at least the 1970s–Fit the reporting to the overall theme as established upstairs. It’s not just ESPN, the Post, and the Daily news, it’s EVERYONE. Whether it’s politics (NY Times, WaPo, CNN, etc.) or sports, the method is the same–a story breaks, management tests the wind and decides a slant, the reporters write to fit. You stand a chance of getting some facts early, if at all; after that, it’s all spin.

  16. jrobitaille23 - Feb 5, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    shocking, another thinly veiled Arod apologist article from Craig. Seriously, do you need to write an article anytime someone says anything negative about Arod? Don’t hide behind anonymous source issues. Just come out and say it. Media outlets are using his name to sell papers. is what you are doing with an Arod article a day any different?

  17. kiwicricket - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Forgive me if I am wrong, as I have not come across the paper before…but isn’t the Daily News the journalistic equivalent of the celeb’ magazines lying around in hair salons? ‘A source’ = ‘a friend close to him/her’
    Not sure if I care what they write, it is not taken seriously anyway.

  18. jdillydawg - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Was this a commentary on how to tell the difference between a good source and a bad source or was it an article referring to A-Rod’s troubles.

    Having read the entire article and feeling confident that I would be able to tell a good source from bad, I’m left scratching my head. Is the Daily News a good source or a bad source for this article? I’m feeling more confused than A-Rod in his paranoia now…

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